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Samsung SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit review: A solid connected-home foundation

Dave Zatz | Dec. 11, 2015
A second-generation hub is the key to this platform's appeal.

A SmartThings network’s resiliency is further enhanced by the hub’s battery backup. If your home suffers a power failure, the hub can still control the network devices that also have battery backup or that run on battery power (your door locks and most of your sensors, for example). If an abundance of nodes depend on AC power, on the other hand, the network might not be able to heal itself during the outage because the mesh has developed too many holes. But this is true of any mesh network.

Is SmartThings the way to go?

Over a few weeks of use, I found the SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit and its related services to be reliable and responsive—much more so than both the Wink hub and its connected devices and the first-generation SmartThings system. With this system, the elapsed time between the motion sensor being triggered and the connected lights coming to life, for example, was consistently brief and it never failed.

While I find the Staples Connect system to be easier to use, and I prefer its emphasis on local control versus relying on the cloud (not to mention its Lutron Caseta wireless lighting support), I think SmartThings delivers the more extensible platform, one that is more likely to enjoy ongoing development. I like what I see and most of the pieces are here, even though I think the app could use some retooling.

Getting started with the SmartThings ecosystem is a relatively affordable proposition, but your investment will quickly escalate as you expand beyond what’s in the starter kit. You can mitigate the impact on your budget with a piecemeal approach—you don’t need to acquire everything at once, unless you want to. But once you get a taste of the connected home, you’ll want to.

 

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