- Easy to install yourself
- Sleek, modern design and feel
- Variety of handy control features you can select/set away from home
- Very limited range of finishes to switches and sockets
LightWave recently joined the Smart Home market, offering a variety of devices that can be installed around your home and controlled via your smart device. They have now released their 2nd generation of devices and we got sent the hub and a couple of devices to try out. This is the future, its gone past the gimmick stage and is now becoming a worthwhile reality.
The devices they have on offer are split between five different categories, Lighting, Power, Heating, Control & Sensors. These devices work with Apple HomeKit, Google Home, IFTTT and Amazon Echo
- Lighting – 1 or 2 gang dimming light switch
- Power – 2 gang smart socket
- Heating – boiler switch, thermostat & smart radiator valve
- Control – the hub, a requirement!
- Sensors – electricity monitor & magnetic trigger (aka window/door contact)
These devices are DIY and have been manufactured for easy install, so you can install them yourself BUT if you feel you are not competent to do so, make sure you get a professional in to install them. I know that will cost money, probably quite alot actually but don’t play with electricity kids! That being said, some of the products are plug and play, such as the plug in sockets, so there is a solution for everyone.
These devices can be controlled via the Lightwave app (free) and when paired with the Link Plus hub, it allows control of upto 80 heating & monitoring devices, and upto 256 lighting & power devices. That’s rather impressive! The app allows you to control everything about these devices, when they come on, what they are to do etc. For example, the app allows you to set pre set lighting scenes, suitable for any occasion i.e. dimmed lights for movie night OR it lets you set the temperature of a room, at this specific time, on this day. The app is also accessible remotely, as long as you have an internet connection on your device and it also allows you to monitor your energy usage.
I installed both a switch and socket, along with the hub, into my home to try out. The sockets & switches come in a brushed, gun metal finished, with black inserts, which is the only finish they do at present. They have a neon blue indicator light and sit proud of the wall. For me, this doesn’t fit in with the decor of my house and with only one finish, that’s rather limiting. Gun metal is a popular finish for modern homes and is far more luxurious than white plastic, so should cater to a lot of people.
There are two stages to setting the system up, installing the device and setting up the hub. Installing the socket & switch was very easy, it was a case of taking the old off and replacing with the new. Instructions were easy to understand and help. Please ensure you TURN OFF the power associated with each circuit, before working with any electrics and if in doubt, seek professional help. Both items come with a back plate, this makes it look a lot neater but remember to feed the cables through first off, I didn’t and had to un screw the wiring! There also wasn’t plate screws provide which was a little odd, as my existing screws were not big enough, so I would have had to buy new ones.
Secondly, I needed to install the hub onto my network so I could pair everything together. In brief, plug the hub into your router, power it and then follow the app/website instructions. I initially tried to set the hub up via iOS app on my phone, but that didn’t work, why? I’m unsure, but I do know they recently released a new app, so maybe some teething issues. The second option was to do it via the LightWave website and I did eventually get it set up onto my network and was able to pair the switch & socket to my account/hub, via a step by step guide, which made it very easy to do.
As for performance, both the switch and the socket work as you would expect. The socket simply turns power on & off, as does the light switch (plus dimming). The app opens up the options to each device and allows you to do so much more. The app allows you to create lighting scenes (if you have multple circuits), set timers for certain lights to turn on & off OR just remotely control those lights. Similarly with the switch, you can set timers, remotely turn it on & off and even monitor your energy consumption. These features apply across the board with each of the LightWave devices. The app works well, its intuitive, modern, easy to navigate and overall, very easy to use.
Something you need to be aware of, the light switches only work with a number of compatible lamps. LightWave do show on their website which lamps are compatible, but they obviously cant test them all. I first installed the switch onto a circuit with Philips LED GU10 mains powered lamps, the switch didn’t work, the light just flickered. It was only when I swapped to a different room with tungsten lamps, that it worked. The switches DO work with LED downlights, just not the ones I had!
Prices start at £185 for a starter kit, which includes the hub and either a switch, socket or radiator valve OR Its £229 for a a hub, switch and socket. Once you’ve got that hub, you can purchase individual devices for a much lower price and increase your set up over time. The price point is competitive/slightly on the high side and I there isn’t a need for all your switches/sockets/radiators to have this technology. I like what LightWave have produced!
One trick I think they missed? No USB ports on the sockets, its 2017 guys!