For the last week, I’ve been testing three products: the Eve Weather, Eve Door & Window Sensor, and Eve Energy Plug. These are all Apple HomeKit devices, but more importantly, they’re also Thread compatible. The best summary of my experience? This is what the smart home should be.
On the surface, the Eve products themselves aren’t tremendously unique. A door & window sensor is a door & window sensor after all. But they work well for their respective functions and they illustrate the benefits of a Thread network in your smart home. I’ve covered these prior in a recent “Thread 101” post but I’ll explain the experience in detail. Note that I’m using the Apple HomePod mini as a Thread router, so you’ll need one for the full experience.
First though, a quick overview of the products themselves, all of which were extremely easy to set up using the standard Apple HomeKit process: Just scan a QR code with your iOS device and go.
The new $69.95 Eve Weather Connected Weather Station, which goes on sale later this week, looks similar to the model it replaces. This is a small IPX3 water-resistant display with three sensors to measure temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure. It runs on a coin cell battery and supports both Bluetooth LE and Thread connections. I mounted the Eve Weather my back deck, away from the sun, which can skew the temperature readings.
This model’s display shows more information than the prior model. Indeed, it shows everything: your local temperature, humidity, and a 12-hour weather trend icon based on the barometric pressure. Calling it a “weather station” may be a stretch because you’re only getting a general forecast based on that pressure. Still, having local temperature and humidity is more specific than from a non-local source.
I also appreciate that you can automate actions based on this very local weather.
We typically set our HVAC system to a schedule but with automations in HomeKit or the Eve app itself, we can trigger the heat to rise a little if the outdoor temperature drops beyond a certain point.
You’ll note in my historical graph image, the Eve Weather didn’t capture data.
I replaced the included battery and that resolved the issue.
And it led me to truly appreciate the self-healing network feature provided by Thread.
Once I replaced the battery, the Eve Weather was reconnected to the Thread network in under 30 seconds.
Eve Energy Plug
Like the Meross HomeKit Dual Wi-Fi plug I recently reviewed, the $39.95 Eve Energy Plug is a smart plug. This device too looks like the model it replaces. It provides a single 3-pole outlet, so you don’t get two outlets like the Meross offers. But you do get two other benefits: Both Bluetooth LE and Thread compatibility and the ability to monitor energy usage.
Using HomeKit, the Eve app, or Siri to control the outlet is super snappy, thanks to Thread. It’s nearly as fast as switching a physical switch when using the Thread network. You can also automate or schedule any accessories plugged into the smart outlet.
And of course, being a data-driven individual, I look at the plug’s energy consumption in the Eve app. Again, Eve provides historical data and can even calculate the electricity cost of the plug.
Eve Door & Window sensor
If you’ve seen one door & window sensor, you’ve seen them all. Eve’s product here is no different: The two sensor pieces use a magnet to determine proximity to each other and therefore if a door or window is open. Or closed, for that matter.
This $39.95 product can be purchased now because it’s actually not a just-launched new model. However, after a quick firmware update, you gain Thread support. And again, it’s Thread that has me recommending this sensor over competing ones; at least if you’re a HomeKit user.
I have an older Samsung door & window sensor installed on my home office door. I use it to let me know when someone enters the room as I’m working since my desk faces away from the door. I often have headphones on when I work as well and I got tired of having people “sneak up” on me. Truth be told, I was more tired of being startled by them.
So when my office door opens, I have an automation that turns on a LIFX bulb with red color for about two seconds. The Samsung sensor has done the job admirably for the last six months. The Eve sensor though? It’s much more responsive. That red alert happens before someone can even step into the room because the signal over Thread is that fast. By comparison, the Samsung seems ridiculously slow.
Aside from setting automations based on the sensor status, the Eve app also provides (you guessed it) historical information. I can see how many times the door has been opened, for example, or see the exact time of day it was opened or closed.
About that Thread
While I’d consider all of the Eve products I’ve been using to be good on their own, it’s the Thread support that makes them great. Each device has super-fast response times, can easily reconnect to the Thread network if the situation arises, and has a better wireless range than traditional Bluetooth devices.
I tested this range by removing the Eve Weather and walking away from my house. It wasn’t until I was nearing the end of my mesh Wi-Fi network range that the Eve Weather started to periodically lose its Thread connection. I was able to walk around 60 feet from my home before this happened. That’s far more distance than most Bluetooth devices I’ve used.
Eve didn’t just integrate Thread support into these products either. Instead, Eve embraced it.
Within the Eve app settings is a way to view the Thread network. In my case, it shows the HomePod mini as the main router, which sends all data from the network to the internet as needed for remote access.
It also shows the Eve Energy Plug as a secondary router that helps build out my Thread network. As that secondary router, the smart plug can support child devices but can’t get the data from them, or itself, to the internet. Lastly, I can see the other two Eve devices as Thread endpoints. The app also shows the connectivity strength of the router devices.
Keep in mind that there’s no setup process for the Thread network. There are no pairing hassles or Z-Wave exclusions when removing devices. Nothing. It just works.
I couldn’t recommend the Thread-supported Eve products any higher other than by saying this: If Eve makes a Thread product that you want in your HomePod mini-equipped smart home, don’t think twice. Buy it and experience the future of the smart home.