Homekit vs SmartThings

Can SmartThings and Apples' Homekit do the same work? No, there are lots of differences between Homekit and SmartThing in working principle, device compatibility and voice assistance capability. Here we will discuss each and every aspect of Homekit vs SmartThing side by side.

At your smart home, everything is under the control of your fingertip or every device waits for your voice command. To control and monitor everything around your house with one app, you need a smart hub or smart controller. 

But there are devices that do not need hub, instead make your TV, ipod act like one. Hub or no hub, which one is really better and which one will really go with you, this article will cover these sections.

A comparison between top brands namely, Apple’s Homekit vs Samsung’s SmartThings will be a perfect battle between hub or no hub. It will also give users who are in dilemma an idea what are the things a hub can do and what advantages they will really get without the hassle of buying a hub.

Which One is Best: Homekit vs SmartThings

Just as the heading suggested, before you jump off to buy a hub you should really know yourself. First of all, if you are iOS user, or have Apple TV, iPod, Home Pod and you want to turn your home into smart home, you can easily go with Homekit without buying a new hub. With homekit, you have to stick to Apple device, so the number of supported device is less, also the homekit can only work with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

On the other hand, if you already have a smart home or want to switch to something more powerful, then you can use SmartThings. It allows user to customize their scenes and complex automations. The list of compatible devices is also more in smartThings than in Homekit.

Homekit vs SmartThings : Side by Side Comparism

Hub or Not Hub

To begin with, the SmartThings is a hub and is only capable of performing one purpose that is to control the smart home devices and appliances

The Homekit is not a hub, it is not a separate device, and rather users can use Apple TV, ipod, Homepod as a hub that allows them to configure smart appliances in the house. The Homekit is multi-purpose device

Connected Devices

Homekit can connect less number of devices compare to SmartThings, in SmartThings, technically you can add unlimited number of devices.

For users who already own Apple device, may it be TV, iPad and have moderate number of things they want to connect, Homekit can be an option.

SmartThings hub can connect huge number of devices and from different brands. So user can have more option and flexibility

Compatible Devices

The number of compatible devices is less for Homekit than for SmartThings. Homekit only works with products that are Apple certified. The excuse they give is that they claim security of users high priority thus the selected devices is the choice for them

On the other hand, for SmartThings, the list of compatible devices is big. It supports devices from different company and brand allowing user to choose what they want with flexibility

Security

Apple has always given priority to security of user data and Homekit is no exception. They claim thay have hardware and software encryptions process for devices demanding authorization. It also requires 2-factor authentication for remote access. This is also another reason that it can support only a number of certified devices. Thus one cannot really blame them for not supporting huge number of devices; they have a legit excuse to do so

On the contrary SmartThings cannot be said to be as secure as Homekit. They themselves say that they might share user’s personal information to third part as needed, although following certain rules and regulations. According to some researchers, they find the SmartThings system vulnerable enough to hackers to get information of users and even control their home appliances.

Apps to Control Device

SmartThings app is nothing new; it is in market for long time, always improving. With only one app users can control all devices. One can add devices, create or customize scenes or automations. It has Routine option that allow user to perform several task at a particular time. However users often complain the app to be confusing and not user friendly

With Homekit, the app is updated recently. It has several options for users’ to control the house for effectively. If any one doesn’t fell like using this app they can easily switch to Eve’s or Fibaro.

Voice Control

While Homekit comes with its own voice assistant Siri, SmartThings work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.Alexa has several unique characteristics including detecting voice even from noisy environment. Also you can give short commands like “Alexa, turn off lights”.

With Siri, it is often blamed to misunderstand words, also when speaking one has to be very specific. If a light needs to be turned off, they have to say, “Turn off lights in the bedroom downstairs.

Remote Access

SmartThings allow users to access and control some specific options even when they are not home.

Homekit will only allow user access with the help of Apple TV. Without buying the TV, there will be no option for remote access.

SmartThings Review:

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Best Feature of SmartThings

  • It works with Wi-Fi, Zigbee, Z-wave device
  • Can connect huge number of devices to it
  • A DIY project , setup can easily be done by following instructions
  • Comes with back up battery, so it can work during power cut
  • SmartThings app is available in Android, iOS , Windows phone
  • The app is a step ahead to make the hub user friendly to control all devices
  • It is compatible with Amazon Alexa & Google Assistant
  • It works with Groovy programing language
  • It has Routine option allows users to customize their actions on controlling the appliances
  • Since it stores & retrieves data from cloud , it only allows some application to work locally
  • Automation feature allows users to set several actions at a specific time

SmartThings Compatible devices:

SmartThings can support the following products:

Lights:

Philips Hue Bloom, Sengled LED Multicolor Light Strip, Sylvania Smart+ Bulbs

Security Camera:

Arlo Q, Ring Floodlight, Ring Video Doorbell Pro

Thermostat:

EcoBee 4, Honeywell Lyric T5, Stellpro Maestro

Door Lock :

Yale Assure Lock SL with Z-Wave, Schlage Connect Zigbee, August Smart Lock Pro

RingVdeo Doorbell:

Video Doorbell Pro with Chime Pro, Video Doorbell Elite

Home security:

Scout, Frontpoint

More Cmpatible Devices:

  • Water Leak Sensor
  • Button
  • Multipurpose Sensor
  • Motion Sensor

PROS:
  • It can be used via Android or iOS apps
  • It can support varied number of smart devices.
  • Faster and easier installation
  • Appropriate size, not bulky
  • It has USB ports
  • It has a built-in battery pack and back-up battery that support during power cut
  • Huge online community and website to assist users
  • It is adaptable with wide range of devices
  • Some of the apps can be accessed locally
  • Alerts & notification sent to warn or remind user of their activities
  • Users with in-depth knowledge can do more with SmartThings

CONS:
  • The mobile app can be confusing to use for some users
  • It takes long time to pair with devices and is not easily comprehensible
  • It can work up to a distance of 130ft
  • Cannot be fully accessed locally

Samsung SmartThings' Top Critical Review:

  • Users complain they cannot share the control access with other family members
  • Notifications are not reliable
  • One of the biggest complaints of users was continuous interruption of hub and devices even when Wi-Fi is working properly.
  • Most of the time users states that even though the hub shows connected, the lights, audio or door locks do not work at all
  • Many users found it difficult to follow instructions to set up and install the device even after spending hours and following all the instructions available. They didn’t get proper help from customer support either
  • Users complain the customer support were not able to solve the any reported issue successfully. However the support team says they are always there to help
  • There were issues with sharing the access of smart hub with another person. It is said, the other person can only control commands partially even after following the instructions.
  • There were complains where notifications were not consistent.
  • The battery SmartThings come with is said to have low life time

Homekit Review:

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Best Feature of Homekit

  • Works with Apple TV or iOS device
  • Supports only Apple certified devices
  • It connects to Wi-Fi & Bluetooth devices only, Zigbee & Z-wave devices are not compatible
  • It works only with Siri voice assistant
  • Users can create their own product or accessory using Arduino & it will be compatible on Homekit
  • For other users to access the device, a 4th-generation Apple TV with tvOS 10, a HomePod or an iPad running iOS 10 or later is required.

Homekit Compatible Devices

Air conditioner & heaters

  • AIRELEC
  • APPLIMO
  • CAMPA

Air Purifier

  • Opro9 Smart Air Purifier
  • Coway Smart Air Purifier
  • 10+ Air Air Tube 1

Bridge

  • Aqara Hub
  • Busch- VoiceControl
  • Caseta by Lutron Smart Bridge

Security Camera

  • Arlo Baby 1080p HD Monitoring Camera
  • Logitech Circle 2
  • Netatmo Smart Indoor Camera

Doorbells

  • Robin proline Doorbell
  • Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell

More Homekit Compatible Devices

  • Fan
  • Faucets
  • Garage door openers
  • Humidifiers
  • Lights
  • Locks
  • Outlets
  • AirPlay2- Enabled Receivers
  • Routers
  • Security systems
  • Sensors
  • AirPlay2- Enabled speakers
  • Sprinklers
  • Switches
  • Thermostat
  • Air play 2- Enabled TV
  • Windows & covering

PROS:
  • For novice users, it is the best thing to start with due to ease to use and comprehend
  • No need to buy another device to act as a hub, the Apple TV, Home pod or ipad can work as a hub
  • Recently launched app makes it easier to configure and control devices
  • User data is given highest priority, for remote access it need 2-factor authentication. No information of user is shared to anyone
  • Can connect to Bluetooth or Wi-Fi devices only, thus the smart home is very simple yet easy to configure & manage
  • Connect only Apple certified devices; this is to secure user profile.
  • To connect devices more than 30 ft away Bluetooth extender is required

CONS:
  • There are only a few devices that are compatible with HomeKit, and the introduction of new compatible devices is going to be slow.
  • You have to be an iOS user to fully benefit from HomeKit.
  • The integrations and automations are more basic than the ones you get from SmartThings
  • Some devices would need a bridge.
  • Remote access needs Apple TV.
  • It doesnot have any back up battery to support during power cut
  • Siri voice assistant can sometimes misunderstand voice command
  • It doesn’t have growing online community to help each other

Apple Homekit Critical Review

  • Users does not find it flexible to only connect few Apple devices
  • Sometimes user find issues where homekit runs on xCode iPhone but not on Testflight, it might be due to misspelling of written codes.
  • Users sometimes face issues where their commands on automation doesnot work, for instance, user want to turn off thermostat at 10 am when they are not home which didn’t work.
  • Users claim, they cannot add others to control the house, and the owner is turning into guest.

Verdict: Homekit vs SmartThings

Both the hubs are unique in their own way, so it comes down to consumers as to what they want in their smart home. For newbies and owner of Apple TV or iOS device, it is useful to go with Homekit to experience smart home for the first time. Assuming the user will have limited number of things to connect, the hub will work just fine.

On the other hand, if you like to play with Hubs and customize your world in your own way, then SmartThings is the answer. It supports several numbers of devices from different brand and companies. It also has backup battery to support during power cut. Users can easily customize commands in it.

I am very much enthusiastic about Home Automation and actively developing open-source software to extend its capabilities so this is going to all be biased by my own experiences.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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