- The Good
- Easy to install and use
- Compatible with multiple wireless protocols
- Strong customer support
- The Bad
- Can’t control from PC or Mac
- Device-pairing can get tricky
Samsung acquired SmartThings in 2014 and never looked back. Added improvements have helped to place the SmartThings Hub in the top 10 lists of most reviewers. From an improved processor with video camera support to Bluetooth connectivity, SmartThings has generated a lot of buzz in the tech world.
- SmartThings Hub
- Monitoring Kit
The SmartThings Hub is affordable, there’s no questioning that. Prices vary slightly from website to website, but on average you can expect to pay about $80 for the basic SmartThings. If you want the multipurpose sensors for monitoring temperature and vibration to know when doors or windows are open, a motion sensor that also detects temperature changes, and a smart outlet, then you’ll need the Home Monitoring Kit. That will run you $249, still a reasonable price for all that techno power.
- Control Integration
The SmartThings Hub is nothing more than a small white plastic box that you can place anywhere near your home Wi-Fi router. You have to connect your SmartThings directly to your router via Ethernet. Once done, the SmartThings can become the center of your smart home’s brain. There are over 200 devices listed on the SmartThings website that this little white plastic box can control. You control all of your SmartThings from a mobile app.
- Compatible Products
- Philips Hue White LED Bulb
- Leviton Universal Dimmer
- Ring Video Doorbell Pro
- Leviton Appliance Module and Outlet
- Yale Assure Lock with Bluetooth
- Ecobee thermostats
- Leak Intelligence Leak Gopher Water Shut-off Valve
This is merely a sampling of the compatible products that integrate into the Internet of Things (IoT) that you can create within your home with SmartThings Hub and smartphone control app. For example, there are 45 different lighting and switches that the SmartThings Hub can control.
- Additional Features
- No cost to use the app
- Can function as standalone hub
- Plays well with others
The SmartThings is a multi-protocol system that can function as a standalone hub or as the control of a kit with different sensors and switches. It supports such popular devices like Z-Wave, ZigBee and Wi-Fi wireless communications. It also works wells with the popular IFTTT (If This Then That) Internet service.
SmartThings: User Reviews
The SmartThings Hub is a powerhouse in smart home gadgets, able to support a vast array of home ecosystem gadgets. The major drawback mentioned in reviews of this device are not linked to the device itself; it’s the app that controls it that seems to vex users the most.
When you connect a home ecosystem of integrated smart devices to the SmartThings Hub, you can flip lights on and off, set and reset sensors, control video cameras, adjust thermostats, and do it all whether you’re home or not. The SmartThings Hub is the brain of the setup, but it must have all the bells and whistles to work with before you can truly say it controls a smart home.
The control app is compatible with iOS, Android or Windows smartphones. Download and install is easy, and the app looks simple on its face. There is a tutorial that will walk you through everything you need to do to get your SmartThings working in your house. It will check to make sure you SmartThings is fully updated and then start looking for all the other SmartThings and devices you have in your home.
It gets bogged down when you begin to assign specific devices to specific rooms. If you’re upgrading from the original SmartThings to the newer Samsung version, you’ll find you’re not able to use any previously connected SmartThings devices until you get your new Hub to identify each one individually and set them up. That can get tedious, so be prepared.
How Does SmartThings Work?
The first thing needed to get SmartThings going is the app. Download it and install, then you’re ready to connect your SmartThings into your router via the provided Ethernet cable. Power up, and it will ask you to create your SmartThings account. There’s a welcome code provided with your SmartThings; you’ll need this to complete your account creation.
Once you receive a message that your SmartThings Hub is online and up to date, you’ll get a tutorial showing you how to use the app and add devices you want to control. From the dashboard in your app, you’ll be able to configure existing devices to work with your SmartThings.
What Makes SmartThings Stand Out?
SmartThings differs from other smart home control devices in that it requires a hardline connection via Ethernet to your home router. The control app is also a plus, as well as a minus, when comparing SmartThings to other competitors.
The app is the face of your SmartThings smart home. The dashboard contains five device categories, such as Home and Family, Doors and Locks, Lights and Switches, etc. If you can imagine it all as if it were in an outline format, it seems much more organized and easy to use. If you can’t visualize that structure, you may have a longer learning curve.
The SmartThings is compatible with a number of other smart home devices and switches. It will work as seamlessly with Google as it does with Amazon and others.
Common Reviews of SmartThings
Overall, SmartThings by Samsung receives decent reviews in online forums. When looking through the array of comments, one thing becomes apparent: A lot of people didn’t realize that the SmartThings was not going to control everything in their homes simply by plugging it in.
Apparently, there is a percentage of people who were unaware that each light switch, each leak detector, each door sensor had to plug into the home network so the SmartThings could detect its presence. SmartThings can’t control it if it has no way of knowing it’s there.
The app enjoys reviews both as a blessing and a curse. Positive reviews applaud it for its compatibility with iOS, Android and Windows phones, but it is just as often denigrated because it won’t work from the desktop of a PC or a Mac. Perhaps in the future as this ever-growing technology continues to move forward, that will become a reality.
The SmartThings itself is inexpensive. However, buying devices to integrate into it can get really expensive, really quick. For example, once you have your app and your SmartThings up and running, you’ll need to purchase controls for each light switch you want connected. These devices can run between $35 to $40 each. Multiply that by the number of light switches you have in your home, and you get the idea.
Is SmartThings for Me?
If you want to be like the family on TV that shuts their garage door while they’re lounging on the beach in the Bahamas, then SmartThings may interest you.
Let’s face it, the idea of having a home like the Jetsons is quite appealing. The bottom line comes down to two factors: Are you willing to spend the money needed to properly set up your home, and do you have the techno skills to do the setup yourself?
If not, you’re going to be paying for your local geek to set your house up and help you maintain it. If you’re up for that, the SmartThings Hub is one of the better ones on the market.