One flaw prevents this faraway from being substantial. Blame it on Apple.

wemo stage in hand

Michael Brown / IDG

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  • Wemo Stage Scene Controller

Many of the merchandise in Belkin’s Wemo line of trim lighting fixtures merchandise are platform agnostic. They function in your non-public home’s Wi-Fi network and can just moreover be controlled with both Android or iOS gadgets. The Wemo Stage Scene Controller is no longer. It’s a extremely effective faraway withhold a watch on designed solely for trim homes basically based mostly on Apple’s HomeKit platform. Whereas you’re deep into Apple’s ecosystem, you’ll dig it. Whereas you’re no longer, it will be ineffective to you.

In its most modern whisper, the Wemo Stage makes expend of Bluetooth Low Vitality to talk with a HomePod trim speaker, Apple TV media streamer, or an iPad configured as a home hub. As such, it will withhold a watch on any HomeKit-possess minded instrument for my fragment, any HomeKit-possess minded gadgets you’ve organized into groups, and any “scenes” you’ve created the utilization of HomeKit-possess minded gadgets. In expose so that you just can manipulate older Wemo gadgets, you’ll also need the $40 Wemo Bridge (more fresh Wemo merchandise are already HomeKit possess minded, even though they don’t toughen Thread; neither does the bridge, for that matter).

wemo stage product2 Belkin

The Wemo Stage Scene Controller can also just moreover be operated possess a light swap when docked in its wall-mounted socket.

Belkin says the Wemo Stage is “Thread ready,” that formula a drawing near firmware update will allow it to function on a Thread network as an different, the build it will function as a Thread endpoint. As it stands this day, the faraway’s dependence on Bluetooth LE gifts a significant vary topic that will moreover be alleviated supreme by having a pair of home hubs sprinkled around your non-public home.

Why Thread toughen is needed

wemo state before programming Michael Brown / IDG

Each and every of the Wemo Stage’s three buttons can get two actions, one with a transient press and one with a long press.

I if truth be told possess a HomePod mini in my kitchen and an Apple TV HD in my home theater, but these didn’t present enough protection to let me expend the faraway in each room of my 2,800-sq. foot home. I didn’t have to be within dwelling of one or the opposite instrument, but having extra than a pair of partitions between the faraway and a home hub used to be enough to dam the faraway’s commands.

The Wemo Stage has three buttons, each of which has raised dots to permit you to name which is which with out desirous to have a look on the faraway. It must get up to 6 actions, because each button can distinguish between a transient press and a long press.

Surely, nonetheless, you’ll likely program it to toggle three scenes, groups, or gadgets on and three off. The faraway is programmed thru the Apple Home app, so there’s no other software to set up or learn.

Whereas you needed to turn one or a community of lights on and off, you can expend a transient press on button one to turn them on, and a long press of the same button to turn them off. You would also also originate extra define scenes in the Home app and dwelling off them on and off the same device. As an instance, you can originate a “movie time” scene that closes your blinds, dims your lights, and turns in your TV and media streamer with a transient press. A protracted press may perchance well well perchance then initiate your shades, turn the lights to elephantine brightness (or off), and turn your TV off. All six of the button actions can also just moreover be changed into Siri Shortcuts, and from there, into Siri boom commands.

scene with music Michael Brown / IDG

I shouldn’t have to subscribe to Apple Track lawful to originate a scene difficult song.

Aged habits die exhausting

You’ll bump into this faraway’s supreme flaw in case you try to originate a scene that involves playing song and to boot you don’t subscribe Apple Track. I don’t, and when I tried to originate automation that may perchance well well perchance—amongst other issues—play song on one among my AirPlay 2-possess minded Sonos speakers, I was equipped with an error message that said “Adding audio to a scene requires that you just have an inspiring Apple Track membership.” I got the same message when I switched the audio instrument to the HomePod mini.

This isn’t Belkin’s fault, after all, but I will be capable to survey no factual function why I’d have to subscribe to Apple Track to originate an automation that involves audio playback, severely if I needed to play song that I contain. This limitation seriously undermines the Wemo Stage’s usefulness.

I quizzed Belkin about this topic and they answered “Our physique of workers hasn’t experienced this topic in the Apple Home app sooner than but we’re looking out into it.” I’m guessing that’s potentially because all individuals on the Wemo physique of workers has an Apple Track subscription, but I’ll update this review when I uncover further recordsdata.

The Wemo Stage is powered by a single CR2032 coin cell battery, which Belkin says must accrued last about two years, relying on expend. The 2.6 x 1.3 x .35-skedaddle (HxWxD) faraway can also just moreover be extinct as a handheld instrument or magnetically docked to orderly plate, which that you just can mount on the wall the utilization of the integrated adhesive pads. Or in case you purchase, the dock can also just moreover be separated from the orderly plate and mounted in a earlier faculty junction box. You would also then reattach the orderly plate or expend another plate designed for slide-style switches (this possibility is severely at hand in case that you just must always mount it in a box alongside mature switches and dimmers).

wemo stage lifestyle3Belkih

Three buttons develop the work of six by advantage of both a long or quick press.

I’ve become an increasing form of impressed with HomeKit as I’ve dug deeper into it. It doesn’t match properly with my Vivint trim home plan, which is largely basically based mostly on Z-Wave gadgets, and I rely mostly on Amazon Echo trim speakers to manipulate my trim home merchandise, but HomeKit offers an an increasing form of strong ecosystem that puts a top rate on non-public privacy. I also possess that many HomeKit gadgets don’t need their very contain apps taking on storage on my iPhone and iPad.

This Apple Track requirement, nonetheless, is a significant sore region for me. And the Wemo Stage itself will be worthy extra well-known when it turns into Thread enabled, because HomePod minis are lawful too pricey to sprinkle in all locations the condo. Apple may perchance well well perchance learn a colossal lesson from Amazon and Google on that entrance if it wants HomeKit to become ubiquitous.

A pricey gadget

Talking of rate, $50 for a three-button faraway withhold a watch on is sexy rich, no matter how many scenes it will withhold a watch on. You would also bewitch a whole trim speaker for that rate, though it wouldn’t be possess minded with HomeKit. The extra wrathful you are about having a HomeKit-basically based mostly trim home, after all, the less of a barrier that rate will most modern.

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  • Wemo Stage Scene Controller

    The Wemo Stage Scene Controller is a properly-accomplished trim home instrument for exhausting-core HomeKit customers, but it absolutely’s pricey and its most modern reliance on Bluetooth LE limits its vary. This will likely a greater product when it gains Thread compatibility.


    • Can withhold a watch on six HomeKit-possess minded gadgets, groups, or scenes
    • Very easy to program thru the Apple Home app; no other software to set up or learn
    • Might perchance be extinct as a handheld faraway or mounted on a wall


    • Strive and be an Apple Track subscriber to originate scenes difficult audio
    • Reliance on Bluetooth LE limits its vary (Thread toughen is in the works)
    • Pricey for what’s delivered

Michael covers the trim-home, home-entertainment, and home-networking beats, working in the trim home he constructed in 2007.