CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Lucis Nubryte review: NuBryte's combo of features doesn't add up to much

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
Compare These

The Good The NuBryte Touchpoint combines smart lighting controls with a camera that'll watch your place when you're gone and a responsive touchscreen.

The Bad NuBryte's touchscreen, camera, and microphone are all underutilized. You can't control any devices other than the lights wired to the switch. You also can't issue voice commands, customize scenes or even see your place from afar with a live feed.

The Bottom Line The NuBryte Touchpoint has a somewhat unique combination of features, but none of the pieces of the combination are good enough on their own to make NuBryte worth your consideration.

5.7 Overall
  • Features 5
  • Usability 5
  • Design 7
  • Performance 6

From its spot on your wall, the NuBryte Touchpoint turns your light switch into a colorful canvas that promises to be your "all-in-one" smart home solution. Primarily a smart light switch and a security device with a camera, NuBryte can also help you keep your life organized with a calendar, weather info, alarms and timers. It has an iOS and Android app for remote functionality. Plus, if you have multiple units, you can use them as intercoms.

Right now, though, the $250 NuBryte Touchpoint (or $260 for a two panel switch) doesn't work with much -- just Amazon's assistant, Alexa, and Google Calendar -- so the problem with placing NuBryte at the center of your smart home is that it can't really control any smart home devices. The similar $100 Wink Relay works with light bulbs, thermostats, cameras, smoke detectors, switches and more from a variety of manufacturers. NuBryte controls the lights its wired to -- that's it.

NuBryte is mostly competent at everything it does, but it doesn't match up with the best devices in any individual smart category. It's not as good of a smart switch as the $60 Lutron switches ($160 for a two switch starter kit), or as good of a security device as the $200 Nest Cam, or as good of a central smart home device as either the Wink Relay or the Amazon Echo. The startup behind NuBryte -- Lucis Technologies based in Silicon Valley -- is hard at work updating their flagship product, but I don't recommend the expensive NuBryte Touchpoint until it masters at least one of its many tricks.

Through the wall -- installation and setup

Before you can take advantage of the multitasking NuBryte Touchpoint, you'll need to find a good spot on the wall to install it. NuBryte can replace a single or double switch panel, and though the process is simple enough, you'll want to be comfortable with basic wiring before you tackle the project. NuBryte posted a handy video walking you through the process here, and the accompanying instruction manual is also helpful.

A couple of things to note before you start: NuBryte needs a neutral wire (check the installation guide if you need help determining what that is). NuBryte works with most bulbs, but not ceiling fans at the moment. Double-check the fine print to make sure NuBryte will work in the spot you want before you make the splurge.

You can buy NuBryte from the company's site, and from BestBuy.com. We tested the $260 double-gang version, which replaces a two-switch panel. The single-gang Touchpoint costs $250. Other than controlling an extra light, the bigger version of the Touchpoint is the same as the smaller one.

NuBryte is not available overseas at the moment, as it's only designed for 120V American switches, but the company plans to develop a 220V model later this year for international markets. The US prices convert to roughly £210/AU$340 and £200/AU$325 for the two-switch and one-switch models, respectively.

Using the panel

When you approach NuBryte, it flips to this screen, letting you control the lights.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

After you finish wiring the switch, you'll snap the control panel onto the base plate, and NuBryte lights up to walk you through a quick setup and tutorial. The panel itself is attractive and simple, with white borders framing the touchscreen.

The screen lights up when you get close thanks to an infrared presence sensor. NuBryte defaults to lighting controls, so you can quickly turn your bulbs on or off without navigating through any menus. I appreciated that, but because it takes a second to wake up, you'd still be able to flip your lights off faster with an old fashioned switch.

You can physically close the shutter on the camera by moving this switch to the right.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

NuBryte also lets you control brightness -- as long as your bulbs are dimmable -- and you can customize how these brightness controls work in the system's settings.

Hit the persistent home button on the lower right corner of the screen to access the rest of NuBryte's features:

  • Weather -- Press the blue panel with the clouds from the home screen and NuBryte will show you the internal temperature and humidity. Scroll over for outside weather and forecasts.
  • Timer -- The green panel with the clock shows you the time and date. You can swipe for an alarm or a timer.
  • Energy -- The lighter green panel with the dial shows you your daily energy usage, and your average usage per day. You can tap on different days to see past usage. Note that it only shows you the usage for that panel and lights wired to NuBryte, not your whole house.

Here's the home screen. You can get back to the lights via an orange panel on the home screen, or with the persistent lighting button on the upper right corner of the panel. The two persistent buttons on the left of the panel are for security and the intercom.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Using the app

The app also walks you through a quick setup after you sign up for a NuBryte account. Once you're through the tutorial, it defaults to a page for lighting controls, as on the panel, but the names you assigned the lights on the panel strangely don't carry over. I called my NuBryte "Basement," then the two lights "Cabinet Light" and "Bar Light."

The Basement name carried over, but the two lights in the app were just called Basement A and Basement B. The app offers no way to change those names or put them into different groups. You can control all of your lights at once or each individually, but nothing in between. Even controlling them individually takes an extra tap than I'd like. Open the app, and you have to tap a light, then tap again to control it. The app doesn't offer a shortcut to turn any lights on and off with a single push. You can dim lights to your desired brightness with a pinch, once they're selected.

Lighting controls, the home page, and presets.

Screenshots by Andrew Gebhart/CNET

You can also hit the button in the lower left-hand corner to activate various preset modes such as "Wake Up" or "Bedtime" that gradually dim or raise the lights at a preselected hour. Similar to Apple HomeKit's scenes, these preset options are a nice extra feature, but they don't allow any real customization. You can select your own times to activate them, but not how long it takes the lights to dim or how bright they are for the different presets. You also can't create your own preset mode.

The rest of the menus in the app mostly match the touchscreen controls, with security moved to the homepage instead of having its own button. On the app, the timer panel is replaced with a calendar.

Best Smart Home Devices for 2018

See All

This week on CNET News