Tech Reviews

The Wonderful Fun of the Logitech POP Buttons

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I’ve spent the better part of a week configuring Logitech POP Smart Buttons around my home, and while the process has been fun, I quickly learned that some of my ideas are more useful than others (my Pop Button cat-feeding activities remain to be perfected).

If this is your first time hearing about POP Buttons they are wonderfully uncomplicated, and are very easy to configure. As you can see in the picture above, the POP Smart Button is just a simple button, but what it does is entirely up to you. Each Pop Button has three different “presses,” so you can program three different actions for each button you own. A single-press could turn on all of your lights, a double press could lock or unlock your front-door, or a long-press could prep your whole house for bedtime. All of this depends on which devices are currently connected to your Smart Home, but you have endless combinations and commands at your fingertips. The best part is that you can add more buttons as you improve your Smart Home, and the list of combinations only grows. Setting up each button is often more fun than frustrating, thanks to Apple’s Homekit and other integrations currently powering the Smart Home industry.

Your best bet is start with the aptly named “Logitech Pop Home Switch Starter Pack” ($99 at Amazon). There is also a smaller Starter Kit ($39 at Amazon) which includes one button and one bridge. Both of these options will give you the bridge that wirelessly connects the buttons to your wireless-network, but the smaller kit will only include one POP Button. As I mentioned before, you can add POP Buttons at any time, and setting them up gets easier and easier the more you do it. I should also mention that you can connect multiple POP Smart Buttons to a single bridge, so you won’t have to keep buying starter packs to expand your Smart Home. After I completed the simple setup of connected the Pop Bridge to my home network, I was ready to start testing. These were my favorite setups that ran with my Samsung Hue lights hub setup ($64 at Amazon). You can watch a short promotional video that Logitech created for the video below.

Fun With Buttons

My Home-Office setup was one of the easiest. I can enter into the room and single-press the Pop Button to turn on all of the lights in the room, as well as the Sonos Speakers on the side-table. If I double-tap the button when I’m leaving the room, it will shut everything off for me. I left the third option free at this time, but I’m sure I’ll find something fun to do with it down the road.

I think Entering/Exiting the Home is another standard that people might use straight away, and I had multiple versions of this setup during my testing. I will explain my favorite scenario, with a quick warning about lighting. This button has three actions, and is located on the entry-table of my apartment, under the intercom I use to buzz-in the Seamless guy every other day. A single-press turns on all the lights in the main living-space; a double-press turns them off; and a long-press shuts off all the lights and locks my apartment door using a Schlage lock. I’ve actually reviewed quite a few of these locks in the past, and I can’t recommend them enough. This button is the center-point for the lights, and the last one I press before going to bed. You want one button to have control over the lights, and be careful not to mix in the light-command with too many activities.

In the same main-living space (as I mentioned earlier the Entry/Exit Button controlled the on/off lights to this space) I had another button for Multi-Media and Entertainment. This is a great example of how you can expand your network down the road. Using the Logitech Harmony hub system that I already owned ($299 at Amazon) I created another three-button setup on the side-table of the couch. A single press lowered the lights for TV watching, and turned on my TV and cable-box. This same press also automatically adjusted the correct inputs for me. The double-press action shuts off my cable-box and changes the TV to the Apple TV input while also turning on the Apple TV. The long-press would shut everything down, and changes the lights to normal brightness (not turn them off).

It took me a while to figure out that I only wanted the lights to go off at one location.  In my setup the ENTRY/EXIT button is the only device that shuts off the lights. I would suggest you do the same, as I accidentally left myself in the dark several times when testing configurations around the home. If you have the option to adjust the color and/or brightness of your lights, make sure there is a simple way to change them back when you are done with that activity. In my setup they only dimmed when I was watching TV or a movie, and would automatically go back to normal brightness when the TV was off.

The Bedroom is another easy room to setup, since most people will focus on going to bed. This was just a simple lights on/off situation that utilized the single-press and double-press mechanic.

STILL IN TESTING

I’ll add a few of my testing ideas that aren’t ready for the main-stage quite yet. While utilizing Koogeek plugs ($30 at Amazon) I tried adding my electric tea-kettle, toaster, coffee-maker and electric treat dispenser for my cats to my Pop Buttons. While connecting to the Koogeek was easy, getting the on/off functions to work perfectly on these non-smart devices gave me a few issues. I’m not giving up on the dream of feeding my cats from bed, or turning on the kettle from the shower, but I haven’t gotten them down quite yet. Computers are also tricky, since they many have power-saving functions hidden away in the BIOS, or require prompts or passwords for security.

I am working on teaching my cat to push the button to get an electric toy of his to move about when he wants it on (he already learned to use a bell for snacks) but it’s slow going. I am very excited to start testing out some Logitech security cameras in this network though, and try adding baby-monitoring and pet-detection to the Pop Button family.

 

Review overview

Design10
Performance10
Price9

Summary

9.7Fun to use and to configure, they offer a great alternative to voice commands.