Stylish glass finishAlexa, Google & SiriIFTTTNo hub
Deep switchNeutral required
How it works
3rd part connectivity
Reader Rating 0 Votes
What does the Retrotouch IOTTY Smart Switch do?
The switch replaces your existing switch and makes it smart by connecting to your home WiFi. It connects directly to your WiFi without the need for a hub or controller.
Note: To install it you need a neutral wire in your switch.
Once installed you can control the switch via the app (Androdi and iOS). The app is packed with features:
Energy monitoring – to keep an eye on consumption
Geolocation – turn on or off the device when you leave or arrive home
Sunrise and sunset – control the device based on the sunset and sunrise
Rooms – controlling multiple switches in one room
Scenes – set scenes with one button press
Weather – control the device according to the local weather
Notifications – receive alerts when used
Sharing – share with members of your household
Away mode – fake your presence but turning on and off randomly
How easy is it to setup?
Installation was easy, the only thing to be aware of is this is quite a deep switch due to the tech inside it. This means if you have a lot of wires in your switch or a shallow back box it can be tight!
It is also worth noting you require a neutral wire for the switch to work. If unsure check before you buy.
What’s the connectivity?
The Retrotouch IOTTY smart switch connects to Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Siri allowing voice control:
“Alexa turn on living room light”
As well as IFTTT with 6 pre-made applets as well as being able to make you own and connect iotty to your smart home.
IOTTY on IFTTT
How much does it cost?
The switches start from £69.99 for a single gang switch. It is also available in white or black finish.
What is it like living with it?
Simple and stylish! It’s great to be able to control the actual light switch not just the bulb like standard smart lighting. This means you can always control it, unlike smart bulbs where one flick of the switch and the bulb is dumb.
The other great main selling point is it works with all bulbs, even if not dimmable. This is why you need the neutral wire.
The switch itself really stands out due to the back lit glass, the only thing we found frustrating was the size of the switch as this prevented us putting it in a few rooms without changing the back box.
Being able to control the brightness of the backlight is a nice touch especially if installed in the bedroom.
What are our final thoughts?
This is a stylish, feature packed switch!
A different approach to making your home lighting smart. The only one big consideration is the required wiring, neutral at switch, although we appreciate this is a limitation of the tech not this actual switch.
Signify is rumoured to be expanding its Philips Hue range to
include designer filament bulbs. As well as a smart plug that will be controllable
from the Philips Hue app. The plug will be their first move into other products
The news comes from a leak via Dutch tech website iCulture.
The funky bulbs will apparently be available in sizes: E27, ST19 and G93 with
prices starting from £17.99. Based on the price we assume these will not be
colour changing bulbs.
The leak also stated the bulbs would support Bluetooth, an
interesting move and expansion on the current ZigBee support. This would remove the reliance on the Philips
It also contained a full line up of product coming this year, highlighting Bluetooth coming to updated versions of existing products:
Hue White Filament with Bluetooth: € 19.95 / ~£17.99
Hue White Filament Edison with Bluetooth: € 24.95 / ~£21.99
Hue White Filament Globe with Bluetooth: € 29.95 / ~£26.49
GU10 (white) new design with Bluetooth: € 19.95 / ~£17.99
GU10 (white ambiance) with Bluetooth: € 29.95 / ~£26.49
GU10 (white & colour) with Bluetooth: € 59.95 / ~£52.99
Candle E14 with Bluetooth: € 19.95 / ~£17.99
Hue GO V2 with Bluetooth: € 79.95 ~£17.99
Fugato spot (multiple configurations): from € 89.95 / ~£79.99
Argenta spot (multiple configurations): from € 89.95 / ~£79.99
Centura recessed spot (multiple configurations): from € 64.95 / ~£57.99
Adore mirror lamp (multiple configurations): from € 149.95 / ~£132.99
Adore bathroom spot (multiple configurations): from € 49.95 / ~£44.99
Smart Plug: € 29.95 / ~£26.99
Signify normally release their new products at the IFA 2019 Trade show in September. We look forward to seeing what is announced!
In a very surprise move Google has today announced ending the works with Nest program. The program will be replaced with the Works with Google framework. This is because Nest is merging back into the Google brand and company, rather than being a separate spin off.
The Works with Nest program was designed to allow tech to connect to Nest. As Google said:
“All you need is a Nest Thermostat, Nest Protect or Nest Cam. Add another product, like a light bulb, and they’ll start to notice each other, learn from one another and help you out – all on their own”
The new program will still allow integrations but will require much stricter vetting and testing, not necessarily a bad thing! Google claim this has been done to address privacy fears.
However, the bad news is this will break all existing integrations powered by the existing program. This includes the much loved IFTTT as well as Amazon Alexa. Although we remain optimistic Google will find a way to integrate Alexa directly.
Works with Nest will be fully shut down on August 31 2019. We wait to see what updates we receive from IFTTT and Alexa.
UNO: The first cross device type-C USB cable now fully funded on Kickstarter.
We know what you are thinking… this is not the first type-C USB magnetic cable. What makes UNO different is it has adapters for Lightning, Micro USB and Type-C. All connected via powerful neodymium magnets that are strong enough to hold an iPad Air!
Unlike existing magnetic charger cables, UNO claim the magnets have been positioned to allow easy connection. Even if the tip is flipped 180°.
The cable supports QC4.0 and Apple fast charge allowing you to quickly charge your smart tech. As well as full USB 2.0 data transfer speeds of up to 480 Mbps.
To overcome the frustrating fray issue most cable owners are familiar with the cable is wrapped in anti-fray material.
ASAP Technologies are so confident in their cable they offer a full 10-year warranty! Longer than most people have their smart phone.
The cable is available now with guaranteed July shipping. Pledges, not prices as Kickstarter, start at £16.
Room level heating controlSmart detection like open windowHumidity sensorAlexa, Google, HomeKitIFTTT
Cost per thermostat
How it works
3rd part connectivity
Reader Rating 0 Votes
Tado, the smart climate control company, has come along way in a short space of time. In this review, we are going to be looking at the latest model of their Smart Radiator thermostat and starter kit – v3+.
What does the Tado’s Smart Radiator Thermostat do?
Tado’s Smart radiator thermostats are different to most smart home thermostats, they do not work on a house level but individual rooms. This means you can control each room as you wish, for example if you want the nursery to be warm but your bedroom room cool this can easily be achieved. Assuming you have Tado installed in those rooms.
It is also a lot smarter than competitors, offering simple yet effective features – for example open window detection. As who wants to heat a room when the window is open?!
At the heart of Tado is the principle of energy and money saving. This is because Tado offers such detailed control of heating your home they claim you save energy and money. In the app there is a dashboard to track approximately how much energy you have saved and how each feature has helped towards the saving.
Other features include:
Weather Detection – Tado checks local weather reports to adapt to how it heats your home.
Geofencing – Both when you are leaving and returning home, interestingly this is not only done via your phone location. It also detects when your phone connects to your home Wifi to signal you are home – smart!
Comfort Control – Each thermostat detects humidity as well as temperature. Creating a simple visualisation of humidity and temperature to show air comfort.
Smart Schedule – Allowing scheduling temperatures for when you are home and away.
Stats & Analytics – Giving insight into what’s been going on in each room, plotted on a graph. Sadly there is no way to export the data though.
Repair Service – Through a national partnership with Help-link, as well aa thousands of local installers you can even find a local plumber.
How easy is Tado to set up?
We know what you are thinking, surely this requires professional installation as its plumbing?! Wrong, install is DIY and easy.
First, you install the app and create a home, once created you add the thermostat and bridge.
To add the bridge you plug it into your router or network switch with an ethernet cable. You then scan the QR code on the thermostat and pair it with the bridge.
Next comes the fun part – you need to remove your existing radiator head. This is much easier than we expected, on our radiator, we basically twisted the metal ring on the existing thermostat. If unsure they have a helpful how to guide on their website.
Top tip – if water starts coming out you are twisting the wrong part. Removing the head does not make any water leak and just exposes the pin on the radiator valve.
Once the head is removed, you can use the supplied adapters to fit the Tado thermostat. We didn’t need any and it fitted directly to the radiator.
The install guide has obviously been written for horizontal installs. If like us you install vertically the label saying top should face the front.
Once installed the thermostat calibrates and it’s done!
What is the connectivity?
Where this smart home tech is different is it does not connect to your home WiFi, as it does not need to. The hub or bridge as they call it connects to your house via ethernet to the bridge. The smart radiator thermostats connect to the bridge using radio (868 Mhz to be precise).
This means you do not have any of the issues surrounding WiFi bands – for example if you only have 5GHz and it only works on 2.4GHz. It also means there is no issue with connectivity or poor signal. We tested in a large house with the bridge downstairs and the radiator upstairs and had a full strength connection.
In terms of third-party connectivity Tado packs a punch offering the most popular voice assistants:
Siri / Apple HomeKit
As well as IFTTT, allowing you to connect it to any other supported tech on IFTTT. For example, if the bedroom temperature is too hot turn on the Wemo plug connected to a fan. If the bedroom is x temperature turn my Philips Hue lights red, and many more possibilities.
The Tado app is available on iOS 10 or above and Android 5 or above.
How much do Tado Smart Radiator Thermostats cost?
To get started with Tado you need the starter kit as this contains the bridge. This cost: £119.99 and comes with all you need as well as one radiator valve.
However, once you have the bridge you can buy additional smart valves at £69.99.
This is slightly expensive but if bought directly from Tado they offer a ‘12 month, Save money or your money back’ guarantee!
In addition, there is an optional subscription feature called ‘Auto-Assist’ for £2.99 a month or £24.99 a year. Auto-assist ‘joins up’ the features and automatically controls them, so for example rather than alerting you the window is open and the heating is on, it turns it off for you.
What is it like living with it?
Impressive! However, there are a lot of features and notifications but this is where the optional subscription can take the strain.
We did find we needed to adjust the temperature reported by the thermostat. As it was giving a very high temperature when compared with two other thermometers in the room. This will be due to the design, as with our install the thermostat was very near the radiator, where as if fitted horizontally it will be less near so picking up a lower temperature. Not an issue as this was easily changed in the app, by adding an offset value.
It is brilliant being able to control the exact temperature of a room. Comfort plotting is a great feature and clearly allows you to see how ‘comfortable’ each room is.
Alexa integration is seamless once you have set up the skill allowing you to ask;
“Alexa what’s the temperature in the bedroom”
What are our final thoughts?
This is a very well thought out bit of kit!
The only thing stopping us giving this 5 stars is the price is on the high side. We have over 10 radiators in our Smart test home if each had a smart thermostat it would quickly add up. However, this is offset by the 12-month energy saving guarantee, although you would need to save a lot of energy to fully offset the full cost.
That said the same could be said about any smart home tech, it’s not the cheapest solution you often want but the smartest. In terms of smart thermostats, we think we have found the smartest – meet Tado!
release their exciting new innovation a smart microchip pet feeder!
The smart pet feeder connects to their existing Smart petcare app via the already released hub. As part of their expansion into the smart space and joining the Smart Cat flap. (Read our review of their Smart Cat flap here)
The pet feeder goes further than any pet feeder before, allowing total control over which animal can eat what food – automatically. All done via the microchip inside your pet or RFID collar tag. The feeder closes over the feed only opening for the chosen pet, this also keeps the food fresher for longer.
It weighs the food, making it easier to not over feed your pet and monitors if your pet is not eating and when they are how much. Very smart!
The Microchip Pet Feeder Connect is available now direct from Sure Petcare. Price depends on configuration.
Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook so you can see when we have reviewed the smart pet feeder! We can’t wait to get our paws on it. ff
Since Amazon bought Ring they have been rapidly expanding. One such expansion was the announcement of a Smart Lighting solution that fully integrated with Ring. This will be using their recent acquisition of LED light company Mr Beam.
The Ring light range includes:
They require a hub, in the same way market leader Philips Hue does.
All controlled from the Ring App and integrating with Alexa.
The new smart lights were supposed to be shipping this month to USA customers who had pre-ordered.
Today Ring sent an email to these customers pushing back shipping to May 2019. Offering the option of cancelling or keeping their order.
It appears Ring is still squashing final bugs, although good to see this is being done before release!
It will be interesting to see how these lights compare with market leader, Philips Hue new outdoor range.
For more information on Ring Smart Lighting visit Ring.com
If you are looking for an inexpensive way to control your gates and
garage door new startup Remootio might
be what you are after!
Remootio is a smart box that
takes control of your electronic gates or garage door allowing smart control them
via your phone (iOS and Android). Using 256 bit end-to-end encryption .
Where the box is different is it comes with Bluetooth as well as 2.4Ghz – meaning
you do not need a strong Wi-Fi signal at your gates or door for it to work. It
also has no monthly fees!
The app allows you to manage virtual keys with 20 set keys and unlimited guest keys.
Remootio works with Alexa allowing you to use your voice to open your gates or close your garage door. Google integration is planned.
The manufactures claim install is
easy and it supports most gates and door, working with 6-25V AC or 6-36V DC
and has a normally open relay output. As well as 3 ports for accessories:
doorbell, manual open button and gate status sensor.
Remootio is live now on Indiegogo, raising over 250% of their target. They have plans to go on general sale May 2019.
Keep your eyes peeled for a review here in the, hopefully not so distant future!
Lightwave, the UK Smart tech company, this week announced their expansion into Europe.
Lightwave’s fully integrated smart plugs, sockets and light switches will now be available across Europe. This includes Germany, where a recent survey found 43% of people said they would consider investing in smart home tech.
Lightwave’s smart power sockets and smart dimmer switches come complete with intelligent energy monitoring. As well as two-way communication. Allowing you to know if there is an unexpected power surge when you are out. As well as having a lock function, allowing you to lock switches and power sockets – perfect for parents! They also worked closely with Apple for the European expansion to ensure the new models are HomeKit compatible.
“We are incredibly excited to be expanding into Europe. With more than 10 years of growth under our belts in the UK, we’re confident we are bringing to market the smartest socket available in Europe. “Spearheading our European expansion through Apple retail and online stores means we’ll get in front of our target customers from day one. Following the launch, we’ll be continuing to consider the needs of our new customers across Europe and ensure we’re providing them with a complete, integrated, smart home solution to meet the needs of the modern homeowner.”
CEO of Lightwave, Jason Elliott
Lightwave’s European model will be available online. Via Apple’s online store, Lightwave’s website and Amazon. They will also be available in 57 Apple retail stores, with plans to expand into selected APRs (Apple Premium Resellers).
Stringify, the Smart Home connectivity tool, emailed users today informing they will be closing. The app will be immediately removed from App Stores, whilst existing users will keep functionality till June.
Unfortunately this is the reason it has been closed, commenting in their email to users:
“This isn’t a decision we made lightly, but as our focus increasingly shifts to developing new connected-home experiences at Comcast, we made a strategic decision to step back from developing the app. “
The email went on to recommend other tools, however none are as advanced as Stringify. The best option now, without hardware is IFTTT.
This is a shame, however not unsurprising as Comcast want to keep functionality for its users. Rather than paying to service a free tool.