Ube (now Plum) WiFi Connected Smart Light Dimmer (Lightpad)

Ube renamed themselves to Plum and renamed the WiFi Connected Smart Light Dimmer to Lightpad. The Plum Lightpad is a WiFi-Connected "Smart Switch". It installs in place of an existing dimmer and enables you to control the light using an iOS Application. The application supports tying multiple Lightpads into a "Room" and then using "Scenes" to control the lights as a group in those "Rooms".

Rating

★★☆☆☆

Kickstarter Info

  • Kickstarter Site: Ube (now Plum) WiFi Connected Smart Light Dimmer
  • Date Funded:  2013 April 4
  • Total Backers:  1,308
  • Total Raised:  $307,600 vs. Goal:  $280,000
  • Date Backed:  2011 January 31
  • Backer Level:  Premium Dimmer Room Pack
  • Backer Price:  $298.00
  • Estimated Delivery: Jul 2013
  • Item Received:  Jan 2016 (2.5 years late!)
  • Item Current Whereabouts:  One installed in my Living Room, 3 in a box

Retail Info

Physical Design

The physical design of the Lightpad is its strongest asset. It looks great, very polished, the glow ring that surrounds the switch is really well done. Presence detection to enable the glow ring also works well and is adjustable to get it "just right". The installation instructions and the build quality of the switch are top-notch. In other circumstances this would be the switch that I would most want to have spread around my home.

Initial Impressions

My initial impressions were positive.  The setup was straightforward, the device looked great, and it operated smoothly. Unfortunately, that's where the positive impression ended. The iOS application is lacking many features you'd expect in a Smart Home device (routines, automation, direct access to the device).

Then I tried to figure out how to connect it to anything else, and failed.

Impressions after 1 Month

It's actually been 2 months since I installed the switch in our Living Room. We moved into a new home in July and I wanted to give this switch a try (since I had them sitting in a box for most of the year). My impression at this point is that I want to uninstall it and sell them on eBay and hopefully get some of my money back.

The real issue with the device is that it has no API and does not integrate with any type of Smart Home hub (Apple Homekit, SmartThings, Google Home, Wink, Zwave, Zigbee, etc.). That means you cannot control the Lightpad from anything other than the Plum application on iOS. That eliminates a lot of smart home capabilities that you may want to use and prevents usage via voice (Amazon Echo, Google Home, Siri). When choosing a Smart Home device, compatibility with other devices is paramount and the Plum isn't compatible with anything but Plum.

Finally, I recently changed my WiFi network password (you do rotate yours occasionally don't you?) and there is no way to reprogram the switch. You have to set it back to factory defaults, lose all of the settings, and re-install it from scratch.

What I’m Currently Doing with my Lightpad

One switch is still installed in my Living Room, the other three are in a box. I'm going to sell them, they just aren't usable beyond themselves.

Conclusion

This was the fourteenth Kickstarter project I backed, and the second most expensive.  I can’t recommend someone purchase the retail version of the Plum Lightpad based on my experience (though if you insist, contact me and I’ll sell you mine, cheap).  I believe there is a lot of promise, but only if Plum opens up an API and/or integrates to a Smart Home hub. That coupled with the fact that there seems to be very little support or a community around the devices and that means you're better off looking elsewhere for a smart dimmer (I like the Lutron Caseta, for $40 less).

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