Nexia One Touch Control Review
IN THE NEWS
May 25th, 2016
May 25th, 2016
I received a request to develop a SmartThings Device Handler for the Nexia (NX1000) One Touch Z-Wave Control, and frankly was a little intrigued. I had heard of the device, but I had my doubts regarding how well it would work with the SmartThings Hub. I had never written a device handler that was capable of updating the display properties of a device (and as it turns out, quite possibly for good reason), so I decided to give the device handler a shot.
After receiving the One Touch Controller, I was actually pleasantly surprised with its look and feel. Although, as I expected, it has nothing close to the build quality of your standard Apple or Android mobile device, the One Touch will be quite at home on your coffee table or mounted on your wall. When held in your hand, the cover has a little play in it, but it was not extremely bothersome to me. The buttons are easy to push and battery life appears to be quite good.
The One Touch comes with two AAA batteries and hardware for optional wall mounting. Thanks to the simple LED displays and customizable auto-backlight timeout, my device was only down to 93% battery level after several weeks of fairly heavy use testing and driver development. Since I do not currently have a Nexia controller, I was unable to evaluate all of its capabilities.
This device handler simply supports using the Nexia One Touch as a simple 15 button controller. Both pushed and held states are supported for all 15 buttons. To make use of the buttons, you’ll also need a SmartThings SmartApp, such as Rule Machine, the newly developed (actually developing) CoRE (Community’s Own Rule Engine), or a Button Controller app.
When pairing with the SmartThings Hub, you can save a step by first installing this custom device handler per the steps below before pairing. If you’ve already paired the SmartThings Hub with the One Touch before installing the Device Handler, you can change the device type in the SmartThings IDE to the Nexia One Touch Controller after pairing, and it should work fine.
Per the device instructions, to bring up the One Touch Z-Wave menu to access include/exclude functions press and hold the middle page button on the bottom of the controller. If button presses are not working after pairing the One Touch with the Smarthings Hub, access the Z-Wave page on the One Touch again after pairing. This only needs to be done once and has always corrected the issue in my testing.
If it weren’t for the SmartTiles SmartThings web app, I think the SmartThings community would have been clamoring to make this device compatible with the SmartThings Hub. As it stands, I would generally recommend running the (currently free) SmartTiles web client on a spare phone or tablet device or even purchasing a $50 7″ Kindle Fire for SmartTiles use. Even though the capabilities of the One Touch may be much more limited compared to running SmartTiles on a mobile device, there may still be valid reasons to get the One Touch in addition to – or instead of using SmartTiles. Potential One Touch advantages include:
- Extended battery life
- Replaceable batteries
- Easily wall mountable
- Dedicated single-purpose device
Interestingly, the flexibility limitations of the device may actually contribute to one of its strongest selling points. Being a dedicated home automation and control device, there is no confusion about how to bring up the controls, and maybe more importantly, you don’t have to worry about the device growing legs and being repurposed by other family members.