Two years ago, early HomeKit partner Elgato released the Eve Room ($100 at Amazon), a sensor that tracked temperature, humidity and air quality. CNET gave the device a middling score -- although it worked reliably, its spare features just weren't worth the $80 price tag. Now Elgato is releasing the Eve Degree, an indoor and outdoor upgrade to the Eve Room, and it's much improved. But the standards for a quality smart home gadget have risen in the past two years.
The Elgato Eve Degree tracks temperature, humidity and barometric air pressure -- but it doesn't do anything. HomeKit is a stronger platform, though, so the device benefits from being able to trigger other gadgets. But the fact remains: a $70 (£60 or AU$130) gadget that only tracks data had better be blindingly polished. The problem is, the Eve Degree isn't polished enough.
While Elgato's newest gizmo performs some functions admirably, that simply won't be enough to win over consumers in 2017.
Eighty bucks for… a sensor?
The first problem with the Elgato Eve Degree is just the basic concept: most people don't want to dish out $70 for a sensor. To be fair, the Eve Degree does fit an impressive number of metrics into its data gathering, including temperature, humidity and barometric pressure. And unlike Elgato's earlier indoor sensor, the Eve Degree will work outside (it's water-resistant), and it tracks changes in those variables with impressive agility.
I tested the Eve Degree in a climate-controlled room, where I adjusted the temperature and humidity at various times and tracked the rate of change on our own sensors versus the Eve Degree. Elgato's gadget tracked temperature quickly and accurately, staying within a degree of the room's actual temperature the whole time. The Degree tracks humidity accurately, but with a little more latency. It took between 10 and 20 minutes for the sensor to register and record changes. These slight inaccuracies and latencies are minor concerns.
The only real problem I found with the Degree's data tracking was when I tested it outside. In direct sunlight, Elgato's sensor lost all accuracy. At 75 degrees Fahrenheit, the sensor read 125 degrees -- a pattern I found with two separate units. Placing the sensor under shade seemed to be an easy enough solution, but that extra step just means extra hassle.