When you’re outfitting a smart-home, you’re flooded with product options. Many of them fall farther off of the edge of impractical, some are simply fun, and others automate areas of the home that are used on a daily basis. Serena Shades by Lutron Electronics fall into the latter category.
Window blinds are devices we open and close periodically throughout our days. Automation and smart-app control for window blinds also makes life much easier for older adults and people with disabilities.
One reviewer at Gear Brain even touted Serena Shades as possibly the best smart product he has used to date. Let’s see if these blinds live up to the hype.
How Do they Work?
Serena Shades are a quiet and unobtrusive tool. Their app is simple to use and intuitive.
These blinds are DIY (do-it-yourself) or a self-install product. By either customizing blinds on their website, or speaking to one of their team experts, users will order blinds that are fitted for their home. Once they arrive, with a screwdriver and power drill, the blinds will be up and mounted within an hour and a half.
Serena Shades are controlled via a smartphone app and remote controller. These tools will take some configuring to connect, but the process is simple and easy.
Batteries are housed within the shades themselves, and they are said to last between two to four years. They are easy to change and don’t require taking down the blinds.
What sets Serena Shades apart from most other smart blinds on the market is its integration with various smart-home products.
Currently, Serena integrates with Apple’s HomeKit, which means they are Siri voice activated, and they integrate Honeywell thermostats and Nest thermostats, as well as Logitech gadgets and various compatible HomeKit devices.
Serena is likely the most integrated smart shade, and this is only the beginning. It’s likely to integrate with Amazon’s Alexa in the future, as well as other devices. You can build a smart-home that works well around your blinds, which will be one of the most useful tools you can own.
Unique Features and Capabilities
Aside from smart-home integration and capabilities, Serena Shades have other unique features.
The blinds are built-in with geofencing technology, the feature that can detect if a user has left or arrived in the home. Through this feature, blinds can be opened and closed based on your presence.
Users can also set up timed scenes, automate commands, and of course, control blinds using Siri.
A Smart Bridge Purchase is Necessary
I’ll fully disclose pricing for Serena in a moment, but before we get there, know that users will need to buy a smart bridge. This smart-bridge costs $150 and will add to the overall price.
A smart bridge cuts down on battery usage. Since Serena is connected to Apple’s HomeKit, which relies on WiFi and drains battery quickly, Serena needs another power source.
Through the smart bridge, Serena will instead communicate with a different power source that cats as a low-energy communication protocol.
Pricing Spoils the Party
Everything we’ve shared thus far presents Serena as a home automation tool for near immediate purchasing. The tool is one of the smartest on the market, well-integrated, and it’s a rather practical tool that is also a useful aid for older adults or those with disabilities.
The biggest downside of Serena Shades is the price of these devices. These blinds are $350 for just one, and it’s unlikely that anyone will want to outfit their smart-home with one set of shades. If you place multiple shades around the home, plus the smart bridge, you’ll end up spending quite the amount of money.
Unless you have the funds, Serena shades may be best for people that have small apartments or single rooms to equip.
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