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Every so often, MacRumors videographer Dan rounds up some of his favorite home products that he's been using. We have another installment of our HomeKit series, this time featuring devices from Lutron, Belkin, Sonos, and more.


You can see everything in action in the video, and we have links and a short description for the HomeKit products below.
  • Lutron Caseta Light Switches ($195 for a set) - It can be expensive to swap out bulbs for all of the lighting in your home, but with Lutron's Caseta Smart Lighting Switch and Dimmer Switch, you can wire up your house for HomeKit with minimal effort. You need a bridge for the Caseta devices, so it's best to buy them in a kit if you're replacing more than one light switch.
  • Lutron Serena Smart Shades ($600) - Though not inexpensive, if you want a HomeKit house, Lutron makes a series of Serena Smart Shades that can be controlled using HomeKit. You'll need to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $600 per window, so this is pricey home improvement.
  • Wemo Stage Scene Controller ($50) - The multi-button Wemo Stage Scene Controller can be used to control any HomeKit accessory with its assignable buttons.
  • Hunter Ceiling Fan ($180) - Hunter's HomeKit-enabled ceiling fans are surprisingly affordable and can be controlled with Siri, making this a useful smart home addition. Pricing starts at $180 for the Aerodyne, but there are also higher-end models available.
  • Sonos Beam Sound Bar - ($449) Sonos recently released its second-generation Beam, which is designed to work with a TV. It's AirPlay 2-enabled, so it shows up in the Home app and can be used with other AirPlay 2 speakers like the HomePod.
  • HomePod mini ($99) - A HomePod mini is an essential component for a HomeKit setup as it can serve as a Home Hub, it works with Thread devices, and it supports Siri commands. Apple just released the HomePod mini in a selection of new colors, so it's a good time to buy.
Have a favorite ‌HomeKit‌ device that we left out? Let us know in the comments and we may highlight it in a future ‌HomeKit‌ video.

Article Link: HomeKit Accessories Worth Checking Out
 

gsmornot

macrumors 68040
Sep 29, 2014
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$600 per window is pricy. I cant wait for the price to come down or another option to become available. I like the concept and use Lutron around the house just cant commit at this time to shades that cost this much. Those that can, I think you will enjoy the automation you can add with instillation.
 

AngerDanger

macrumors 603
Dec 9, 2008
5,371
28,128
$600 per window is pricy. I cant wait for the price to come down or another option to become available. I like the concept and use Lutron around the house just cant commit at this time to shades that cost this much. Those that can, I think you will enjoy the automation you can add with instillation.
The worst part is that each time you make any selection while customizing the shades, it increases the overall price without explanation.

Like, Apple automatically selects all the cheapest options by default, so you have an idea of a minimum price. Then you can choose additional options based on price.

The way it is, simply choosing the color of the shades bumps up the price no matter which you chose.
EDIT: Not true
 
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PinkyMacGodess

Suspended
Mar 7, 2007
7,932
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Midwest America.
I keep wondering where the dimming glass windows are. Are they that expensive, that hard to manufacture, that hard to find, that unreliable?

I remember watching someone pushing a remote control button, and the glass went opaque. Loved it... Is that technology out there somewhere? It wouldn't be 'darkout' type shading, but is a start...
 

brucewayne

macrumors 6502
Nov 8, 2005
261
413
I keep wondering where the dimming glass windows are. Are they that expensive, that hard to manufacture, that hard to find, that unreliable?

I remember watching someone pushing a remote control button, and the glass went opaque. Loved it... Is that technology out there somewhere? It wouldn't be 'darkout' type shading, but is a start...
It is out there but expensive. Search for Smart or electrochromic glass.
 

brucewayne

macrumors 6502
Nov 8, 2005
261
413
Just an FYI on the Caseta gear - if you are sensitive to ringing/buzzing light bulbs their dimmers may not be your best bet. They have a list of 'approved' LED bulbs but I have never found one to be 100% quiet when dimmed, especially when there isn't much of a load on them. Incandescent bulbs or putting the on wall switch into on/off mode are not affected.

I love it as a concept because their Pico controls fit perfectly in a standard decora-style wall plate, but I've resorted to using hubitat to use the picos to control philips hue bulbs and plugs.
 

belictony

macrumors newbie
May 28, 2021
6
0
nothing available in India. have to import from US for hefty prices with taxes and customs duty.
 

TTTedP

macrumors regular
Nov 27, 2017
247
239
As a homekit noob - I wasn't aware of the nuance between wifi and bluetooth only smart plugs. The bluetooth ones always seem to be out of synch and good wifi (software-wise) ones seem hard to find.
 

Paul_a

macrumors newbie
Sep 1, 2020
28
194
For what it's worth - I tried setting up lights with Alexa and Google and had issues (connections dropped, Alexa frequently didn't understand me). I know people don't like Siri, but Siri understands me perfectly every time. I bought four homepod minis for the house and have a number of lights and smart plugs and locks connected and everything works perfectly. A homekit fan now.
 

pubb

macrumors regular
Mar 13, 2007
138
141
I keep wondering where the dimming glass windows are. Are they that expensive, that hard to manufacture, that hard to find, that unreliable?

I remember watching someone pushing a remote control button, and the glass went opaque. Loved it... Is that technology out there somewhere? It wouldn't be 'darkout' type shading, but is a start...
Incredibly expensive. You'd need special windows and wiring to power them. Even retrofitting your existing windows would be pricy - they make films that go over your existing glass. $200 for a 3' square sheet. And you still need a power source
 

CarlJ

Contributor
Feb 23, 2004
5,775
10,042
San Diego, CA, USA
It is out there but expensive. Search for Smart or electrochromic glass.
Interesting, I wouldn’t have guessed this stuff was commercially available. I also expected it might have a problem with power consumption, but I found this:

 

CarlJ

Contributor
Feb 23, 2004
5,775
10,042
San Diego, CA, USA
The way it is, simply choosing the color of the shades bumps up the price no matter which you chose.
Prices going up inexplicably, and companies steering you towards the more expensive options, are annoying, but I would expect anything other than the default color would cost more, because they likely make fewer of all the other colors and this charge a premium.

Now, if they still stick with the higher price when you switch back to the default color, that’s either a slightly evil company or badly written software (eh, my money’s on the latter).

Though I suppose there’s a chance that what they’re showing initially is effectively a partial price, which gets modified when you make (required) choices. If that’s the case, that’s poor reasoning (or slightly evil) on their part, like if a car company advertised a base price for a car without wheels, and then added to the price when you picked any wheels. Apple, at least, advertises with some RAM / SSD / CPU included, and then adjusts the price as you increase or decrease the changeable specs.
 
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AngerDanger

macrumors 603
Dec 9, 2008
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Prices going up inexplicably, and companies steering you towards the more expensive options, are annoying, but I would expect anything other than the default color would cost more, because they likely make fewer of all the other colors and this charge a premium.

Now, if they still stick with the higher price when you switch back to the default color, that’s either a slightly evil company or badly written software (eh, my money’s on the latter).

Though I suppose there’s a chance that what they’re showing initially is effectively a partial price, which gets modified when you make (required) choices. If that’s the case, that’s poor reasoning (or slightly evil) on their part, like if a car company advertised a base price for a car without wheels, and then added to the price when you picked any wheels. Apple, at least, advertises with some RAM / SSD / CPU included, and then adjusts the price as you increase or decrease the changeable specs.
I was under the impression that there was no default color, and you couldn't proceed without selecting one.

I've since looked at it again, and there are a few that don't bump up the price.

They still don't tell you the prices of each choice, though. The bolded part of your comment is exactly what they do when they could just select the cheapest options by default so as you advanced though the choices (all on different pages), the price wouldn't climb by the hundreds without you doing anything substantial.
 
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TheSuperE

macrumors regular
Sep 11, 2014
127
153
Portland, OR
$600 per window is pricy. I cant wait for the price to come down or another option to become available. I like the concept and use Lutron around the house just cant commit at this time to shades that cost this much. Those that can, I think you will enjoy the automation you can add with instillation.
I like these as a skylight option in my ceilings, for $600 it seems like it will fix one of my biggest energy concerns in my home- which is controlling 30ft high ceilings that were built long before our current climate ‘stuff’ so keeping a home regulated comfortably has been a huge Bain of my existence since I bought my home 5 years ago, if these can be tilted at a ceiling angle with guide wires then for me this could be an option… and yes I’d easily pay $350 each but $600 per window is steep, for now.
 

mrothroc

macrumors member
Jan 3, 2012
71
55
San Francisco, CA, USA
Just an FYI on the Caseta gear - if you are sensitive to ringing/buzzing light bulbs their dimmers may not be your best bet.
I use the RadioRA+ version of the dimmers, which I expect are the same. I don't have this issue, but I did have to choose carefully. The bulbs that work are expensive, and they still don't have the low end that you get with halogen.

LED strips paired with a driver are fantastic, though. It's not always an option on retrofit, but I would recommend this route if at all possible.
 

ChromeAce

macrumors demi-god
Jun 11, 2009
344
465
The Hunter Ceiling Fan you recommend is completely unnecessary, as you can use a Lutron Caseta wall switch with any fan on the market.
 

ChromeAce

macrumors demi-god
Jun 11, 2009
344
465
I wired my entire house with fiber and CAT7 only to discover that all home automation products are wireless and therefore much less reliable on the network. And God forbid if I ever need to change my WiFi SSID.
 

applefanboysince93

macrumors member
Sep 19, 2018
47
75
I bought a couple Wemo light switches for $15ea at Costco, they even came with mini smart plugs, and they can be used in HomeKit too to control any accessories. No hub required! Why pay Lurton $195?
 
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Pimmp

macrumors member
May 13, 2018
95
70
Ikea shades and Philips hue are my friends. Still waiting for EU push dimmers then I´m happy
 
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