Smart home technology is an exciting and fast moving field. It’s also one that can be intimidating to less tech savvy users. One new gadget, courtesy of Logitech, hopes to simplify the process, offering accessible technology to more mainstream users. It’s called Pop and it takes us back to the days of physical switches.
Open up your newly acquired Logitech Pop and you’ll be impressed at how little is involved. Entirely wireless, attractively boxed up and backed by a small slip of instructions, it’s far from intimidating stuff. The Starter Pack is comprised of one bridge and two switches, with the idea being that you place each switch in a different room.
The bridge plugs into a regular wall outlet, while battery-powered switches can be placed anywhere in the home via bundled sticky pads. The sticky pads are non-destructive, meaning you don’t have to worry about paintwork, plus they’ll twist off the wall just as easily if you choose to move them around. The bridge is small and easily hidden away once plugged in, meaning it won’t mess up your living room aesthetic.
Set up is similarly straight forward. Install the Logitech Pop app on your smartphone, pair the device via Bluetooth, and enter your Wi-Fi password. You can then move onto creating ‘recipes’ and commands for your switches in a similarly simplistic fashion. The idea is to avoid an overly complex or bloated interface. While something like the Logitech Harmony might be an immensely powerful remote, it also requires a lot of set up. Pop simply just works, meaning anyone with a smartphone should be capable of figuring it out. Once set up, there’s no phone reliance either, meaning any visitor to your home can interact with the switches just the same as they would a regular light switch. A 5 year battery life is promised for each switch meaning it’s a fairly low maintenance system.
The potential is pretty vast, too. It’ll hook up to everything from your Phillips Hue Lights to a Sonos music system or Lutron smart blinds. Working in conjunction with a Logitech Harmony hub, it’ll also commit to an impressive amount of different commands. The convenient thing here is that you don’t feel overwhelmed. In a matter of seconds, you can quickly set up one Pop switch to work as a light switch for your smart lights, or as a way of activating your music system. The Logitech Pop app offers recipe creation not unlike IFTTT, but in a much simpler fashion. A few taps and you’ve easily set up a simple command.
Each switch might only offer one single, big button, but they can be programmed to do three different things. A short, long and held press dictates each form of command, with the idea being that you have one switch in each room to control your devices. Combined with the recipe creation side of things, that opens up a lot more potential, while again not intimidating to those new to smart home automation.
In a matter of moments, I had things set up so that upon entering my living room, one tap of a button turned the lights on, two taps turned my TV on (through my Harmony hub), and a held press could switch everything off. That’s mostly down to Logitech Pop’s app being intuitive and simple to understand. A little more digging under the hood means more can be accomplished too, via integration with IFTTT triggers.
It comes at a small cost, though. At one point, my Logitech Pop bridge lost its connection with my router. Despite trying to repeat the process, I never figured out why it did, but it was trying to repair it that proved to be the bigger issue. The bridge doesn’t have a physical reset button and no amount of poking around in the app helped me out until I eventually rebooted the router and everything “magically” fixed itself. That’s not an unusual occurrence when dealing with some Wi-Fi/router based woes, but I did feel a bit restricted by options within the app. Its help section proved to be not as helpful as everything else about the device. Given Logitech Pop’s relative youth in the field, I’d assume future app updates would ensure that such issues can be quickly corrected.
As it stands, Logitech Pop is a fine addition to the smart home fold. Crucially, it’s ideal for those users interested in pursuing a smarter home, but intimidated by more complex options. A starter pack will run you $99.99, including a bridge and two switches, while additional switches can be purchased for $39.99 each. A choice of four colors are available for the looks conscious home owner.