Aeotec Smart Home Hub review: the hub that does it all

If the Aeotec Smart Home Hub looks familiar, it’s because it’s a millimeter clone of Samsung’s discontinued third-generation SmartThings Hub. You can integrate a smart home full of devices, as long as they don’t rely on Apple’s HomeKit technology.

Rather than small and inconspicuous, the all-white Aeotec hub is roughly the size of a 4.9 x 4.9 x 1.1-inch (WxDxH) mesh router. That’s roughly four times the size of the tiny Hubitat Elevation and huge compared to Aqara E1. It lacks locks on the bottom, so you can’t easily hang it on a wall, but its 7-ounce weight means the adhesive velcro strips will get the job done.

This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best smart home systems, where you’ll find reviews of the competition’s offerings, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.

Showing its technological roots, the Aeotec hub comes with a Samsung AC adapter. There’s also has a power cable, an ethernet cable, and a start-up booklet in the box. Like the Hubitat, it lacks a battery back-up, but because all its commands and settings are stored online, they shouldn’t get wiped out by a power failure.  

aeotec smart home hub Aeotec

The Aeotec Smart Home Hub takes the place of Samsung’s discontinued SmartThings hub and is certified to be compatible with the SmartThings ecosystem..

As is the case with the Hubitat Elevation, the Smart Home Hub has an ethernet port for connecting to a home network. It can’t use power-over-ethernet (PoE) to replace the AC adapter that would have allowed it to be put in places without a nearby outlet. The Aeotec hub goes a step farther than the Hubitat Elevation by including 802.11ac Wi-Fi networking, making it easier to set the Smart Home Hub up in the best place to connect with the entire house rather than just what’s near the router.

aeotec interface Brian Nadel / IDG

The SmartThing app’s friendly user interface makes it super easy to see and control all your smart home devices.

Neither the Aeotec nor Hubitat home hubs, however, have a backup communications portal, like a mobile network LTE connection. The Ezla Secure hub has that and a backup battery for fail-over operations as well.

The Aeotec hub’s front status LED lights up green when everything is working, blue when it’s connected to the home network but lacks an internet signal, and alternates between red and green when it’s ready to be configured. The LED is red when it has a hardware issue that requires restarting the device.

Inside the Aeotec Smart Home Hub

Under the skin, the Aeotec Smart Home Hub has a 528MHz ARM Cortex A7 processor that uses 2GB of RAM and 4GB of flash storage for its firmware and local settings compared to the Hubitat’s 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage space. While the Hubitat’s local focus is a benefit when your broadband connection fails, the Aeotec’s internet emphasis means any connected devices can be controlled from anywhere there’s an online connection.

Able to connect with Zigbee (including Philips Hue), Z-Wave, and Wi-Fi devices but not Bluetooth accessories, the Aeotec hub can handle voice commands from Alexa and Google Assistant. It can’t, however, work with Apple’s Siri or HomeKit ecosystem. This could be remedied in the near future thanks to the company’s close relationship with Matter. If all goes well, just about any supported device will theoretically be able to connect with just about any supported hub for the closest thing to universal compatibility that smart home products have ever seen.

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