Concerns about reliability and developer support: Should I return it?

I just picked up a SmartThings starter kit after reading some positive reviews and getting excited about its potential functionality. Now I am reading a lot of posts in this forum stating that

  1. SmartThings is is unreliable
  2. The developers have let known bugs go unfixed for many months at a time

Do some of you regret buying into the SmartThings platform? Do you think it will get better? Is it really as bad as some posts are making it out to be? Should I return my starter kit while I still have the time?


If you consider yourself a hobbyist, I would recommend it. Otherwise, it probably isn’t worth the possible grief.

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Things are not going well for some people, while others have less frustrating experiences. It greatly depends on your use cases and what you actually plan on achieving with SmartThings.


In many ways SmartThings is completely remarkable. It can do very sophisticated automations. In my experience it works fairly well. But, it’s reliability is poor. For me, this isn’t an issue. For my wife, it is.

If you bought it believing their marketing about how you’ll have this great smart home, you may be disappointed. If you bought it thinking, I’ll see what it can do, and walk slowly into discovering that, you’ll be fine. It can’t do all it’s supposed to do with enough reliability to make it worth it. Examples are home security – sort of works, but a PITA, and unreliable. You want it to turn on some lights when you walk into a room, it’s pretty good at that, not perfect. It all depends on what you want it to do, and your expectations.

Edit: BTW, I have 200 devices and they work pretty well.


Thanks for the response. Wife Acceptance Factor may be an issue here if I can’t make everything smooth and easy. I figured from the outset that SmartThings wasn’t ready for real home security yet but I already have a dedicated home security system. SmartThings job in my house will be “everything else” that I want to automate.

I want to do things like have the lights come on when someone enters a room and turn off when someone leaves. I want the lights to dim automatically at sundown. I want a hue bulb that changes color in response to things like time of day or weather. I want to turn the thermostat down when neither I or my wife’s phone is connected to the wifi (when we are out of the house). I want to switch lights on at random intervals when we are away on vacation. I want to eventually get an Amazon Echo so I can talk to my house (because who doesn’t want to do that?).

I am a programmer and generally good at debugging things so I think I will toy with it for awhile to find out if any of the issues really cause me pain.

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All of this is very doable, I do it all except the hue part. My wife is happy with this part by and large. There are days, now and then, when things don’t go well for ST. Lights might not turn on quickly when you walk into a room, or might not turn off after you leave, things like that. But, overall, it works very well for these things.

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Excellent. I have ordered a couple of GE Z-Wave dimmers so I am excited to try those out for automated lighting.

With regards to developer support do you find that SmartThings fixes most bugs promptly and drags their feet on others? Or do they generally drag their feet on all issues? Or do issues just go ignored?

Reading some of these reports of unresolved issues makes me wonder – is Samsung is “killing” (slowing down innovation, openness, and responsiveness) SmartThings after their acquisition or is just the way things have always been with SmartThings?

  1. You’ll have many days when 95% to, well… perhaps even 100% of all of the above will work consistently, like magic; impress your family and friends. Post 5-Star reviews on Amazon and the app stores.

  2. Then suddenly you’ll have hours or days when 20% to 100% is not working – sometimes, quite possibly, with very annoying side-effects like lights or notifications going off in the middle of the night.

Statistically, situation #1 is much more common than #2; but repeated negative impacts can make you forget the good times really quickly.


This is especially true for wives who are just “innocent victims” of their husband’s efforts to automate things.


To my outsider knowledge (but extensive observation), Samsung is not “killing” anything. In fact, they may be pushing a bit too hard for updates and new features and product market expansion, which has a negative impact on stability.

SmartThings has a great underlying design, but they’ve had (and continue to have) some frustrating myopia (they just don’t empathize with certain Customer issues, user interface ideas, etc.) and scaling issues from Day #1. Those issues now seem larger – they are probably proportionately smaller (i.e., considering the amount of growth; things could be a lot worse).

They’ve always been a bit behind the 8 ball on fixing things. They have a tendency to fix two things and break another, or worse, fix one thing and break two others. It can be frustrating. You pretty much have to take it as it is.


I think taken from this perspective, which is right on, they actually have made a lot of improvement.

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Based on what you want to accomplish and your skill level you’ll really enjoy ST. Just a few tips based on my own experience. Keep lights on motion at minimum complexity and running local (to maintain high WAF). You can adventure in the cool things that are not so noticeable to significant other. If you want hue bulbs, or zigbee bulbs in general, get a hue hub and connect it to ST. If you don’t have colored bulbs yet, get LIFX, they are more flexible and work great with ST via IFTTT.

Thanks for the informative replies. I am definitely willing to deal with annoying broken stuff from time to time in the name of playing with cool new technology. As long as progress is being made and generally being made in the right direction I don’t mind bumps in the road. We will see how the wife feels about it however haha.

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Just give her low expectations up front. It has worked for me.

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I got the impression that Hue was king with the best reliability and most integration. What is it that makes LIFX more flexible?

I was going to install controllable dimmers rather than get individual bulbs due to cost. I might have a few colored bulbs just for accents. I have a lot of bulbs in my house. It could cost $500 just to light one room with those things vs $40 for a controllable dimmer.

I have about 40 or 50 dimmers. It’s just the way my house was built about 10 years ago. Like you, replacing bulbs is not an option.

I am going to try this stuff out in my office first before I rig hers up :smile: that way I will know where to set the expectations.

yea, hues for accent, dimmer/switches for overhead lighting

Ha, my wife has been the most vehement anti-ST person since I bought v1. The other day when the mode didn’t change and I made a remark about how ST never works, she replies. “what you’re talking about, we haven’t had issues in a long time. Everything seems to be working well, I don’t understand”. -:innocent:

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