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Hot on the heels of the Foobot review comes another air quality sensor to measure just how good or bad the air quality is in your home. Elgato’s EveRoom device comes equipped with an array of sensors to test the indoor air quality, temperature, and humidity.
With many people increasingly concerned about water, air and other environmental readings, the Elgato Eve Room could find itself as a key part of your home.
Or, this could be a part of a ploy by smart home companies running out of ideas and trying to put new gadgets in your home that do not appreciably improve your life.
Assuming a more positive purpose, the Eve Room can help check the readings in your main rooms or more sensitive places like a baby’s room, an attic
Constant temperatures and low humidity are key for wine cellars and the like, and this makes a more than adequate device to monitor those situations.
The compact white box that houses the $79.99 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) Elgato Eve can be placed anywhere in the home, but ideally should go where you spend most of your time.
Battery powered by three AA cells, you can locate it wherever you need, and the little white box is pretty inoffensive looking. It should look okay on any shelf, but for best use it needs to be somewhere with decent airflow, so don’t cram it in a dusty corner.
The Elgato Eve box contains a metal oxide semiconductor-based gas sensor that can measure carbon dioxide (CO2) and volatile organic compounds.
Contaminants it can detect include alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, organic acids, amines, plus aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons. All of these are bad for you over extended periods.
The Eve Room can log data during the day and then pass information to your iPhone via Bluetooth 4.0 Smart as you pass by. It is a HomeKit only product, so needs an iOS device to read data, and an Apple TV if you want to access information from remote locations.
If you’re building out a smart home sensor suite then it can go with the Eve Weather and Eve Energy sensors to monitor even more information in and around the home, all from the same app.
Pros of the Elgato Eve Room
The Elgato Eve Room is about as unobtrusive a home sensor as we’ve seen with no messy wires or flashy lights to divert from its purpose. Setup is all done through the app, and assuming you get a stable Bluetooth, connection is fast and painless.
It does a great job as a temperature and humidity sensor with accurate readings and reasonable logging software. Lots of owners use it in environmentally sensitive locations such as orangeries, wine cellars, curing rooms and so on where the conditions are vital to a good product.
The Eve Room can work up between ranges of 32°F and 130°F and 5% to 95% humidity, which is fine for most home applications.
Using the power of Apple’s Siri, you can ask, and it can tell you what the temperature is. You you can also see clear environmental trends on the attractive app, which is regularly updated with new features.
With trend monitoring, you can see how situations change over time and manually change your HVAC or other settings for them to be more efficient.
Cons of the Elgato Eve Room
The poor Bluetooth range of the Eve Room is an obvious flaw, likely due to the battery only power. That leaves users having to make a trip to grab the latest data if the box is an any remote part of the home. Elgato promise support for Bluetooth extenders, but it really should be doing better out of the box.
Also, the Apple-only requirement instantly make it useless to the huge Android owning population, and anyone with a BlackBerry or Windows Mobile device. It also doesn’t yet tie in with other smart home products, so if you the room gets too hot, you can’t kick in a smart fan or air conditioner.
Note, this is sold in Apple Stores, so perhaps that’s all part of the deal.
The sensor is good at picking up those volatile organic compounds. However, since these can come from many sources, it isn’t overly helpful in tracking down the origin, which could be from common cleaning products, paint, candles or other sources.
Knowing if the air quality is good or bad doesn’t really help either, if it is from an external source, opening a window won’t help, which is most people’s
Finally, the device just doesn’t do enough, yet, to really appeal as a smart device. If it could alert you to incoming smog, kick in a heater or fan to adjust the temperature, then that would be a really neat trick and something we hope Elgato will work on with the software.
Also, depending on where you put it the battery life can range from appalling to short, so stock up on those AAs!
The combination of a first-generation product, powered by a new generation of specialist sensors designed for the consumer market in a smart product sounds like a lot to pull off. Elgato has got the basics right, but just barely.
There should be a lot more that Eve Room can do that we hope revisions or updates will help it achieve.
In the meantime if you really need to know the temperature or humidity of a room over a week, month or year, the Elgato is the device for you, but how tough is it to drop in a stylish barometer and thermometer set, and take some notes? The savings in batteries alone would be substantial.
If you are still keen and ready to order and Elgato Eve Room, then ensure yours is an all Apple home, that you don’t mind wandering past the Eve box on a regular basis, and you have plenty of batteries near by. It provides a valuable source of information, but could do so much more with all that data.
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!