I have been using the Amazon Echo since its launch in 2014, and over the past nine years, I have purchased various smart home products from different manufacturers. These include a door lock, doorbell, security cameras, multiple Echo devices, a thermostat, a weather station, and even a luxurious ice machine. I have also replaced my phone's weather app with a forecast station that cost me $340.
While it's great to have devices within the same ecosystem for seamless integration, it's not always possible. Handling devices from different ecosystems can be challenging, especially when I want to check multiple things at once. While my Amazon Echo devices can handle most smart home tasks, they are not perfect. There are times when I prefer to press a button or avoid dealing with voice assistants like Alexa.
Switching between different apps is not a viable solution either. That's where the Brilliant Smart Home Control Panel comes into play. It serves as an all-in-one operating system for my smart home devices. The Brilliant control panel, available in plug-in and wired versions, can replace up to four light switches. It is compatible with around 30 different smart home systems, including Alexa and Apple HomeKit, Arlo, Ecobee, Nest, Augustus, Hue, Ring, SmartThings, Schlage, and Yale. However, it does not support Blink, where I have my doorbell camera and security cameras.
The Brilliant Smart Home Control Panel comes in four models, each replacing a specific number of existing switches. These models require hardwiring, but clear instructions are provided for installation. The latest model I tested is a completely plug-in version, eliminating the need for wiring. It features a five-inch tall screen, side sliders with a camera, and a size similar to a plate with two light switches. The power cord has low voltage, allowing it to be hidden behind the wall for a neater look.
Setting up the Brilliant system was simple. After logging into all my accounts in the app, it automatically detected my smart devices and allowed me to assign them to different rooms. The main panel of the Brilliant control panel can be customized with shortcuts to control individual devices or set up scenes for grouped devices.
The control panel has two sliders on the side for volume control, blind adjustment, and lighting dimming. It also includes a camera for video chatting, security monitoring, or motion sensing. A small physical slider is available to hide the camera for privacy. The bottom of the panel provides direct access to scenes, adding devices, intercom function, alarm, door locks, and room control.
In addition to smart home controls, the Brilliant display also shows the current time, temperature, and weather. When not in use, it scrolls through pre-selected images from categories chosen by the user. It is possible to upload personal photos manually, but there is no automatic display from platforms like Google Photos.
Initially, I was not convinced about using the Brilliant screen, as my Echo device fulfilled most of my needs with voice control. However, once I experienced the capabilities of the Brilliant system, my doubts vanished. Setting up scenes for bedtime routines and monitoring my home through the camera have made my life easier. Although the Brilliant system cannot replace one-time smart home commands, it significantly simplifies handling multiple tasks simultaneously.
The Brilliant Smart Home Control Panel may seem expensive, starting at around $400, but it offers value for those with a large number of devices and who are comfortable setting up scenes. It does not replace Echo devices but adds a nice touch to the overall smart home experience. Additionally, it has a sleek and cool design.
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