Eve Motionblinds bring a useful product into the smart home ecosystem. They are easy to connect to HomeKit and operate smoothly. The only big downfall is their price, which is about 3X the standard non-motorized window shade. Pros: Easy setup with HomeKit; Sturdy shade assembly; Simply app integration and operation | Cons: Price is astronomical in comparison to other types of window shades; Motor is a little loud when operating (not unbearable though)
- EASE OF USE
- APP INTEGRATION
Powered by Eve, the Motionblinds add to the growing network of HomeKit compatible products that make your home smarter.
A few years ago, I remember hearing about motorized window shades that were app-controlled. I truly hate messing with window shades and blinds. So, when I heard about this smart home product, I thought, “Now that is something I would really appreciate having.”
A couple of months ago, smart home product designer, Eve, announced a collaboration with window covering specialist, Coulisse, and the launch of their newest product – Motionblinds. The product is based on a simple roller shade design and it marks a major milestone for Eve and its commitment to transition to their low-power product line to Thread.
What are Motionblinds?
Motionblinds are part of the global window covering brand, Coulisse. The device is being developed in the Netherlands and falls into the smart home category because it is app-enabled and remote-controlled. Motionblinds are made-to-measure window coverings and are distributed through a network of resellers.
In late 2021, Coulisse announced its partnership with smart home product designer, Eve. As one of the first companies to partner with Apple’s HomeKit technology, Eve was the perfect partner for Coulisse. Motionblinds while originally designed by Coulisse are marketed as Eve Motionblinds or Motionblinds Powered by Eve.
How do Motionblinds work?
Motionblinds are designed to be simple in both design and function. The product is essentially a simple roller shade with a motor attached to it. The motor’s ‘brain’ is powered by Eve’s smart home technology and supports both Bluetooth and Thread, which is designed to improve the connectivity between accessories.
About Thread: Thread creates a mesh network. Within this, lights, thermostats, outlets, sensors, and more can also talk to each other free of the constraint of having to go through a central hub, such as a bridge. That’s because a Thread network doesn’t need one. If a single accessory fails, the data packets are simply relayed to the next in the mesh. In short: The network becomes more robust with every additional Thread accessory.
Motionblinds don’t need a proprietary bridge or hub in order to communicate with HomeKit. You simply scan the HomeKit code with your iPhone and the device gets added to your Home app. In some cases, you may not even have to do that step to add Motionblinds to your network. If a border router – such as a HomePod Mini or an Apple TV 4K – is present, Motionblinds can join the Thread network automatically.
Motionblinds also provide a certain level of privacy and security with your data as all the intelligence for the device is stored locally on the motor. This is indicative of Eve’s influence as all their smart home accessories accomplish this task.
What kind of user experience do you get with Motionblinds?
My experience with Motionblinds is going to differ a bit from the standard consumer as I was provided a press sample for testing. This means that I did not go through the process of physically installing the Motionblinds, but I was able to experience the super simple HomeKit setup and operation of the blinds.
Here’s what was included in my press kit:
- the Motionblinds mechanism
- a stand for the Motionblinds to rest on (instead of an installation kit)
- a start guide
- a USB-C power cable (no power adapter)
So, to get started, I unwrapped the Motionblinds assembly from its packaging and then set it on the metal brackets that were provided. The assembly was meant to slide and lock into place on the stand. I had a little trouble getting one side to latch into place. Fortunately, it was sturdy enough for me to test.
The next step was to connect the Motionblinds to power. A USB-C cable was provided, but a power adapter for the wall was not. Motionblinds have a rechargeable battery-powered motor, but this particular unit did not have a charge to it. I grabbed a power bank I had close by and plugged the Motionblinds into it. I wasn’t sure how much power was going to be required to power the unit, but apparently, the battery I used was enough.
After I got the Motionblinds powered up, I added them to my Home app. This process was probably the easiest HomeKit accessory addition I’ve ever done. And I’ve done quite a lot. One of the things I really liked was that the HomeKit code is attached to the blinds, but is hidden. There is a small tag that slides up into the pull on the blinds that holds the HomeKit code. This makes it super easy to find the code if you have to reset your Home or re-add the blinds at some point.
As far as operation goes, there are really only two states for the blinds to be in – open or closed. You can set up schedules and automation for them or you can operate them manually by pressing the appropriate option on the Home or Eve apps or asking your virtual assistant to do it.
Are Motionblinds worth it?
This is always a tough question for me to answer because what isn’t important to me might be super important to someone else. I will say this, according to SelectBlinds.com, one of the resellers of Motionblinds, the blinds start at $567 and go up. Right now, the web retailer has them on sale for $397, but I believe that is only a temporary sale.
Remember that this product is designed to be custom ordered to fit a customer’s window. So, you can order blinds from 24” x 20” to 96” x 108”. The bigger they are, the more expensive the Motionblinds get. I actually selected the largest size possible and MSRP has it costing $1,495.00. After you select your dimensions, you then select the following options: your remote type, a headrail, hardware, pull wand location, roll position, bottom rail, charger, and finish customization.
As a test, I decided to go through the process of selecting different options and found that you could get the price up to $2,060 (MSRP). This was for one window shade! When you compare that to a non-motorized window shade with similar options (same size, etc.) the price through the same retailer is just under $700. That’s nearly 1/3 less than the Motionblinds option.
In my opinion, as cool as the Motionblinds are and as easy as they are to work with, I don’t think they are worth the expense – especially considering the fact that you would likely want to have several for the different windows in your home.
Motionblinds are a welcome addition to the pool of smart home accessories that are being offered by Eve. They function very well and are easy to set up. If the price can be a bit more affordable, then I think they would be easier to recommend.