After moving into a new rental, I miss my blinds and locks


nuki smart lock

Rita El Khoury / The Android Authority

The past eighteen months have been eventful at the Khoury Palace. I didn’t just change jobs – hey, Android Authority Readers! – But I also moved from Lebanon to France. This meant leaving my fancy apartment near Beirut to hunt for a small rent on the outskirts of Paris and giving up many of the comforts of my former life, including two very nice ones. Smart home devicesSomfy smart blinds, Nuki smart lock system, intercom system.

Some smart home upgrades to get you started

Tado wireless thermostat

Robert Triggs/Android Authority

Change can be a good thing, and this move has allowed me to cut down on the basics and improve on many of my previous tech setups, from my home office to the living room and kitchen. Upgrades to my equipment have been easy because access to modern technology (and free returns) in France is, admittedly, much simpler than it is in Lebanon.

And since smart home technology has been a part of my life for years now, I quickly made basic improvements to my new lease. I brought with me smart speakers And Philips Hue lights From Lebanon; I even installed a new Hue Aurelle ceiling plate in place of the three lights the owners left there. I invested in a smart thermostat from Tado, and I got it Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra For a review that’s still going strong. A security camera and smart fan complete my existing setup.

Let me get down to the basics: lights, thermostats, and a robot vacuum.

I had to limit some of my upgrades, though, due to my status as a renter. A lot of the smart home elements I wanted to install are either not compatible with the design of this apartment or already exist in a watered down version that isn’t easy to replace.

Smart blinds: convenience and energy efficiency

Somfy smart blinds remote guide at hand

Rita El Khoury / The Android Authority

You can’t rest Smart blinds Until you have to live without them. In Lebanon, my entire apartment is decorated with Somfy Tahoma connected curtains (419.99 euros on Amazon for the box alone). It was expensive to purchase and install, but it was worth every penny.

I went down to the bedroom in the evening and got up in the morning to let in some light. For someone like me who wakes up to natural light, this was essential to my circadian rhythm. I would wake up each day to light streaming in through the window instead of an annoying alarm. Imagine how comfortable that is.

Smart blinds add an extra layer of control over the light and temperature of my home without affecting my energy bills.

The curtains in the living room and kitchen are programmed differently for each season. During the winter, they open during the day to let in as much light and warmth as possible, and then come down after sunset to add a small layer of insulation from the cold glass behind them. During the summer they stayed closed during the day to avoid Lebanon’s sweltering coastal heat, and then rose in the evening when we opened the windows to ventilate the house.

Smart blinds added an extra layer of control over the current lighting and temperature condition in my home, a layer that would help my existing smart lights and connected air conditioner without impacting my energy and electricity bill. In addition, with file Voice command for Google AssistantI can change the state of any blind (blind) people at any time, even if I am away from home.

Smart lock and intercom: security and control

NOKE Opener Smart Intercom

Rita El Khoury / The Android Authority

Many people equal Smart locks With a loss of security, or at least with adding a layer of vulnerability to your home. My experience with smart locks, specifically the Nuki lock (249 euros For the latest Pro version), it was the exact opposite.

I chose the Nuki for my home in Lebanon because it was the only European twin cylinder compatible option, but after installing it in 2017 I took it for granted and had no problems with it until I moved in 2021. Trusting myself getting the house into a connected object wasn’t easy, but This tells you how good Nuki is.

For example, the lock is installed on the inside of the door, so no stranger knew it was there and I could still open and close my door with my regular key if I wanted to. And dozens of security features and precise controls mean I can customize the lock for my own use. I disabled geo-specific automatic unlocking, for example, and only kept the notification to unlock manually. On top of that, Nuki always let me know if I forgot to lock my door before driving away, made sure the door was locked at night, kept a log of every door opened and closed, and allowed me to store my keys securely in my wallet to avoid losing them. Issuing temporary keys to friends and family was also easy. No matter how you look at it, Nuki was a much better and safer option than a stupid lock for me.

No matter how you look at it, Nuki was a much better and safer option than a stupid lock for me.

Moreover, I also had a Nuki Opener (149.85 euros), adding a smart intercom that can open the building gate for me. I couldn’t tell you how convenient it is to come home, see two notifications on my phone, tap to open the gate, go in, tap to open the door, and get in, all without having to worry about the keys. Once, in a bind, I remotely allowed some people to fix the building and saved all my neighbors from taking cold showers for the next few days. Not to mention the many times I’ve had to let my parents in so they don’t have to wait in the car for me to get home.

All of these (and more) are reasons why I’m missing out on getting a Nuki system in my current rental. The door here requires being pushed to close and pulled to open, so I’m not convinced the smart lock will be able to handle it, but I’m going to take a gamble soon and try to install a Nuki. If I succeed, I will have all these benefits back; If it doesn’t, I know I need to stay with a stupid lock for a while.

Don’t miss out on smart home products

cielo breeze smart air conditioner controller

Rita El Khoury / The Android Authority

Aside from that, my apartment had a few other smart home devices, which, in hindsight, weren’t all that great. There was a Canary security camera rendered useless by all downgrades to the free plan; a Logitech Harmony hub that worked wonders for my complex entertainment setup but isn’t essential to my TV-only system in this rental (not to mention that Logitech has ditched the Harmony hub); And a smart fragrance diffuser by Moodo that made my home smell nice but also caused me to cough frequently.

The only items that were fit for purpose were the Cielo A/C Control Units ($99 But often on sale). It was an excellent way to tweak the smart controls of our existing A/C system and they did a great job. Unfortunately, our apartment here doesn’t have any air conditioning, so I didn’t bring them with me.

Do you have any regrets about the smart home products you invested in?

4 votes

Moving countries, and even continents, have certainly given me a different perspective on smart home gear, and I imagine I’ll carry many of these lessons with me into my next move. Checking curtain rods and a door closing mechanism is probably at the top of the list when visiting a place because I know how much difference smart curtains and locks can make in a so called “smart” home.


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