Ok, here we go! Adding to my set of Hue lights & 1st generation WeMo switch, I now have a WeMo Insight and a Sonos Play:1 to create some “home awesomation” with the Revolv. So excited to get started.
The packaging for the Revolv is enjoyable. The red and black box has a classy gloss varnish layer accenting the shape of the product with the text “life & smart home awesomation” playfully setting up the experience. The carefree and fun verbiage in the setup documentation “welcome to the cool kids club” etc. is inviting and mades me feel great. I felt like they were really speaking to me: If you’re futuristic enough to purchase this early-adopters dream, you, customer, are one of the cool kids and we thank you. Yeah, I felt special – won’t lie.
The product itself has a cheep plastic feel – which is fine – there is no physical interaction. Of course, I still long for design that feels great. I would like to see the transparent plastic become either more clear or more opaque to make it look less like a children’s toy.
The setup documentation suggests placing the Hub in any central location of your home. Not having to crawl into the sea of wires, dust and plugs near my router is a welcome feature. The teardrop shape seems to be a choice of branding, a compromise between something that could be hidden in the home and something that is meant to be left out and stylish. The flat top is an excellent choice for those who will hide it away- it can be easily stashed behind or under something (unlike the Sen.se Mother hub that has no easy orientation to hide it.) However, its status LED is on the top- it would be more successful on the side so people who want to hide it can check the status without moving it.
WOW, that was easy. This “sixty second setup” was so cool, I almost wish it lasted longer so I could savor it. I downloaded the app, then was instructed to place my cell phone about 2 inches above the hub— the flash then stared blinking – blink! blink! blink! in a crazy pattern of data! Once your phone is linked and connected to Wi-Fi it automatically finds all of your connected home products on that network – awesome.
INTERFACE: When I initially looked at the home screen of the app, I was overjoyed at the design, but a bit confused. Initially, each of my hue lights (I have 6) showed up as separate devices, as well as the “all hue” hub. Well, it’s not practical to turn the lights on one at a time! It wasn’t until I read the forums on revolv.com that I realized there is a star system- only items that are starred make it to the home screen. What I needed to do was create “actions” that include the lights that I want. So, I now have a “Living Room / Kitchen” action that turns on all of the lights in that room at once.
INTERACTION: What a simple remote- an icon for each group of actions in your home. Activate them with the tap of a finger—- wait—- tapping on it brings me to the setup for that action. ? huh ? A tooltip pops-up “Double Tap to Activate” Oh. Uh. Ok. —- I’m definitely not being lazy when I say- that extra tap takes a lot of effort! Why not make it tap and hold to edit, tap to activate? Did user testing reveal that people accidentally tapped icons? Well, if they did, that’s a shame because all this double tapping is reducing the magic.
After tapping only once on an icon, you can then set the color, change the music, or switch the switch. The interface here is enjoyable, but also had a bit of a learning curve. You place your finger on the central circle and swipe up, down, left or right to set the state of the device. Once I got used to it, I found it preferable. I also like that the color palette was more restricted than the overwhelming color spectrum of the hue app.
IF THIS THAN THAT: A little bit of this, a whole lotta that.
The system does a pretty good job of an “If This Than That” experience, but as of now, the “if’s” are limited to Motion, Time, Location, and Double Tapping and action within the app. That means I can’t set up an action that turns my Hue lights on when my WeMo is switched on. I went looking for a solution, and it seems to be a common request and a feature to look forward to!
Hopefully more “triggers” are coming soon. From the Revolv.com forums: