Sylvania’s Smart+ lineup of connected light bulbs, smart plugs and more have become one of our go to HomeKit brands over the past few months. During our reviews of the Flex Color LED Light Strip and the Smart+ Smart Plug, we noted that while the hardware was great, Sylvania’s Smart+ App did not offer much in the way of functionality. The App, which only existed to support the facilitation of firmware updates for the company’s devices, did not include things such as actual control of any of their own devices. While we are ok with the approach, it was a bit strange to see, and we could only see this as being a placeholder until the company got around to building out the App. It seems that we were right in this suspicion, as the company has released an update to the Sylvania Smart Home App that has added much more.
Upon first opening the refreshed App, you will quickly notice one of the major changes to the App itself, which is that a create an account prompt will be shown. For HomeKit users, this is not necessary, and the company has provided an option to bypass this with a “Firmware Update Only” button at the bottom. If you create an account, two interesting scenarios will play out. If you have all your devices through HomeKit, which will most likely be the case, the App will attempt to guide you through a new device grouping option, but will ultimately fail to find any devices. This is because the account registration is to enable support of other ecosystems to the company’s devices. In this case, Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant can now control the formerly HomeKit exclusive Smart+ lineup. This is great news for users who want to ensure that their devices will support all of the major platforms, but the lack of explanation provided by the App as to what the registration process is for will undoubtably cause some confusion.
As you may have guessed by now, connecting your Smart+ devices to one of these new integrations will open up actual control options within the App. Unfortunately, this is only for these other smart home platforms, HomeKit users will not be able to see the added functionality. The basic options for Sylvania’s available devices can be found, such as quick state toggling, adjustments for brightness levels, and color options all being included. While the interface is a new addition, it does seem to be a little sparse at the moment, especially on larger devices such as an iPad, but we chalk this up to being a “good enough” experience to allow potential new devices owners to work with their devices.
For HomeKit users, the App now has a “softer” cleaner look to it, and no longer looks like a hastily put together list of all of the HomeKit devices in the home. However, the App still does not distinguish between Sylvania’s own devices, and devices from other manufacturers. This makes checking for firmware updates a cumbersome process, especially if you have not taken the time to create a good naming scheme for your devices. We also found that the App unfortunately suffers from some stability issues, with scrolling becoming an issue when looking for a particular device to update. On several occasions, our iOS devices would become unresponsive, requiring a force quit to restore functionality.
It is certainly nice to see that Sylvania is expanding their product lines to support other ecosystems, and that they recognized that their app was in need of an overhaul. This is a welcome change, of course, we definitely would have liked to have seen a little more effort put in for HomeKit users, as there really is no reason not to have the same control options that other platforms get within the App. Sylvania’s Smart Home App can be downloaded for free on the iOS App Store, and many of their products are available at competitive prices at retailers such as Amazon.