Testing HomeKit with the Elgato Eve range of accessories

HomeKit is nothing new, but it seems that this year is finally when manufacturers have definitely opted for accessories compatible with Apple devices. The catalog of accessories compatible with HomeKit is progressively growing, and Elgato stands out within it with its Eve range, which includes indoor and outdoor temperature sensors, smart plugs, motion sensors, thermostats, etc.. Full details about HomeKit, the iOS 10 Home app, accessory settings and the Elgato Eve app, below.

A protocol to bring them all together

HomeKit is the protocol that guarantees that the accessories will work with Apple devices without problems and that you can also combine different brands and use them together without questioning the compatibility of each other. All accessories identified with the yellow logo can be controlled with the Casa application, preinstalled on iOS, and no matter if they are of the same or different brands, you will have access to them from the Control Center widget and you can use Siri to execute actions with them.

From iPhone 5 and iPad with Retina Display onwards, all iPhone and iPad models are compatible with HomeKit accessories, and you can control them with them, from your home or from outside it, as long as you have internet connectivity and use a 3rd or 4th generation Apple TV or a compatible iPad as a HomeKit central at home.

Very simple configuration

It is the key to the success of any accessory: configuration and installation available to anyone. Forget about complicated IP cameras or having to use cables to automate your home. Elgato with its range of accessories Eve has carried for maximum simplicity, and if you do not want you will not even have to use a screwdriver. The accessories work with conventional batteries and Elgato has opted for Bluetooth connectivity to ensure maximum autonomy, reaching several months in some accessories.

Open the cover of the accessory, place the batteries and open the Elgato application to configure the accessory in a few simple steps. You will not have to enter the Settings menu to configure Bluetooth. You can also choose the configuration through the Casa application itself, but for reasons that we will explain later, we recommend the installation of the Elgato Eve application, Because it's worth it. Of course it is completely free.

Eve for HomeKit

Eve Systems GmbH3.5

Apple TV becomes the center of your home

If the accessories have Bluetooth connectivity, with the limitation that this type of connection has in terms of scope, how can you access them from anywhere? Apple has thought about it and has decided that two devices can be the center that brings together all the HomeKit accessories in the house: the Apple TV and the iPad. You will need an Apple TV 4th Generation with tvOS 10 or an iPad with iOS 10 to take advantage of 100% of HomeKit features, such as automation, remote access and permission settings. You can also use an Apple TV 3 but you will not have automation or remote access to cameras. An important detail: you will have to activate double factor authentication in your Apple account.

This is one of the improvement points of HomeKit, and it is that in a house there will be places that are out of Bluetooth connectivity with respect to Apple TV, and that means that you will have to place another control center in that area. Taking into account the price of Apple TV or iPad, Apple should come up with another solution and offer other more affordable “repeaters” to distribute around the house. and thus be able to distribute accessories throughout all rooms without problems. Something that must also be taken into account: if you use an Apple TV 4 you can not use your old Apple TV 3 as an additional control center … Apple stuff

Elgato Eve, comprehensive control of your accessories

In addition to the configuration of the accessories, the Elgato Eve application allows us to control them and know all the information they collect with hourly charts that will allow us to know the evolution of the temperature and quality of the air inside the house, the consumption of the accessories plugged through the Smart plug or the times the house door has been opened. We can group them by rooms to have everything more tidy, and through the application we will elaborate our scenarios and set our timers and rules so that the lights come on when we enter a room, or at sunset. The possibilities combining different accessories are endless.

The Elgato application deserves to spend time because its level of customization is maximum. Configure one or several houses, one or several rooms, assign each accessory to its corresponding location, modify the icons that identify them … As you can see from the images there are endless possibilities to leave your home perfectly configured. And like the iOS Home app it even allows you to control accessories from other brands, provided they are compatible with HomeKit.

Home, the native application

Apple has designed its own application to control all accessories, and it may be the ideal application for those who do not want a level of complexity too high, although they must be aware that they are wasting the potential of these accessories. We can consult the live information that the accessories have collected, but forget about the graphics that show the evolution. Of course, aesthetically I find it more beautiful than the application of Elgato, but once you get used to the application of the brand, Casa falls short.

The good thing about the Casa application is that it is incorporated into the iOS Control Center, so you can access it from anywhere, even with the iPhone locked, or using another application. The best of all this is that you don't have to choose between one or the other, because if you configure the Elgato Eve application everything will appear perfectly configured in Home, and vice versa. They are two applications that take the information from the same source and show it differently, so you can use each of them as you are interested.

Share accessories with other accounts

As expected, all your devices that have the same iCloud account activated will share the HomeKit and Home settings you have done on one of them, so you won't have to do the same task several times. But it wouldn't make much sense that only you at home could control the accessories Since being the only one who can light the living room lamp can be a bit annoying for other family members.

As you can guess, both the Elgato application and the iOS native, Casa, allow us to share HomeKit with other people, but this time Casa does it more intuitively. We can even configure permissions so that guests do not have the same privileges as us. What happens if a guest has their own HomeKit set up in their home? No problem, not all mixed accessories will come out, but depending on their location they will appear one or the other.

Automations, rules and scenarios

In addition to collecting information, HomeKit accessories allow you to perform actions with that information. Depending on which accessory you have, you can make a lamp come on (connected to Elgato Eve Energy) when you enter a room (thanks to the Elgato Eve Motion motion detector) or simply when you get home and open the door (with the Elgato Eve sensor Door and Window). Would you rather use the sunset and sunrise? That you can also do it, or set up a few hours a day, even specify different rules for each day of the week.

Scenarios that combine different actions and that are executed when certain conditions are met, timers … Combine accessories and combine their functions to get a fully automated home. As before here we can use the Casa or Elgato Eve application, and as almost always, the latter includes many more options than the Apple native, although it is true that some functions require a careful study of the different configuration options.

Elgato Eve accessories one by one

Eve Weather

A small sensor that takes care of measure the temperature, humidity and atmospheric pressure outside. Its small size and weight are ideal to fix it on the outside of the house, you can even place it on the wall with the help of a screw, although it is not mandatory. It works with only two AA batteries and is waterproof with IPX3 certification, which means that it should not be exposed to rain directly but it does not hold water spray in a very intense way. Ideally, place it in the hollow of a window where it is not exposed to the sun or rain directly. You have it available on Amazon at a price that usually ranges between € 39 and € 49.

Eve Room

This is the brother of the previous one, but designed specifically for the interior of the house. The information you offer includes the temperature, air quality and humidity of the room in which you are. Air quality is not only determined by CO2 but also detects other harmful compounds that can affect our well-being. This device works with 3 AA batteries and is not designed for outdoor use, so it is better not to wet it or expose it to the weather. Its price on Amazon ranges from € 63 to € 75.

Eve Energy

It is the perfect accessory to turn any conventional plug into a smart plug. You can light a lamp using Siri, or by pressing the corresponding button on the screen of your iPhone, or creating rules so that it turns on and off automatically when you get home or when the sun goes down. But automations are only one of the facets of this accessory, because It also offers us detailed information on the energy consumption of the accessory that we have plugged through it. Obviously, this accessory does not need batteries to work. Its price can be amortized very soon as it only costs about € 49 on Amazon.

Eve Motion

A motion sensor that informs us about the movements that occur where we have placed it. We may receive notifications about when movement is detected, or use it to perform actions, such as turning on house lights at certain times whenever there is movement. It needs 2 AA batteries and its size and design is so discreet that you can place it almost anywhere without being appreciated. Its price on Amazon is about € 39.

Eve Door & Window

Designed to be placed in doors and windows, this sensor detects if they are open or closed, and can notify you about it. Its size is very small and is placed using an adhesive that includes. It only needs a small 1/2 AA battery and you can use it to perform actions when opening or closing doors or windows. You can also see in the graph of the Elgato Eve app the times it has been opened or closed in the last hours, days or weeks. Its price usually ranges from € 31 to € 39 on Amazon.

Eve Thermo

It is an accessory that, due to its characteristics, will need in most cases an installation by a professional, since it requires that the radiator valve be replaced by a compatible one if you do not already have it installed, something quite likely . But this "defect" is more than compensated for its usefulness and for what it can help us save and improve our comfort at home. Ideal for homes with central heating where the placement of a central thermostat is not possible and you have to regulate radiator to radiator. This thermostat allows you to set the temperature at which you want your room to be, and will regulate the radiator to get it. Of course it can be integrated with the rest of HomeKit accessories, and you can use Siri to control it. Its price on Amazon is around € 60.

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