Switchbot Hub Mini Review

Posted on 14th September 2020 by Mark Tiddy.

The Switchbot Hub mini is a £29 smarthome hub for adding extra features to Switchbot devices and making your remote controls smart. You can watch a video review over on my YouTube channel.

The Switchbot Hub mini is a way of adding voice control and out of home control to Switchbot’s devices alongside allowing you to control any infrared remote control through you phone.

The Device

The Switchbot Hub Mini is pretty small and compact with rounded edges. It has a status light which you can disable and is powered via a microUSB cable.

It connects to your existing Switchbot devices using bluetooth and connects to your home wifi to enable voice control and out of home access. It’s worth noting that for it to work with remote controls it must be in the same room as the device you want to control (simply because that’s how infrared works!)…it also needs to be within bluetooth range of the Switchbot devices you want to control with your voice/out of home.

Set Up

Setting up the Hub is super easy…you download the Switchbot app, click the add button and then follow the instructions.

From there on you can adjust the settings in your other Switchbot devices to allow cloud access.

How well does it work?

In terms of how well it works we should talk about the three main features.

  1. Out of home control – Using the Hub allows you to control switchbot devices from anywhere…this works well every time and is great!
  2. Voice Control – The Hub lets you add voice control for your devices via Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri Shortcuts and IFTTT. Again, this works every time although Alexa commands need to be preceded by the phrase ‘turn on’ which means a scene that turns up your TV ends up with the command ‘Alexa, turn on turn up TV’ which is a little clunky but works every time (unlike Samsung’s official Alexa skill).
  3. Remote Control Mirroring – This feature lets you set up any existing remote control with your device which you can then operate from your phone. Setting up is easy with a few ‘one touch setup’ options for devices such as TVs and there is then the option to manually add missing buttons. The interface for a remote isn’t the prettiest but (and importantly) it works every time making this a great alternative to the Harmony Hub.

The final thing to talk about is scenes within the Switchbot app which have been really well thought out. They can operate on a timer (e.g. at 3pm) or on manual activation and you can even tag commands together…for example you might turn on a lamp and your coffee machine or (in my case) to turn up my TV volume it presses volume up 4 times. You can then link these scenes to the voice control services too.

Summary

All in all, the Hub has surprised me. I started not understanding the point of it and now I think it’s an essential accessory for anyone using Switchbot devices but also for anyone looking to make a remote control smart…and at £29 it’s a bargain!

You can pick one up here

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© Mark Tiddy 2020