I've been wanting to get into home automation for a while but for me the price barrier and number of different and incompatible solutions never made it seem worth my time. Recently I had another look at it and found two different systems that met my different criteria and so I jumped onboard.
Basically I wanted most of these criteria met:
After searching for a bit and reading many forum posts the two candidates that emerged was the Wink Hub 2 and Samsung Smart things hub 2.
Both of these systems satisfy all my criteria and have pretty much the same price tag (around 100 USD). In fact the more I read about them the more similar and equal both systems seemed to be.
What however lead me to a decision was the insight that the Wink hub is simpler in its interface in terms of it being slightly easier to use but in the process also having a little less functionality for its power users. The Samsung on the other hand might have a little steeper learning curve but in the and allow you to do more with it. The samsung also seems to have a larger community of followers who help add functionality and compatability for new devices.
I chose the Samsung Smart things for these reasons, for me it is a better system to grow with. This might however not be the best choice if you just want something that works and don't like fiddling with technology.
I have now been using the hub for about four weeks and have automated all my outdoor lights as well as several "night" lights that come on just before sunset. I'll go into detail on how to set those up and lessons learned about that in the next post.
Just remember that if you are going to order one make sure that you get the one that is compatible with your regions frequencies. There is an EU version and a US version. The US version will not work with z-wave or zigbee devices bought in EU and vice versa.
Also, as far as I can tell, here in the Europe the Smart Things hub is only available in the UK, but since all of Europe uses the same power (220 volt) all you need is a cheap adapter to plug it in.
Here is a link to the EU version of Smarth things (the one I bought): https://www.amazon.co.uk