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Nucleus Smart Intercom Review – Is it a Must Have?

(Last Updated On: May 15, 2017)

The Nucleus Smart Intercom is an intercom from the future. The Smart Intercom has been designed with families in mind, to improve their ability to communicate. No more shouting to your kids in another room. At the press of a button, talk to your family wherever they are, even if they are in another building! That’s right. Nucleus not only makes room-to-room calls, and mobile-to-home calls, but home-to-home calls as well.

Another plus is that Nucleus allows you to give your younger children the ability to have face-to-face conversations with their grandparents without you having to set things up and without having to entrust your pricy cell phone to your adventurous, experimental, and somewhat absentminded five year old.

When I received the Nucleus Smart Intercom to review, one of the things I was interested in was whether I could use it to check in on my mother. She’s in her eighties, still lives on her own, is generally healthy, but lately has become a bit forgetful. Also, she finds it difficult to use her cell phone and sometimes doesn’t pick up when I call. I know she’s likely fine, she hasn’t collapsed, everything’s all right, but my heart still tries to tunnel into my stomach and I end up driving like a maniac across town to check on her. And—thank goodness!—she has always been fine.

But I keep thinking: We live in a technological age, there has to be a better way. I’m hoping Nucleus will be that better way. We’ll see.

Key Features of the Nucleus Smart Intercom

  • Setup Is Easy: Have it setup and running in under five minutes.
  • The Nucleus Is Fast: Calls connect in less than a second. The Nucleus Smart Intercom can launch audio and video calls in under 200 milliseconds.
  • There’s an App: Use the app to check in with home from anywhere.
  • Amazon’s Alexa: Ask Alexa to have Nucleus play the latest news, check the weather, control your smart home or even play your favorite songs.
  • Privacy: If you don’t want anyone peeking inside a particular room just close the camera shuttle.
  • See An Entire Room: The wide-angle HD camera lets you see an entire room at a glance.
  • Constantly Updating: New features are downloaded and added automatically. The software automatically updates, guaranteeing each device is up-to-date.

Pros: What I Like

  • Communicate With Family: As mentioned, one of the things I was interested in was whether I could use the Nucleus Smart Intercom to check in on my mother. I put one of the Nucleus Smart Intercom units in her apartment for a trial run. Now if I call her and she doesn’t pickup, I can use the Nucleus to look into her apartment and see if she needs help or is just ignoring the phone. These days I’m much more relaxed, and so is Mom. It’s great! We both love it. (By the way, this ability to peer into someone else’s home can easily be disabled. My Mother is fully aware that I can peer in on her and also knows how to engage privacy mode.)
  • Mobile-to-home calls: Use the Nucleus’s free app to connect with home, wherever you are. Stay in touch with those closest to you at the press of a button.
  • Setup Was Quick And Painless: Installation took under five minutes. After I got a unit hooked up to my wireless network it downloaded and installed a software update. It requested some information and then, that was it!
  • Alexa Enabled: Ask Alexa to play songs, read out the latest news stories, check whether it’s going to rain and control your smart home. Please note, though, that Alexa must be woken up by tapping the Alexa button on the Nucleus device. Also note that Nucleus does not yet support services such as Spotify, Pandora, Belkin WeMo and Philips Hue. Also note that Alexa is available only in the US.
  • Built-in Privacy: As mentioned, the Nucleus has a convenient do not disturb mode. If you don’t want anyone peeking in on you just close the camera shuttle.
  • Wide-Angle Camera: The wide-angled camera lets you see an entire room at a single glance.

Cons: What I Would Like To See Improved

  • Lighting: Depending on how the room is lit the video can be a little on the dark side.
  • Setup Nitpick: This is minor, but every time I altered a setting, I had to re-enter my password. After the first couple times it became irritating. This is the sort of thing, though, that can often be addressed just by a software update.
  • Alexa Could be Slow: Using the Nucleus Smart Intercom to access Amazon’s Alexa felt a bit slow, and—not all the time, but sometimes—it seemed to freeze up when Alexa played music.
  • Inflexible Camera: I would have been nice to have the ability to tilt the camera on the unit, but the wide-angle lens did a good job of displaying the entire room.

What’s the Difference Between the Nucleus Smart Intercom vs NuBryte Touchpoint vs Piper Classic?

Each of these systems will stream live video. Which one is right for you will depend on your needs and your budget.

Nucleus Smart Intercom

  • Alexa Support: The Nucleus is Alexa-Enabled. Just ask Alexa to listen to songs, the news, see if it’s going to rain, and control your smart devices. I have an Amazon Echo and have found the ability to set multiple timers indispensable. Once I had my hands covered in bread dough and had to set an alarm. Actually having to turn a physical dial or punch in numbers would have been irritating. As it was, I just had to give Alexa a simple voice command. After you’ve used this feature a few times you’ll wonder how you lived without it!
  • Supports Home-to-Home Calls: Connect with your family. Chat, hang-out, share your life with those closest to you regardless of whether they live down the road or halfway around the world.
  • Supports Room-to-Room Calls: No more yelling. Talk to your kids when they’re in their rooms or curled up in the family room watching TV—even if the family room is in your basement.
  • HD Video: Stream video live in HD with a 180-degree field of view.

NuBryte Touchpoint

  • Supports Room to Room Calls: Combine two or more NuBryte Touchpoint consoles to construct a home intercom system that provides easy communication from room to room.
  • Support For Lighting Modes: The NuBryte has 5 Smart Lighting modes that allow you to control and automate your home.
  • HD Video: Stream video live in HD with a 180-degree field of view.
  • FULL REVIEW: Read my full take here.

Piper Classic

  • Price: At about $149 as of this writing (check here for latest), the Piper Classic is significantly less than the Nucleus and NuBryte but has nice features, such as free cloud storage, missing from its competitors.
  • Support for Lighting Modes: Although there are no built in lighting modes, the Piper’s built-in Z-Wave controller lets you control and automate lights as well as appliances.
  • HD Video: Stream video live or watch recorded video in HD with a 180-degree field of view.
  • Cloud Storage: Store up to 100 videos, free of charge.

 

Nucleus Smart Intercom (2-pack) NuBryte Touchpoint All-in-One Smart Home Console Piper Classic
Price Check here for latest Check here for latest Check here for latest
Alexa Support Yes No No
Supports Home to Home Calls Yes No No
Supports Room to Room Calls Yes Yes No
Support For Lighting Modes No Yes No
HD Video Yes Yes Yes

 

Final Take – Is the Nucleus Smart Intercom a Good Value?

The Nucleus is unique. It has been designed from the ground up with the intention of making the lives of families easier by allowing them to communicate with each other regardless of whether they’re in the next room or halfway around the world.

I thought a nice touch was that even young children have the ability to communicate with their grandparents (or their nieces and nephews) using Nucleus’s voice recognition capabilities, or by just touching a button on the app. No more worries about your expensive smart phone being dropped into the fish tank and becoming a pricey paperweight. (Yes, this happened to me!)

On the other hand, there is no denying that the Nucleus doesn’t come cheap. If you wanted to have a device installed in the kitchen, the family room and (assuming you have two kids) in each of your children’s bedrooms, that would mean spending about $600.

Update: Amazon announced an upcoming release of their Echo Look device. In many ways it takes many features from Nucleus, however it’s still not as fully featured as a smart intercom (in my opinion). I’ll be following up with some direct comparisons soon. As of now, Nucleus is still the best in class option I’ve seen.

Bottom line: We live in a connected world. The Nucleus brings that world into your home. It is an elegant tablet-sized device you can plug anywhere in your home. What Nucleus says is true: It enables you to spend quality time with those you love—wherever they are. Be sure to check this listing for the latest prices and deals.

About the author

Patrick Sinclair

Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn't have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!

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