The smart home devices space is getting crowded. And, if taken individually, these smart home devices would certainly be very difficult to manage. For one, you would need different apps to control different devices.
On family movie night, for instance, you would need to open the app that controls your smart TV, open another app to turn off your smart lights, and yet another app to turn on your air conditioning.
It is pretty inconvenient having to turn on and set up everything separately. This is where the smart hub comes in and would prove invaluable.
And right now, there are two hubs that deserve your attention: the Samsung SmartThings Hub and the Logitech Harmony Hub.
What makes the two different?
Bottom Line Up Front: Here are my high level advantages of both..
|SmartThings Hub Advantages||Harmony Hub Advantages|
|Betting for “linking” the smart home together||Better for “controlling” the smart home|
|Better for home security and monitoring||Best for entertainment devices and smart lighting|
|Zigbee protocol compatible||Universal remote (replaces old remotes)|
|Z-wave protocol compatible||Better app interface and usability|
Contents (Jump to)
- 1 Samsung SmartThings Hub
- 2 What you would love about the Samsung SmartThings Hub
- 3 Final recommendations regarding the Samsung SmartThings Hub
- 4 The Logitech Harmony Hub
- 5 The Final Say on the Logitech Harmony Hub
- 6 Comparing Samsung SmartThings Hub and the Logitech Harmony Hub
- 7 Side-by-side comparison of Samsung SmartThings and Logitech Harmony Hub
Samsung SmartThings Hub
The Samsung SmartThings Hub lets you connect a wide array of smart devices, such as smart locks, outlets, and thermostats, and make these devices work together. It also allows you to get important alerts and control everything using only one mobile app.
You can download the mobile app on any iOS, Windows Phone or Android device. The Samsung SmartThings Hub has a minimalist design.
All of its smarts and its technology are housed inside a white plastic box. It measures 4.9 inches wide, 1.3 inches high, and 4.2 inches thick, and it weighs 227 grams.
The Samsung SmartThings Hub can easily connect to any compatible Z-wave, Wi-Fi connected, or Zigbee device. It has technology partnerships with various brands and works well with smart devices manufactured by Samsung itself, as well as ready integrations with other brands such as Honeywell, Yale, Schlage, D-Link, First Alert, OSRAM LIGHTIFY, Leviton, Cree, and Bose.
For those devices that still do not have SmartThings integration, you can rely on IFTTT recipes or look for workarounds offered by Samsung’s developer community.
What you would love about the Samsung SmartThings Hub
The Samsung SmartThings Hub gets its power while plugged into a wall socket, but it has backup batteries to ensure that things would work even when electric power goes out. You can get two hours of backup power with the four AA batteries you have on board.
The hub also has local storage, allowing you to keep some home automation local. This way, even if your Wi-Fi or power goes out, these important automations still work.
The best thing about Samsung SmartThings is that it works really well. You can easily get an overview of the sensors and devices that you have set up with SmartThings and the alerts are very prompt.
When it comes to your security, SmartThings makes it easy for you, too. This means that if something trips your motion detector, you will instantly be notified on your smartphone.
You can arm your smart home monitor and even customize the armed state so that you would not, for example, trigger the motion sensors in the living room while you are at home, but still be protected when motion sensors outside your house are tripped.
What’s more, the SmartThings app can handle the features of each device pretty well. For instance, if you have a smart HD camera, you could view the live stream on the SmartThings app instead of switching to your camera’s own mobile app.
Compared to Wink or Staples Connect Hub, the SmartThings Hub suffers from fewer glitches and can easily handle the features offered by third-party devices. Compared to the Lowe Iris Hub, which charges $10 per month, Samsung SmartThings delivers the same features and services for free.
What could be better
Samsung SmartThings’ biggest flaw does not lie with the device itself but with the mobile app. The layout and interface of the mobile app can be very confusing. This is too bad because the hub was made to simplify things.
Setting up your SmartThings can also be a bit of a pain. The mobile app is not intuitive to use and adding or configuring devices can be more difficult than it should be.
Another weakness is that the hub is pretty boring to look at. White plastic hubs are a dime a dozen, and even other brands use white plastic for their hubs. While this might be a conscious design decision on the part of Samsung, some people are wishing for a more modern look, if not an eye-catching one.
What’s in the box
Every Samsung SmartThings Hub package includes everything you need to get started:
- Samsung SmartThings Hub
- 4 AA batteries
- In-wall AC adapter
- 3-feet Ethernet cable
Final recommendations regarding the Samsung SmartThings Hub
Samsung SmartThings Hub is a capable hub that packs a lot of technologies inside one plastic box. It works really well, but it is bogged down by a mobile app that still needs a lot of work to be more intuitive and user-friendly.
However, at $99 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here), you can get the widest range of compatible devices, whether it is officially supported or through workarounds offered by IFTTT recipes or by users like you.
The Logitech Harmony Hub
Logitech’s Harmony remote has been helping people do away with a number of remotes for a decade now. The Harmony Hub is a natural extension of that, and it can help you control not only home entertainment devices but also other smart devices, such as smart lights.
It helps you control all of these smart devices using your smartphone.
The Logitech Harmony Hub is made of black shiny plastic and looks more modern than the chunky box that is SmartThings Hub. The Harmony Hub has a puck shape with flattened outsides, and it measures 4.16 inches high, 4.88 inches wide, and 1.0 inches thick. It weighs 110.56 grams.
The Logitech Harmony Hub is compatible with a lot of devices. Logitech is currently compatible with more than 270,000 devices coming from at least 6,000 manufacturers and brands.
On top of these home entertainment devices, you can also control smart home devices from Ecobee, LIFX, Nest, SmartThings, and Philips Hue. You can use IFTTT recipes as well.
The Logitech Harmony Hub automatically recognizes compatible devices once you connect it to the Wi-Fi network. And if there are devices that it does not recognize, you can easily add these manually just by inputting the brand and the model number of the device.
The mobile app allows you to control all connected devices and even program an “activity” involving a variety of devices. For example, you can set up a “Watch TV” activity and choosing this will turn on the TV and your cable box, while also turning off the lights and other devices such as the radio.
You can also control sets of lights together, helping you do more with just one press of a button. You can also create a “Wake Up” activity, which would open the blinds, turn off all the lights in the house, and start the coffeemaker brewing.
Plus, with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility, you don’t even have to press any buttons.
You can just use voice commands for a real hands-free experience.
What’s in the box?
- Harmony Hub
- IR mini-blaster
- USB cable
- AC adapter
- User documentation
The Final Say on the Logitech Harmony Hub
The Harmony Hub turns your smartphone into a universal remote. But unlike earlier Harmony remotes, the Harmony Hub can also control other smart devices. It works with IR, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi connected devices, but not with Z-Wave or Zigbee.
Comparing Samsung SmartThings Hub and the Logitech Harmony Hub
Both the Samsung SmartThings Hub and the Logitech Harmony Hub allow you to easily manage your smart home devices using just one app. One neck to choke, so to speak. Each one has its own set of strengths.
For one, the Harmony Hub is best for your home entertainment devices and can handle IR, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connected devices. But it is not compatible with Zigbee or Z-wave devices. Meanwhile, SmartThings operates on both radio frequencies and can control Zigbee and Z-wave compatible devices.
When it comes to automation, the Logitech Harmony Hub makes it easier for you to operate a group of devices together using only one key press or voice command. As such, it is easy to set up scenes using the Activity feature.
Logitech Harmony Hub is perfect for your home entertainment devices as you can mimic a movie theater when you watch a DVD or even create the right mood for a romantic dinner (smart lights set to mimic candlelights, jazz music playing on the radio and the room set at the right temperature) with just one tap on your smartphone.
What’s more, it can help you get rid of up to eight remote controls.
Meanwhile, SmartThings allows you to make different devices work together, but because of its clunky and awkward app, it is not as easy to do.
The SmartThings Hub’s forte is with your home security. The SmartThings app has a dedicated section for home monitoring.
Along with a wide range of sensors, the hub also has a backup battery and local storage to ensure that certain security-related automations would still work when the Wi-Fi or the power goes out.
Side-by-side comparison of Samsung SmartThings and Logitech Harmony Hub
|Price||$99.99 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here)||$99.99 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here)|
|Works with Amazon Alexa||Yes||Yes|
|Works with Google Assistant||Yes||Yes|
|Works with IFTTT recipes||Yes||Yes|
|Mobile app||iOS and Android||iOS and Android|