I have been tinkering with HomeKit for a while now, and have quite a lot of accessories throughout the home. We recently bought a new house, and since moving in I have been gradually trying to automate our life in an efficient and cost savings way. Reddit got me going on Shelly 1/ Shelly 2.5’s, and after that I started chasing sensors to trigger those switches. All in all, I ended up with:
(2) Schlage Sense Locks
(1) Honeywell Lyric Panel w/ Sensors
(1) Meross Garage Door Opener
(2) Meross Smart Switch
(1) Meross Dimmer Switch
(5) First Alert One Link Alarms
(12) Shelly 1 Switches
(8) Shelly 2.5 Switches
(2) Ecobee 3 w/ (4) Smart Sensors
(8) Meross Smart Plug Mini
(8) Wyze Plug
(1) Sony X900H TV
(3) Apple TV 4K
(1) Apple TV HD
(3) AirPort Extreme 6th Generation
(2) HomePod Mini
4 Glass Break Sensors
9 Window Open Sensors
4 Door Open Sensors
1 Garage Door Open Sensor
7 Motion Sensors
6 Occupancy Sensors
6 Temperature Sensors
5 CO2 Sensors
5 Smoke Sensors
After doing all of this with relatively good success and connectivity, I decided that shades would be my next project. All of the aforementioned accessories are listed to show my familiarity with HomeKit, so if you are on the fence, this is my approximate skill level.
I looked around at the obvious choices, Serena Shades, IKEA, etc, and looked at what my options would be considering the window size. Lots of this is solely opinion….. Serena is too expensive, IKEA looks a little cheap (it is cheap) and doesn’t have the fabric choices that would match our decor. I was digging around a thread on Reddit about shades, and someone mentioned SmartWingsHome. So i went to the site, liked the look, liked the price, and started digging a little deeper. I could not find a single review, from Reddit to YouTube. All I found was their company published information…
So what the heck right? I sent them an e-mail and inquired about the shades. I did find out they are a relatively new company with a background of employees from Somfy and Hunter Douglas. I was very to the point, basically saying I am really interested in the shades but without any user feedback it is giving me reservations. Furthermore, this reservation is probably not just myself. At that point I offered to write a written review / video unboxing review of the shades for a discount on a set for the bottom level of my home. Specifically….. I DID NOT GET THESE FOR FREE…. This is an actual account of my experience from someone who still wrote a decent check, discount aside.
Very straight forward. We went with the 70% Blackout Linen Shades. 5 of them in the “Sand” color, 2 of them in the “White” color. They are very similar in color, the website has a very accurate depiction of the actual product. Video of the shades in action and coloring coming soon. Obviously I went with the HomeKit motors, which it turns out are the Xiaoyan / Terncy motors. You do need at least 1 remote control no matter how many shades you order, you will use it for programming the stop/raise limit. For the valence, we did the cassette w/ fabric insert, you’ll see those in the video as well, definitely gives the product a finished look. Pay attention to motor side… this is just personal preference, I would do the side that is closer to a power outlet from my brief experience. We did the inside mount, and used the measuring guidelines from their website to provide them with the correct information.
How To Measure Guide
I did not choose to do the solar option, but SmartWingsHome did send me some to try out. I haven’t plugged any in yet, I’ll give them a shot next week. When you order, you can provide a name of the shade (Kitchen, Left, etc) which is useful because they do label them with this information when they ship them to you.
They advertise 5 business days to produce the shades after they receive the order. My experience was exactly 5 days on the nose. On day 6, I got a shipping confirmation from UPS (MyChoice) and from SmartWingsHome direct. They were shipping from Hong Kong. Day 6, they didn’t move much…. But Day 7 was fun. They left Hong Kong, and went to Anchorage. I was watching the flight on FlightRadar (really just wondering can these really be to me in 2 days from HK?). They were in Anchorage for a couple hours, and then went to Kentucky.
I watched that one for a little fun, and then let UPS do their thing. Sure enough, 3 days later, they were on my front doorstep from UPS. So my experience was 9 business days from the initial order, or 13 calendar days.
Packaging. The Shades are packed very well… they use some form of bubble wrap I have not seen before… and you can tell they have put some time and effort into ensuring these arrive in the US harm free. You will also see the label on the outside of each box with the room label on it… this is very useful. In the box your will find mounting hardware, and any accessories you asked for such as a remote w/ mount, solar panel, etc. You will also find a full set of instructions in one of your boxes, as well as a 10ft USB-C cable in one of your boxes (very well thought out, 10FT is going to be handy for a recharge).
First and foremost,I am relatively handy around the house and 4 wood screws are not going to intimidate me much. Removed all shades, placed the mounting brackets 4 inches from either side as the instructions specify, and screwed them in. Shades pop into place in a second or 2, and you are done. By the 4th window, I was down to around 5 minutes per window total install time, very simple. The instructions next say to hold the power button for 2 seconds to wake the motor (they send it in sleep mode so it doesn’t trigger during shipping), and then it is basically ready to go. We dropped the shade most of the way down, then followed the instructions with the remote to set the lower limit, then raised to and set the upper limit. Just remember to set the remote to the proper channel, and you are good to go. You do need to ensure that if you have matching windows, that the lower limit is identical. If you don’t, when you ask siri to raise them to 50%, they do 50% of the total length, and they don’t be even. Just take your time with the lower limit. Scanned them with HomeKit (they put the code on the top of the shade, and the lower part for ease of scanning. HomeKit picked them right up, they connected via Bluetooth, and without hiccup they were paired. I did group my rooms in HomeKit so they open/close together, I’d recommend that. For the sake of looking, I did check the DB’s of the motors in action to help identify if I would consider them noisy. I would not. My home sits around 39db according to the iPhone, which is just residual noise. At 6ft, the motors opening take that out to 50db. Closing was down to 47db. I would not consider the motor noise an annoyance by any stretch.
Fabric feels nice, not cheap. I do need to reach out to SmartWings and ask how to clean them should they get some dirt on them. Fitment was great, probably ties back to getting them accurate measurements. The extra cost for the premium valence is worth every penny. I have not had any HomeKit issues yet, they have responded as they should, and have moved during automation times without issue. I can say that they haven’t always been in sync, but I don’t attribute that to the shades. I have multiple lamps that are grouped together and when I command Siri to turn them off, they don’t always hit at exactly the same time.
I really only have 1 complaint, and that is the 4 wood screws they provide are very cheap. One bent, one wasn’t produced correctly, and 1 bent during install despite going into pre drilled wood. I would appreciate magnetic screws that were slightly better quality.
I have 1 concern, and that is that they snap in place with a plastic piece that is spring loaded. Now I do not plan on removing these things over and over, but if I did, that would concern me.
Overall, very happy with the product. I’ll use them for the next few weeks and report back my thoughts…. If you guys have any questions please let me know….