CNET First Look
Ecobee's smart switch is a teeny tiny Amazon Echo, tooThe new Ecobee Switch Plus features built-in sensors for motion, temperature and ambient light, and you can even use it to talk to Alexa.
[MUSIC] You're looking at the EcoBee Switch Plus, a new $99 smart switch with Amazon's Alexa built right in. Wire it into your wall and it will smarten up your lights while also serving as a dedicated, always listening Alexa access Its point. And yes, you can mute it. Just like with it's thermostats, compatibility is key for Ecobee Switch. It wants to work with everything and it just about does. In addition to Alexa, the switch supports Apple Home kit, the Google Assistant, Samsung Smart Things and the online automation [UNKNOWN] Still it's Alexa that's front and center and present in the switch itself. You use her just like you would with one of Amazon's Echo speakers, say her name to wake her up then ask her a question or give her a command. The sound quality is honestly much much better than I had expected from a light switch Right about on par with the Echo Dot at least to my ears. To that end the Switch can answer questions, field smart home controls, launch your favorite Alexa skills and yeah even play music. You can't stream from Spotify though at least not yet. And you can't use the switch to call other Alexa users. Beyond voice control the Switch features built in detectors for motion and ambient light. With a few taps on the app, you can program it to turn your lights on at sunset, or turn them off after you text it you've left, both are very nice inclusions. There are three key shortcomings with the switch, though, at least in my opinion. First off, it won't dim the lights, it just turns them on and off. Second, it won't work with three way switch set ups, where you've got the light wired to more than one switch, it has to be a one to one switch set up. Third, it doesn't act as an external temperature [UNKNOWN] for Ecobee thermostats. At least it doesn't yet. Ecobee says that that feature is coming via software update later this summer. Without those features the Ecobee Switch Plus feels like a bit of a splurge, but it's an interesting one at least. If you're looking for a way to add Alexa into a back room and you want to smarten up the lights while you're at it The Ecobee switch can get both jobs done in one fell swoop. I also appreciated that it includes Amazon's ESP feature, which makes it so that only the Echo device closer to you will respond to your command. That said, Ecobee's not the only name releasing an Alexa light switch this year. GE, iDevices and Incipio all have similar products coming too. And I might wait for those before wiring anything into my walls. But if you wanted to in today and you're okay with In the switches limitations I doubt you'll be disappointed. [MUSIC]