Lidl is one of the supermarket chains with the largest presence in Europe, and beyond food, it generally stands out for unusual products such as some models in its clothing line, products such as Monsieur Cuisine which rivals Thermomix. We recently had home automation products from Lidl, but are they worth it?
A few weeks ago, we learned about the home automation world of the German supermarket chain, and since then we have been able to use some of their devices on a daily basis to tell you our impressions. How do Lidl smart devices work?
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The technology behind Lidl home automation
When you buy a smart bulb or any other technology product today, it has some type of wireless connection that allows us to control it from other devices. The most common and affordable technologies use well-known technologies such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, which allow us to connect directly from our mobile or local network.
However, there is a third option that is well established in the home automation world called Zigbee, which is what Lidl has gone for its ecosystem. We won’t go into detail on how the technology works (although if you’re interested, we’ve talked at length about the standard already), but there are three key things you should know:
- It’s very fast: Compared to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth home automation devices, the speed difference is abysmal. He responds almost instantly.
- Much more stable: I spent a lot more time than I wanted to do this review as I wanted to make sure everything was working properly, because in my Yeelight (Wi-Fi) and Phillips Hue (Bluetooth) bulbs I occasionally encountered situations where I didn’t want to answer me and had to ask the assistant two or three times to finish listening to me.
- Requires a special standard: Working with a different connection we need a special switchboard that works with Zigbee devices.
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Lidl has its own Zigbee standard for controlling devices. This standard is the one that will act as an intermediary between the Lidl or Google Assistant application (a system with which it is also compatible) and the devices that we have connected to turn them on, off, change the brightness or whatever we want to do.
Is it compulsory to have a Lidl standard? No we can use anything else we already have at home, although it is recommended to make the most of it. In my experience, for example, I was able to connect most of the accessories to a fourth-generation Amazon Echo, a speaker that has its own built-in Zigbee standard, but the experience was not too satisfying ( although not really bad).
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The products we have tested and our experience with them
Smart bulbs: Some smart bulbs with an E27 socket, one of the most popular and which you may need to connect at home (they also sell porthole sockets). The bulb itself does not have much of a mystery, it is able to illuminate in white and different shades of color, it has adjustable brightness, and depending on the model, it can also switch to any color.
When illuminated in a color other than shades of white, peak brightness drops significantly (although this is common for most colored bulbs). As for Zigbee compatibility, if we hook it up to an Amazon Echo, it will only work as a white bulb that can be adjusted in brightness and color temperature, which at one point might seem disappointing but which in my personal experience is not very traumatic (since my interest had to have a dimmable warm white light). If the RGB equipment is right for you, you will need the bridge.
Light control but ton: We only managed to work well with the Lidl control unit, and it is used to change the intensity of the bulbs, the scene or to turn them off.
Smart Power Strip: It’s great, a power strip with three outlets and four USB ports for charging devices. We have a physical button to turn off the power and from the Lidl app we can turn any of the power outlets on or off individually. By connecting it to the Amazon Echo bridge (without using Lidl’s), we can only activate or deactivate one of the three, so it is an accessory that is perfectly suitable as a power strip, but which loses many points if you don’t have the Lidl standard.
Motion detector: We only managed to make it work on the Lidl standard. Very useful for defining home automation routines and alarms.
The features offered by the Lidl application
The Lidl app is the backbone of the Lidl ecosystem’s user experience and the means to interact with devices. It requires an internet connection to work, so we cannot leave the switchboard on a local network that does not have internet access, and our home automation will stop working if we lose the internet connection at home. This is not a disadvantage in itself, as it is very common in many home automation systems, but it is a wasted opportunity to have access to an offline mode that works on a local network even though we do not have no internet.
We can create virtual rooms in which to place each of the devices, and the lights allow us not only to change colors, but also to create and use scenes. One of the most fun is the music mode, which adapts to the music of our mobile to change color to the rhythm of it.
We have the ability to link the ecosystem to the Google Assistant to control our devices with our voice. If you have a Google Nest at home, the Lidl ecosystem and the standard take on special value.
The app has a number of routines that allow us to automate the house by creating our own programming. Either through schedules or through agents such as motion detector, we can create utilities that make life easier. In my particular case, I configured the motion sensor on the balcony door to detect when I go out and if it’s nighttime, it ends up turning on the light automatically. A simple but useful routine.
Is Lidl home automation for me?
Our first impression with Lidl home automation was overwhelmingly positive, although there are a number of nuances you should consider before deciding if this is for you or not, and it depends on what type of user you are. .
If you are already using a Zigbee system and don’t want another home automation control panel, blank bulbs are recommended, since they are inexpensive, they illuminate well and do not lose functionality. These are the ones I would buy for the whole house in order to integrate them into the fourth generation of Amazon Echo. They are 8 dollars each white Zigbee bulb, excellent value for money.
If you have a Google speaker at home, the Lidl ecosystem is one of the more solid options. My advice is to start with a pack that includes 3 colored bulbs, the zigbee control unit and a control button. If you need a last minute gift, you’re always on time because it’s good, beautiful, and cheap.
The rest of the Lidl accessories are more secondary but highly recommended if you get the standard. Lidl sells it separately, but we think it’s only worth it if you get the full light pack. We can’t wait to try the ceramic heater or LED strip.
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