Smart home company Eve began rolling out a firmware update in December that adds Matter support to Eve Energy, Eve Motion, and Eve Door and Window. I’ve been testing the new Matter integration to see how the devices work with a standard HomeKit setup.
I have the Eve Energy, Eve Motion and Eve Door and Window accessories, all of which have been out for some time but have been updated to work with Matter. If you are not familiar with Matter, it is a recently released smart home standard that has been adopted by Apple, Samsung, Google, Amazon and other smart home manufacturers. Matter is designed to enable smart home accessories to be added to any smart home platform that supports the Matter standard.
So Matter-enabled devices from Eve can be added to HomeKit or can be used with Google and Amazon’s smart home platforms, and iPhone and Android smartphone users in the same household can control the accessories with their respective devices. HomeKit, meanwhile, is Apple-only and must be accessed from an Apple device.
I don’t want to go into too much detail about the specifics of the Eve accessories since this review is mostly for the Matter experience, but I will give a quick rundown. Eve Motion is a motion detector designed to allow you to activate lights and other devices when motion is detected. Eve Door and Window attaches to a door and can notify you when the door is opened, both for alarm purposes and to activate other accessories automatically. Eve Energy is a smart plug so you can plug in anything and then control it with your Apple devices and Siri commands.
All three of these have Matter support, but right now Matter needs to be added through a firmware update. So if you already own these devices or buy them with the intention of using them with Matter, be prepared to add new software. Assuming there are new devices in the box, the first step is to add them to HomeKit.
Adding them to HomeKit requires opening the Home app and scanning the QR code, the same as it is for any HomeKit product. Once that’s done, the Eve app is required and you’ll need to give it access to your Home setup. Matter support isn’t officially available yet, but Eve has a TestFlight version of the app that users can sign up to test Matter through the Early Access program.
In addition to one of Eve’s supported devices and access to the Eve TestFlight app, a device running iOS 16.2 is required, as is a Home Hub, which includes HomePod mini or Apple TV 4K.
With the TestFlight version of the Eve app and an Eve Door and Window, Eve Energy or Eve Motion device added to HomeKit, the Eve app can download a firmware update to install Matter. Upgrading to Matter is a one-time, irreversible exchange, so once you’ve upgraded your Eve device to Matter, there’s no going back.
The upgrade process isn’t difficult, but it’s not super simple either. The Eve app walks you through the steps, starting with generating a new Matter QR code. The Matter QR code is similar to the HomeKit QR code used to set up a HomeKit device, but it is Matter and not HomeKit. This code completely replaces a HomeKit code, so be sure to save a copy of it as the Eve app will remind you several times.
In fact, you can’t go through the setup process without printing or saving a copy of the new Matter code, and you’ll want to stick with the equivalent of HomeKit codes. Since the Matter code replaces the HomeKit code, your existing HomeKit code is no good. In the future, Matter codes will be printed on devices like the HomeKit codes, but right now for firmware updates it’s important to keep the Matter codes extra secure.
Setup requires a printout of the Matter QR code or a secondary device, because after getting the new code, you need to scan it with your primary device to connect the Eve product to the Matter. Then there’s a HomeKit to Matter migration process, which took about 10 minutes in my testing.
Once Matter-compatible devices are on store shelves and no longer require firmware updates, setting up devices will be much easier. In fact, it will basically be the same as setting up a HomeKit device right now, so it should be pretty painless if you’re already familiar with HomeKit setup.
In the Home app, Matter devices work just like HomeKit devices, and I can’t see any difference in functionality. In the Eve app I can see that a device is “Matter” and not “HomeKit”, but the Home app gives me no particular indication.
Controlling a Matter device is indistinguishable from controlling a standard HomeKit device, which is how it’s supposed to work. Automations, scenes, and schedules continue to work as expected, both in the Home app and through the Eve app. I would like to point out that Eve devices are Thread enabled and are intended to offer better integration with Thread devices than standard Bluetooth.
I’ve been using the Eve devices with Matter for over a week and the performance is about the same as I get with HomeKit, but I have an ongoing problem with Eve Energy. It disconnects every day or every other day and stops communicating with my home setup and becomes unavailable in the Home app. I also have this problem with HomeKit-enabled smart plugs, but usually not with this frequency. I asked Eve about the issue and was told that it is a known issue that will be fixed with future updates.
This is actually a known issue with the current combination of home hub software versions and our accessories. In most cases, the accessory can still be accessed for custom functionality, such as ID functionality in the Eve app. We’re working closely with Apple to identify what’s wrong, but in the meantime, restarting home hubs will usually help for a while. Removing the accessories from home and adding them back in may help in the short term, but they will likely fall off again after a while. Overall, future updates to iOS and the Eve app with the firmware should fix the issue over time.
I’m an Apple user with a HomeKit setup, so I don’t have insight into how Eve’s Matter devices work with other platforms like Google Home and Samsung SmartThings, but for HomeKit users, I can confirm that Matter is pretty much the same experience as HomeKit , without major changes to expect from Matter devices across platforms.
However, there is one exception. You can use HomeKit products without a Home Hub (HomePod mini or Apple TV), but these are required for Matter because Matter devices need a Matter controller. So you shouldn’t pick up Matter accessories or upgrade your HomeKit devices to Matter without one.
If you have someone in your home who uses an Android smartphone and hasn’t been able to access smart home products, Matter will make a big difference. Likewise, Android users who have wanted access to products like Eve Energy and Eve Motion will now be able to use these devices that were once exclusive to Apple Home.
From HomeKit, you can add another platform like Google Home to your home setup so that your devices can be controlled via Google hubs or Android smartphones. Just open the Apple Home app, long press the tile for the Eve product, select the settings, then tap “Turn on pairing mode.” You will need a Matter controller from Other things smart home platform, so for example if you want to use your Matter devices with HomeKit and Google Home, you need a HomePod mini/Apple TV and something like a Nest Mini or Hub Max.
Amazon has not yet implemented full Matter support (the setup works on Android smartphones), but many Echo devices will work with Matter, so in the future you will be able to control smart home products with your iPhone and your Amazon Echo/Nest Hub. The matter will be most beneficial to those using two smart home platforms, but it will expand the number of smart home products available to HomeKit users, and so far it doesn’t look like there will be any major Difficulty handling the transition.
Starting at the end of March, Eve will sell Matter-enabled devices that work right out of the box and won’t need to have their firmware updated for the Matter integration to work, which will be more convenient. Later this year, Eve also plans to update other Thread products with Matter support. Eve’s Matter compatible devices can be purchased from the Eve website or from Amazon.