Smart light switches currently come in two flavors: cheap and tacky looking or absurdly expensive with likely unnecessary features such as touch screens and intercoms.
Sometimes you just want a nice-looking light switch that won't cripple your smart home when someone actually uses it.
That's the problem Smartlabs is offering a solution for with its new line of smart switches and outlets.
Featuring paddle and dial switches, a four-button, multi-function keypad, an outlet, and a bridge â the smart lighting system is based on Insteon technology.
One of the original smart lighting technologies, Insteon is owned by Smartlabs, and the Nokia line works over a proprietary dual-mesh network that combines RF and power line tech, meaning the smart light switches will work even if Wi-Fi is down.
The products have a clean, modern aesthetic while not being light-years away from familiar wall switches and dial designs, so your friends will be able to use them.
âWe understand that every home is different, so weâve created the new Nokia Smart Lighting products to complement any style of home and make smart lighting easy for everyone to enjoy,â said Rob Lilleness, CEO of Smartlabs.
Pricing ranges from $39.99 to $59.99 per device with screw-less wall plates available in 1, 2, 3 and 4-gang versions from $3.99 to $6.99.
The big selling point here is that the Nokia Smart Lighting line works with any light fixture (dimmable or not), any type of bulb (yes, even that old incandescent you still have in the hall cupboard), and any wiring configuration (single pole or grouped). But all its products do require a neutral wire.
Also, while you can purchase a bridge for remote access, voice control, and other more advanced features, it's not required as the switches can communicate and control each other without the bridge.
At launch, the bridge enables Alexa and Google Assistant, but Smartlabs tells us there's more in the works, including Apple HomeKit.
Smartlabsâ says its "unique and patented dual-mesh technology" means Nokia Smart Lighting signals travel further without interruption than wireless-only systems. Plus, each device acts as a repeater for the network.
This system also works with the Nokia Smart Lighting App to group lights into room and control scenes from your smartphone.
The four-button keypad switch can be custom engraved with specific scenes or room names (a common feature in high-end professional install smart homes), so you can easily know what you're controlling. This add-on costs $20 per switch.
It's an interesting play, offering good-looking smart switches that don't need a Wi-Fi connection or cloud-account, they can just work in your home to bring you better control over your lighting, whether you are all-in on a smart home or not.
As a smart switch, there's nothing particularly innovative here, no motion sensing or light sensing. But there's a benefit in having one complete line that works together reliably. And with a cloud-connection enabled through the bridge, there's clearly room for innovation down the line.
The Nokia Smart Lighting line is now available for pre-order from nokia.smartlabsinc.com.