emblazee is a nice third party app for controlling your HomeKit lights.
What makes home automation nice? In my opinion, it’s the ability to quickly and easily turn your lights on and off from anywhere. emblazee gives you these options and the ability to change the colors of your HomeKit compatible lights quickly. Although this is not a full home automation app, it is a wonderful third party app for controlling your smart lighting.
When I first opened the app, I was a little taken aback because I wasn’t able to set anything up. You see, I’m not the HomeKit account owner. And, if you aren’t the account owner, you can’t edit anything. You can only view and use what’s already set up, in my case, our Hue Lights were set-up and an iDevices Switch. I had the ability to turn the lights on, change their intensity and color. But, I couldn’t edit them in any way.
Once I figured out the HomeKit owner set-up restriction, I borrowed my finance’s phone – the HomeKit account owner – and set up the Rooms, a few Groups, and a Zone in our house to get a feel for how easy or difficult the app was to work with.
Setting up the other features were really pretty easy. Lights go into Groups; Groups go into Rooms; and Rooms go into Zones. You can set these same features up in the Philips Hue app, but it just feels a bit clunky and cluttered to me. There are too many things to set-up in that app and these simple functions can easily get lost. emblazee is very straightforward. It’s very intuitive and easy to understand without the clutter.
Now, something that it really nice to know is that if you set-up any of these options – Rooms, Groups, Lights, Zones, or Scenes – within another HomeKit app, like Philips Hue, they transfer over to emblazee. For example, we had all the lights set up in the Philips Hue app and when we first opened emblazee, all of the lights were listed with the names we had assigned for them.
One of the things I really like about this app is that the controls are so simple and smooth. From the screen, you can tap the on/off switch or slide the intensity to fade the lights out or up. It’s very easy to use. Something I really try to look for with iOS apps is integration with the Apple Watch and the Today view of the Notification Center. emblazee hit the mark with the Apple Watch app. It’s clean and has a very similar interface to the actual iOS app. The only limitation of the Apple Watch app is that you can’t change the colors of the lights – only turn them on/off and change their intensity. It runs very smoothly and I thought the connection timing was pretty quick. There is not integration for the Today view on the iPhone though. I hope that the developer will consider adding that in with future updates because this app really lends itself to a quick access.
emblazee also works with Siri. If you set up something in emblazee, Siri recognizes. I set up a Zone that contains all the lights in the front of our house. And after I set it up in emblazee, I was able to ask Siri to turn on the ‘Front’ and all the lights (12 of them) came on.
emblazee is a very nice third party app for controlling your HomeKit lights. It’s very affordable and works extremely well. With a few updates, I could see this becoming my primary app for controlling our smart lights.