My review of the Ivee sleek

(John Lord) #1

This is a review of the Ivee Sleek, a smart-home voice assistant.
I missed the sales on this item, which ran as low as $50, but i got a gently used one from ebay for $45 after shipping. This wasn’t a bad price for a product that gets mixed reviews.

My home setup: I have two harmony hubs, a smartthings 1 hub, and a hue hub with all of my lights on it (connected to both the harmony and smartthings).

The initial setup was really easy, if not a little weird. I created a web account and linked the ivee to it by entering a two word phrase that the ivee gave me. I then Attempted to link my other hubs to it.
1**) Harmony.** This was straightforward. I clicked the link and it gave me an authorization page. It then listed all of my activities on the ivee website including home automation ones. I was not able to ever get my ivee to understand me saying the supposedly correct “launch activity watch tv”. It would randomly do other things such as change my zipcode or change the hub bulb colors. Once it gave me the weather for sascatchewan. It turns out what actually works is just saying “watch tv”. However since i have 2 hubs i’m going to have to rename the activities in one of them. I really don’t think i’ll have a lot of use for this unless i use it to toggle automation scenes.
2) Hue. The hue integration is the oddest one i’ve seen yet, but thankfully it works for me better than others. Thanks to some internet issue, i’ve never gotten the online part of the hue to work. My hub won’t connect to their website. This is normally how controllers get and interact with the hue scenes. This is NOT how ivee does it. Ivee found the hue hub and asked me to hit the button. I did. It then uploaded a list of my connected bulbs to the ivee website, NUMBERING them instead of listing their names. I had to look at the light numbers in the hue app to see what was what. Ivee has its own scene and group creation area on its website and i was able to get that to work pretty easily although it doesn’t seem to be 100% consistent.
3) at least for me, the** smartthings integration** seems to be broken. When i tried to authorize it on the website (over and over again all day long) i continually got “something went wrong”. The ivee app shows up in smartthings after doing this, but smartthings isn’t added to the ivee as a device.

Voice recognition:

With experimenting, it seems the biggest problem with ivee understanding you is the room the device is in. My bedroom has zero issues at all but it’s unusable in my bathroom due to echoing. My kitchen it’s dependent on position. Also the command list is unnecessarily limited. An example that comes to mind is the way you set sleep sounds. “play sound 1 for 120 minutes” works but “play sound 1 for 2 hours” doesn’t. It will play the sound for 2 minutes. Since the voice recognition is web-based when you are on line, this is just silly.

wifi the internal wifi antenna is weak. I get better range from other devices.
radio suffers the same problem as the wifi. I can’t pick up some radio stations that i listen to. At least NPR works.
stock quotes feature actually works pretty well
weather also works fine.
time although you can manually set the time if offline, if you are online it sets automatically. This is good in theory and the device keeps an 8 hour backup charge, in practice it’s setting based on your time zone setting on the website. This is retarded because the device already has your zip code. It took me 20 minutes to figure out why the time was off 6 hours. Once fixed however, it’s worked good ever since.

aux speaker and usb charging it has a usb port to charge with, and an auxiliary input. A device this expensive ($199 msrp) should have came with bluetooth!

Final thoughts: The smarttings integration is an annoyance that will probably eventually be fixed. All i’m missing out on is asking if my wife is home and the status of door switches. The device itself works pretty well when it understands you. Being able to shuf off my wife’s bedside lamp without opening smartthings is convenient. The oddest thing about it is you can set volume levels and station from voice, but only until you turn the radio on. Then you have to hit the listen button which also shuts off the radio. The device should have had a couple of more actual buttons for night-time-don’t-wake-the-wife moments, because when it all comes down to it, all it is is an incredibly fancy alarm clock and it’s going to be in the bedroom.
A price point of $50 makes it on par with an android tablet set up for voice control, and it works about the same but is easier to set up than one. If this wasn’t a website of tinkerers and developers, i’d rate it a 3 of 5, but since we are all capable of working out bugs, i’m giving it a 4.