We tested Lidl’s smart home automation: great for the Google assistant and great for others

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Lidl is one of the supermarket chains with the largest presence in Spain, and beyond food it usually stands out with unusual products such as some models of its clothing line, products such as Monsieur Cuisine that rivals Thermomix. We have recently had products in home automation from Lidl, but are they worth it?

A few weeks ago we learned about the bet in the world of home automation of the German supermarket chain, and since then we have been able to use some of their devices in our day to day to tell you our impressions. How do Lidl smart devices work?

The technology behind Lidl home automation

We tested Lidl's smart home automation: great for the Google assistant and great for others 1

When today you buy a smart bulb or any other technology product, it has a type of wireless connection that allows us to control it from other devices. The most common and affordable 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 well established within the world of home automation called Zigbee, which is what Lidl has opted for in its ecosystem. We will not go into much detail about how the technology works (although if you are interested, we already talked at length about the standard), but there are three key points that you should know:

  1. It is very fast:Compared to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth home automation devices, the speed difference is abysmal. It practically responds instantly.
  2. Much more stable:I have spent much more time than I wanted doing this review because I wanted to be sure that everything worked correctly, because in my Yeelight (Wi-Fi) and Phillips Hue (Bluetooth) bulbs I have sometimes encountered situations where I did not want to respond to myself and I have had to ask the assistant two or three times to finish listening to me.
  3. Requires a special switchboard:By working with a different connection, we require a special switchboard that works with the Zigbee devices.

Lidl has its own Zigbee switchboard to control the devices. This switchboard 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, turn them off, change the brightness or whatever we want to do.

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Is it mandatory that we get a Lidl switchboard?No, we can use any other that we already have at home, although it is recommended to get the most out of it. In my experience, for example, I have been able to connect most accessories to a fourth generation Amazon Echo, a speaker that has its own Zigbee switchboard integrated, but the experience has not been too satisfactory (although not exactly bad).

The products we have tested and our experience with them

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Smart bulbs: Some smart bulbs with an E27 socket, one of the most widespread and that you possibly have to connect at home (they also sell porthole sockets). The bulb itself does not have much mystery, it is capable of lighting in white and different shades of color, it has adjustable brightness and depending on the model it can also change to any color.

When illuminated in any color other than shades of white, the maximum brightness drops considerably (although this is common for most color bulbs). As for the Zigbee compatibility, if we connect it to an Amazon Echo it will only work as a white bulb that can be adjusted in brightness and color temperature, something that at one point may sound disappointing but that in my personal experience is not very traumatic (since my interest was to have dimmable warm white light). If the RGB gear suits you, you’ll need thebridge.

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Light control knob: We have only managed to work well with the Lidl control unit, and it serves to change the intensity of the bulbs, the scene or turn them off.

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Smart Power Strip: It’s great, a power strip with three plugs and four USB ports for charging devices. We have a physical button to turn off the power and from the Lidl application we can turn on or off any of the power outlets individually. By connecting it to the bridge of the Amazon Echo (without using Lidl’s own) we can only turn one of the three on or off, so it is an accessory that is fine as a power strip, but loses many points if you do not have the Lidl switchboard.

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Motion sensor: We have only managed to make it work on the Lidl switchboard. Very useful for setting home automation routines and alarms.

The functionalities that the Lidl application offers us

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The Lidl app is the backbone of the Lidl ecosystem user experience, and the way 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 internet connection at home. It is not a disadvantage in itself, since it is very common in many home automation systems, but it is a lost opportunity to have access to an offline mode that works on a local network even if we do not have internet.

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We can create virtual rooms in which to place each of the devices, and the lights allow us not only to change the colors, but also to create and use scenes. One of the most fun is the music mode, which adapts with the music of our mobile to change color to the rhythm of it.

We have the possibility 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 switchboard take on special value.

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The application has a number ofroutines that allow us to automate the home by creating our own programming. Either by schedules or through agents such as the motion sensor, we can create some utilities that make life easier. In my particular case, I have configured the motion sensor on the balcony door so that it detects when I go out to it and if it is at night, it ends up turning on the light automatically. A simple, but useful routine.

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Is Lidl home automation for me?

Our first impression with Lidl home automation has been very positive, although there are a number of nuances that you should consider before knowing whether or not it is for you, and that is depending on the type of user you are.

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If you use a Zigbee system already and don’t want another home automation control panel,blank bulbs are recommended, since they are cheap, they illuminate well and do not lose functionalities. They are the ones that I would buy for the whole house to integrate them into the fourth generation Amazon Echo. They are 8 euros each white Zigbee bulb,a great quality / price ratio.

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If you have a Google speaker at home, the Lidl ecosystem is one of the strongest options. My advice is to start with a pack that includes 3 colored bulbs, the zigbee control unit and a control knob. If you need a last minute gift, you are still on time, because it is good, beautiful and cheap.

The rest of Lidl accessories are more secondary but highly recommended if you get the switchboard. Lidl sells it separately, but we think it’s only worth it if you get the full light pack. We are looking forward to trying the ceramic heater or the LED strip.

  • Central home automation for 24.99 euros.
  • Digital home:
    • 1800 W ceramic heater for 49.99 euros.
    • Wall motion sensor for 14.99 euros.
    • Motion sensor for 14.99 euros.
    • Smart power strip for 24.99 euros.
    • Smart plug for 9.99 euros.
  • Illumination:
    • Porthole with 16 million colors for 12.99 euros.
    • Porthole with color temperature change (white) for 7.99 euros.
    • Bulb with color temperature change (white) for 7.99 euros.
    • Light bulb with 16 million colors for 12.99 euros.
    • Set of 3 bulbs and remote control for 59.99 euros.
    • Led strip with 16 million colors for 22.99 euros.

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