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Should you buy a Samsung SmartThings hub?

By Martin Pratt

Samsung is a household name when it comes to TVs and smartphones, but is its SmartThings hub worth buying?

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Internet-connected devices are flooding the market, and needing a separate app to control each one can quickly become unwieldy and overwhelming. That’s where smart hubs come in. By centralising control of all your home’s smart devices in one app, you get a less clunky, more streamlined way of using smart tech, which is supposed to make your life easier.

Samsung has its own SmartThings hub and range of connected products, but should you choose Samsung to control your smart home?

To find out how the SmartThings hub rates against the competition, head to our full review.

What does the Samsung SmartThings hub do?

Whereas Panasonic’s hub is a closed system designed to work only with the company’s own devices, the Samsung SmartThings hub aims to unify a multitude of different smart products and get them talking to each other. The app used to control the hub and its connected devices is available from iOS, Android and Windows app stores.

The SmartThings hub goes beyond just being a single controller for your smart devices, however – it also syncs them up. You can set up automatic ‘routines’, which often use the motion sensors that come with the hub as triggers. So, for example, you could create a routine to turn on your Philips Hue light bulbs, at a pre-set brightness, when you activate the Samsung sensor by coming in the front door.

SmartThings hub test results

Samsung SmartThings Hub (2nd gen)

Samsung SmartThings Hub (2nd gen)
Which? score 66%
Reviewed Jan 2017
Connectivity:
Member exclusive
Devices:
Member exclusive
Scenarios:
Member exclusive
iOS privacy:
Member exclusive
Wi-fi:
First-party peripherals:
Samsung SmartThings Outlet Alarms & sensors: Samsung SmartThings Moisture Sensor, Motion Sensor, Multi-Sensor, Presence Sensor Camera: Samsung SmartCam HD Pro Music: Samsung Wireless Audio
Can I use third-party peripherals?:
Yes
IFTTT:
Yes

What are the drawbacks of the Samsung SmartThings hub?

The main selling point of a smart hub is that it lets you govern your smart tech from one app, which is why it’s particularly irritating when you come across devices that the SmartThings hub can’t fully control.

We were surprised to discover that Samsung’s own Smartcam is one of the culprits. To make use all of its features, you need to download the standalone Smartcam app. Without it, all you can do with the SmartThings app is view the video feed.

Given the vast amount of smart tech available, there are bound to be some teething problems when it comes to getting them working optimally with the SmartThings hub. And until the industry agrees on a standard for wirelessly connecting smart devices from different brands, there will continue to be compatibility issues.

You can read more about smart-tech compatibility in our guide to smart hubs.

What devices come with the SmartThings hub - and do you need them?

You can buy a SmartThings starter kit that includes the hub, a smart plug and three sensors. These are: a motion sensor that sends an alert to your smartphone when something moves past it, a multisensor that can be fixed to doors and windows to tell you if they’ve been opened and a presence sensor, which can be attached to a child’s bag or pet’s collar to tell you when they come and go from the house. The smart plug can be switched on and off remotely.

If you’ve got your own array of sensors already, or you don’t think they’d be useful for you, then you can also buy the hub separately. But remember to double-check that your current devices will work with the SmartThings hub first.

What other devices does the SmartThings hub work with?

The SmartThings hub has been designed with compatibility in mind, which is clear when you see the amount of different smart-home products it works with. The hub can control many of the most popular smart devices, including Aeon smart plugs and dimmers, Bose SoundTouch speakers, D-Link cameras, Fibaro flood sensors and smoke detectors, Philips Hue light bulbs and Yale keyless smart locks. You can find the complete list in our full review.

The hub has FCC, ZigBee and 2.4GHz certification, and supports the Z-Wave+ wireless protocol. If you’re buying a new smart accessory, check that it works with one of these first. Because of this hub’s open attitude, the list of compatible products will only grow.

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