SwitchBot Hub 2 Test: Is an update worth it?
Switchbot has meanwhile earned a reputation as a manufacturer of high-quality smart home solutions at a fair price. It all started with the eponymous “Switchbot” (23.99 euros on Amazon). This can really press any button and thus serves as a smart remote-controlled “finger replacement”, with which not only light switches, but also, for example, the standby button of your TV can be operated. Over time, the company also developed other exciting gadgets, some of which also had network functions with the help of the Switchbot Hub. For example, you can open and close your curtains from your workstation or check whether your door lock is currently locked. Now SwitchBot is launching the second generation of its control center. In the SwitchBot Hub 2 review, we want to check what the successor does differently and which improvements it brings along. Highlights like support from the latest Standard Matter and the merging of several small SwitchBot gadgets into one make us sit up and take notice in advance.
Inhaltsverzeichnis / Table of contents
Scope of delivery
The SwitchBot Hub 2 comes in an inconspicuous, small package. The scope of delivery is correspondingly clear. Besides the Hub 2 itself, you will also find a two meter long USB-C cable. However, this is not a classic cable. SwitchBot installs sensors that measure room temperature and humidity. Furthermore, there is an adhesive surface in the packaging, which you can use to attach the Hub 2 to the wall.
There is also an adhesive tape on the cable, which allows it to be attached to the wall, as it were. Last but not least, the manual is accompanied by a power supply unit. Our test model is still a power supply with a US plug. The final sales version for the European market will of course come with a power supply with an EU connector.
SwitchBot Hub 2 review: design and workmanship
- Well-known good workmanship
- Compact design
- Very restrained appearance
At first glance, the 80 mm x 70 mm x 23 mm small Hub 2 reminds us of the manufacturer’s hygrometer. Surprisingly, this is not really. After all, SwitchBot installs the measuring device for temperature and humidity directly in the small hub. We really like the design at first glance and it fits perfectly into the manufacturer’s lineup with its elegant, matte white color. In combination with the round corners and the unagitated LED display, the Hub 2 fits perfectly into a homely ambience. There are two touch-sensitive buttons on the display itself. Information about the current climatic conditions can be taken from the display.
This includes the room temperature as well as the humidity. Furthermore, a luminous dot in the upper left edge of the screen provides information about the current status of the Hub 2. The brightly lit display can be seen well at any time without being annoying or even blinding. There is nothing to complain about in terms of workmanship. However, anything else would have surprised me. After all, all of the manufacturer’s devices have scored with excellent workmanship so far. This is also true for the SwitchBot Hub 2, where there is no creaking or cracking at any point. This small piece of technology can be placed visibly on the shelf with a clear conscience.
How you place the SwitchBot Hub 2 is up to you. On the one hand, the small device offers a built-in stand. This allows a 45-degree view of the Hub 2, and there is a rubber foot on the bottom so that it can remain on the sideboard or other piece of furniture without slipping. Alternatively, you can also use the included adhesive pad to stick the Hub to the wall. The USB-C port on the back can be easily reached in both cases. The USB-C cable, which supplies the Hub 2 with power, has a pleasingly flat design. This can only be guessed at on a white wall and can also be reliably attached with the help of the pre-installed adhesive surfaces.
SwitchBot Hub 2 test: old electrical appliances controllable
- IR sensor enables control of old devices
- WiFi standards IEEE 802.11 and Bluetooth 5.0 for wireless connectivity
- In-cable temperature and humidity sensors
The IR sensor, which SwitchBot has already built into the first generation of its hub, is also used here again. This allows the device to be able to control even aged electronic devices. Classic examples are probably TVs without an Internet connection and older hi-fi systems. But even heating and air-conditioning devices that do not yet offer smart features can be made smart in this way. To be able to control the devices, the Hub 2 can be conveniently taught via the sensor. All you have to do is use the remote control to send signals to the hub. But SwitchBot has revised its IR sensor in the second generation.
Among other things, this is expressed in the range, which is now supposed to correspond to about 30 meters. In order to output acoustic messages like alarms, the Hub 2 has a small speaker. The manufacturer hides this in the lower center of the device. Furthermore, a sensor can be detected that measures the ambient brightness. The SwitchBot Hub 2 uses the IEEE 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi standard to connect to your home network. Bluetooth connections are established via Bluetooth 5.0.
The WiFi connection in particular has a special feature that represents a clear difference from the first generation in the form of the Hub Mini. Thus, the SwitchBot Hub 2 offers support from Matter and thus also supports Apple HomeKit, among other things. Thus, you will hardly have to worry about compatibility with smart home gadgets. The wireless connections convinced with great stability in the test. SwitchBot itself states that Wi-Fi connections with a maximum range of 100 meters should be possible. For devices with Bluetooth 5.0, the BT connection should be able to overcome just under 80 meters.
SwitchBot Hub 2 Test: Making two into one
- Hub Mini and thermohygrometer find themselves in the Hub 2
- Accurate temperature reading only in the app
- Brightness indication unfortunately only in steps
Visually, the SwitchBot Hub 2 looks more like the manufacturer’s thermohygrometer (17.59 euros on Amazon) than the first generation of the hub. This is because SwitchBot has unceremoniously combined its piece of technology equipped with temperature and humidity sensors with the Hub Mini (28.00 euros at Amazon). As a result, the Hub 2 now has various sensors. The integrated thermometer measures the ambient temperature to within one decimal place. The humidity is again measured in whole percentages. However, you have to look into the app if you want to know exactly. The LED display only shows whole numbers – but that should be enough for most people.
The measuring range of the two sensors is surprisingly wide. Between -20 degrees and 80 degrees or 0 and 99 percent humidity, everything can be measured here – at least in theory. But what are the sensors for? One goodie is certainly that you can keep an eye on the current climatic conditions in your home. However, the real purpose of the device comes from its interaction with the other SwitchBot gadgets. For example, you can set the curtains to open or close at a certain temperature. More about that later when it comes to the app. The brightness sensor is a bit more rudimentary. It doesn’t give you a lumen number or anything similar. You can only read in the app whether the SwitchBot Hub 2 is currently in a dark or bright environment.
SwitchBot Hub 2 review: setup, app and matter
- Hub 2 supports Matter
- Matter features possible with SwitchBot Curtain Rod 2, among others
- Setup straightforward
SwitchBot’s devices can be controlled to a large extent without a hub. However, in these cases, you can only establish a Bluetooth connection between smartphone and smart home gadget. Consequently, you always have to be in the vicinity. But if you want to keep an eye on everything while you’re on the go and pass on instructions to the devices when needed, you have to connect them to the home network. And this is where the SwitchBot Hub 2 comes into play. This serves as a home interface, so to speak, to connect the SwitchBot Curtain Rod 2 (test) to your network, for example.
The SwitchBot app scores well known with a good overview. This is of course also the case with the SwitchBot Hub 2. At the time of testing, I was using the iOS app in version 6.25.1. This is said to have fixed initial problems with stability and performance. At the beginning, there is an uncomplicated setup. You can easily connect the Hub 2 to the app by pressing the two touch buttons. The integration into the home network is also very easy. So far, so familiar. After all, the process is similar to setting up the Hub Mini. What is new, however, is Matter.
Matter is an open-source solution designed to make smart home gadgets easier to use. Particularly when the products come from different manufacturers, Matter is intended to be the lowest common denominator in perspective and thus enable easier interaction. So far, only selected Switchbot products offer Matter support. One example is the SwitchBot Curtain, which the manufacturer also sent to us for testing purposes. As a test, I tried to add the Curtain to my Apple HomeKit. That worked without any problems. Now SwitchBot just needs to make its other products Matter-enabled.
- Smart lock wanted by SwitchBot? SwitchBot Lock Test: Your door lock has never been smarter!
SwitchBot Hub 2 review: ease of use with slight sacrifices
- Uncomplicated operation
- Questionable designation of the two buttons
But how does the SwitchBot Hub 2 perform in everyday use? Placed on the sideboard, it is pleasingly restrained. The display in particular does a really good job here. However, a closer look reveals that it looks a bit blurry. However, this is not too much of a problem. Occasionally, the SwitchBot Hub 2 feels compelled to alert you to a problem with an alarm tone.
This is the case, for example, when the humidity is too high or too low. When I first heard the sound, I winced a bit. Now, one can say that this is the purpose of such warning tones. Personally, I turned it off again and prefer to receive a push notification from my smartphone. The controls from the Hub 2 are foolproof. You simply use the two touch buttons on the display.
One minor criticism, however, is the somewhat confusing designation of the two buttons. After all, SwitchBot titles them On and Off. This only makes sense if you assign this meaning to the keys. The app allows you to freely define what the buttons should do when you touch them. Naming them “1” and “2” or “A” and “B” would have made more sense in my opinion. But maybe SwitchBot will change something about the naming.
The SwitchBot Hub 2 is in every respect a meaningful improvement of its predecessor in the form of the Hub Mini. With its chic design, it can easily be placed in a homely environment. The pretty, but somewhat blurry LED display provides an overview of temperature and humidity. Here, the manufacturer dares to merge the SwitchBot thermohygrometer and the Hub Mini. The plan works out perfectly. The new Matter standard is certainly the big highlight and is already convincing. Even if you can only test isolated products from SwitchBot so far, the whole thing already works flawlessly. We look forward to SwitchBot making the rest of its portfolio ready for the open source solution as well.
SwitchBot Hub 2
Value for money
The SwitchBot Hub 2 is a logical improvement of the Hub Mini and combines smart home control center with thermometer and hygrometer.
SwitchBot Hub 2 price comparison
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