When it comes to home automation, voice controls are all the rage these days — but there’s still plenty of appeal left in the good ol’ magic button approach.
Enter German smart home manufacturer Senic. The company makes fancy-looking, “Nuimo”-branded wireless remotes for your smart home gadgetry. The newest offering, available for preorder now, is the Nuimo Click. At $229 for a two-switch starter kit (about £180 or AU$320, converted roughly), the Click is a four-button remote for Philips Hue smart lights or Sonos smart speakers that uses a nifty trick to power itself through your very button presses. That means it doesn’t need any batteries and won’t require you to recharge it — ever.
$229 is quite a lot to spend for a pair of push-button remotes, each of which can only be paired with one device or group of devices at a time. For comparison, the Philips Hue Tap, a wireless four-button remote for Hue lights that uses the same self-powering tech as Nuimo, costs $50 each. If you’re just looking for a smart, bedside light switch for your Hue bulbs, it’s the much better way to go.
The Logitech Pop smart button costs a lot less, too — it isn’t self-powering, but it can control Sonos and Hue gear, plus a whole host of other kinds of devices, and it works with Apple HomeKit, too. Heck, if you’re an Alexa user, you could even turn your lights off by picking up a pair of Echo Buttons for a total of $20.
Still, Senic’s switches look awfully classy, and the Sonos and Hue controls worked as advertised when I tested them out at the CNET Smart Apartment. If you like the design, you use both Hue and Sonos products in your home, you value simplicity, and — most importantly — you don’t mind splurging, then they’re worth a look. However, for most of you, I think there are other, more cost effective solutions that’d be a better fit.
The push of a button
A little smaller than a drink coaster, each Nuimo Click is a lightweight piece of polycarbonate with a clean, minimalist design. With roughly a half-inch bezel around the buttons themselves that doesn’t seem to house any of the actual hardware, they’re a little bigger than they probably need to be, but they still feel fine as handheld remotes. Thanks to the matte finish, they don’t feel too plasticky, either.
The buttons themselves have a stiff, “clicky” feel to them, but not so much that they’re difficult or uncomfortable to use. With proprietary energy harvesting technology from a company called EnOcean packed inside, each of your button presses provides the power needed to send the Click’s signal to the Nuimo Hub, which will in turn relay your command to your home’s router via Wi-Fi and then on to your Philips Hue Bridge or Sonos speakers.
Mind you, I didn’t notice any lag with any of that as I tested the things out. Press a button, the music plays. Press a button, the lights dim. Even when I stress tested each Click’s maximum range of 30 meters, they worked flawlessly. Add in the convenience of never needing to replace or recharge a battery, and you can start to see the appeal of these switches.
Available in white or black, they look and feel like premium devices, which is appropriate given what you’ll need to spend for them. $229 gets you the two-switch starter kit that comes with the hub — after that, each additional Click is a slightly more reasonable $69 each. Still pretty steep by my standards.
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