Can your smart hub do this? Samsung’s $59 SmartThings Station innovates where it matters
Samsung has an untapped goldmine with SmartThings, and the company is now paying more attention than ever to its for-home products. This is evident by its incorporation of the smart home platform across a variety of appliances, like the Family Hub refrigerators and Samsung TVs, through a dongle.
The new SmartThings Station is the latest device to join its smart home lineup — and it does more than just connect to your household gadgets.
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The SmartThings Station is a $59 device that works like a regular smart home hub, but it’s also a wireless charger (if you pay an extra $20), has a button for smart home devices and scenes/automations, and is a scanner for SmartThings Find, Samsung’s network for locating Galaxy devices.
Samsung SmartThings Station
Perfect multipurpose SmartThings hub and wireless charger for Galaxy phone users.
As a smart home hub, the SmartThings Station has Wi-Fi connectivity (no ethernet port) and supports Matter, Thread, Bluetooth, and Zigbee. Unfortunately, the new Station does not support Z-Wave, though the Aotec SmartThings hub, which does, is still available for sale.
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When you unbox the SmartThings Station, available in black or white, you’ll notice how small of a device it is, allowing it to blend in nicely on your nightstand, kitchen, or living room table. It’s not bulky like other hubs and base stations. Setup was easy for me, both on iOS and Android, though some features are exclusive to Samsung Galaxy phones, like super fast charging.
The button on the SmartThings Station can be customized in the SmartThings app to perform different actions depending on whether you tap, double-tap, or hold it down. For example, If you double-tap it, the device can ring your phone when you’ve lost sight of it. And you can set it up to run a routine with one press, like switching off a set of lights.
Why hasn’t anyone thought of this?
Multipurpose smart home hubs are the norm among big players. Apple has the HomePod, HomePod Mini, and Apple TV 4K devices that also double as hubs for HomeKit, Amazon has Echo speakers and Echo Shows to use with Alexa, and Google’s Nest speakers and Nest Hubs support Google Home.
SmartThings, one of the longest-running smart home platforms, has had standalone hubs for years; but it wasn’t until Samsung shifted its focus to create a more accessible smart home that it began adding hub capabilities to its fridges and TVs.
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Now, the SmartThings Station is joining its competitors by introducing a series of added functionality. The main one, wireless charging, supports super fast charging for compatible Samsung devices, though it is admittedly slow to charge my iPhone.
One of my favorite features of the smart hub is the ability to trigger automations by simply setting your phone on top of it. As someone that loves a good wireless charger on my nightstand, I like putting my phone on the SmartThings Station when I’m ready for bed and having the action immediately turn off my bedside lamps, the floodlights outside, and lock all my doors.
Using Matter with the SmartThings Station
The biggest feature of the SmartThings Station, in my opinion, is its support for Matter. Part of the interoperability problem with smart homes has long been having to open a different app for each brand of product involved.
For example, when I’m ready for bed, I open the HomeKit app to ensure all my locks are engaged and lights are off, open Eufy Security to arm the security system, ask Siri to turn off the bedside lamps, and then ask Alexa to turn off the backyard lamps. This is streamlined to an extent with Homebridge, a smart home system on a Raspberry Pi that bridges the gaps between incompatible brands.
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But with native Matter support, no third-party accessories and services are needed. You just control all your Matter-enabled devices directly from the SmartThings app, which is great.
Why choose the SmartThings system
Samsung’s SmartThings is arguably the best smart home automation system — and I say this as an iPhone and HomeKit user, neck-deep in the Apple ecosystem. SmartThings features one of the widest ranges of interoperability among smart home brands, from Philips Hue to Arlo, and the app itself is easy to set up and highly intuitive, whether you’re a newbie or an experienced smart home user.
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There’s an argument for Google’s Home Assistant, too, which is possibly the most customizable smart home automation system available. But Samsung’s SmartThings is a seamless fit into any Samsung user’s home, which is not uncommon given all the appliances the company makes.
The SmartThings Station is a simple but versatile device, and the perfect introduction to the SmartThings ecosystem, especially for those with Samsung Galaxy phones. In my testing, I found that other smartphone brands, like my iPhone, took considerably longer than the Galaxy phone to reach a full charge with the wireless pad, but the feature in and of itself is a plus.
Thanks to how versatile the SmartThings Station is, how easy the system is to set up and navigate, and how many compatible devices are on the market for it, I’ll be keeping the SmartThings ecosystem running in my home for the foreseeable future.
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