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Logitech’s programmable Pop Home Switches let you string together and execute common smart home commands—like turning on and off lights, locking doors, and playing music—with the press of a button. There’s no need to ask a virtual assistant or even take your smartphone out of your pocket.
The Pop starter kit comes with two Home Switches, two pieces of mounting tape, and a small wireless bridge. Each button has a replaceable battery that Logitech claims will last around five years with normal daily use.
Setup requires only a few minutes: Plug the bridge into an open outlet, download the iOS or Android Pop app, and enter your wireless network credentials. The app will scan your Wi-Fi network for other compatible connected devices. In our case it found the Sonos speakers, Logitech Hub with Harmony Ultimate universal remote, and Hue lights throughout the house.
To assign tasks to each button you use the app’s drag-and-drop interface. Each button can handle up to three different functions via a single press, a double press, or a long press. To create these commands, you drag individual devices (e.g. Living room Sonos Playbar) to a corresponding press type.
Beyond their basic functionality, the Pop Home Switches are also compatible with IFTTT, a common, automation-focused web tool and standalone app that lets you string together other conditional “recipes” using a vast list of web services and smart devices. It opens up a wider range of functions available at a simple button. If you own a Logitech Harmony smart remote and Hub, you’ll have access in the Pop app to the activities you’ve created their as well.
We experimented with dozens of commands over the course of a week, from simple on/off lighting Pops to more complex multi-device IFTTT recipes. Some of our favorites: A movie-watching Pop that dimmed our Hue living room lights, turned on the TV to the Blu-ray input, turned off all the other Hue lights in the house, and set our Nest thermostat to 70 degrees. A late-night insomnia Pop recipe that turned off the bedroom lights and started playing Max Richter’s 8-hour “Sleep” album on our Play:1 speaker, also proved useful.
Logitech’s Pop Home Switches are easy to set up, beyond simple to use, and they work in conjunction with a number of popular smart home devices and platforms, from August smart locks to Belkin WeMo smart plugs. Throughout the week we spent testing them, the buttons worked flawlessly.
There are some minor annoyances, however. You’re forced to label buttons by location when you set them up in the Pop app, but Logitech doesn’t provide any visual means to distinguish between the two white buttons in the real world. (Send stickers!) If you don’t stick them in separate rooms, this can cause confusion.Add-on Switches do come in different colors, which eliminates this problem. Also disappointing is the fact that, as far as music is concerned, Pop Home Switches only work with Sonos systems at the moment.
The issues we had with the Pop Home Switches were ultimately minor. And, as home automation gets increasingly complicated, it’s refreshing to have a simple, straightforward way to string together common tasks and control them all with a single button. This is especially true now that seemingly every Internet of Things device relies on a smartphone or tablet for control. Voice interfaces may be the future of smart homes, but until they become more reliable and easier to use, we’ll happily keep pressing our buttons.
Price: $60 for setup pack with two Switches and a bridge.
- Smart lights: Philips Hue, Insteon, LIFX, Lutron
- Connected music: Sonos
- Smart platforms: SmartThings, Belkin WeMo, Lutron, IFTTT
- Harmony remotes: Harmony Pro, Harmony Elite, Harmony Companion, Harmony Hub, and other hub-based Harmony remotes