Thought it might be helpful to get some commentary started on different manufacturers and how well they do or don’t work in the SmartThings environment. Obviously everyone will have different results based on things like distance from hub, number of devices, type construction, etc. But if we get a large enough sample size of users we should be able to start getting some general information available for new users who are deciding what they want to look for and what options are available. To that end… here’s my thoughts on Evolve. If you have any of their products, please add your opinion to this thread.
Appearance: The switches that I have are very nice looking. IF you have an GE/Jasco switches, they are 97% the same in appearance. There are only three real differences, and they are pretty minor. First, the switch has “EVOLVE” stamped into the bottom of the switch in small letters. Very unnoticeable unless you’re really looking close. Second, they have a ‘clear’ plastic air gap switch*. I like the solid white of the GE better personally, but this is another pretty minor thing. Finally, instead of the bright blue LED the Evolve uses a softer green LED. While I personally like the color of the blue LED better, I like the far-less brightness of the Evolve green LED better for use in a bedroom where you don’t want a bright light. Because of the differences in LED color you may want to avoid putting different switches together. It might look odd.
Physically the switches have a strongly, more solid click to them than my GE/Jasco switches. They are perhaps a bit smaller than the GE/Jasco switches but are still much larger than a normal, non z-wave switch. Meaning against it will be a snug fit, especially if you have a lot of wiring in the back.
Operationally they, like the GE/Jasco, do NOT subscribe to the Lutron patent and so have the same deficiencies related to that. (See this thread for a full explaination of what that means: http://build.smartthings.com/forums/topic/manufacturer-review-gejasoc/) One thing I have noticed is that my Evolves don’t always seem to report being physcially turned on properly. This was never a problem with my GEs. Please don’t put too much into this yet… look for a follow up tonight or tomorrow after I have time to do more testing. Because my Evolve’s are all upstairs it may simply being that the extra distance is causing more issues. As far as responding to commands from ST (on, off, dim to a certain level), no problems there what so ever.
*Air Gap Switch: What the heck is this anyway? Because z-wave switches need to keep their radio’s on in order to “hear” commands to turn on, they are never fully off. There is always some very low level of current that could be flowing through them going to the light(s) even when they are in an off state. Apparently some legal department worried that when an individual was changing a light he or she, assuming the switch was fully off, would remove the bulb, lick his or her finger, stick it in the bulb socket and receive a mild shock. This means of course the company would be promptly used for millions of dollars for an unsafe product. The consumer is supposed to pull this “air gap switch” out, which completely interrupts power to the switch and truly and completely stops power. Only then is the consumer supposed to change the bulbs.
Now me… I just don’t lick my finger and stick it into a light socket. But hey… maybe this is a more common problem than I’m away of…