As the company’s first product, the Leeo Smart Alert Nightlight offers a small but clear thesis statement on its approach towards home automation technology. Instead of attempting to create some massive, dizzyingly complex, single system to revolutionize the way people live, it will bring change piece-by-piece with approachable smart devices that only perform limited tasks but before them very well.
With the Smart Alert Nightlight, those tasks are being an aesthetically pleasing minimalist nightlight and providing peace of mind by monitoring alarms while users are away. But while it does succeed at the goals it sets for itself, at $99, those goals might be too modest for its own good.
Regardless of how robust the Smart Alert Nightlight’s functionality may or may not be, at the very least it is a very pretty nightlight. The solid white disk, with its 3.4 inch diameter, adds the visual elegance of an Apple product to your wall without drawing unnecessary attention to itself. It’s clean and sleek, with only a few symmetrical lines and microphone holes marking the otherwise smooth surface, which makes sense considering its design comes for the masters of minimalism at Ammunition.
The reassuring glow of the rear light keeps the device looking soft, warm, and friendly like a nightlight should be, not a harsh, cold, and stark piece of machinery. The light can dim itself based on outside conditions, and users can even change the color with 16 million choices apparently available, although most are nearly imperceptible variations on red, blue, green, and so on. Colors also communicate various safety and set-up signals. Finally, it’s bright enough to keep a hallway safe to walk at night while being compact enough to leave room to plug other things into your wall.
With the word “smart” right in the name, the Smart Alert Nightlight has to do more than just look pretty. After downloading the free, iOS only, Leeo app, users sync the nightlight to their Wi-Fi connection and their phone to the nightlight via Bluetooth in a (mostly) painless process to access its full potential. The big selling point is that the nightlight can hear and identity smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors whenever they go off, even if the user isn’t home.
By putting their contact information into the app, the device then notifies users through their phones when an alarm goes off so they can contact the proper emergency services, as long as the catastrophe in question doesn’t knock out the power as well. For further security, users can put in extra contacts for the nightlight to reach out to including other family members and direct lines to the fire department.
It’s a useful idea that shrewdly reveals an unconsidered threat to home safety before granting a solution. My home never burned down while reviewing but the nightlight did correctly pick up the test beeps of both my smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector and warned me of possible danger. However, like the insurance policy it is, this feature is a relief that users will hope to never have to use.
So what they are paying for is a product that spends most of its time as a pleasant but ordinary nightlight that might hypothetically morph into a literal life saver one day. The app uses the nightlight to give users some mild environmental data like temperature and humidity, but after setting up the safety network there’s really no other reason to open it again.
The Leeo Smart Alert Nightlight feels lacking not because it does anything wrong but because the good things it does only go so far. It’s a beautiful nightlight, but not $99 worth of beautiful, and it has one great interactive security feature that’s only useful in one specific scenario. The focus on perfecting a single function is admirable, but here’s hoping the next Leeo smart home product has a less limited scope.