Sharptools , actiontiles or native ST app for your wall panel?

Hey! So I’m pretty new to the HA game but now after playing around with webcore, smart apps and all the goodies I’m ready to move further and install my first wall panel. I’m thinking to get a 10" fire tablet for this but I’m trying to decide if it’s worth paying for sharptools.io or actiontiles because as far as I can tell I could just install the ST app on a tablet and get pretty much the same result. I’m mostly interested in viewing the sensors status, lights, scenes, cameras etc … pretty much what I already have on the ST app. What are you guys using for your panels? What would you say it’s the top 3 features that something like sharptools or actiontiles have that the ST app is missing?

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In a Forum like this, I definitely think it’s best to let our Customers offer the answers and endorsements (at least for the most part). We have thousands upon thousands who continue to find ActionTiles a valuable part of their SmartThings homes, even while the SmartThings App offers unique features that we do not duplicate, in favor of focusing on our strengths.

Please feel welcome to send follow-up questions to us at Support@ActionTiles.com

To get our existing Customers overviews see:

Our published Galleries of Panels (there are 3 on our own Forum - this latest gallery post links to the others): https://support.actiontiles.com/communities/12/topics/7023-show-me-your-panels-gallery-3-enhanced-themes

And our Recommendations/Reviews on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ActionTiles/reviews

Oh - And our original collection of more genuine endorsements posted on our website:


Tagging @625alex here to follow along and perhaps chip in with the use cases he had in mind when inventing (and evolving) SmartTiles and ActionTiles.


PS: ActionTiles is currently on promo #FallBack Sale for only $23.99 vs the usual affordable $28.99. No coupon needed, but this sale price expires end of Monday November 11th, 2019.

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I use Sharptools, although my point here applies to ActionTiles as well.

While you could just run the ST app on a tablet, you will do a lot of clicking around in the app to get to where you want. Contrast that with having a panel designed just as you want it with everything (unless you have a ton of stuff) on the main screen.

I have the ST app loaded on my phone, but I also have a SharpTools dashboard loaded on my phone. I find that I prefer using that dashboard over rooting through the ST app to find what I want. For example, on the phone’s dashboard, I can get at my lights, set the SHM status, run routines, open/close garage doors and see the status of my leak sensors all on one page.

Additionally, with SharpTools, and likely ActionTiles, running on a tablet, so can display other things not on the ST app. A video cam feed, the weather or a map showing traffic in your area are three things that come to mind.

So while you’ll have to decide if ShartTools or ActionTiles is a better fit, I think you’ll certainly find that either provides a much more robust environment that running the ST app on a tablet, particularly one that is wall mounted.

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The best things about the third party dashboards for me ( and what makes them much better than the native app) are

  1. true dashboard functionality, with no admin functions exposed. So no one can accidentally delete devices or automations

  2. ability to customize the display to show only the devices I want to show on that panel. Classic use case: you have two kids, and you don’t want them turning the lights on and off in the other one’s room. :wink: but also you can just make a much cleaner display.

Other people also like the ability to include a video thumbnail.

The following are I believe all ActionTiles, from different project reports in the forum.

IMG_1038 IMG_1242 image image ![image|500x500]

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Thank you for your responses. Indeed I’m starting to understand especially after looking at some of the Galleries from https://support.actiontiles.com/communities/12/topics/7023-show-me-your-panels-gallery-3-enhanced-themes and pics posted by @JDRoberts (which seem to be everywhere :slight_smile: ) how with a bit of imagination you can indeed create a dashboard that far surpass what ST app can offer at the moment. Such a great place this community where oldtimers really take the time to help a noob out

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I use actiontiles and wouldn’t change. I did look at the others mentioned here and tbh for me it doesn’t come close.

This is two old screenshots I took as I was building the dashboards. They’ve moved on quite a bit since these were done.

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ActionTiles is what I use. I never bothered to check out anything else.

The few times I had a question, Terry was right there, replying within an hour.

I am not receiving compensation for my review. It is the truth.

I really like the media file which lets me put the current weather radar as a panel. Looks like the rain is going to the southeast.

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ActionTiles for the win!

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@JDRoberts and @Bry did a great job of summing up why many people use dedicated dashboards compared to the native app. Dashboards provide a customizable interface that you can tailor to your particular needs.

In addition to your smart device integration, some of the popular SharpTools.io features include a complete Rule Engine, integrations with Calendars, News Feeds, Other Platforms, Album Art and more.

Here’s a video showing what we had on display at the Samsung Developer Conference last week in the SharpTools booth:

And here’s a few neat layouts:

Jukebox
This shows off some of the power of having an integrated Rule Engine. Using the Rule Engine, you can control parts of devices that are otherwise inaccessible. For example, the tiles on the right side of this dashboard let you quickly access a variety of preset stations and albums.

Wall Mounted iPad
They also show their dashboards on Fire Tablets, Echo Show and other devices. (reference)

Custom Side Navigation
This customer took advantage of our custom iframe API to build a custom side navigation:

You can find more information and inspiration on the SharpTools website and community:

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The top 3 feature for my dashboard is to check the door/sensor status at glance, view calendar and weather every morning before head out and play music to my echo & sonos. I have dedicated “jukebox” dashboard like @joshua_lyon showed. Needlessly to say, controlling device/location status is the basic feature we use daily.

Since you just started in HA, you may not have many devices yet. Why don’t you take advantage of SharpTools’ free plan and decide if you want to upgrade when your smart home grows later?

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I’m sold :slight_smile: My head was spinning yesterday from thinking way to much in to it because these are some obvious advantages that you get from using a custom dedicated dashboard that I just could not see. Thanks everyone who took the time to respond and post images. Both actiontiles and sharptools look awesome and give that both are pretty affordable I might just give both a try and play around with them before hanging one on the wall.
P.S. That jukebox dashboard is simply amazing

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There is a setting in the builder for each tile. I wanted to make them as invisible as possible when they were in the normal state but when they are on, I wanted them to stand out. This is under effects. I set them to glow.

If you have any more questions just ask

Tom

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Thank you @Tom_Guelker. I’m sure I’ll have more questions once I start working on it so I appologiese in advance if my questions will be “to basic” . I am reading a lot and watch a ton of videos but I’m still a bit overwhelmed. I think I’ve started with to many things at once but … I’m loving it :slight_smile:

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We all started out being overwhelmed. Feel free to ask any questions. I will do my best to answer them

Tom

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Just saw Justin published a video for how to create the jukebox dashboard with his echo device. Think you might be interested.

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Please post the link for that

https://youtu.be/Vz8bzMLz224

Or you could just click on the graphic in @jamesguitar3 's post.

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