Samsung has broadened its range of SmartThings smart home gadgets with an all-new $89.99 SmartThings Cam, $17.99 SmartThings Wi-Fi Smart Plug, and a $9.99 SmartThings Smart Bulb. The new products slot neatly into the existing ecosystem and can be managed within the iOS or Android app. All three gadgets also support voice control via Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Samsung’s Bixby.
SmartThings has yet to confirm availability of the new kit in the UK, but the US pricing is very aggressive and seems to be targeted at people who are just beginning to kit out their home with smart gadgets. Getting them locked into the SmartThings ecosystem with these entry-level products makes a lot of sense.
Don’t be fooled by the low price because on paper at least, the new SmartThings-designed kit can stand toe-to-toe with pricier rivals.
The SmartThings Cam, for instance, is on par with the Nest Camera in many ways. It shoots in 1080p with a 145-degree wide angle view, boasts IR for night vision, people detection, and has two-way audio so you can talk to whoever is stood on your driveway if you, or Samsung’s software, don’t recognise them.
Samsung also throws in 24 hours of cloud storage for your footage, so you can always review anything recorded in the last day. If you’d like to back-up more video, SmartThings offers 30 days of cloud storage for up to eight smart cameras for $7.99 a month, or $79.99 per annum.
As well as the iOS and Android app, footage from the SmartThings Cam can be reviewed on the screen-boasting Samsung FamilyHub fridges, or a Samsung TV.
Interestingly, SmartThings doesn’t restrict any of its features to the paid subscription plan. That’s in contrast to Google’s Nest Cam and many other smart cameras, where you have to cough up a subscription each month or year in order to access certain features, including person detection.
The $9.99 SmartThings Smart Bulb is pretty bare bones when it comes to features. Unfortunately, those looking for millions of colours à la Philips Hue will be sorely disappointed. Instead, you’ll only have the ability to display white at 806 lumens, or a slightly warmer shade of white that dims the brightness. And that’s it. Also, while the Cam and Smart Plug don’t require a SmartThings hub, you will need one to use the Smart Bulbs.
Finally, the SmartThings Smart Plug lets you turn on or off anything plugged into it, whether via app, voice, on a schedule, or when triggered by a compatible sensor.
Despite its new range of entry-level, own-brand products, Samsung is not putting up any walls around SmartThings. The brand has confirmed it remains committed to being a platform for collaboration, with no plans to cut ties with any of the third-party smart home gadgets that it already works with.
SmartThings was originally conceived as a neutral platform to unify an array of different smart home brands with a single app and hub. Acquired by Samsung two years after it launched, SmartThings works with over 600 devices from 60 different companies. As such, the new SmartThings-branded devices have a lot of competition within their own ecosystem, as well as from rival/complimentary systems such as Apple HomeKit, Google Home and Alexa.