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Make your light switches more useful with Wemo Smart Dimmer [Review] ★★★★★

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Wemo Smart Dimmer with Thread review★★★★★
Your smart home needs smart switches, and Wemo's latest looks good, is highly configurable and works reliably.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Wemo Smart Dimmer with Thread is a new version of Belkin’s HomeKit-compatible wall switch. It can be controlled with the press of a finger or from anywhere – across the room or across the country.

Putting “with Thread” in the name isn’t some odd reference to sewing. The switch uses a new form of mesh networking to provide fast, reliable connections to your home-automation system.

I was able to install the latest Wemo Smart Dimmer in my home because it doesn’t require a neutral wire. Here’s what it’s like to use everyday.

Affordable new smart Wi-Fi light strip from TP-Link supports HomeKit

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You can get a huge array of colors or bright white light out of these strips.
You can get a huge array of colors or bright white light out of these strips.
Photo: TP-Link

TP-Link just flipped the switch on a new lineup of smart LED light strips and light bulbs, some of which you can use with HomeKit or other home-automation systems.

The main selling point here is budget-friendliness. Prices range from $25 to $50, so you won’t break the bank lighting up your space.

Keep up with the latest home automation tech with Wemo Smart Dimmer with Thread

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Keep up with the latest smartphone tech with Wemo's Smart Dimmer with Thread
Wemo’s latest dimmer switch uses HomeKit over Thread for fast, reliable connections.
Photo: Belkin/Wemo

Dimming your lights is just the most obvious feature of the newly announced Wemo Smart Dimmer with Thread. It uses mesh networking to provide fast, reliable connections to your HomeKit home-automation system so you can control the switch from anywhere – across the room or across the country.

Plus, the wall dimmer switch doesn’t require a neutral wire so it can be installed in older homes as easily as new ones.

New Eve motion sensor supports Thread and senses ambient light

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The updated Eve Motion now supports Thread networking and senses light to trigger automations.
The updated Eve Motion now supports Thread networking and senses light to trigger automations.
Photo: Eve Systems

Eve Systems offered its second-generation Eve Motion sensor Thursday, adding a light sensor and Thread mesh networking support. The device detects motion to activate other HomeKit-enabled devices.

And it’s actually less expensive than the previous model by $10.

The Thread standard that will be integral to the upcoming Matter home automation technology standard that helps different manufacturers’ devices work together.

Home automation gets smarter for Apple TV 4K and HomePod mini owners

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HomePod mini is one of the devices that can be a Thread 1.3.0 border router.
HomePod mini is one of the devices that can be a Thread 1.3.0 border router.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

A major Thread networking standard update Tuesday brings the Matter home automation technology standard a step closer for those who already own certain devices. Namely, gear that can act as a border router in the smart home — like Apple TV 4K and HomePod mini.

Thread 1.3.0 lets Thread devices work with any other Thread border router. That’s big because Thread will be Matter’s main wireless protocol, along with Wi-Fi.

Smart plugs let you automate your home from your iPhone

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Control your home with an app using these wireless smart plugs.
Just plug in your favorite lamp or appliance, and you're off to the home-automation races.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

If you want to set up a smart home, you may not have to pay as much as you think. Sure, you could buy lights that turn on when you get home or a fridge that knows when you’re out of milk. Alternatively, you could just get a Wireless Wall Tap Smart Plug and turn anything you connect into a smart device.

For a limited time, this simple way to turn your dumb house into a smart home is on sale for $39.99 (regularly $49).

Customize your space with Lutron’s updated smart shades for HomeKit

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Some of Lutron's HomeKit-enabled Serena shades can really block a lot of light.
Some of Lutron's HomeKit-enabled Serena shades can really block a lot of light.
Photo: Lutron

Whether you’re looking to redesign your space with a fresh look or you just want to block out more light on a sunny morning, Lutron’s updates to its smart shades and blinds might help do the trick.

Lutron rolled out its HomeKit-enabled Serena Smart Architectural Honeycomb Shades on Monday with more than 40 fabric choices and some new refinements to block more light.

Wemo’s latest HomeKit smart plug uses Thread for fast, reliable connections

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Wemo’s latest HomeKit smart plug uses Thread for fast, reliable connections
The Wemo Smart Plug with Thread offers simple and inexpensive home automation.
Photo: Wemo/Belkin

The Wemo Smart Plug with Thread simplifies controlling lamps, fans, and other appliances with an iPhone or Siri. Anything that plugs into a standard wall outlet can be turned on or off.

Rather than Wi-Fi, the HomeKit accessory communicates with other accessories over Thread, a mesh networking standard.

Avoid costly water damage with Eve’s new HomeKit-enabled sensor

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Now with Thread support, Eve Water Guard sends leak alerts to the Home app.
Now with Thread support, Eve Water Guard sends leak alerts to the Home app.
Photo: Eve Systems

If you’ve ever suffered major water damage from a leak, you probably wish you could’ve found the problem before it was too late. Now you can — if you have the right smart home automation.

The second generation of the Bluetooth-enabled Eve Water Guard adds Thread networking technology that works with HomeKit. That lets it automatically join your Thread network and provide water leak notifications in Apple’s Home app before the damage is done.

Make your house a little smarter with updated Home Widget for HomeKit

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Home Widget for HomeKit updates just made your house a little smarter.
Home Widget for HomeKit updates just made your house a little smarter.
Photo: Home Widget for HomeKit

If you’d like to improve your experience using HomeKit-enabled accessories on iOS, it might be time to try Home Widget for HomeKit. It already provides quick access to the Home app from your Home Screen, and it got a refresh on Wednesday, adding sensor support, different panel sizes and more.