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CNET First Look
Get smart with SmartThingsTake a look at this fee-free home automation kit.
Hey CNET, I'm Ry Crist, and right now we're taking a look at SmartThings. SmartThings is a kit you can get online that will help you automate your home with the help of these nifty sensors. Now the plug-in the SmartThings hub to start with, this is $99 and all you gotta do it plug it into your router and plug in to a power source and then download the SmartThings app for your iOS or Android device. It will find your hub, it will connect your system and get you started, and you'll be ready to go. With just the SmartThings you have installed in your home, you will be able to track when your phone comes and goes, and then automatically trigger events based on that. So if you leave your home and you want a Z-way control thermostat to turn down the heat, you can do that. You can set that all up and that's really cool. You can get additional sensors as well. There are a lot of things that are smart in the SmartThings catalog. One of the smart things you like a lot are the contact sensors that they use. We've seen this in a lot of systems. You stick them to your door frame and the door, and when the magnet separated, it lets you know that the door is open or the window is open, or the cabinet, whatever you want. The nice thing here is that these also have built in temperature sensors, so you can use them to track how hot or cold it is in a given room. That's a really nice feature, and very smart little multifunctional device. There is also the motion detector. You see this in a lot of systems too, but this one also has a range extender built in. So if you incorporate it into your system, you'll have a stronger signal, and that's good because the SmartThings obviously isn't quite as strong as I'd like. There is also a moisture sensor. There are freeze detectors, and also two gizmos you can get for this systems that are official SmartThings gadgets. Also, you can automate other devices that are Z-wave or zigbee enabled using SmartThings. And no matter how many devices you add to your system, you'll control all of it from the SmartThings app for iOS and android devices. It's a very good looking, well-designed app that looks great, but it's a little clutter and a little confusing about how to create relationships and set things up and turn things off. I wish the app was a bit more streamlined and a bit more user friendly because right now, certain aspects of it are a little confusing. Like I said, the SmartThings hub on its own is available for $99, and I think that's a great place to start because it can already detect your phone out of the box. However, if you wanna get some additional sensors, the contact sensor, the motion detector, whatever you want, you might check out the SmartThing kits that are available. They've got a couple of bundles for $199 and $299 that seem pretty interesting. For CNET, I'm Ry Crist.