By Mike Riley on Thu, 04/20/2017
In the Spring 2017 of iPhone Life magazine, I wrote a roundup of HomeKit-compatible home-automation gear, which included Elgato's Eve Room indoor temperature and humidity sensor, its Eve Door & Window wireless contact sensor and the Eve Energy electricity toggle switch. This brief post reviews two more members of the Eve family, the Eve Motion ($49.95) wireless motion sensor and the Eve Weather ($49.95) wireless outdoor sensor.
The Eve Weather sensor is nearly identical in look and functionality to the Eve Room. Both capture temperature and humidity readings, with the key difference being that eve weather also captures air pressure while eve room captures air quality. Elgato also mentions that eve weather can withstand "a little rain" so one might conclude that it encloses its batteries and electronics in a more durable, more heavily weatherized shell. Upon closer examination of the eve room and eve weather, I could not tell the difference between either one. I can confirm that the eve weather did indeed survive several heavy rain showers though I have only tested it during springtime weather. I am looking forward to seeing if it will continue to operate throughout the sweltering heat of summer and the sub-zero snow-encrusted winters. Like its indoor counterpart, eve weather simply reports on temperature conditions and provides historical graphs of temperature, humidity and air pressure fluctuations. Its not by any means a comprehensive weather station (though it would be nice if it also included a wind speed sensor), and you can't set trigger conditions for home automation scenes (turn on the ceiling fan when the outdoor temperature exceeds 85 degrees Fahrenheit, for example). However, it is a more accurate way to ascertain outdoor conditions without relying on weather forecast websites that aggregate temperatures across a broader geographic region.
The Eve Motion sensor is the less interesting; an infrared motion detector sends a notification to your iOS device whenever a motion even occurs. To test the device, I placed it inside a storage closet infrequently used, but when it is, the light is sometimes on for days since hardly anyone goes in there. At the very minimum, a motion detection notification reminds me to check the closet to make sure the light is off. While it might be useful to know if a door opened or someone has entered a room, it is of limited utility without knowing what triggered that event. Granted, you can daisy chain the motion detection event with other home automation-devices such as turning on the lights or an electrical appliance like a radio or display. What would have really elevated Eve Motion beyond a simple trigger would have been the inclusion of a camera. If movement occurred, it could include an image or brief video of the motion in question. There are products on the market that provide such functionality, but the lack of an image capture device within the Eve line is noticeable. Having a built-in camera would save me trips to the closet to check if the light is off. I know I could have connected the motion sensor with a light, but then the light might turn off while someone is rummaging under stacks of boxes, not in-line with or perhaps accidentally covering the motion detector. Perhaps future iterations of Eve Motion will include image capture capability, but for now, it is rather limited considering the price.
I found myself accessing Eve Weather data at least once a day and due to its location and usefulness, the Eve Motion detector was rarely active. It was interesting to see just how much difference the more accurate Eve Weather temperature and humidity readings when compared to city-based weather websites. The sensor is quite a bit more expensive than an old-fashioned outdoor thermometer mounted on a windowsill (though you cannot remotely query it as you can with Eve Weather). Both devices connected effortlessly to the free and frequently updated Eve app, and once again showed how hardware and software in the Apple ecosystem makes things so easy. As for the Eve Motion sensor, it is a bit overpriced for what limited functionality it provides. If it were half the price or included an inexpensive camera at the current price, it would be an easy recommendation. For now, Eve Motion is a device that only early adopter Homekit enthusiasts will appreciate.