HomeKit Devices: Monitor Air Quality with Elgato's Eve Room

 Monitor Air Quality with Elgato's Eve Room

My home is getting smarter all the time. When Apple first announced HomeKit, it was hard for me to imagine how it all worked. But now that I have several HomeKit-compatible devices installed, I'm starting to understand how it all works together. First up in my series of HomeKit devices was my introduction to HomeKit and review of iHome's smart plug. In this post I'll review the first of four devices that Elgato has given me to try: Eve Room.

Eve Room

Eve Room ($79.95) is a simple HomeKit device that monitors a room's temperature, humidity, and volatile organic compounds (VOC). I was especially interested in VOC because the housing development where I live has poor drainage and mold can be a problem. High levels of VOCs can be a health risk. I was pleased to find that currently my VOC level is usually in the "excellent" range. But occasionally the levels of VOCs spikes, and the air quality at that point is rated only "good." I've now been using Eve Room for over a week, and I'm trying to figure out the occasional spikes in the graph of air quality.

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Eve Room is handy and portable. It's about three inches square and an inch deep. I had assumed that it would be powered by plugging it into an outlet, but instead it comes with three AA batteries. This is good because you can use it in spaces where there are no outlets. I plan to test every room in my home, and in every season. I know that VOC levels will likely be higher in the summer when humidity is higher.

Advantages of HomeKit Devices: Integration and Siri

To see the current levels and to track levels over time, one downloads the free Eve app from Elgato. My first eureka moment when using the app was when it not only showed my Elgato devices, but also my Smart Plug from iHome. This is the beauty of HomeKit: all your devices are integrated regardless of manufacturer. (Of course, you have to make sure that you purchase HomeKit-compatible devices.)

Also, HomeKit compatibility means that you can interact with your devices via Siri. I have Eve Room in my home office, and I can say, "What's the temperature in my office?" and Siri will tell me. Or I can ask what the humidity is. However, I haven't been able to query Siri about the level of VOCs. No doubt this is related to the confusion that I mention below regarding naming that I still haven't figured out.

Bluetooth connectivity, and Wi-Fi via Apple TV

The Eve series of devices connect to your iPhone or iPad via Bluetooth. I like this, because I don't have my Wi-Fi network on all the time. Also, it gives me the option of using Eve Room in a building or other location that doesn't have power and/or Wi-Fi.

The limitation of Bluetooth, of course, is that it's limited to a range of about 30 feet. However, if you have a third- or fourth-generation Apple TV, it automatically serves as a hub. I should be able to monitor or control my Elgato devices wherever in the world I have a Wi-Fi connection, though I haven't yet gotten this to work. It should simply entail logging into my iCloud account on my iOS devices and my Apple TV, and turning on Allow Remote Access in the HomeKit area of Settings.

Setup

Eve Room comes with almost no documentation. There's a tiny booklet that simply says to download the Eve app and install the batteries. And it says to open the app and tap Add Accessory. That's it. But setup was pretty simple. In order to pair your iOS device with an Elgato device and add it to the Eve app, the app asks you to point the camera at a setup code that comes with the device. I was slightly confused a couple times during setup, such as when it asked me to enter a unique name to directly access the features via Siri. 

According to the documentation, "Eve Room will adjust to its surroundings automatically throughout the first week in its new home. Air quality can vary based on many factors, and Eve Room will learn how to accurately judge air quality during this time." 

You can find a more detailed manual online. 

App includes overview and detailed views

Eve Room has a well-organized interface. It offers an At-a-Glance view that lets you see a summary of your Scenes (configurations of settings for your devices based on such things as time of day) and specific rooms. I now have HomeKit devices in my living room and home office. The summary lets me see temperature, humidity, energy usage, power consumption, and more all at once.

You can tap on any item to get more detailed views. Eve Room offers a variety of graphs so you can track temperature, humidity, and air quality over time. It took me a while to understand all of the details, such as why there are two separate line graphs in the week and month views (they graph the  minimum and maximum values). A Compare feature lets you compare the current period (hour, day, week, month) with the previous period. 

Pros

  • A highly portable device for tracking indoor temperature, humidity, and air quality
  • HomeKit-compatible
  • Bluetooth wireless, so Wi-Fi isn't necessary
  • Well-organized interface

Cons

  • I was slightly confused during one part of the setup, and at first I didn't completely understand the more detailed views. More documentation would be nice.

Final Verdict

Overall, I'm really pleased with Eve Room, and am eager to get a clear understanding of the quality of air in my home. If that's something that concerns you, then the $80 price is warranted.

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Jim Karpen's picture

Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.