Wemo Stage - is it just garbage?

Cupertino, May 16, 2021

TL; DR: Wemo Stage, a Bluetooth LE and Thread controller with 3 buttons for HomeKit just doesn't work. Detail: I've been waiting for Wemo Stage since it was first announced at CES in January 2020. I'm confused why there aren't more programmable remote controls available for HomeKit. And I liked the idea that it would fit magnetically in a Decora-shaped switch, because I had a 4-lane control box that fit perfectly, replacing a Sonos controller that I don't use now, when I switched to AirPlay2 and HomePods everywhere. So when it was finally released 16 months after the ad, I ordered it right away. The Stage feels cheap and easy for a $ 50 device, but the design is simple and sleek, with 3 buttons arranged vertically in the small rectangular remote control. The remote control comes with a magnetic holder designed to fit in any switch box, as well as with a decorate-style switch plate cover. There is a small LED hidden on the surface of the control and it flashes alternating colors during pairing and also when a button is short and long pressed. We are told that the thread holder will be added later. For now, Bluetooth Low Energy should be more than enough for my needs. It's easy to set up, simply insert the battery and scan the included HomeKit code. You can easily program the buttons in the Home app to trigger any combination of scenes or accessories. You can set a short press and a long press for each button, giving you essentially 6 programmable buttons. However, both units I received did not work properly. (Both!) When you briefly press a button, most of the time the light does not turn on at all. No signal is even sent. Even when the light is blinking, the command does not trigger much of the time. This with direct site line to 2 HomePods (10 feet away) and an ATV4K that is in a closet about the same distance from the device. I can't figure out how something like this can be delivered to customers and destroyed so significantly. So far I have 2 unusable stages.

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