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Switchmate hones its successful retrofit switch with Bright at CES 2017

Switchmate's newest switch is slimmer, smarter, and quicker -- plus it's still affordable.

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David Priest
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David Priest

Editor

David Priest is an award-winning writer and editor who covers home security for CNET. When he isn't waving his hands wildly in front of motion sensors or making faces at video doorbells, he spends his time playing board games and video games with his wife and family.

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In summer 2016, a startup called Switchmate released its first product: A retrofit gadget that fit over the top of a conventional light switch and added automation. It was a refreshingly simple solution to smartening up wired lights at home -- but it also came with its share of limitations.

Now Switchmate is releasing its second-generation smart switch, the Switchmate Bright. At $40, it's a little more expensive than the original device (which will stay on the market at $30), but still cheaper than most in-wall switches. And it comes with a bunch of cool design upgrades.

Check out all the smart home products at CES 2017 (so far)

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Switchmate has always distinguished itself with ease of install. You simply affix the device overtop a light switch using its magnetic base, and it's pretty much ready to use. The app allows users to toggle the device, which physically flips the switch on and off.

The Switchmate Bright features a slimmer design than the original device, so you can fit multiple onto a panel of switches. This makes the Bright a much more compelling device for more comprehensive setups, although I'd still like to see a multi-switch version soon.

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The Switchmate Bright can fit more comfortably than the original on a multi-switch panel.

Switchmate

The Bright also includes a motion detector, so it can automatically switch on or off when it senses a user walking into the room. Again, this broadens the appeal of the Switchmate, which originally could automate using only timers or Bluetooth to respond to the proximity of a phone.

Finally, Switchmate's strength seems to be rising as it partners with more developers -- particularly Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Switchmate plans to begin shipping the Bright by February 2017.

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