Soma Smart Shades 2 Review

Cupertino, March 13, 2020

Hi, I'm probably one of the first to receive and use [Soma Smart Shades 2](https://www.somasmarthome.com), so I thought I'd post a review of my experience with them so others could decide if they were right. If you've been looking forward to smart homeKit control, you probably already know that the market is ridiculously limited and practically non-existent at many price points.

First of all - their speed. I didn't personally own any other smart shading / blind alternatives, but my brother's Hunter Douglass shades are moving at about the same speed as Soma Shades 2. I have no complaints about the speed of Soma Shades 2 ... they move into truth satisfactory rate. I saw videos from the first edition of Soma Shades, which looked extremely slow and I didn't buy them just for this reason, so I'm glad it has been resolved now.

However, there is a big caveat: these guys are LOUD. The Soma site talks about a "Quiet morning mode", but this mode is nowhere to be found in the application (I will edit this post if / when it becomes available or becomes aware of me). Maybe I'm just a super early adopter, and the position is coming soon; but now it is not there and there is no way to ignore the fact that they are simply going high. You have no dream of having an automation that will wake you up in the morning light. They are not absolutely suitable for a bedroom in their current state.

The best way I could come to describe the sound while the shades are rising - is an RC toy car that goes to its full potential. A small, electric, small sound. Climbing is much stronger than descending, but both directions are strong. And seriously, the advertising site does a "Quiet morning mode" ... so where is f ?! Their volume represents a significant disadvantage compared to the more expensive but relatively quiet options, such as Hunter Douglass or Serena.

Which leads to my last point: the cost. I will give my actual use case to accurately describe a cost comparison between available Homekit compatible systems.

For connecting Soma, the total price for new blinds + Homekit control:

Home Depot myBlinds brand 58x58 "Windows = 102 USD

Home Depot myBlinds brand 64x78 Window / Door = $ 146

Soma Connect + Soma Shades2 x 2 = $ 287

** >> Total actual cost of new shades + Soma Shades 2 + Soma Connect ** ** = $ 535 **

>> ** IKEA Fyrtur: not available in any of these window sizes **

>> ** Total cost of Hunter Douglass equivalent configuration = $ ~ 1600 **

>> ** Total cost of Serena smart shades equivalent setting ** ** = ~ $ 950 **

So, for me the total cost was just over half of the next available solution. Honestly, I think all of these options are ridiculously expensive, but the market is what it is now and it's clear that the Soma shades are the cheapest available to anyone, except that the IKEA shades fit your windows. The general market still thinks that if it is not urgent to have smart shades, you should still wait for more better options.

The last point I want to make about Soma Shades 2 is Homekit compatibility. Soma Connect (currently $ 49 and is required for HomeKit functionality) is a Raspberri Pi that is not available from custom firmware running an equivalent of Homebridge. Soma Connect and Soma Smart Shades 2 are not Homekit certified, and your iPhone / iPad will warn you about this when you add devices to HomeKit. To be fair, the company is very advanced in this regard, but it is important to know that you are not buying a Homekit-certified accessory, should Apple ever apply it in future HomeKit updates.

My general conclusion is that if you are not interested in the noise and possible future HomeKit incompatibility due to lack of certification, Soma Shades 2 works very well! The HomeKit "movie mode" scene is really cool - the lights dim, the shades turn off, my projector screen opens and my projector lights up. They are also the only budget-friendly option that allows you to choose your own style hue because it works with the standard shadow bead; They are also easily the cheapest option on the market right now for anyone if your windows do not match IKEA.

Bonus remarks:

* Packed exclusively with paper-based recyclable material. That's great!
* These are the theme of the Imperial Star Wars march when you pair them. Lol, wtf?
* Fine tuning control when setting upper / lower limits may be even more accurate. I found myself spending a lot of time getting them right.

Please comment if you have any further questions about these.

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