Hey what’s up, Alex here. Today, we are
going to look at smart blind solutions. Currently, I have 3 sets of blinds in my study room,
gym room and entertainment room. I am planning to put blackout blinds in my living room as
well so this means that I can actually check out 4 different types of solutions. Next is
to shortlist which brands to go with. For me, since I am using the smartThings solution
now, I just go to the app and see which brands has integration with SmartThings. So basically,
I can go with ikea, soma and somfy, these 3 brands. And of course, this is after doing
more research of their products by checking out their website. So here is the plan, I
am going to use somfy motorized wired for my living room, somfy motorized wireless for
my study room, ikea smart blinds for my entertainment room and lastly the soma
smart shades for my existing blind in my gym room.
Ok, here are the products. For Somfy, they are selling me at a discounted price. For
ikea, I bought them at full retail price. For Soma, they send me 1 set plus I requested
for another 2 more sets for giveaway, so remember to stay till the end of the video for more
details on the giveaway.
So what’s going to happen next is I am going to talk about
each of these solutions, then show you the installation and configuration. And lastly,
give an overall comparison and my review of them. Let’s start with Somfy for my living room
and study room. Somfy has a Singapore website and local office so warranty and support are
covered. They are focused on selling the motors only but they collaborate with other local
companies on the blinds itself, these companies have distribution rights for the somfy motors.
In other words, its like a one-stop shop to do customized smart blinds. In my case, the
company is call Jackson Global Pte Ltd, they will send someone over your place to take
the measurements, and also bring along these catalogues for you to choose the material
you want. You have to decide which type of somfy motor you want, I go with the wired
one for my living room since I have a socket hidden at the side, that’s the best because
you don’t need to worry about battery power and charging.
For my study room, you can see
it’s quite exposed, I don’t have any plummet and I don’t want to see a wire going down
at either sides, so I decide to go with wireless. The next thing is wait for a couple of weeks
for the installation date. When the installers are here, they are going to drill holes to
fix up the blinds, slot it in and that’s pretty much it. For wireless, there is a cable
connector at the side for you to charge.
Battery typically last you about 6 months depending
on your usage. For the wired one, of course just plug it into your power socket. This
is the design, for the top and bottom part you can choose whether you want black or white.
I will recommend to follow the color of your wall. It does come with remote control so
you can still control it without setting up the smart home stuff. Able to control up and
down, and also this middle my button is a preset position you can set. This remote supports
up to 5 radio channels, so in my case, I have the first channel to control my study room
blind, second channel for my living room blind, and the fifth channel to control both at the
same time which is super useful. Ok, now lets talk about the smart home part. In other countries,
somfy sells both zigbee and radio frequency motors but in Singapore unfortunately, they
only have the radio frequency ones.
The hardware module to convert their radio frequency to
zwave is another additional $300 so no choice, I can’t have it integrated to smartThings.
What they sell here in Singapore is this bridge or hub, that allows you to integrate with
google home only. In case you are wondering whether you can use a broadlink rm pro to
control since it is using RF, the answer is no I did tried. They are using something proprietary
which they call it RTS, with enhanced security so you can’t use any IR/RF blaster to control
it. Which means you also cannot use this device to control your other RF devices, its purely
for somfy products only. Download and install the Somfy Connexoon app, follow the on screen
instructions to create account and add the devices to the app. This is a very simple
app, going to each device you are able to control it like how it is being done with
the physical remote. In terms of smart home features, you have your standard scheduling
and for scenes you are able to create up to 4 of them.
Once created, these will be automatically
sync to google home after you added the app. Same as how you do for other smart home apps.
Then within google home, create new routines or add to your existing ones, adding actions
select adjust home devices, check adjust scenes then select the name of scene that you have
created in the somfy app. Once done, just test it out. Ok google, too bright.
Now, how much does the entire solution and services cost? For the living room blinds
all in is approximately $1,700.
The size is about 2.5m x 1.8m. Warranty is 5 years with
1 year of onsite labour. The hub itself around $250 depends whether you want it to be smart
or just with the remote control is enough for you.
Next, let’s move to my entertainment room where I will be using the ikea smart roller
blinds solution. Ikea provides a 5 year guarantee as well which is awesome. Basically, they
have two types blackout and non-blackout type, that is the only difference, other than that
no differences in the design, how it works and the smart home part. What I have is the
blackout one, no idea how to pronounce the name. These are off the shelf products, so
no customization for the size or color. For the size, it does come with few choices over
here, fixed length at about 2m, for the width you have 60, 80, 100, 120, or 140cm. Each
window panel I have here is 60cm, I have 3 of these so I will need at least 180cm.
ikea doesn’t have option for 180cm, I decide to get 2 sets of 120cm, ignoring the window
placement and just install them aligned to the center of this wall. Like what I mentioned
in my youtube posts, turnaround time for the order and delivery process is super fast,
within 3 days its delivered to my place. Installation wise, of course you can do it yourself or
pay for their installation services, or look for some other handyman services. Unfortunately,
I made a mistake for not factoring in the gap between the 2 blinds, so you can see the
gap is pretty big here for light to pass through, end up it’s not a total blackout.
So I might
change this away after I am done filming for this video.
In terms of design, you can see the build material is in silver metal, very nice build
quality. For the top part, its quite thick, bottom is round and sleek but a little too
lightweight here, which means it will have the tendency to move around easily when there
is wind. The blinds runs on battery and this is where the battery is kept. To charge the
battery, simply take it out and charge via the mini-usb port. The packaging comes with
a remote like a wireless switch button and this zigbee repeater which you will pair the
remote with the blinds. Since this is using zigbee, you need a zigbee hub for smart home
controls. You can either get ikea’s zigbee hub which is only meant for their products
or if you are using a hub based smart home solution like smartThings, I don’t need
to buy the ikea hub and its able to integrate directly to smartThings.
Follow the on-screen
instructions to add the device, once added successfully, you have the following controls.
Standard open, close and pause controls. Able to move to a specific percentage and also
able to set a preset position that you want. This is probably the same as what is available
in the ikea smart home app. And battery indicator here which you can set to notify you depending
on your preference. Of course the benefit of having it inside smartThings is you are
then able to set all sort of automation rules like triggering the open or close with any
sensors or wireless switch buttons you have inside.
This is a xiaomi wireless switch,
I set press once to go to my present position and press and hold to just open up fully,
awesome. Pricing wise, all of these is available in
their website. Base price for a 60cm is $159, price will increase depending on the size
you want, so for 140cm its $279. If you need their smart home hub, then its an additional
$50 on top of that. Not including delivery and installation service charges so factor that in if necessary.
The last solution is by Soma, which is not a motorized solution but simulating the human
action of pulling down the beads.
You can only use this type of solution if you have
already have an existing blinds, very good if you are staying in a rental apartment and
still want to make your blinds smart. Ok lets look at what I have here, this is the smart
shades 2, the device itself. Solar powered, easy to install, fully automatic. Here are the steps to install. First is to connect the chain, then attach to the wall, ok so you can use screws if you want, then take control
with your phone.
Easyyy. The battery power, using Bluetooth, supports all types of beaded
chains. Ok so this is a Bluetooth device, which means you are able to control it once
its paired to your phone and of course within the Bluetooth range. That’s why they have
this connect device, which is like a hub if you want to control it when you are outside
or to integrate with other smart home platforms. So it can integrate with amazon alexa, apple
homekit, google home, IFTTT and smartThings which is what I like to see, integration with
all the major platforms.
Over here giving some examples of what commands you can use.
Ok now let's set this up Ok, I think it works great. Now, I am going to check out the connect hub This is really easy, once its detected in the app via Bluetooth, enter your wifi password or use wired connection,
its up to you. Then to connect to smartThings, I will go to my smartThings app to add the
device. Prompts for the ID, once you input the ID its done. Similarly, able to set to
open or close and also going to specific percentage, battery indicator as well. Let’s test this out via
alexa and google. Ok Google, set gym shades to 50% Alexa, close gym shade Now let’s talk about pricing and support.
Click on buy now to see the price. Right now there is a 20% discount for the smart shades
at $119, anyway for if you are using venetian blinds they have the soma tilt, then the connect hub is price at $49.
Total $168 USD, shipping is free, that’s very nice.
According to Soma, it is international
warranty and they are going to cover and repair them in case of any malfunctions, caused by
the device itself or by the user. If they suspect that a device has stopped working
because of some technical issues, they would just replace it free of charge. That’s like
the best kind of support a consumer will ever hope for.
Now let’s do a sound and speed test comparison So overall, these 3 are very different type
of solutions and it always go down to personal budget and preference.
If you already have
existing blinds and has limited budget, then of course going with those type of solution
from soma is a better choice for you. There are a few brands out there similar to soma,
but personally I find that their solution works great and I like the variety of integration
choices. If you prefer the motorized blind category, both the somfy and ikea have things
But if you need customization for the size then ikea is out of the question, I don’t
find that having wireless and having to charge the battery is too much a hassel since they can last for
so long. But I definitely prefer zigbee and being able to directly integrate with smartThings
for ikea and not Somfy, other countries have that so if somfy Singapore has those options,
that will be my preference else I am stuck with google home with very limited capabilities.
If just looking at automated blinds, Somfy does has very good build quality and material
selection, definitely recommend for new houses. Ok time for the giveaway announcement. There
will be 2 Lucky winners, each will be getting a set of of the Soma smart shade 2 as well
as the Soma connect hub.
Simply just give a like to this video and leave a comment down
below. Winners will be announced at the end of my next video Alright, that’s all from
me, hope this is useful for those planning to get smart blinds for your place. Thanks
for watching and I will see you in the next one Bye!.