Not long ago we introduced you to SwitchBot, a company that has a bunch of smart devices that work well and are very affordable. We looked at the Switchbot Bot, Curtain, Solar Panel, Hub Mini, Meter and Remote and this time around the company hooked us up with a bunch of new products, one of which being their new Motion Sensor. If you expect a simple sensor you are in for a surprise, as this one brings more to the table for a price that beats the competition!
A sensor that just makes sense.
SwitchBot Motion Sensor is a Bluetooth device, but, while this type of devices are not the best for home automations, they can work without a hub and this one takes full advantage of the SwitchBot API when paired with the SwitchBot Hub. If you mix the two together you get a lot of features from a seemingly simple device.
Features and specifications
- Motion range up to almost 30 feet detection distance within 110° horizontally and 55° vertically
- Customizable sensitivity
- Built-in light level sensor
- Long life (up to three years) using two AAA batteries
- Magnetic base and adhesive tape included
- Compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Samsung SmartThings
- Programmable “scenes” through the switchBot app
- 54 x 54 x 30mm sensor, 45 x 45 x 32mm base
- One-year warranty
The SwitchBot Motion Sensor comes packed in the brand specific white and red packaging. On the front we have a graphical representation of the motion sensor and on the bottom we have a list of compatible services, which includes pretty much all the big players in the market.
On the back, we have a small description of the sensor and also some examples of the automations you can create within the SwitchBot ecosystem, by combining the sensor with the SwitchBot Motion Sensor, the SwitchBot Hub Mini, the SwitchBot Care or Switchbot Curtain.
Inside the box we find the motion sensor, a magnetic support (that looks exactly like the one we have for the camera), AAA batteries, double-sided 3M tape for wall mounting and the installation manual.
The SwitchBot Motion Sensor has a rectangular shape with rounded corners. The size is bigger than what you would expect for a motion sensor but I guess this has something to do with the technology packed inside. The sensor is built from high quality plastic and the front has a ball shaped sensor and a led light that indicates the status.
On the back and side we have the a notch to insert the support and on the top there’s a power on/reset button.
To install the sensor you will need the Switchbot application, which is available on Android and IOS. If you don’t have an account you will need to create one. Once you have the application installed, you need to install the sensor where you want it to stay. You can mount it on a wall or you can put it in a secluded location if you want to hide it. We opted to install it on the wall using the very strong 3M tape delivered in the package. First thing to do is install the batteries. The back panel has a cover which is easy to remove and you don’t need any tools to open and close it up. The wall support takes some force to be inserted, but once you do it you are ready to go.
In one minute or less you are ready to add the SwitchBot Motion Sensor to the application. From the application, hit the “+” button and you should have the Motion Sensor in the list at the very top of the screen. If you do not see it there, you can select it from the list. The application will guide you through the installation process. You have to long press the top button until the led indicator starts flashing and click Next. You will be prompted to give the sensor a name and you are done. Everything takes 30 seconds, so basically you can have the sensor installed in 5 minutes or less from the moment you get it from the courier.
Once added, the app displays the current status of the sensors on the main page. If you have a SwitchBot Hub you can connect the sensor through it and enable it’s true capabilities. The app will ask you if you have any pets and will show you how to place the sensor. You can set the motion sensitivity and you have 3 options: Short (0-2 meters), medium (3-5) meters and Long (7-9 meters). Based on the setting you need you can test out the settings by walking around and the app showing if you are in the range of the sensor of not.
One thing to look for after you have added the Motion Sensor to the SwitchBot app is the firmware version update. If there is a new version available you should definitely download it as it will enhance the features.
While in the app you can tweak some settings like notifications (if you want to receive them and see the log), select if you want the indicator LED to light up to not, adjust motion sensitivity and light sensitivity and turn on Cloud Service.
SwitchBot Hub + Motion Sensor = Scenes
Once you have selected the settings you need it is time to play with the Sensor. Paired up with a SwitchBot Hub, the SwitchBot Motion Sensor can be integrated in the Scenes panel. Within the SwitchBot ecosystem, you can take advantage of the included sensors and you can create scenes based on them. You have 3 options, based on which, you can add triggers that can activate other devices from your SwitchBot Ecosystem: Motion detected, No motion detected for a period of time and ambient brightness level. For example, if the sensor detects no motion for 3 minutes, the hub can command the lights to be turned off. Also if the sensor detects motion if can command the lights to turn on or it can command your camera to record. The features are very handy for those who forget to turn on a switch or those who have everything automated with no switches at hand reach. Every scene is executed within seconds after triggering, which is very useful.
Smart Home Integration
To take things further, the SwitchBot Motion Sensor takes advantage of the more powerful third-party integrations. It works flawlessly with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Samsung SmartThings. Within the Alexa app, you can use the sensor detection skills to trigger any other associated app or function.
Adding the sensor to our Google Assistant gives you the possibility to receive notifications on your Google devices, but nothing more, so not much is added to the table.
Everything changes when you add it to Samsung SmartThings, though. If you are like me and have a bunch of products from a bunch of smart providers, controlling them can be hard. I have Alexas’ in some rooms, Google in others and Samsung SmartThings to link what is left in-between. Within the Samsung Hub I set routines that will trigger when motion is detected and when motion is not detected in certain areas. The greatest feature was that I could control both SwitchBot products (light bulb), but also other products as well (smart wall plugs and smart wall switches) from other providers. Now, when I pass through my entry hallway, the ceiling and bulb comes on. If I do not pass again within 3 minutes the lights goes off.
The SwitchBot Motion Sensor is easy to use, install, packs a lot of features, is battery operated, works lightning fast, is very reliable and packs a lot of features in a small device which is also very affordable. It integrates in any smart setup you might have at home and fills a needed hole in any automation system. It is basically a win-win situation from any point you want to take in consideration. Since getting it, the sensor became an essential part in my smart home ecosystem and for 20€ it’s a steal.