Why so many negative reviews?


I am curious why there are so many bad reviews of the SmartThings applicaiton? Does it hang up when setting automated rules, etc.? If I have a door sensor, motion sensor, and a couple of lights I just want to pop up the application and turn on and off does it often not work? Or are there issues getting it setup?

The Smarthings hub on Amazon has pretty solid reviews, but the application on the Apple Store has horrid reviews. I would like to get the hub and a few sensors and what not but am hesitant because of the poor reviews and wondered if anyone had feedback of what doesn’t work well.

(Scott G) #2

The app is definitely not the best part of the ST experience. The UI could use an overhaul in general. I’d check out the below thread and others in the Mobile App section for more specific info. I don’t mind the app, but I only have 35 devices. Users with a lot more devices run into more trouble with presenting a good overview of their devices, finding the right device (no names, only icons), and also the app can be slow to load/refresh its connection.

(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #3

It is worth noting that SmartThings on Amazon has a 3.8 out of 5 Star - :star::star::star::star: rating…

(Ron S) #4

If I trusted the Amazon reviews I wouldn’t have the ST hub and a life! It’s this community which is ST plus us who believe! And isn’t this ever helpful community a testimonial enough? We rant, we scream, we praise, we shout but we all love ST…

(Convinced ST will never be unbroken…) #5

not only does it not show correct state of devices, it is so dog slow that I don’t even use it anymore unless I have to.

(Ron S) #6

@scottinpollock C’mon! At least I learn from you everyday. Even today I used your thread about hubcommands to try to investigate my hue hub issues! I am sure things will be better for us! If you give up, where do learners like us stand?

Do it at least for "smart’s"things if not Smartthings! :wink:

(Paul) #7

The app is quite clunky and limited. To get the most out of the ST platform, you pretty much have to dive into the IDE and try to learn their Groovy programming language, (without much documentation, I might add…).

That said, if you’re willing/interested in putting in the effort of mining this community, ST is a wonderful place to be.

(Convinced ST will never be unbroken…) #8

It just isn’t fun anymore. The better part of a minute to open the app? An IDE that is just painful to use. Of what use are these? I have moved all of my control surfaces to either iRule or Tasker shortcuts. The really frequently used ones are Tasker shortcuts on my home screen, like the widgets we should have had from the SmartThings app long ago.

Most of this stuff communicates directly with HAM Bridge, which calls local API’s, and on occasion, SmartThings. SmartThings still handles some motion actuated devices and notifications, but since the last update it can’t even get that right. I have had several false motion triggers in the middle of the night since the update; never had ONE before. Even had motion notifications when in a mode that is set to ignore them, and woke up both mornings last weekend without hot water!

Everything called from HAM Bridge, and the API’s it calls work 100%. Every schedule in my Hue Bridge work 100%. My cloud based Wireless Sensor Tag stuff seems 100% as well. But SmartThings is still hit or miss, and when it does miss, it seems it goes out of its way to inconvenience me as much as possible (waking me up in the middle of the night, having no hot water in the morning, telling me my garage door is open when I am away, etc.).

I think that at this point the expectation that things should be getting better is not unreasonable, but my experience is that things continue to worsen. I think part of this has to be that they have no methods for real world use testing before deployment, and even if they do, they’re broken too.

I haven’t added anything to my SmartThings since last November. Instead, I am adding devices and methods I can be confident in. I am so close to just adding a Z-Wave stick to my Mini and being completely done with it however, I will wait for the new app (and the new hub) to see if this stuff turns into something more than just a colossal hack.

(Bruce) #9

The nature of the failures since the recent update (13.13) has completely changed from before. Mode restrictions failing (apps firing when they shouldn’t): used to be rock solid, now flaking out. Scheduled events not firing: Support found my “automations out of sync with our database”. How the heck does that happen? Latest new problem: a SmartApp completely lost its state. Hello? Where did it go? How did that happen? These are very basic things going wrong.

If these are random failures then the entire platform must be subject to x% failure, where x is non-trivial. Or, the platform may be super buggy, and we as users just keep turning things over and reporting failures. Not good. Definitely not improving. These sorts of failures have become daily events. My new hobby is very time consuming – debugging SmartThings. I can’t find time to debug my app (which has its own issues of my creation) for all the time I spend searching logs to track down the failures of ST in hopes they might be fixed.

(Alex) #10

Me and my users are loosing authentication tokens. This happened before, but then got stable for a while. Now again.

(Ron S) #11

I hear you, @scottinpollock. Just trying to keep my spirits high even though I am so depressed mentally and physically. Will spend this weekend moving all my hues etc. to the hue stock app or iConnectHue and remove ST from the equation. I had a horrible time with Hue connect last few days and well, enough is enough, I guess.

(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #12

So here is the breakdown of the reviews of the SmartThings Hub on Amazon:

I think this puts some perspective on the matter, even if the value of consumer review statistics (Amazon, Yelp, etc.) is questionable.

111 - Five-Star highly-satisfied customers; can this be compared to a couple dozen active folks in this Community Forum that are “very-dissatisfied”?

Probably apples and oranges … not a meaningful comparison…

It will be interesting to observe the trend of customer ratings over time as the number of reviews becomes more statistically significant and as particular milestones of SmartThings are rolled out.

(Bruce) #13

How about an actually working ST being rolled out, as opposed to the flaky and unreliable ST of today? I think we now know why ST “service” is free — They could never get away with this low quality if people had to pay for the service. There is no free lunch, as ST is going about proving beyond all doubt.

(Jody) #14

There is an odd psychology involved in reviews as well. Very rarely are people so pleased with a product do they make the effort to write a review. When someone is displeased with a product they are more likely to take the time to write the negative review. The fact that there are 10’s of thousands of hubs out there and only 111 reviews on amazon and 800 reviews on the android app store is very telling. Most people have not been compelled either way. The majority of reviews in the android app store are favorable as well. I believe the ST platform has not hit a nerve either way in the public consciousness; apparently most people are just content with it.

(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #15

Do you think that the Amazon review statistics are taking into account the low entry price?

This is a philosophical question I am always very interested in. I usually find the opposite is true: Sometimes a very inexpensive (yet functional) product is given horrible reviews which leaves me shaking-my-head… i.e., what do you expect for $4.99?!

I suppose if we’re really interested in a meaningful understanding of the consumer sentiment towards SmartThings, it is necessary to read the individual reviews and apply some categorical adjustments to account for such things as price satisfaction, comparison and knowledge of alternatives, size of installation (number devices and SmartApps installed), etc…

(Bruce) #16

Actually, I don’t care AT ALL what consumer sentiment toward SmartThings is, because I’m a consumer who has spent a lot of money because of ST’s false promise of functionality, and I’m having lights turn on randomly or not at all because they can’t get their basic platform to work for more than a day at a stretch.

(Convinced ST will never be unbroken…) #17

Works both ways I suppose. I am more inclined to leave a positive review than a mediocre one. If I find something I truly think is stellar, my motivation is to share that information with others, and to support the company that has done such a fine job any way I can. If the product is ‘meh’, I usually won’t waste my time.

But I don’t do Android reviews at all. My purchases are made from an account that has no public presence, and I won’t post from it publicly (which Google now requires).

(Timothy O Connor) #18

smartthings is garbage, pure and simple. I’ve had the system for over a year, and it’s basically just a big pile of shit that never gets better. The mobile app is super slow, it constantly breaks, and the smart apps I’ve made still behave non-deterministically at various times. The platform is just poorly made, and we can only expect it to stay shitty now that ST has sold out to Samsung, and presumably everyone is just sitting on their butts waiting for their retention bonuses to kick in.

(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #19

So should I put you down as “3-Stars” then? :speak_no_evil:

(Ron S) #20

@timothyoconnor isn’t it too harsh, my friend? Let’s hope for the best and I am pretty sure that they are at least not sitting on their butts but trying to help us with limited resources and growing user base from people trying to simply switch on a light to ST supported bullets! :wink: I rant much more every day but I at least I can vouch that they are trying… About the Samsung thing… I am not at all a fan… The only thing related to Samsung that I own is just a TV (with regrets) and ST (I still can’t digest that).