NuBryte Touchpoint smart panel review
Tags :product review nubryte
NuBryte Touchpoint is a smart hub/smart touch panel that fits into existing lightswitch boxes. You control numerous things like lighting, fans, an internal intercom, security and even use Alexa voice commands now. With a sleek design and just large enough touchscreen, the Lucis Technologies NuBryte Touchpoint can fit into any home decor.
While I was immediately curious how this compares to some of our reviews on hubs like Wink (see our review), I wanted to run this review as a new homeowner looking for some modern controls just entering the smarthome foray of products. Ease of installation, configuration and use were key factors we went after.
The NuBryte Touchpoint is available for single and double gang lightswitch boxes currently. They are definitely looking at models for larger three and four switch gangs as well. The wiring on the back is labeled so well and a great instruction booklet comes with the product. Their support is just a call away to help you with any questions on the installation. It took me about 8-9 minutes to install, which included turning off the power to the switch via the circuit breakers before I started. Please remember to do that.
The Touchpoint fit in easily and immediately was able to turn on and off the light using the switch that sits behind the touchscreen, Make sure to test this first as it will let you know you did your wiring right. The touchscreen snaps on easily by lining up the connection port and pressing firmly. You are then ready to configure all the options you want and start using it immediately.
In the settings menu there is a built in wizard to help expedite the process. You can also manually configure every setting. The very first thing you should do it connect to your wifi (2.4gHz network) so you can start pulling updates and allowing the mobile app to connect. I had no problems getting it to connect and it found my wifi easily. The rest of the settings are thing such as screensavers, proximity awareness, time settings and more. All of the Touchpoint panels must be on the same Wifi network, router and subnet to see each other.
The camera at the top, that we talk about in the video, has a privacy shutter. This allows you to slide it over the camera lens guaranteeing no video can be taken. This does affect one of the security features we cover later. The camera itself is wide angle with a 720x480 format that gets stored in MPG4 at 8fps. Not HD quality but enough for the videos it takes for security alerts.
The interface of the touchscreen has four options on the sides and then the main menus in the large LCD area. On the sides you can access the intercom, security, lights and main home screen. The home screen has choices for lighting, weather/temp, energy consumption, clocks/alarms and settings. I can see them easily adding more options for the home screen through software updates.
The built in proximity sensor can allow the touchscreen to illuminate automatically. This is great as a night-light or to pick up motion. This same sensor is used with the security mode and becomes highly sensitive at a longer range.
The intercom feature can only be used between two or more NuBryte Touchpoint systems. Currently, you cannot use the mobile app to communicate nor can you listen to a panel. You can talk to a specific room or broadcast to all of the panels in the house. This is a great way to enable a full house intercom system with other advanced features.
The security feature is interesting to us. While there is no need for any subscription services, a trigger will make the connected lights flash and the panel to make noise with a 100 decibel alarm. The camera is also activates to take a video of whatever it sees in the wide angle view. A good distraction for anyone breaking in, but I wish an external siren could be activated to alert neighbors. Or even silent mode with the alert sent to your device. You could then have the video and be calling police. I think what we are asking for is more granularity and options in configuring the security capabilities.
Lighting controls were pretty slick. Being able to turn off all connected lights in one button is nice. You can also drill down into each room and even dim or brighten with pinch and zoom. It remembers your last brightness setting when turning the lights on and off. What I need is some integration with other lights like Lifx so I can also control colors and scenes. There are many lighting modes, even vacation type schedules to be configured. We did not go deep into this because users basically expect this capability now. Even having lights come on as you pass by and dim as you leave is possible. There is a lot of capabilities with the built-in sensors.
Temperature shows for the room the panel is in as well as outside temp and forecast. Humidity for the current room was a nice touch, mainly in basement areas. There is even an alert for bad weather coming. When you configure you city/location you will get the forecast for the day and even next five.
The energy tab shows the energy usage of connected lights to the NuBryte Touchpoint. If the daily usage was higher than average it does flash that screen. This is not monitoring the entire home by any means. Now I do wonder if you can have a rollup report of all lights connected to all panels in the home when you have multiple Touchpoints installed. I could not find that documented as a feature anywhere.
The mobile app installed on iOS 10 without incident (but would not find the panels on iOS 9). We quickly connected and paired our Touchpoint and had control after creating a required user account. One immediate thing I did not like from a UI perspective is while the colors and main menu items were the same, the icons were not the same. Compare the image at the top with the mobile screenshot below.
As you can see security is on the main mobile screen, but on the side on the panel. The calendar icon is on mobile while the time icon is on the panel. Things like that just seem odd mainly when someone may be color-blind. Learning two icons sets was weird to us. But the mobile app worked great and had no crashes or errors. We could turn on and off both lights and security with the same clicks (security screen is different on mobile than on the panel once again).
We did not get to test the new Alexa integration but imagine it is as simple as all the other connected devices just yelling to turn things on and off. Or like Nest to change the temp. I wish they would also add lock controls that connect to the same wifi. They have also promised some IFTTT, Zigbee or Z-Wave and other vendor integrations are coming soon. We look forward to those changes and putting other NuBryte Touchpoint panels in the house to get a whole house control experience. Couple this with Wink Smart Hub and you pretty much have control over everything.
You can get the NuBryte Touchpoint on their website and on Amazon at http://idonot.es/nubrytetouchpoint (affiliate link). The pricing seems to be in line with other hubs and entries into this area. With the touchscreen and software updates, Lucis can offer many enhancements and features with the product. Light controls, integration with the thermostats, Alexa voice, mobile alerts and more make this a good choice. The mobile app will grow but we hope they keep the UI as simple as it is today. Allowing us to create scenes of controls (and even robots that do things for us) across numerous Touchpoint panels is a hope that we have. While we would have to replace a whole panel to get better cameras, HD will soon be a required standard to compete with ones like Nest.
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