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HolidayBuyer's Guide

The Flic Hub adds more power to the smart button

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Shortcut Labs

The smart button is one of the simplest ways to personalize how you control your home. Essentially, you can connect a simple Bluetooth-enabled button to any gadget around the house. Then whenever you want to turn on the lights, skip to the next song on your sound system, or even send a text message, you can press a button to issue the command.

While that might seem unnecessary, the idea is, for $25 per button, you can streamline common tasks, saving 20 or 30 seconds many times per day. The payoff comes in the long run.

The problem with smart buttons is their Bluetooth connection: they require a nearby phone to bridge the gap between them and the Wi-Fi-connected devices they control. But Shortcut Labs, the developer behind the Flic smart button, which is one of the best Bluetooth buttons on the market, is releasing a smart hub that'll cut out the need for a phone.

The Flic Hub will cost $100 (although Indiegogo will let early crowd-funders preorder it for $50). While it will make Flic buttons better than before, the hub's price tag feels a little high, especially for a product that depends on its identity as an affordable entry point to the connected home.

The Hub isn't the first of its type (see the Logitech Pop button), but it is a helpful supplement to the standalone Bluetooth button. The buttons will retain their IFTTT-compatibility and dozens of integrations, but the hub will also mean your phone won't have to be around to use them -- offering multiple user control. If the hub works well, and users have a number of buttons already, then it might be useful. But if you don't already own multiple Flic buttons, then you probably shouldn't spend $100 on the hub.

Discuss Shortcut Labs Flic Hub

Where to Buy

Shortcut Labs Flic Hub

Part Number: CNETShortcut Labs Flic Hub

MSRP: $99.00

Visit manufacturer site for details.