Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart Bridge Pro review: More than lighting
July 13, 2015 - table lamp
Lutron is as most of a graybeard in a lighting-control attention as Insteon is in a connected-home space. The association invented one of a initial wireless networked lighting-control systems; though until recently, it had usually really high-end solutions to offer consumers.
Like Insteon, Lutron mutated an existent lighting control system—the Caseta Wireless Smart Bridge—to build a HomeKit-compatible version: a Caseta Wireless Smart Bridge Pro. The Smart Bridge, that has a white LED regulating around a midsection, is smaller than a rug of cards and is powered by a wall-wart AC adapter. It connects to your router around an Ethernet cable, and communicates with Lutron lighting controls and motorized window shades regulating Lutron’s exclusive Clear Connect wireless technology, that operates in a same spectrum as inclination such as suit sensors, garage-door openers, and confidence keyfobs.
Lutron sent one plug-in dimmer procedure and one in-wall dimmer switch for me to test, though we didn’t have adequate time to hard-wire a in-wall unit. Both inclination come with wafer-thin, 5-button Pico remote controls that let we spin a tranquil light on and off and low or lighten a bulb. You can procedure a fifth symbol to a elite light turn (it defaults to 50-percent brightness). Lutron offers several accessories for a Pico remote, including a tabletop pedestal, a wall-plate bracket, and a visor shave (so we can use it in your car).
The plug-in procedure has dual two-pronged receptacles, one on possibly side, and can support adult to dual dimmable LED or compress fluorescent bulbs (up to 100 watts), or dual dimmable illuminated or halogen bulbs (up to 300 watts). It has 4 buttons on a face: On, off, brighten, and dim, though we can’t control a dual lights independently.
Unlike Insteon, Lutron’s overpass enables we to control window shades (Lutron’s battery-operated models) and a thermostat (either a Honeywell Wi-Fi thermostat or a Nest Learning thermostat) in further to lighting controls. we didn’t exam any of those products, however, and there now aren’t any other HomeKit inclination available. The Lutron overpass also supports geofencing, that means it can trigger events as we leave or arrive home—provided we have your smartphone with you.
Lutron’s in-the-box support consists of a half piece illustrating how to bond a intelligent Bridge to energy and to your router. Step dual instructs we to download a app from a Google Play store or a Apple App store. Yep, we can use an Android device to control this HomeKit overpass (I tested it both with an iPod reason and an Android smartphone).
When we supplement a device to a bridge, we name it from a list and afterwards Lutron’s app displays an animation to illustrate a process. With a plug-in module, in-wall dimmer, or Pico remote, an charcterised palm moves over a symbol and indicates we should reason it down for 10 seconds or until a LED starts to blink rapidly. The app will afterwards arrangement a summary indicating possibly or not a device has been successfully enrolled into a bridge.
You allot one name to any device we add, and an idol from Lutron’s really singular preference (one list lamp, a span of list lamps, dual forms of light stands, a table lamp, and holiday lighting). All Pico remotes are reserved a same idol and we can’t change it (but we can change a device that a remote controls).
I didn’t confront any designation hiccups with Lutron’s bridge; afterwards again, we enrolled usually dual devices: A dimmer procedure and a Pico remote. But there were many occasions when we would activate a Lutron app on my device, and there would be a one- to two-second check with a summary “starting up” displayed (the Android app reported “connecting to bridge”). Insteon’s app, to a credit, didn’t vaunt this behavior, though Lutron’s app doesn’t make we daub any icons to entrance your devices—icons for those and for any scenes you’ve combined are displayed right on a homepage—so a wait time to perform an movement is about a same with both.
If we have a formidable setup, we can name that inclination and scenes seem on a home screen. What’s even improved is that we can supplement scenes to an iOS Today widget or Android presentation drawer, so we don’t even need to launch a app to set a lighting scene—just appropriate down from a tip and daub it (you can also emanate other Android widgets for stage controls).
Scenes and schedules
Lutron’s Caseta taxonomy has we organisation inclination into Rooms, and groups of bedrooms into Zones, so that we can tell Siri something like “turn off a downstairs lights.” But Lutron’s app doesn’t arrangement this classification unless we cavalcade down into a Siri Integration menu. Lutron instead lumps all lighting and window-shade controls underneath a streamer of Lights Shades on a home screen, where there’s usually adequate room for 4 icons for inclination and 4 icons for scenes, since one-third a area is consumed by a functionless print of a room that’s not even from your home. If we wish to see some-more of either, we contingency daub a More button.
As with Insteon’s app, scenes let we set lighting and window-shade controls to pre-defined values (on, off, 50-percent brightness, open, closed, etc.) that can be removed during a reason of an idol or with a Siri authority (read a introduction to this roundup for a some-more in-depth contention of Siri).
As we did with a Insteon hub, we combined a stage labeled “Romantic Dinner” that dimmed a tranquil flare to 40 percent brightness. You can emanate as many scenes regulating as many inclination as we want, though we contingency name any particular device that we wish to embody in a scene—you can’t enroll an whole room or zone.
Scenes can also be scheduled to start automatically, and Lutron’s app is somewhat some-more worldly than Insteon’s on this count. You can report a stage to start on any multiple of days of a week (every day, usually on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, and so on). Scenes can start during possibly a specific time of day (lights on during 8:30 PM for instance), or we can tie them to nightfall or morning (you can even set a time to a series of mins before or after sunset/sunrise). An component of time randomization would give your home an even some-more lived-in demeanour while you’re during work or on vacation, and I’ve seen systems that do that, though Lutron’s app is flattering good.
Controlling particular devices
As we pronounced in my Insteon review, it competence seem back to plead a whole Caseta taxonomy before removing into how we control particular devices, though it’s critical to know how a complement is organized. As we mentioned earlier, a Lutron app’s home shade displays adult to 4 inclination and 4 scenes. Click on a device’s idol and an conceal shade appears with 3 controls: On, off, and a slider for adjusting liughtness (if it’s a dimmer you’re controlling). The idol for any device that’s powered on will seem on a plain background, and if a stage is now active, that will be reflected by a filled-in idol in a Scenes area of a user interface.
If we use a Siri authority or a Pico remote to control a device, whatever changes we make with it will be automatically reflected in a app. That’s flattering slick. What’s not so sharp is watchful for a app to reconnect to a bridge. That routine took as many as 8 seconds from launch, and as many as 5 seconds when waking a iPod from sleep. In many situations, it will be quicker to travel opposite a room to flip a earthy switch.
Should we buy Lutron’s HomeKit bridge?
If you’ve already invested in a Insteon ecosystem, we competence save income shopping a Smart Hub Pro (just know that some of your hardware competence not work with it). If you’re starting from scratch, Lutron has a somewhat aloft solution. Its hardware is of aloft quality, there’s support for intelligent thermostats, and we can supplement motorized window shades—a underline that’s quite good for home theaters. The Pico remote is really cool, too.