You may already be familiar with SwitchBot from our test reports. The manufacturer of smart home accessories has a whole range of interesting and special gadgets for the intelligent, networked home in its range. New is the SwitchBot Hub 2, which not only combines the functions of the SwitchBot Meter Plus thermometer and hygrometer with the SwitchBot Hub mini, but also integrates the SwitchBot Remote and supports the new Smart Home Standard Matter. We tested the device for you in advance.
Included with the SwitchBot Hub 2
SwitchBot’s new smart home center comes with a two-meter-long USB Type-C cable that has built-in temperature and humidity sensors. A 3M double-sided adhesive pad is attached to it for easier assembly. A spare adhesive pad is also included, as well as another to attach the SwitchBot Hub 2 itself. A USB plug-in power supply is also included, which supplies 5 V with up to 2 A, a quick start guide and a card with information on manufacturer support. In our review, the power supply is equipped with a North American NEMA-1 Type A plug, as this is a pre-sale test. However, the device would also support 220 V three-phase current, which is common in our part of the world. The contacts are just wrong and require an adapter. With the start of the SwitchBot Hub 2 launch, the plug-in power adapters are also available for European and UK sockets, so no adapter is needed anymore, and the QR code for Matter will be found directly in the manual.
SwitchBot Hub 2. Bild: PocketPC.ch / Jeanrenaud
hardware and properties
The SwitchBot Hub 2 itself is 8 x 70 x 23 mm and weighs 63 grams. Made of white ABS plastic, the hub is cuboid with a rounded back and rounded corners. The white LED display on the front, which also contains two touch buttons, is offset a few millimeters inwards. It shows the humidity in percent with a small segment display, the temperature with large segment digits and also has illuminated buttons labeled Off and On underneath. A dot at the top left next to the humidity level serves as a status light.
The main infrared transmitter and two infrared receivers are housed next to the central, two-digit segment display for the room temperature. Because the Hub 2, like the previous model Hub mini from SwitchBot, can also operate old devices that were not yet smart and can be controlled via infrared remote controls. TV sets and receivers as well as air conditioning and heating systems are no problem for the SwitchBot Hub 2. Thanks to the infrared receiver, the smart home center can also learn the control codes of the old remote controls and then use them yourself. In addition, the Hub 2 can detect when the non-smart remote control is being used and update the internal status of the device accordingly. This way you can see whether the old television was switched on or off.
The infrared range has been improved compared to the previous model, also because in addition to the central infrared transmitter between two infrared receivers, there is also an infrared transmitter module in each of the four corners of the SwitchBot Hub 2. This allows up to 30 meters. In the lower right corner, below the two touch-sensitive buttons, there is a beeper for alarms and signals.
In addition to the temperature display, there is also a brightness sensor for controlling the display lighting and for smart home automation. On the back, under a stand that can be freely positioned up to 90 degrees, is the USB Type-C connection for the power supply as well as product and certification information. The stand has an opening in the middle for the USB-C cable, so that the SwitchBot Hub 2 does not kink its cable or get in the way of wall mounting.
A light gray rubber stopper can be found on the underside, which prevents slipping on smooth surfaces.
WiFi and Bluetooth
The device itself connects to other devices or the home network via WLAN in the 2.4 GHz frequency band according to IEEE 802.11 b/g/n and via Bluetooth LE. In addition to Matter over WiFi, Apple HomeKit is also supported, so that working with smart home devices from other manufacturers is not a problem.
The WLAN can be used up to 100 meters away, Bluetooth 5.0 LE has a range of a good 80 meters with the SwitchBot Hub 2.
Images: PocketPC.ch / Jeanrenaud
The sensors of the SwitchBot Hub 2 work with a resolution of 0.1 degrees or one percent humidity. In both cases, the display is an integer, but the tenths of a degree are transmitted to the SwitchBot app and also to HomeKit via Matter. The working range is between -20 °C and +80 °C and between 0 and 99 percent relative humidity.
The accuracy of the temperature measurement is between -20 °C and 0 °C at ± 0.4 °C, up to 65 °C then at ± 0.2 °C and at temperatures above 65 °C at least ± 0.3 °C.
The humidity is measured in the range from 0 to 10 percent with ± 3 percent, between 10 and 90 percent with ± 2 percent and above with ± 3 percent.
There is no information from the manufacturer about the brightness sensor. In any case, in the app it only shows light or dark.
Testeindruck des SwitchBot Hub 2
Like the rest of the SwitchBot products, the SwitchBot Hub 2 is very well made and makes a good impression. Nothing wobbles or creaks, everything fits together. The measured values are sufficiently precise for smart home applications. However, if every decimal place really counts, you need better sensors.
After the free app, which speaks English, Italian, French and German, has been installed, the SwitchBot Hub 2 can also be set up quickly and easily. The two touch-sensitive buttons are used to start pairing, which then requires the SwitchBot app.
SwitchBot App and Matter
In the new version from 7.23.13, the SwitchBot app can configure the device for Matter on both iOS and Android. Matter is currently still in beta, but works perfectly so far. You can easily add the SwitchBot Hub 2 to HomeKit with the QR code that the SwitchBot app generates, or that should also be glued directly to the device after the market launch. The SwitchBot devices that should also be available via Matter for Apple Home Kit can now be selected in the SwitchBot app. The detour via this Plugin to the open source smart home solution Homebridge omitted with it. However, Matter can (currently) only be used for SwitchBot Curtain and SwitchBot Blind Tilt. Also, in the beta phase, only up to four Bluetooth devices per Matter are possible.
Display, Sound und Hardware
The wide, flattened USB-C cable can also be laid well hidden and is therefore not in the way. The Hub 2’s beep is a bit annoying, though. Fortunately, it can also be deactivated in the app. It is quite loud and can be used quite well, for example, to warn of excessive humidity.
The display with its LED segment displays is easy to read, although it always seems a bit blurry due to the dull screen. The brightness can be regulated via the SwitchBot app and the brightness control of the lighting can also be set in the app.
operation and design
The device itself is super easy to use and also looks discreet and chic. The design is able to please and does not noticeably disturb the interior as a technical gadget. Being able to read the temperature and relative humidity instantly, which update almost instantly, is also quite handy. The control of infrared devices works very well and remotes that have already been trained can simply be copied from an old Hub mini to the new Hub 2. This means that the SwitchBot Hub 2 can do everything that the Hub mini could and also brings the measurements and displays of the SwitchBot Meter Plus.
The two touch-sensitive buttons replace the SwitchBot Remote perfectly. The fact that they are written with On and Off helps on the one hand, but is also perhaps to be criticized on the other. Because the buttons, like those of the SwitchBot Remote before, can be assigned relatively freely with scenes and smart automations. Then Off is perhaps rather the curtain closed, which is no longer quite so intuitive. It also takes some getting used to that the on button is on the right and the off button is on the left.
Price and conclusion of the SwitchBot Hub 2
The SwitchBot Hub 2 costs from the manufacturer 79.99 euros or SFr. and will also come to digital stores such as Amazon at a comparable price. Sales on Amazon are scheduled to start on April 7th.
Overall, the SwitchBot Hub 2 is exactly what the smart home maker needed to do: combine the best of its past products into a new one, killing multiple birds with one stone. The fact that the new smart home standard Matter is on board can only be welcomed. Finally it seems that the times are over when you needed your own app for all smart home gadgets from different manufacturers and nobody wanted or could talk to the others. Or at least not so easily. It will be interesting to see how Matter will become more widespread and how it will work.