The market for smart home hubs — devices that give you simple unified control over all your connected gizmos — is pretty crowded. Despite their convenient features, the overwhelming majority of them are gaudy plastic boxes with bright colors and blinking lights — not exactly the type of thing you’d want to hang on your wall.
Back when they launched on Kickstarter, we were excited to somebody finally create a device that performs all the requisite smart functions you’d expect from a hub without looking like something that fell out of the trunk of a UFO. It’s called Sentri, and not only is it one of the most capable hubs we’ve ever seen (on paper, anyway), it’s also one of the best looking, too.
Aesthetically, it looks something like a blown-up 6th-generation iPod nano (you know, the little tile-shaped one?). It’s essentially a big square with rounded edges and an LED screen up front that displays information. The box also allows you to customize the icons and information that are displayed onscreen.
It’s definitely pretty snazzy on the outside, but Sentri’s beauty isn’t skin deep either; it looks like this thing has some serious muscle under the hood, too.
In addition to Wi-Fi radios that allow it to communicate with your mobile devices, Sentri’s got a microphone, speaker, motion detector, thermometer, air quality sensor, humidity sensor, accelerometer, and even an HD camera with night vision. We’ve seen some all-in-one solutions like this before (Piper, Canary, Birdi, etc.), but with so many sensors, this one can perform a ton of functions.
The addition of a security camera, for example, allows the device to function as a security system. The microphone and embedded speakers, on the other hand, mean you could potentially use Sentri as an intercom system to communicate with your family/housemates. And because it can link up with other connected home devices, such as Philips Hue lights, Nest thermostat, and Belkin WeMo switches, all the environmental sensors can be used for advanced automation functions.
Want your lights to turn on when it gets dark, not just run on a schedule? What about having the AC kick on when the room rises above a certain temperature? Assuming this thing works like it’s creators claim it will, that kind of stuff will all be possible.
The Sentri is available for preorder now for $299. If you make your order between now and Black Friday, November, 27, 2015 (the same day Sentri will start shipping units), you’ll get free shipping.