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Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart Bridge Pro review: More than just lighting control

Michael Brown | July 14, 2015
Lutron is as much of a graybeard in the lighting-control industry as Insteon is in the connected-home space. The company's invented one of the first wireless networked lighting-control systems, but until recently, it had only very high-end solutions to offer consumers.

Scenes can also be scheduled to occur automatically, and Lutron's app is slightly more sophisticated than Insteon's on this count. You can schedule a scene to occur on any combination of days of the week (every day, only on Mondays, Tuesday and Thursday, and so on). Scenes can occur at either a specific time of day (lights on at 8:30 PM for instance), or you can tie them to sunset or sunrise (you can even set the time to a number of minutes before or after sunset/sunrise). An element of time randomization would give your home an even more lived-in look while you're at work or on vacation, and I've seen systems that do that, but Lutron's app is pretty good.

Controlling individual devices

As I said in my Insteon review, it might seem backward to discuss the whole Caseta taxonomy before getting into how you control individual devices, but it's important to understand how the system is organized. As I mentioned earlier, the Lutron app's home screen displays up to four devices and four scenes. Click on the device's icon and an overlay screen appears with three controls: On, off, and a slider for adjusting brightness. The icon for any device that's powered on will appear on a solid background, and if a scene is currently active, that will be reflected by a filled-in icon in the Scenes area of the user interface.

If you use a Siri command or the Pico remote to control a device, whatever changes you make with it will be automatically reflected in the app. That's pretty slick. What's not so slick is waiting for the app to reconnect to the bridge. That process took as many as eight seconds from launch, and as many as five seconds when waking the iPod from sleep. In many situations, it will be quicker to walk across the room to flip a physical switch.

Should you buy Lutron's HomeKit bridge?

If you've already invested in the Insteon ecosystem, you might save money buying its Smart Hub Pro (just know that some of your hardware might not work with it). If you're starting from scratch, Lutron has a slightly superior solution. Its hardware is of higher quality, there's support for smart thermostats, and you can add motorized window shades--a feature that's particularly great for home theaters. The Pico remote is very cool, too.


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