SwitchBot is an affordable smart home brand that is starting to make a name for itself in the world of IoT home automation. The company’s vision is pretty straightforward: take conventionally “dumb” household items and make them smarter using a SwitchBot product.
Factoring in the budget-friendly nature of SwitchBot’s items should pique your interest. The brand makes clean, minimalist gadgets like smart security cameras and mechanical switches with support for a wide range of smart assistants and ecosystems. SwitchBot devices are compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, Samsung SmartThings, IFTTT and Clova.
The concept of a smart accessory that performs manual functions is intriguing to say the least. I found myself particularly intrigued as many of SwitchBot’s gadgets convert your “dumb” things like curtain rods and physical switches into smart things that you can control with your choice of voice assistant or an app on your phone. You don’t have to throw away or replace furniture around your home, which has long been a dream of mine. Let’s see if SwitchBot helped me realize those dreams with its wide range of cheap smart home products.
Make your home smarter with SwitchBot
SwitchBot sent me a selection of products to create a smart home setup and test it out. While you don’t necessarily need a hub to use everything, some features can’t be unlocked until you get one from the brand. Fortunately, you can choose between the very large variant or the tiny (and unbelievably cheap) SwitchBot Hub Mini.
I received the Hub Mini and it didn’t take away from my home automation experience one bit. Here is the complete list of all the other SwitchBot items that I tested over the course of two months:
- SwitchBot Hub Mini
- SwitchBot Bot
- SwitchBot remote control
- SwitchBot color bulb
- SwitchBot Pan/Tilt Cam
- SwitchBot motion sensor
- SwitchBot contact sensor
- SwitchBot Meter Plus
SwitchBot also offers several products that deserve your attention in addition to those listed above. If I had to name the most interesting products that I didn’t have a chance to try, I’d say the SwitchBot Curtain and SwitchBot Lock are the most valuable of the lot.
The first step in assembling your own smart home is the setup and installation process. With all these things I found it incredibly simple and straightforward to connect everything. SwitchBot includes everything you might need in the box, including cables, 3M adhesives, adapters, screws and plates where needed. At such competitive prices, the inclusion of extras like these make the deal that much sweeter.
Since SwitchBot’s gadgets boast a simple design language and generally compact form factors, you don’t need much space for these accessories, and they blend nicely into the background.
Connecting everything is really quick and seamless with no confusing steps required. After installing the SwitchBot app, simply follow the on-screen instructions to set up your device, or you can follow the included manual. The whole process is extremely user-friendly. For context, I managed to get the SwitchBot Bot up and running in less than five minutes!
The SwitchBots Hub Mini is positively small and extremely light. This wonderful little hub has an IR blaster that helps you add IR-controlled electronics controls to your phone. I had fun with it, mapping the controls of my cheap no-name Chinese TV to my phone and then controlling it with the SwitchBot app instead of the bulky remote. My TV went from dumb to smart in minutes.
The Hub Mini enhances your experience by connecting different SwitchBot smart home tools to each other and helping you create schedules for them. The level of detailed routines and automation that you can create is incredible. You can set a condition for the SwitchBot motion sensor to trigger the color bulb or Pan/Tilt Cam, or configure the meter’s thermometer to press a button using the SwitchBot Bot when it detects a specific temperature.
I connected the Bot to my outdated, non-smart AC’s off switch and connected it to the remote. This allowed me to click the wireless button on the SwithBot Remote from anywhere in the house and turn on the ancient AC that didn’t even come with a remote.
There’s no end to the conditions you can set, and it’s all voice controlled in addition to these smart home perks. Whether you have a Google Nest Mini or an Echo Dot, all you have to do is talk to your smart assistant to control your SwitchBot smart devices.
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SwitchBot makes many smart home gadgets, all of which sit in the mid or lower price segments. Not only is the cost of acquiring these smart home accessories attractive, but they also work really well.
Even in the face of stiff competition, many of SwitchBot’s offerings serve as decent alternatives to the cream of the crop. You can see detailed statistics and logs about your smart home in the companion app, and the Color Bulb even records how much power you’ve used and saved over time. This ingenious smart bulb has adjustable brightness and you can choose shades from a wheel with 16 million colors.
Then there’s the Switchbot Pan/Tilt Cam, which comes in a 1080p model and a 2K variant. So many of its features are found in the best indoor security cameras. It can be mounted on the head, the camera pans and tilts has night vision, gets two-way audio communication and even rotates 360 degrees. The SwitchBot smart security camera offers local storage with an SD card slot, or you can save footage directly to your phone. It even has a private shutter, although that makes it look like a creepy Matryoshka doll with an eyeball for a face.
Caveat about cutting corners
Not all SwitchBot products are perfect. You can of course expect that in budget products. My biggest problem with these gadgets is that they still use Micro-USB. To top it off, the SwitchBot includes a cable and even a wall charger in the box.
However, that just doesn’t make up for the fact that this is a terrible USB standard. The connectors are just awful and the Micro-USB is not reversible which leads to more damage to the legs at a faster rate over time. I’m appalled by Micro-USB and would love it if the world would let it die in peace.
Some of the smart products are not perfect to convert every dumb thing into a smart one. SwitchBot Bot can turn almost all switches on, but it can’t turn most of them off again. You need a very specific type of switch for the Bot to be able to turn it off, which defeats the purpose of having a simple solution like this in the first place. Why replace your conventional switch with a compatible one if you could just get a smart switch from another brand?
SwitchBot’s offer is still compelling
That said, I think SwitchBot’s smart home accessories and add-ons are still worthwhile purchases. Their wide compatibility, low cost and ease of setup are enough to justify the obsolete Micro-USB port. Having the SwitchBot Hub or Hub Mini makes it really easy to create your own routines and schedules, and you can integrate everything with your favorite smart speaker.
SwitchBot is regular with its firmware updates and I also had a positive experience with customer support. All things considered, SwitchBot is a great place to come for your smart home automation needs. You don’t have to break the bank or confuse your senses with complex installation instructions.
Voice controlled contact
Convert any old switch into a smart one with the mechanical SwitchBot Bot. This bot is configured over Wi-Fi and presses buttons for you when ordered via voice control or the app on your phone.
Small but mighty
The SwitchBot Hub Mini has a small footprint, but don’t let that fool you. It can make your old IR-controlled electronics smarter and help you integrate and automate your SwitchBot smart home products.
Let there be light
Smart bulbs are all the rage, and the SwitchBot Color Bulb proves why. Not only is it voice controlled and fully customizable, but it also works with other SwitchBot gadgets and gives you detailed stats about your power usage.
SwitchBot Pan/Tilt Cam 2K
Private and secure
The SwitchBots Pan/Tilt Cam 2K has a built-in privacy shutter and a host of smart features under the hood. With 2K recording, night vision, a microphone, a speaker and various modes, this smart security camera gives you great value for money.