Review: Eve Room HomeKit Air Quality Sensor (Second-Generation) | iLounge

Review

Review: Eve Room HomeKit Air Quality Sensor (Second-Generation)

B+
Recommended

Company: Eve Systems

Model: Eve Room

Price: $100

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Jesse Hollington

The recently-rebranded Eve Systems continues to enhance its HomeKit lineup with a new second-generation version of its popular 2015 Eve Room sensor. While the original Eve Room was a utilitarian white box, the reinvented version features a new and more elegant design aesthetic while sporting an e-ink display and a rechargeable battery. While it basically provides the same HomeKit capabilities as the older model, Eve is clearly hoping that the new design and other outward features will justify a higher asking price.

The Eve Degree surprised us with its smaller size, and Eve Room is no exception, coming in at the same 2.1 x 2.1 x 0.5-inch dimensions. Unlike Eve Degree, however, which featured an LCD display, the new Eve Room goes a step further with an e-ink screen that’s easier to read and can present even more information at a glance. Instead of a replaceable battery, Eve Room also now incorporates a built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery — a first in an Eve product, and something that’s definitely a welcome addition in a house full of battery-powered HomeKit sensors and accessories. A micro-USB cable is included for charging Eve Room up, although you’ll need to supply your own USB power source; Eve promises six weeks of power before you need to recharge, although depending on where you’re placing Eve Room, you can also just leave the USB cable plugged in all the time. Eve Room will also enter a lower-power mode when the battery

Between Eve Degree and Eve Button, it’s clear that Eve Room is just another example of Eve Systems’ new design style — a glossy black surface surrounded by an anodized aluminum body — and it’s definitely a nice change over the simple white plastic boxes of the previous versions. Where the original Eve Room was something that you’d either ignore or even want to keep out of sight, the new Eve Room is nice enough to be placed on top of a bookshelf or table or hung on a wall. Unlike Eve Degree, however, which is intended to be a replacement for the Eve Weather outdoor sensor, Eve Room is an indoor-only solution, designed for measuring not only temperature and humidity in a room, but also air quality in the form of volatile organic compound (VOC) concentrations. HomeKit connectivity is still handled with Bluetooth LE, like all of Eve’s other accessories, and while this carries definite energy conservation and privacy benefits, it does mean that you’ll need an Apple TV, iPad, or HomePod within range to act as a Home Hub if you want to be able to access your readings while outside of your home.

You can actually use Eve Room right out of the box, although you may need to charge it up first. The e-ink display will show air quality, temperature, and humidity without the need to set it up with Eve’s app or HomeKit. Four display modes are available, with each showing all three measurements, but differing in which are shown most prominently — air quality, temperature, humidity, or temperature and humidity together. Air quality is always displayed on a five-star scale at the bottom of the screen, while the center of the screen can either display a leaf logo, the temperature, the humidity, or both values, with the other value(s) shown at the top of the screen. A battery indicator also appears in the top-right corner when charging.

Eve Room pairs up with HomeKit using the new iOS 11 QR code style of label we’ve seen on Eve’s other recent devices. The pairing process is otherwise the same as for any other HomeKit accessory, although Eve Room will appear as three distinct accessories in the Home app — one for each measurement. The interactions in the Home app are basically the same as for the original Eve Room, although the second-generation Eve Room does actually provide the specific VOC measurement to HomeKit, which can be viewed in the details screen of the Air Quality sensor object. Unlike Eve Degree, the HomeKit framework provides support for all three measurement types from Eve Room. Any of the measurements can be used as triggers or conditions for HomeKit automation routines, although as usual you’ll want to use Eve’s own app or another HomeKit app if you’re looking to do anything more than basic time-of-day or location routines.

As with Eve’s other sensors, Eve’s own app can also be used to monitor readings, as well as update firmware and adjust basic configuration settings such as which units are used for temperature. However, Eve’s app is also required if you want to actually take advantage of actually monitoring your air quality, humidity, and temperature data over time. If you’re already familiar with other Eve sensors, you’ll find the app works the same way for Eve Room, pulling in the stored information from the sensor and letting you view it either in chart form or as a simple list of individual measurements. Eve Room can store several days worth of data, but you will need to open the Eve app every couple of weeks if you want to be able to keep a complete history. It’s also worth noting that the new Eve Room uses the same five-star scale within the Eve app as it does on the display, different from the earlier model which simply used text descriptions such as Poor, Good and Excellent; Apple’s Home app still continues to display the same text-based measurements, however.

Looked at only as a HomeKit sensor, the new Eve Room isn’t a huge upgrade over the first-generation version — it basically looks the same to HomeKit, although it does boast a better and more precise sensor, and of course the rechargeable battery is a definite bonus in our opinion. However, it’s hard to overstate how much nicer the design is of the new Eve Room, and there’s definitely something to be said for actually being able to see temperature, humidity, and air quality at a glance, rather than simply having a utilitarian white box sitting in the corner that requires you to read information from your iPhone. We think all of this put together makes the second-generation Eve Room a worthy upgrade to its predecessor that easily justifies its higher price tag.

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Editors' Note: iLounge only reviews products in "final" form, but many companies now change their offerings - sometimes several times - after our reviews have been published. This iLounge article provides more information on this practice, known as revving.

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