Our expert testers
Our expert computer lab tester Elias loves gadgets and good design with a purpose, and is just as frustrated as most of us when he encounters poor design or confusing features and functions.
How we choose what we test
We look for readily available products including the most popular smart bulbs and devices as well as some of the more innovative products we feel you want to know about. We also selected several all-in-one starter kits to help make your home smarter without breaking the bank.
- Ease of use: 60%
- Performance: 40%
How we test
Our tester, Elias, assessed home automation/security kits, starter home automation kits, and stand-alone smart LED light-bulbs.
Smart LED bulbs
The majority of testing was undertaken on the LED smart bulbs, to assess their ease of use, power usage, luminance, and heat output. Power usage figures have been calculated but not included in the overall score. Luminance has been used in the performance score and is based on variance between measured results and stated claim from the manufacturer.
Ease of use is based on: how easy it is to get the bulbs up and running; remote access; general layout and usage of the app; and in-box documentation.
Performance also takes in to account the responsiveness of the app that controls the LED bulb, and scoring for this is based on the tester findings and comments based on those findings. Performance is based on the luminosity of the bulb, as well as the responsiveness of the bulb's app. Average light output is the measured average light output (in lumens) after 100 hours burn-in at the CHOICE lab using its default on state, compared to the manufacturer's stated light output.
Ease of use is based on: how easy it is to get the switches up and running; remote access; general layout and usage of the app; the physical characteristics of the switch; and in-box documentation
Performance is based on the responsiveness of the switch as used through its supported app
Power consumption for each switch was recorded in both its on state and its standby (off) state, but not included in the overall score.
All-in-one starter kits
Ease of use is based on: how easy it is to get the kits up and running; remote access; general layout and usage of the app; and in-box documentation
Performance is based on the responsiveness of the kit's components as used through its supported application
After measuring the light performance of the bulbs, he assessed the kits and switch devices to and highlighted the available product feature and what each device required in order to work in an automated home environment.