I received a SmartThings Smarthub for fathers day along with several Cree Smart bulbs. I am completely lost as to how this product is even out. For a product that has been out for well over a year and has an updated release of hardware the software and functionality is nonexistent. The reason my wife picked this up for me is because when we bought our home it had a Kwikset lever lock and CT100 thermostat. I had removed the thermostat due to the fact it could not be programmed on a cycles. Seeing that this was compatible with both, I had been talking about doing something with home automation, and saw that it had tons of compatible products she thought this would be the best option. This thing is horrible and from a software perspective completely laughable.
Here are Majority of my gripes:
No support for Thermostat scheduling
Now before everyone hops on and starts telling me that there are custom options to create a smart app to handle this. That is exactly my point. Any Joe Smoe that buys this thing is not going to want the wade through 100’s of forum posts to find the compatible code, learn to build and create the smartapp, let alone try and navigate a HORRIBLE UI in their Android smart app to get this done. Which brings me to my next issue.
The most horrible UI I have ever seen. I truly believe the developers are trying to confuse the average user. I have had this app for a couple of weeks now playing (more like struggling) with it and I am still comfused as to what the difference is between locations, Modes, and the dashboard. There is no continuity in anything that is set on the app also. Clunky with a definite lack of form and function. I will elaborate further.
a) I have three Cree bulbs and absolutely no way to distinguish between them without going into the properties. This can be corrected by adding each to their own group which seems to be the only way to actually see a label (why even have the user name the thing if you’re not going to use it?) . But, even then you are click three things to get to the item to turn it on of off.
b) No custom icons, this would help the labeling issue greatly.
c) Dashboard and Hello, home completely useless unless you want to learn how to use their API.
d) Nothing but basic functionality on any device. Even the Cree bulbs that show a dimmer, the dimmer shows 0% when the device is looked at.
e) constant errors on the app, nearly every time I open the app or move through the menus I get “Sorry, but there was an unexpected error.” No error codes, no log to see what the error is, nothing to point you to the problem. Really poor programming. Which brings me to the next issue.
My third major issue is the complete instability of the system, the setup of devices, and the barrier to entry. Why the heck did it take nearly a half an hour a piece to install the Cree bulbs? Why did I have to continually have to reset the things (which is a labor in insanity) to finally get the things to connect? Why do I continually have to reset my door lock to regain connectivity? Why in gods name does it take nearly 2 minutes to receive an updated refresh on my thermostat? Why is it when I change the thermostat from cool to off and have the app show that it’s off only to find out its on heat? Why is my front door not responding when I tell it to unlock only to have it unlock 20 minutes later for no reason. Trust me, every single device is within 15 feet of the hub and that is no exaggeration. If I weren’t a 25 year seasoned IT veteran I would have ripped this thing from network a week ago.
why can I not set up something simple along the lines of “When there is no one present in the house turn off all the lights?” or “When When there is no one present in the house turn the thermostat down 5 degrees if on heat and up 5 degrees when on cool?”
I know there are always hiccups with these types of products but these are all correctable. Now What I find REALLY interesting is that both of my wife’s friends whose husbands own the product have zero issues and but use apple products. I have not had an opportunity to go to their homes and see their setups but I am seriously interested in seeing the difference between the android and apple products.
Has anyone else run into some or all of these issues? Do you think it’s worth keeping and waiting for updates or scraping it and going with something like the Wink hub?
I personally would not recommend Wink, although their mobile app is head and shoulders above SmartThings in terms of UI design and usability. Like SmartThings, Wink is a cloud-based system meaning that you’re forever going to be at mercy of trigger-happy software engineers who can break your system at any moment by pushing buggy code to your system without proper testing.
If you want stable and reliable platform, stay away from the cloud-based systems.
They use the Apple app instead of the Android app.I reread what I wrote and it is confusing. The main reason for the post is to get support for the product and yes I have used the forum to gripe in regards to the product for just that reason. If you search every gripe I listed, you will find dozens of post with the same or similar issues with no resolution or resolutions that require quite a bit of effort and programming (or cost) to accomplish. I have tried contacting support prior to this and that was fruitless as their system seems to not want to except my email (the only method of support other than these forums) as it has been returned deliverable.
You’re more likely to get someone from the community to help if you ask for help with the specific scenarios and with the specific devices you own, versus taking the negative approach that you started with.
This approach has always worked better for me in all avenues of life.
you are not happy about the one actual strength of this platform. So yes, you should probably look at a more simple/canned solution. Not saying that in a bad way, I am quite serious - a system that requires a degree of tinkering beyond what you want to do isn’t a system for you.
I am frustrated, clearly. Frustration leads to negativity. Had my process been half as bad as it was I don’t believe I would have even created this post. The very fact that every single device that I added to the hub required me to do research to get it working is completely ridiculous, and as frustrating as it gets. The fact that every single product I own is OFFICIALLY supported by the hub and didn’t work out of the box is ridiculous and frustrating. Why do I even have to reach out to support to get supported devices to work? I have searched extensively as to what features and being added and what device are getting updated support and there is nothing, why is that? When you’re frustrated you vent, human nature. So yeah, I am negative and frustrated…
Read any review: Wink has the worst reputation for individual device quality.
If you want something for immediate use and high reliability, but a limited device selection (one way they get high reliability) and no custom code options, Staples Connect is worth considering.
If you can wait until Father’s Day 2016, my personal guess (admittedly just a guess.) is that by then there will be multiple reliable plug and play Home Automation systems that for under $1500 will have a door lock, a thermostat, some sensors, and some lights, all with some geo fencing and some voice control. I do expect Samsung/SmartThings to be one option, but there will be others as well.
If you just want to get something right now that will be reliable, practical, and fun, but currently limited to a few devices, get the Amazon Echo. This is the one that’s getting better every month, with no " two steps forward, three steps back" issues. And if you like doing your own coding, there’s an open API. But if you just want to stick with the official features, those work reliably and well.
But everybody has different preferences and priorities.
If your two friends running SmartThings with the IOS app really have zero issues, I’m amazed, but happy for them. I run the IOS app on several devices, but it doesn’t mean the light scheduled to come on at 8 in the morning does so.
I tend to agree with @JDRoberts. Return SmartThings while you can and get Staples Connect. It’s no frills, but the mobile app is super easy to use, and when they say a product is “supported”, they mean it. It’s not cloud-based, so it will work even if the Internet is down, but it can also be controlled remotely using either mobile app or a web portal (something that SmartThings lacks). It’s also $20 cheaper than SmartThings.
I’ve not got as much time invested as you do (just got mine set up last night), but I will say that it isn’t quite ready for the “Flashing 12” category of people. Like you, I’m in I/T, so I’m able to figure stuff out, but I wouldn’t recommend this to my mom yet — not without setting it up myself. I see tons of potential and the community is actually full of people who are working through the points you’ve brought up [I agree with #2 – the UI is *pretty* but it isn’t as useful as it should be. And FWIW, I’m using Windows Phone which is even more marginalized than your Android.] I wouldn’t write it off because from what I can tell, it’s getting there. I’m not sure how much of it is because Z-Wave is still catching on and we’re catching most of the kinks and how much of it is the “Apple is all-everything” and how much of it is that SmartThings needs to grow as a company (I suspect all of them but in the order I listed). I’ve been using X10 lights for a long time (18 years or more) and they “just work” and I think SmartThings can get there…I’m going to stick around for a while.
It took a solid week but I did finally get everything connected. Now none of it is working very well or the way I had expected, but at least all of it is visible and connected now. I started delving into the custom smart-apps and it’s pretty daunting to say the least. I like the way you phrased the issue,
Like you, this is not something my wife, mom, or brother in law would be able to setup and use at it’s current state. Very well said…
Makes me wonder if it’s time for @alex to make his semi-annual appearance and pound his chest again, throw a few bones around and say something inspirational like
Above all else, know that we are listening, care tremendously, and are committed to making both incremental as well as break through improvements along the journey together with you. Great things take time, but I’m confident we will get there. Thank you for all your patience and support and passion along the way!
BTW, it’s exactly 6 month today he was lastly heard of.
(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy)
May I ask what email address you sent to? SmartThings receives hundreds of emails a day, and we’ve been told that it is important they hear from every individual in order to log and prioritize the issues.
To be honest, I have not had the same issues that you have had. But, I did recently get the Cree Bulbs, and they are a pain to get working with any System, The problem is Cree there or possibly network interference from local Wi-Fi Hubs. Being IT I am sure you understand how that can happen. I know that the lock works, as I have used that with a friend, I am assuming that you have something setup that is opening on the lock like a Hello Home action. Do you use presence sensors for lock or security operation? If so, you may want to re-think that due to the cloud nature of ST and how ST handles the presence detection.