While Elgato isn’t a name that you commonly see in consumer electronics, they’ve quickly carved out a niche in the smart home industry. Their Eve line of smart plugs, lighting solutions, and smart sensors have earned a reputation for stylish and dependable. But their most important feature is Apple HomeKit compatibility. Something that is not commonly found in the industry.
The Eve Light Switch by Elgato comes in at $50 and is one of the most reliable and easy-to-control smart light switches on the market. You can control it via the switch, your iOS device, or voice using Siri. It doesn’t require a bridge or hub and connects via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to other Apple devices in the home. It’s one of the best single-pole switches available for Apple’s home automation system.
Ease installation with responsive touch sensor
At first glance, the Eve Light Switch looks like your everyday rocker switch. It’s identical in size and will fit into a standard receptacle. While it does come with a snap-on plastic faceplate, you can use any standard size faceplate found at a hardware store. Important if you’re using this next to other switches or outlets.
Aesthetically, nothing really stands out. It’s solid white outside of the “Eve” logo on the bottom of the faceplate (would have preferred no branding here). A green LED illuminates behind the switch helping to guide you in the dark. The switch is controlled via touch using a capacitive sensor. That means you won’t toggle an actual switch to turn on the lights, just tap the sensor. While I really enjoy the touch sensor, some might want tactile feedback like in the Wemo Light Switch.
Installation is surprisingly easy, especially with their included instructions and a helpful video. And that’s coming from someone who is not comfortable around electrical wires. The Eve Light Switch is not setup to handle a 3-way outlet (iDevices Wall Switch is an option for those with a 3-way set up). It also requires a neutral wire which is found in most homes. All told it took about 10 minutes from start to finish to secure the light switch into the wall.
Connecting Apple HomeKit devices is always a breeze and this was no exception. Use either Apple Home or the Eve app from the App Store to scan the barcode. Elgato has placed the barcode in the instruction book and on the back of the faceplate (so hang on to those if you’re using a different faceplate). Once paired, you can set which room the light is in and what it will be controlling. The pairing part took about 3 minutes.
Responsive through touch, app, and Siri
Perhaps the most unique aspect of the Eve Light Switch is that it connects through Bluetooth. While this provides lower energy consumption compared to its Wi-Fi counterparts, it does so at the expense of range. The signal felt strong and I was able to turn on the switch from a floor below where it was installed. But Bluetooth is finicky and you might want to test other Bluetooth products in your home to ensure they work where you want them to. This isn’t an issue if the switch is near a HomePod, Apple TV, or iPad that controls your HomeKit set up.
The Eve Light Switch performed incredibly well in testing. The touch sensor is responsive and never failed in weeks of use. Controlling through the app provided relatively adequate response time (usually under a second). Apple has drastically improved their performance with Bluetooth accessories since iOS 11. There are instances where it would take 3-5 seconds to register, but never a time where it just didn’t work. For those looking to control the switch outside the home, you will need either a newer iPad, HomePod, or Apple TV in your home to act as a hub.
As mentioned in our Eve Energy review, I’m a huge fan of the Eve app. It has an elegant design that is highly intuitive. You can control all your other HomeKit-enabled products through it. When controlling the Eve Light Switch, you can turn it on and off, set schedules, or group it with other devices to perform “scenes”. While there is no energy monitoring, it does track it’s usage.
Voice control with Siri was spot-on. Response times were quick and it picked up the custom names for the devices it was controlling (ceiling fan for instance). This works particularly well when you’re in bed reading and don’t want to get up to turn off the lights. Elgato products exclusively use Apple HomeKit so there is no support for Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
Great choice for Apple HomeKit users
The Elgato Eve Light Switch is one of my favorite Apple HomeKit-enabled switches on the market. The $50 price tag is a bit steep considering it lacks dimming capability. But it’s reliability, ease-of-use, and terrific app make up for that. Plus they have some of the best customer support around.
If you’re building a smart home around the Apple ecosystem, this is a solid choice.