If you are looking at getting into home automation then you might have seen a few options to start you off, from starter packages all the way up to the make your own kits, there are a range of features and more for you to choose from.
Today we are going to talk you through one of the options that will suit most beginners, the nCube smart home hub controller.
This is a pretty basic device that features a simplistic yet modern blue plastic box design that looks great but will still sit alongside the other tech in your home, and on the inside, there is a range of tech that will allow you to communicate with a range of smart home technologies from a single app.
On the bottom of the nCube there’s a big pad that ensures that the smart home controller will stay right where you want it, however, if you prefer you can sit in on it’s side due to the fact that those sides are pretty flat. That said, due to the the slot for your cables being on one side, and logo pointing to another, you don’t have a lot of options if you want the logo to point the right way.
Getting all of this set up is also really simple.
The process consists of taking out all of the gear from the box and then simply plugging the Ethernet and power cables into the back of the nCube, from there the box will automatically begin to start to setup process, including installing the latest update, which is pretty cool as the amount of devices that I have to update manually is still way too large.
While it is doing this work, you should be getting started with the download of the app for your iOS or Android device, which you will need to finish off the setup of the nCube.
Also, just to note: you can also setup nCube with a WiFi connection, however, we will definitely advise that you use an Ethernet connection.
Once the process is finished, you are ready to get started with the app, which has been designed to provide you with easy access to a range of smart home devices as well as easy methods to get them set up, of which, nCube says that they currently support about 100 different devices and that they will be consistently updating these.
In order to communicate with them, nCube features Z-Wave, WiFi, and Bluetooth connectivity for connecting to a range of devices from a Z-Wave door sensor up to various Bluetooth device such as Elgato’s Eve lineup. One of the biggest reasons that you are going to want to do this is because nCube keeps all of the communication to and with your devices in your home, without the need for a third-party service, which means less latency and increased privacy.
And all with some of the biggest smart home things on the market, including Sonos, Nest, Tado, Belkin Wemo, Philips Hue and much more.
Sadly, the nCube only has a selection of devices ready to set up in the app, we would have liked to have seen many more options and particularly the more obscure ones.
That said, I do use Home Assistant for my own home, so I am definitely used to that kind of support thanks to my own development and development for others, however, comparable devices like the Vera Plus do already have much more set up options for a range of devices and that’s about the same price.
That said, both of those devices do require a little more knowledge about code (not so much with Vera as with Home Assistant), so there is that.
Thankfully, because it does feature a Z-Wave antenna these devices can be expanded much further with the range of Z-Wave compatible devices out there and getting them is pretty easy to do, click to add a new device, tap on the Z-Wave device and then start the inclusion process. It really is that easy.
With each of these, you can create a set of “Cubes”, with which you are able to create your own routines, schedule events and do a lot more with some basic programming that allows you to control all of your devices how you want, from an easy to use app.
And all of this links with the IFTTT service, allowing you to expand the functionality of your linked devices with a range of online services, for example, you could turn on a light if a motion sensor is triggered, or send a notification if a door/window is opened.
That said, it would have been nicer if integrations with online services were built right into the nCube.
All in all, the nCube is a pretty sleek smart home device that ties in all of your devices together and puts the control of them into a single app. If you are looking to consolidate the control of your smart home devices into one place, instead of opening app after app then the nCube might be of interest to you. It doesn’t provide you with the functionality of something like Home Assistant, for example, however, it does offer functionality without having to set up too much or having to learn how to do so.
Sadly, it does come at quite the price, £149 to be exact, which may be a little too much for you, or it might not be, that’s a decision that you need to weigh up alongside your needs. If you want something that has more reoom to grow, yet is easy to grow with it then the nCube is definitely a fantastic option to go with.
You can find out more and pick up the nCube from their website, you can also pick one up from Amazon if you’d like.
Disclosure: nCube sent us a sample of the device for the purpose of this review.