April 15, 2021

Mulvihill-technology

Connecting People

SwitchBot Curtain Review: Not Quite There

My spouse and kids ended up perplexed by my enjoyment as I collected them by the window to unveil a mysterious new gadget. With all eyes on the curtains, I tapped a command on my telephone. The place was hefty with anticipation. Following an agonizing ten-second hold off, the still left curtain jerked open up in spurts. A couple of seconds later on, the ideal curtain tried to be a part of in but moved less than an inch and created a very unpleasant, high-pitched whine that lasted about thirty seconds.

Every person burst out laughing. 

Why would you need a robot that immediately opens your curtains in any case, they requested. “Need” is a bit potent, but the temptation of the SwitchBot is automation. Would not it be pleasant to wake up with sunlight touching your encounter as an alternative of an alarm (or, in our property, a cat crying for breakfast)? 

That’s the premise of this charming small gadget. It can be quickly fitted to most curtain sorts in minutes. Costing $99, or $189 for two (and you will need two for most curtains), it makes your fatigued aged curtains clever. You can remotely open up and shut them from your telephone employing the SwitchBot app, or plan them to open up and shut at set moments.

But as you may surmise from my very first attempt, the SwitchBot has quite a couple of flaws that may make you want to rip your curtains out totally.

Finicky Components

Photograph: Switchbot

Following the pathetic very first attempt at opening my curtains, I tried refitting the SwitchBot. I put one particular on the ideal curtain and one particular on the still left. You will find a form of ratcheting arm that goes around the curtain rod, with small wheels on the within, and you clamp it on the rod between the very first and second curtain rings. (You can also get SwitchBots that get the job done with U Rail and I Rail curtains.)

I have lightweight ring-prime curtains with a uniform rod, so there is no purpose the SwitchBot really should have hassle. Alas, soon after significantly fiddling all-around, I even now had no luck. I contacted the business and been given new types to check, and I am delighted to say they get the job done significantly improved. 

Continue to, even the new batch is significantly from great. For instance, SwitchBots really do not often open up the curtains as wide as I would by hand. They also tend to go away a hole between the curtains when they shut. And I can’t picture them faring perfectly with hefty curtains soon after looking at them struggle to thoroughly open up my small bedroom set.

You pair the bots to an app on your telephone by means of Bluetooth and calibrate the open up and shut positions. It is a rapid and quick procedure. Then you can tap a button on the app to open up or shut the curtains, although the app can take a couple of seconds to load and then a further couple of seconds for the SwitchBot to get started going. It can be not as well extended a wait around, but it is really a lot quicker to just get up and do it by hand.

The improved technique is to just immediately plan your curtains to open up and shut at favored moments. There’s also a gentle-detection mode to set off computerized opening when it identifies a specified stage of illumination, but this characteristic is even now in beta and did not get the job done perfectly for me.

You can use voice commands to control the curtains with Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri, but you have to get and set up a SwitchBot Hub Mini ($39). I tested it with Alexa and Google Assistant, and the Hub did the career, but had to check with it to open up or shut every curtain separately.