Alexa-Powered Ecobee Switch+: Almost Light Switch of the Future
An Alexa-equipped light switch is coming to a wall near you. Smart thermostat company Ecobee announced on Tuesday that its new product, the $99 Switch+, will be available for purchase on March 26.
Ecobee’s Switch+ is a smart light switch and temperature/light sensor that comes with built-in Alexa functionality. It’s the first smart light switch to include Amazon’s personal assistant. The novelty of having Alexa in the wall has people excited, but reviewers have noticed some drawbacks to the new internet of things gadget.
Based on the early reception, it seems Switch+ is almost the light switch of the future, but it falls just short. “The Switch+ is an interesting product, and a harbinger of things to come, when all of our powered devices also include a smart assistant ready to listen to our commands,” Dan Seifert wrote in his review at The Verge. “The Switch+ isn’t perfect, but using it makes it feel like the truly connected home isn’t far off.”
One of Seifert’s gripes with the Switch+ is that it doesn’t allow you to dim the lights, a function one would want from an expensive smart switch. Other reviewers, and lots of people on Reddit, picked up on this glaring omission as well.
“No dimming? How disappointing. I was very interested in this smart light switch but if it can’t handle dimming, that’s a dealbreaker for me :(,” wrote Reddit user FoferJ.
Ry Crist at CNET also picked up on the lack of a dimmer, but praised Ecobee for creating an easy-to-install, functional alternative to the Amazon Dot. “Sensor tech and built-in Alexa access make this an intriguing smart switch — we just wish it’d dim the lights,” Crist wrote.
But the lack of dimming capabilities didn’t bother everyone. Kim Wetzel at Digital Trends praised the Switch + as an ambitious hodge-podge of functions that performs greater than the sum of its parts. “The Ecobee Switch+ combines seemingly random features into a useful device,” Wetzel wrote. “Excellent app integration and Alexa inclusion puts it a notch above its competitors.”
If you’ve got $100 to spare, Ecobee’s Switch+ seems like a fun gadget to own. But before you buy, remember that it won’t dim the lights.