Eve, a smart home company, has begun releasing a firmware update that includes Matter support for their Eve Energy, Eve Motion, and Eve Door and Window devices. I tested these devices with a standard HomeKit setup to see how they function with Matter. These accessories have been available for some time but have been updated to be compatible with Matter. Matter is a recently launched smart home standard that has been adopted by major manufacturers like Apple, Samsung, Google, and Amazon. It allows smart home accessories to be added to any platform that supports Matter.
With Eve's Matter-enabled devices, users can integrate them into HomeKit, Google, and Amazon's smart home platforms. This means that iPhone and Android users in the same household can control the accessories using their respective devices. HomeKit is exclusively for Apple devices and requires access from an Apple device.
I won't go into too much detail about the Eve accessories themselves, as this review primarily focuses on the Matter experience. However, I'll provide a brief overview. The Eve Motion is a motion detector that can activate lights and other devices when motion is detected. Eve Door and Window attaches to a door and can send notifications when the door is opened, serving as both a warning and for triggering other automations. Eve Energy is a smart plug that allows you to control any device plugged into it using Apple devices and Siri commands. All three of these accessories now have Matter support, which requires a firmware update.
To add these devices to HomeKit, start by opening the Home app and scanning the QR code, following the same process as with any HomeKit product. Then, the Eve app must be accessed and given permission to integrate with your Home setup. While Matter support isn't officially available yet, users can sign up for the TestFlight version of the Eve app through the Early Access Program to test Matter. In addition to Eve's supported devices and the Eve TestFlight app, you'll need a device running iOS 16.2 and a Home Hub, such as the HomePod mini or Apple TV 4K.
Once you have the TestFlight version of the Eve app and one of the supported Eve devices added to HomeKit, you can download a firmware update through the Eve app to enable Matter. It's important to note that once you switch to Matter, you can't revert back to the previous version. The process for upgrading to Matter is not overly complicated, but it does require following several steps outlined in the Eve app. This includes generating a new Matter QR code, which completely replaces the HomeKit code. Make sure to save a copy of the Matter code since your existing HomeKit code will no longer work.
When Matter-compatible devices become widely available and no longer require firmware updates, the setup process will become much simpler. As of now, it closely mirrors the process of setting up a HomeKit device. In the Home app, Matter devices function the same way as HomeKit devices, with no noticeable difference in functionality. Automations, scenes, and schedules continue to work seamlessly in both the Home app and the Eve app.
It's worth mentioning that Eve devices are Thread enabled, providing better integration with Thread devices compared to standard Bluetooth. I've been using Eve devices with Matter for over a week and their performance is on par with my HomeKit devices. However, I have experienced an ongoing issue with the Eve Energy. The connection drops on a daily or bi-daily basis, causing the device to become inaccessible in the Home app. I've encountered a similar problem with HomeKit-enabled smart plugs, although less frequently. Eve has acknowledged this issue and confirmed that it will be addressed in upcoming updates.
I can't provide insight into how Eve's Matter devices work with other platforms like Google Home and Samsung SmartThings, as I am an Apple user with a HomeKit setup. Nevertheless, for HomeKit users, the Matter experience is essentially the same as using HomeKit, with no major changes expected when transitioning to cross-platform Matter devices. It's worth noting that while HomeKit products can be used without a Home Hub, Matter devices require a Matter controller, such as the HomePod mini or Apple TV.
Matter can make a significant difference for Android users who previously didn't have access to smart home products. It allows them to use devices like Eve Energy and Eve Motion, which were previously only available for Apple Home. HomeKit users can add a second platform, such as Google Home, to their setup, enabling control of devices through Google hubs or Android smartphones. The setup process involves opening the Apple Home app, accessing the settings of the desired Eve product, and enabling pairing mode. A Matter controller from the other smart home platform, like a Nest Mini or Hub Max, is required. Amazon doesn't currently have a Matter controller, although many Echo devices will eventually work with Matter. This compatibility allows for controlling smart home products using both an iPhone and an Amazon Echo or Nest Center.
This integration is most beneficial for those with two smart home platforms, expanding the range of available smart home products for HomeKit users. So far, there haven't been any major issues during the transition, and future updates to iOS and the Eve firmware app should further alleviate any existing problems.
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