Home Automation: Elgato Eve Degree & Eve Light Switch Review

Elgato has continued to expand its Eve line of HomeKit-compatible, home-automation products, with two recent additions being Eve Degree and Eve Light Switch. This article takes a look at both of these smart-home products to see if they are worth the investment.

Related: Home Automation: Eve Motion and Eve Weather Review

Master your iPhone in one minute a day:

Sign up to iPhone Life's Tip of the Day Newsletter and we'll send you a tip each day to save time and get the most out of your iPhone or iPad.

Eve Degree ($69.95)

Eve Degree is an improved version of the original Eve Room indoor humidity and temperature sensor. It's smaller than Eve Room and weatherproofed for outdoor use. However, one capability that Eve Degree doesn't have that Eve Room does is the ability to measure air quality.  This is offset by the most notable difference between the two products: Eve Degree's display. Unlike every other Eve product, Eve Degree is not just another rounded white box. Instead, it is a thin, lightweight sensor with a large LED-based readout showing current temperature in either Celsius or Fahrenheit measurements.

Connecting Eve Degree to your HomeKit-enabled network is as easy as all other adding any HomeKit component. Power up the Eve Degree, allow your iPhone to scan in the code on the accompanying HomeKit label and you're done. I still get a thrill each time I connect devices so easily this way because home automation was always such a convoluted hassle before HomeKit came along.

Unfortunately, in order to minimize battery consumption, Eve Degree's display is not lit, meaning you have to angle it in enough light to be able to clearly read the temperature value. By default, the temperature is displayed in Celsius, so if you prefer the Fahrenheit scale, you have to change it in the Eve app. Even though this sounds easy enough, it took me a couple minutes of tapping around the Eve app to locate where to change this setting. I also had expectations that the display would toggle between temperature and humidity readings, but it only shows temperature. It would have been nice at the very least to have the display alternate between time and temperature but I suspect the need to keep Eve Degree running on the least amount of power caused Elgato to remove such features from the product.

Overall, Eve Degree is a promising but flawed evolution of the original Eve Room. While I do appreciate its smaller size and the ability to use it both indoors and outdoors, I found myself referring to the Eve app for the temperature as it was usually too difficult to read the display in the dimly lit room I was using it in. The omission of the air-quality sensor found in the less expensive Eve Room was also a consequence of design tradeoffs that Elgato opted to make. The best use case I can think of for Eve Degree might be seated just outside a kitchen or balcony window to quickly check the outdoor temperature without having to check it on your phone; but without the proper mounting bracket, it would be far less expensive to just buy a cheap outdoor thermometer instead.

 

Eve Light Switch ($49.95)

Having reviewed nearly the entire Eve product line, there was one that I only now have had the chance to evaluate. The reason is because unlike all other Eve products that simply required a quick HomeKit connection to get working, the Eve Light Switch actually requires installation. Most of my home's light switches are three way, which the Eve Light Switch doesn't support. It's also not weatherproof, making it good for indoor use only. However, my laundry room light qualifies and that's where I installed the switch.

Installation is easy if you have replaced a wall switch in the past. If not, Elgato offers quick step-by-step instructions to get you started. Just remember to turn off power at your fuse box any time you're working with exposed electrical wiring.

Once installed, this touch-based switch works by simply tapping the switch surface to enable or disable electrical flow to power whatever light, lamp, or appliance connected to its circuit. The switch is strictly of the on/off variety, as it does not offer any dimming functionality. Of course, the real power of the switch is it is HomeKit-enabled so that the switch can be operated remotely and autonomously. The optimal Eve Light Switch use case would be to power an entire room's lighting from a single source rather than outfit each light socket with an expensive smart bulb. However, if you have already invested in a HomeKit-enabled smart lighting setup, the Eve Light Switch isn't really necessary especially given its strict on/off limitations.

Just like the other Eve products, the light switch can be controlled via Siri and the Apple Watch. It can also be added to an Apple Home scene for a fully automated sequence (such as activating the light switch at the time you need to wake up). The Eve Light Switch delivers rudimentary HomeKit functionality at a reasonable price in an attractive package. If you're not ready to make a significant investment in a smart home lighting system but want an easy introduction to home automation, the Eve Light Switch is a great product to start exploring this useful technology.

Master your iPhone in one minute a day: Sign up here to get our FREE Tip of the Day delivered right to your inbox.

Mike Riley is a frequent contributor to several technical publications and specializes in emerging technologies and new development trends. Mike was previously employed by RR Donnelley as the company’s Chief Scientist, responsible for determining innovative technical approaches to improve the company’s internal and external content services. Mike also co-hosted Computer Connection, a technology enthusiast show broadcast on Tribune Media's CLTV.