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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

SwitchBot Curtain Evaluation: Not Fairly There

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My spouse and youngsters have 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 telephone. 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 fitting 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 a substitute 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’ll need two for many curtains), it makes your drained previous curtains sensible. You possibly can remotely open and shut them out of your telephone utilizing the SwitchBot app, or schedule them to open and shut at set occasions.

However as you may 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 fitting 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. (You may as well 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’d by hand. In addition they have a tendency to depart a spot between the curtains after they shut. And I am unable to think about them faring nicely with heavy curtains after seeing them battle to totally open my small bed room set.

You pair the bots to an app in your telephone 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 begin shifting. It isn’t too lengthy a wait, but it surely’s faster to simply stand up and do it by hand.

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

You should use voice instructions to regulate the curtains with Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri, however it’s important 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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