For years I’ve wanted smart blinds in my home. I never pulled the trigger though, partially because different brands used different radio protocols and because of the cost. After testing out a demo of Eve Motion Blinds with Thread support, I might finally be getting out my wallet. These blinds are quiet, work with my other Thread and HomeKit devices, and are a little less expensive than competing products.
Again, I just have a demo unit, which was made specifically for testing. I received a two-foot-wide version of Eve Motion Blinds that extends roughly three feet. Included in my review unit are custom, metal holders to attach the motorized cassette that rolls the shades up and down. It’s an easy way for reviewers to experience the product without a physical installation.
The Eve Motion Blinds themselves are well designed too. They look like any modern roller shades at first glance. Look closer and you’ll see two small aspects telling you these are smart blinds. One is a USB Type-C port, used to charge the blinds, and the other is a small QR code for HomeKit. This is actually hidden, ingeniously tucked inside the pull handle for the blinds. Move the pull handle up the string to scan the code and then return the handle to hide it.
The setup process, as with most all HomeKit-compatible devices, is simple.
You first activate the blinds by plugging in the included 3-meter USB cable into them. You also use this port to recharge the blinds. Eve hasn’t said how long the battery lasts and I’d recommend using a portable phone charging battery to move from blind to blind when recharging. Attaching the other end of the cable to a power source turns the blinds on, as indicated by a little green LED. Presumably, you’d activate the blinds first and then install them over a window.
Then it’s just a matter of opening the Apple Home app, clicking a button to add an accessory, and scanning the QR code of the blinds. A few seconds later, the blinds are part of your home and you can add them to a room, or rooms, as needed.
There are a few more setup steps that require the Eve app. However, I can understand why that is. And it only takes a minute or two.
For example, you need to tell the app if your new blinds are mounted inside your window frame or outside of it. You also select if the blinds are rolling down from the front or the back of the cassette and if the pull cord is on the left or right. Lastly, you extend the blinds to the lowest position you want and note that in the app. Optionally, you can set a “favorite position”, such as halfway. If you do, the blinds will open or close to that spot with a pull on the cord or the tap of a button on your phone.
So how do they work? Excellently, although I expected that they’d react a little more quickly after a voice command or an in-app button press. That’s because these work over the Thread protocol. My other Thread devices respond almost instantly. The blinds show a few-second lag, however.
I suspect that’s to save energy because of what I saw in the Eve app when looking at my Thread network. Unlike other Thread devices in my house, the Eve Roller Blinds have “Sleepy” capabilities with a 5000 milliseconds (5 seconds) interval. Given that the motors use more power than a sensor alone, I can understand this configuration. And smart blinds don’t necessarily need the instant response of a light switch.
Ignore the little bit of blind kinking at the bottom right, as I had the right metal foot a little too tight initially. A few up and down rolls of the shade worked that area flat again.
Overall, the Eve Motion Blinds are relatively quiet and smooth. Having not used other smart blinds, I can’t compare their sound or speed. Since these work with HomeKit though, I did test scheduling and automation. Note that if you don’t have a Thread network, the blinds also support Bluetooth.
I tested automations in the Apple Home app, although you can use the Eve app as well. I used Home because I wanted to use trigger events from other HomeKit devices. My Logitech Circle View Doorbell has a LUX sensor, for example, so I created an automation to raise the blinds when the sun rose. I used 1,000 LUX as a general trigger event. Sure enough, once it was bright enough the next morning, the Eve Motion Blinds opened automatically. Scheduling times to open or close the blinds worked right on cue during my tests.
So clearly, these work well in a HomeKit environment and connect seamlessly to any existing Thread network. How much do they cost and where do you get them?
In the U.S., Eve has partnered with SelectBlinds for online orders. There you can configure your blinds by size, color, material (light-blocking or room-darkening), and some other options such as the cassette and bracket color or a fabric cover for the cassette. Prices will vary based on your choices. Customers in supported EU regions can purchase their blinds from SmartBlinds.com
I priced out three 60″ x 60″ blinds for large windows in our home and it worked out to around $1,050 for the trio. The same configuration for Lutron Serena shades is nearly $600 a window. So, relatively speaking, the Eve Motion Blinds are more affordable.
In fact, my wife likes these so much at this cost that she’s finally on board with smart blinds, so it’s likely we’ll have our own in the near future. After watching the simple setup process, she even volunteered to install them.