Smartthings Hub v2 vs. Harmony Hub Extender


I’m trying to decide whether to buy ST v2 or the newly released Harmony Hub Extender to go along with my Harmony Hub.

I’m only going to be using Z-Wave sensors, dimmers and switches with this hub, which needs to be integrated with the rest of my home entertainment devices (cable box, TV, A/V receiver, PS3, Apple TV, etc.) through the Harmony Hub. Some of the Z-Wave sensors I’ll be adding are Gen5, which I believe is supported by both hubs.

I’m pretty sure ST is a lot more flexible than Harmony Hub Extender regarding device compatibility and activities/rules, but I’m concerned that Logitech might lose interest in supporting ST now that they have released their own Z-Wave/Zigbee bridge.

Any thoughts?

I would go with ST Hub, Z-wave I believe while well supported will eventually loose the race in the HA sector, and ST V2 will be best supported for current trends in HA, And do you see Logitech going out of there way to support devices like our community does here

Different products that have different pluses and minuses, just like the other competitors. It is nice to have A/V devices in the system, so that’s a plus for harmony. But since the smart thing/harmony integration does work both ways now, that sort of evens out. You’re right of course that long-term harmony might not decide to continue that relationship, but those customers are their customers too. I don’t see them just dropping it anytime soon.

For me, the two big things that smartthings has right now are the echo integration, which is not available with harmony alone at the present time, and the ability to include locks in remote access rules. Harmony only allows control of locks from the local system, meaning when you are at home. That has some security pluses to it although since the account is a cloud account anyway they’re still vulnerable to hacking. But it does mean if you’re at the office, and you want to unlock your Zwave lock for your dog walker, there’s no way to do it with harmony. It’s easy with Smartthings.

The other factor, of course, is that the harmony extender is so new. I would want to wait at least a month to see what the reviews look like before making a decision. I also want to see what kind of a rules engine if any, harmony provides, since that’s a big weakness in the Smartthings system compared to a number of other competitors.

If harmony allows me to unlock a Z wave doorlock with a zigbee motion sensor inside the house, and An Ibeacon outside the house, has a decent rules engine, runs a lot of stuff locally, including a tablet app connection, I’d definitely consider switching.

But not without echo integration, that’s my make or break feature right now. :sunglasses:

Currently, Harmony is not compatible with Amazon Echo. However, I have forwarded your feedback as a feature request to the Product Management to be considered for the future developments. We cannot guarantee that this feature will be added but if it will be, an official announcement will be made. Thank you for sharing your feedback.
Best Regards,

Obviously it depends on your desired result. I’ve gone the route of best (or worst) of both worlds, but if I could buy only one it’d be Harmony. I know most people here have had the opposite of my experience, but for me it’s ST that fails all the time while Harmony (even WeMo) always work for me. I’ve had Harmony products for years and rarely ever had an issue, and ST isn’t going to easily control your AV experience anytime soon. At least not the way Harmony handles it.

Or longer.

Unless they completely overhaul their UI, they are still aiming this more at remote control users than the home automation users.

Right, I have both the harmony hub and smartthings. I don’t have the Harmony hub extender.

I wouldn’t want to give up either of the two, because it’s the combination that is working for one of my most important use cases, which is full handsfree voice control of my A/V devices.

But I am open to the possibility of switching eventually. As I’ve mentioned a number of times I’m going to do a full reassessment of what’s available in the marketplace in the summer of 2016 with the idea of moving into the next phase of my environmental control system. Harmony may well be one of the contenders at that point, although they’re going to have to come up with a good voice option to meet my particular requirements.

So as usual, I suspect different people will find that different systems are right for them. Choice is good. :sunglasses:

1 Like

Harmony has already invested a couple of million dollars in home automation through their partnership with Zuli. They really do intend to solve the micro presence issue, using the Harmony hub as the receiving station and Zuli switches in each room as the locators.

Really the biggest hangup has been finding the right indicator device. Phones sound obvious but not everyone carries their phones everywhere through the house. Harmony has been quietly waiting for the smart watch makers to add presence. When that happens, they will be ready to push automation, at least position-based automation, in a big way. but of course you’re right, they’ll need a whole new UI to set up the rules. But is @JoeC demonstrated in this community, it really doesn’t take that long to build a decent one as long as you have that mindset.

This is what I’ve been watching closely for about a year. It’s not there yet, but it may be here by summer 2016.

Now that’s awesome. I had not heard of Zuli. I’ve been following ibeacon for a couple years but have yet to invest in any product. This seems significantly better - if they can do it.

1 Like

I have two harmony hubs and they make great remotes with a little home automation sprinkled on top. Try setting up an activity that involves a contact sensor or a temperature change. Right now you can only use automation devices that have some sort of control. You can have an activity that locks your door, but you can’t start an activity when your door unlocks. So right now it’s just a remote and that would be my biggest hangup with it.


Looking a little deeper into the extender, it would not work for me at the present time.

It appears to only be supporting the very basic zwave command set with no way to add or modify device type. So, for example with a Schlagel lock you can lock it, unlock it, or view its status. That’s it. There’s no way to do something like the community created lock manager and set user codes or anything like that. It works with a limited set of sensors.

It appears that it can join another Z wave network as a secondary Z wave controller. But it has no way of joining another ZIgbee network. (That’s not unusual, ZIgbee doesn’t really have the concept of a secondary controller the way that zwave does. Control 4 has added this through proprietary code, but it doesn’t work with any other zigbee controllers, just their own.)

The only controller that harmony can fully integrate with for both Zwave and zigbee devices is smartthings, and that’s not using the extender device to do it, it’s our existing “Logitech triggers” integration.

Also, I don’t think there’s anyway to replicate the smart home monitoring notification type logic using the extender. Like letting me know that the gate has been opened. I can trigger an activity from the gate opening, but I don’t know what I could put in that activity that would add a notification. Maybe something with IFTTT, I don’t know. It doesn’t seem obvious.

So I think it’s just going to come down to the individual use cases each person has.

I have two Harmony home hubs and the ST and they complement each other fairly well. If it was my guess, the extender will just bring in the sensors to the Harmony universe for those who don’t want to go the ST route. But I don’t see them overhauling their entire platform to make it more home automation friendly. If home automation is important to you, then Harmony will be a big disappointment. The Harmony universe is centered around the remote, whereas ST is focused on automation. So it boils down to what you really want to accomplish.

1 Like

Bingo. It took a crude set of workarounds to get the harmony to do something it should be able to do in a way that is just obvious. Do something in reaction to a users actions within an activity. Bringing up the lights when you hit the pause button or dimming them when you hit play currently requires the user to make separate activities for each event.

Well, maybe Zuli Will bring the rules engine app with it when they released that integration. You can buy the Zuli plugs now, but they don’t work with harmony yet. “coming soon” :wink:

You’re right of course, but it sure is funny the posts I’ve read where users are arguing about missing or lost direct control. I think I read one post where Ben (discussing Nest) stated something about a thermostat not really needing direct control in a HA setup. I might have the “who said what” part wrong but the point is many people still want to pickup something and control a device within the HA setup. Maybe Harmony will appeal to a lot of people who aren’t content with setting it and leaving?

If you have the highest end remote that happens to have a touch screen. Otherwise, you are going to be pulling out your phone and opening an app. Say you happen to have Hamony, Nest, and SmartThings; which app will you open to fiddle with your thermostat?

Yep. That’s why I would prefer Alexa win it all, but that isn’t likely either.

Even with the highest end remote with touch screen, when you take a bath the fan won’t turn on when it reaches a predefined humidity level, unless your high end remote is IP68 certified, which mine is not.

Yep. That was the point I made earlier on in the thread. Harmony’s app will need a serious overhaul for it to be compared to SmartThings hub. Even with the added extender, it’s primarily focused on control and not automation. You will still need the remote or the app handy until they had some sort of scheduling/rules system. You can import a humidity sensor right now but I cannot find any way to use it in the app.

Wow! I’m amazed at how responsive this community is. I expected a few replies, but never this many and that fast. That alone makes me think ST might be a better alternative than Harmony Hub Extender.

There were so many interesting opinions and facts, that it’s hard for me to keep track of all of them, but something specific did catch my attention:

It has been mentioned more than once in this topic that Harmony currently does not offer the ability to respond to an event - such as a window/door sensor being triggered - and fire up an activity. And I would be able to do that with ST, right?

I’m asking this because part of my home automation project, in addition to intelligent lighting, involves a simple alarm system with sensors and sirens - and I’d really like to get notifications on my phone when a sensor has been triggered (in addition to turning the siren on, for example).

1 Like

But that goes back to the individual use case that JD has mentioned. I’m willing to bet that the majority of consumers couldn’t care less about such a scenario. I would consider it kind of neat, but I know my wife would think it an absolute waste of money. For those wanting the ultra tricked out…yeah, ST would be the way. Simple solutions with a handy dandy remote…Harmony.