SwitchBot kindly sent me their brand new Hub2 (and a few other products) to test out their new Matter support. It all seems really interesting, and SwitchBot have just taken a big step forward. This is because their Hub2 supports Matter over Wi-Fi, allowing them to eventually roll out Matter support to all of their products. For now, their first Matter product is the SwitchBot Curtains, which now natively supports HomeKit due to their Matter support.
SwitchBot are currently offering 15% off their products with discount code 15HOMEPOINT (valid until 26th May 2023). You can buy it on the SwitchBot Store or on Amazon USA. (Note: I might earn commission via qualifying purchases when using those links, but that comes at no extra cost to you).
This is an awesome demonstration of the power of the Matter project, and I’m excited to see how well SwitchBot’s Matter support continues to develop in the future. You can see SwitchBot’s own Matter demo here, while my own YouTube video is below which looks at the Hub2 and its Matter support:
The individual sections of this video are:
- 0:00 Intro
- 1:00 SwitchBot Hub2 Specifics
- 3:10 SwitchBot’s Matter support
- 4:24 Google Home/Matter set-up
- 6:18 Thanks to SwitchBot (& quick Curtains demo)
- 6:50 Matter limitations
- 7:27 Wrapping Up
Video Guide & Transcript
Hello, I’m Tristan and THIS is the Hub2 from SwitchBot. It’s kind of a big deal, because this starts to bring Matter support throughout SwitchBot’s product line-up. And that’s great because previously if a smart home company wanted to support Amazon Echo, Google Nest, Apple HomeKit and other smart home platforms, they would need to code up specific support for each, separate platform – which takes a lot of time and money, and often resulted in HomeKit simply being skipped over. But NOW companies just need to make a hub that is Matter-certified, and ‘poof’, wide-ranging third-party support magically appears (well, not quite – but that’s the general idea).
Indeed, previously the SwitchBot Curtain did not natively support Apple HomeKit. But due to the Hub2 and its Matter support, this now DOES support Apple Home. And that’s pretty cool. It’s cool for SwitchBot because they can gain more customers, but it’s also an awesome demonstration of the Matter project and why it’s so important for the smart home community.
SwitchBot Hub2 Specifics
The Hub2 is a nice upgrade over the previous Hub Mini, and it also keeps many of the features from the discontinued Hub Plus. This has daylight, temperature and humidity sensors (and thanks to Matter, this data will also pull through to the Apple Home app). All this data is displayed in the SwitchBot app and it can be viewed back over different time periods, which is quite neat, plus you can export the data to a CSV if you’d like. You can also create home automations (or ‘scenes’, as SwitchBot calls them) based on these values. For example, you could say that when it gets dark enough, your curtains should automatically close. Or you could say that if it gets too humid in a room, turn on a dehumidifier – either by using the SwitchBot Bot, or a SwitchBot Smart Plug. It’s surprising just how powerful all this can be. With the Hub2 and just a few of SwitchBot’s products, you can create a genuinely powerful smart home with ease.
The Hub2 looks fairly sleek, with an LED backlight that clearly displays the temperature and humidity. The Hub2 is powered by USB-C and it has a prop arm on the back (there you are) so that you can easily stand it up on a shelf or desk. It also comes with M3 adhesive strips, if you wanted to wall mount it. It has two on-screen buttons which default to turning the screen on and off, but you can customize this to trigger scenes via the app. In this case, I have set the ON button to also open my curtains – and the OFF button will close them again. But naturally you can configure this how you would like, and also chain multiple actions together. You could also specify that your SwitchBot cameras stop recording when you click OFF, or you can turn on various devices around your home when you click ON. It’s entirely up to you. You can also set the screen brightness to auto-adjust based on how bright the room is, which is a neat feature.
The Hub2 also keeps the Hub Mini’s infrared control features, allowing you to control TVs and other infrared devices around your home. However the Hub2 actually has a more powerful infrared chip, which is nice, because this means that the infrared range is wider than the Hub Mini’s range – so that’s great.
SwitchBot’s Matter support
In terms of SwitchBot’s Matter support, the Hub2 connects to your Wi-Fi network (although it’s worth noting that it only supports 2.4 gigahertz Wi-Fi – which is a shame). The Hub2 can then offer Matter over Wi-Fi. And because the Hub2 supports both Bluetooth and infrared, pretty much all of SwitchBot’s products can connect to the Hub2 – and then effectively get Matter support too. And this then magically introduces support for a wide range of third-party platforms, including HomeKit. Yippee ki yay, Apple lovers.
That’s the idea, at least. In practice, getting individual products Matter-certified still takes time. It’s not like you can just copy and paste random bits of code from the Matter GitHub project and instantly become Matter compatible. As a result, at the time of filming, only the SwitchBot Curtain and Blinds supports Matter – something which was achieved via an over-the-air firmware update in early March 2023. Many other SwitchBot products will become Matter-certified throughout 2023 though, although there is no fixed timeframe for this.
Google Home/Matter set-up
SwitchBot’s Matter support is still quite new, however I had no major issues with getting the SwitchBot Curtain device installed or setup on the app – it all went fairly smoothly. SwitchBot’s Matter support was still in beta support when I shot this, with Amazon support still pending, HomeKit support being fairly stable – and Google Home support being somewhere in-between. However after a frustrating 10 to 15 minutes with Google Home, I was finally able to get the Hub2 integrated into my Google Home app – and I could then see the temperature data pull through.
To do this, I ensured that I had all the latest app and firmware versions installed, and I then got the Matter QR code from the SwitchBot app. The Matter project likes to use easy identifiers like QR codes to set-up devices easily in different apps. Once I had the QR code, I was able to switch over to the Google Home app. At first I couldn’t add a Matter device because I apparently needed “necessary Google Play services Matter modules”… but Google’s help page went to a 404 page. Fail. But weirdly, after launching the SmartThings app, I could then force-install these Matter modules – and finally add my SwitchBot Hub2 into the Google Home app. So this was all a bit buggy and clunky, but that’s mainly down to initial teething issues. I expect these types of issues will get resolved soon enough – especially when smart devices and phone apps get all the necessary updates. One downside of the current Google Home integration was that I couldn’t trigger Google Home routines based on the temperature or humidity settings, but this should be supported in the future – plus you can still configure this within the SwitchBot app.
I then went back to test non-Matter support, by linking it with Amazon Alexa, and I could then control it as you’d expect. Alexa routines worked fine. Now you might point out that SwitchBot already supported Alexa so this is no major surprise, but it’s still good to see it work reliably after the Matter upgrade too. SwitchBot have previously demonstrated Matter integration on a range of other platforms too, which I link to down in the description.
Thanks to SwitchBot (& quick Curtains demo)
Before I wrap up, I wanted to firstly say thank you to SwitchBot for sending me all these products to test out. SwitchBot have some really innovative products, so it’s been fun to play around with them.
The SwitchBot curtains was my favorite product; it was really cool. It’s got two parts to it that you basically clip onto your curtain rail as you can see here – up there. You then switch to the SwitchBot app and you calibrate it, during the setup process, it finds out where the open and close positions are. Once that’s done you can automate things in the app.
It’s worth pointing out that the Hub2 doesn’t support other company’s Matter products – and you will still need the SwitchBot app. I say this because some people discuss Matter as though it’s a panacea that will allow you to ‘mix and match’ different company’s Matter products, and then only use one app. But in practice, each company will have their own slightly different Matter implementations – and so you can’t just buy some random Matter-certified product and then add it to the Hub2 via the SwitchBot app – that won’t work. The era of having 20 different smart home apps is here to stay, at least until Matter support becomes much more widespread.
Overall though, I really liked playing around with the Hub2 and also SwitchBot’s first Matter-certified product – the SwitchBot Curtains. It’s particularly great to see some of SwitchBot’s key products (like this one) become HomeKit-friendly, which has been a long-time coming.
I will aim to dive into various company’s Matter support later this year when the dust settles, but for now, this seems like a neat, future-proofed step by SwitchBot. I hope you enjoyed this video. If you did, please click the thumbs up button. Please also click the subscribe button, and ‘ding the bell’ which will notify you when I release new videos. Thank you!