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Smart switches allow you to save money by enabling you to turn your lights or small appliances off when you are not at home or when you are not using them. Ecobee Switch+ is a new smart switch that allows busy, tired, or lazy people to just use Amazon Alexa commands to turn their lights on or off. They do not need to have their smartphone in their hands to do this.
Ecobee Switch+ sells for $99, making it much more expensive than current smart lights. But is it worth it?
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Ecobee Switch+ Design
The Ecobee Switch+ measures 2.9 inches wide and 4.7 inches tall. The switch itself protrudes and occupies much of the decor plate’s surface. The device is rather minimalist, much like traditional smart switches. Ecobee, however, updated its look and included a lightbar at the top of the switch that not only breaks the white on white design but also tells you more about the device’s status. But underneath its simple yet updated façade is the hardware that makes it all work. These are:
- Sensors: Temperature, occupancy, and ambient light
- Built-in Alexa Voice technology
- Far-field recognition
Features of the Ecobee Switch+
The Ecobee Switch+ is not your typical smart switch. As a smart switch, it does make your current non-smart lights, small devices, and bulbs smarter. But unlike an ordinary smart switch, Ecobee takes it further and adds in more features and functionalities to its new device.
These features are:
- Built-in Amazon Alexa. Ecobee Switch+ does not only work with Amazon Alexa, it is an Alexa device itself. This means that even if you do not have an Echo Dot or Tap, you can still use voice commands to operate your devices. Not only that, but imagine arriving home with your hands full and being able to just tell Ecobee Switch+ to turn on the lights, and then turn up the air conditioning, without having to fumble through your bag or pockets for your phone. This also means that you can ask Ecobee Switch+ for information without having to drop everything. Say you were planning to go out and you want to know if you should wear thicker clothes, you can ask Ecobee Switch+ for a temperature forecast. You can also ask for a recipe even while you are busy chopping onions. Or ask Ecobee Switch+ to add items to your grocery list, or to read out the latest news stories.
- Ecobee app. With the Ecobee app, you can control your Switch+ from anywhere in the world. The app is also where you can find the settings for the switch, including volume control.
- Comes with occupancy and temperature sensors. The Ecobee Switch+ can automatically turn on the lights when it detects that somebody is inside the room, and then turns it off when nobody is around. You do not even have to tell it to do so!
- Easy to install. Ecobee promises an easy and fast installation for the Switch+. The company claims that with the help of step-by-step illustrations and installation videos, you could install the light switch yourself in just 45 minutes.
- Keeps the lights off during the day. The Ecobee Switch+ can be set up to make sure that the lights are off when it is daytime.
- Doubles as a nightlight. You can use the Ecobee Switch+ as a nightlight. The soft glow of the Switch+’s nightlight is easy on the eyes, but bright enough for you to see where you are going. This means that you do not have to turn on the lights fully when you need to go to the bathroom or to find your way to the kitchen at night.
- Can turn on your porch lights when the sun sets. Ecobee Switch+ can be configured to turn on the porch lights when the sun sets and then turn it off when the sun rises. This means you no longer have to stand outside your front door while you try to find your keys in the dark.
- Keeps your home safer when you are on vacation. Most burglars usually look for empty homes to get into. Sometimes, they stake the neighborhood out trying to guess which family is on vacation. Nothing announces that fact more than a dark house at night or having the lights on during the day. With Ecobee Switch+, you can set the lights to automatically and randomly turn itself on or off while you are on vacation.
- Works with Ecobee thermostats. Ecobee has a line of thermostats that work with room sensors to make sure that no room in your house is colder or hotter than how you prefer it. The Switch+ can act as a room sensor, so you do not have to buy additional room sensors for your Ecobee4 or Ecobee3 thermostats.
- Works with other devices. The Ecobee Switch+ can integrate with a wide range of products. It works with Apple Homekit, Google Assistant, Samsung SmartThings, and, of course, Amazon Alexa. You can also use IFTTT recipes to have it connect with other devices and services such as e-mail or social media updates.
Ecobee Switch+ Price
The Ecobee Switch+ sells for $99 (Check out the latest price here!). It is definitely more expensive than other smart switches out there. You can buy a Leviton Decora Smart Switch for half that price on Amazon, or even spend a third of that amount on a Philips Hue Dimmer.
But considering that the Switch+ also works as an Amazon Alexa device, that would make the more expensive price tag more palatable. The cheapest Alexa speaker is the Echo Dot, which sells for $50. Add the fact that it can replace the Ecobee room sensor (selling for $79 for a 2-pack) and as a night light, then you could definitely say that the price is a steal.
What you would like about the Ecobee Switch+
The Ecobee Switch+ gives you several ways to turn the lights on or off. You can use the smartphone app, you can issue voice commands, or you can have the occupancy sensors do it automatically for you. And of course, it does have a physical switch so you can go the old-fashioned way: manually pressing the switch. There are other smart switches out there that you can operate via voice control but only the Switch+ also works as a speaker itself.
As a smart switch, the Ecobee Switch+ does a really good job. The mobile app has a very simple interface that is very easy to understand and is intuitive to use. Additionally, the Ecobee Switch+ comes with a one-year warranty.
Lastly, the setup and installation is as easy as Ecobee promises it to be. You would be able to install everything by yourself. Even pairing the device with the companion app is also painless.
What you should know before buying the Ecobee Switch+
The Ecobee Switch+ is still rather new so there are some features that are not yet available, such as the sensor-related features, and the vacation feature that would help make it appear that somebody is home turning the light on or off. The good news is that these features are going to be added with just a firmware over the air update. You do not have to upgrade or re-install anything!
It may work as an Alexa speaker, but it does not really have the sound quality of Echo Dot or other Alexa speakers. Do not get us wrong, the Switch+ can be very loud, but the quality is something you would expect from those cheap Bluetooth speakers. Aside from the sound quality, it also does not allow you to make voice calls and does not have the drop-in feature you find on Alexa speakers.
Ecobee Switch+ is primarily a light switch that you can control with your smartphone. But it does a good job as an Amazon Alexa speaker and room sensor. As a three-in-one device, it is well worth the $99 price tag.
It helps that the Ecobee Switch+ has a lot of features as well. If you have other Ecobee products, then this should be a welcome addition. If you have a smart home with connected devices made by other manufacturers, it is very easy to have the Ecobee Switch+ work with these.
You may not be able to enjoy great sound quality to play back your favorite music, but it is good enough to hear the latest news or have it read something aloud.
What’s apparent is that the Canadian company took what it learned making one of the best thermostats in the market today and used it to create a smart switch that we all would love. If anything, this is about the most unique and the most features packed smart switch you could buy right now. Now if the company could only roll out all of its promised features, then we could definitely say that the Ecobee Switch+ is a solid buy.
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!