July 4, 2022

This Updated Curtain-Opening Robot Offers a Taste of Luxury

What smart home is truly complete without self-opening curtains? In movies, automatic curtains usually signal that we’re in the future (or that the protagonist is way too rich). With the SwitchBot Curtain, you can get a little taste of the good life by automating your curtains to open and close with the sun or on your preferred schedule. Pick up a SwitchBot Hub and you can even tell your preferred smart assistant to open the curtains while you lounge in bed.

The promise of sunlight gently waking you and curtains that automatically close to keep things cozy at night is exciting, but there is a price. A single SwitchBot Curtain Rod 2 costs $99, and you need two for a pair of curtains. A SwitchBot Remote is $19, and the SwitchBot Mini Hub is $39. Altogether, it’s comparable with the shallow end of the motorized curtain market, but SwitchBots can be retrofitted to your existing curtains quickly and easily without any drilling or need for a power outlet.

This is the second-generation SwitchBot. I tried the original last year and found it flawed, but the company has made several improvements that make this smart gizmo a worthwhile addition to your home. 

Curtain Call

SwitchBot App windows

Courtesy of SwitchBot

The original Switchbot had different versions you could buy for different types of curtains, but the revamped model only applies to standard rods. (There have been app updates that do apply to all models.) I have lightweight ring-top curtains with a uniform rod. The original SwitchBot Curtain Rod had a single clamp to go over the top of the rod, but the new version has two separate clamps that clip neatly into the bot body, which hangs after the first ring on your curtains. (It still might not work with all curtain types.)

The SwitchBot app guides you through the setup process, which is now much easier to follow. You connect to the bots via Bluetooth on your phone and calibrate the open and closed positions. Pick “open in the middle,” and you are prompted to add them as a pair, so they open and close together. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the newly designed Curtain Rod 2 opens and closes my curtains smoothly and consistently, which wasn’t the case with the original.

You can schedule the curtains to open automatically at set times, with different schedules for weekdays and weekends, or you can have them open and close when the sun rises and sets. Begin to open or close them by hand, and the motor kicks in and finishes the job for you. You can also use the app to open your curtains, and there is a slider if you want them partially open. This is a nitpick, but the app takes a few seconds to load and then another few seconds to respond, which is annoying.

If you want to get the most from your SwitchBot Curtains, you’ll need to make a few extra purchases. The two-button SwitchBot Remote ($19) offers a simple way to open and close them, though it really should be included with the SwitchBot itself. To use voice commands via Google Assistant, Alexa, or Siri, or to set up automation through IFTTT, you need a SwitchBot Mini Hub ($39). I use Google Assistant, and it works flawlessly. Voice command is my favorite way of opening and closing the curtains; it feels opulent to have your digital butler draw the drapes.

It does run off a battery, but you’ll only need to charge them once every few months via the USB-C port on the back. Alternatively, you can snag a SwitchBot Solar Panel ($19), which plugs into the back of the SwitchBot, or you can attach them to your curtains with adhesive-backed Velcro. Smart!

Source link