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Saturday, April 17, 2021

SwitchBot Curtain Assessment: Not Fairly There

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My spouse and youngsters had been perplexed by my pleasure as I gathered them by the window to unveil a mysterious new gadget. With all eyes on the curtains, I tapped a command on my cellphone. The room was heavy with anticipation. After an agonizing 10-second delay, the left curtain jerked open in spurts. Just a few seconds later, the precise curtain tried to hitch in however moved lower than an inch and made a really disagreeable, high-pitched whine that lasted about 30 seconds.

Everybody burst out laughing. 

Why would you want a robotic that robotically opens your curtains anyway, they requested. “Want” is a bit robust, however the temptation of the SwitchBot is automation. Wouldn’t it’s good to get up with daylight touching your face as an alternative of an alarm (or, in our home, a cat crying for breakfast)? 

That is the premise of this charming little gadget. It may be simply fitted to most curtain sorts in minutes. Costing $99, or $189 for 2 (and you will have two for many curtains), it makes your drained outdated curtains good. You possibly can remotely open and shut them out of your cellphone utilizing the SwitchBot app, or schedule them to open and shut at set instances.

However as you would possibly surmise from my first try, the SwitchBot has fairly a number of flaws that may make you need to rip your curtains out utterly.

Finicky {Hardware}

{Photograph}: Switchbot

After the pathetic first try at opening my curtains, I attempted refitting the SwitchBot. I positioned one on the precise curtain and one on the left. There is a type of ratcheting arm that goes over the curtain rod, with little wheels on the within, and also you clamp it on the rod between the primary and second curtain rings. (It’s also possible to get SwitchBots that work with U Rail and I Rail curtains.)

I’ve light-weight ring-top curtains with a uniform rod, so there’s no cause the SwitchBot ought to have bother. Alas, after a lot fiddling round, I nonetheless had no luck. I contacted the corporate and obtained new fashions to check, and I am happy to say they work significantly better. 

Nonetheless, even the brand new batch is much from excellent. For instance, SwitchBots don’t all the time open the curtains as extensive as I might by hand. In addition they have a tendency to go away a niche between the curtains once they shut. And I am unable to think about them faring effectively with heavy curtains after seeing them battle to completely open my small bed room set.

You pair the bots to an app in your cellphone by way of Bluetooth and calibrate the open and closed positions. It’s a fast and simple course of. Then you may faucet a button on the app to open or shut the curtains, although the app takes a number of seconds to load after which one other few seconds for the SwitchBot to start out shifting. It isn’t too lengthy a wait, however it’s faster to only rise up and do it by hand.

The higher methodology is to only robotically schedule your curtains to open and shut at most well-liked instances. There’s additionally a light-detection mode to set off automated opening when it identifies a sure stage of illumination, however this function continues to be in beta and didn’t work effectively for me.

You need to use voice instructions to manage the curtains with Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri, however you need to purchase and arrange a SwitchBot Hub Mini ($39). I examined it with Alexa and Google Assistant, and the Hub did the job, however needed to ask it to open or shut every curtain individually.

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