The difficulty in controlling several smart home gadgets is one of the most common refrains in tech today, to the point where it’s probably overstated — smart home hubs like the Amazon Echo are well on their way to becoming all-in-one control centers. But, even with all the voice commands and apps, there’s no replacing the convenience of a plain old light switch on the wall. So, someone asked a brilliant question — why not both?
The Brilliant Control is the combination of a light switch, a tablet, and a smart home hub. The device has a 5″ 1280 x 720 touchscreen, but it’s not exactly a tablet. It’s primarily a light switch — it’s actually meant to be hardwired to your home’s lighting, and can replace plates with up to four switches. That lets the Brilliant Control function as simple on/off switch or dimmer with a swipe of the finger, independent of all the smart home stuff it’s capable of.
And there’s a lot of smart home stuff it’s capable of doing. The Brilliant Control works with individual smart home gadget makers like Nest, Sonos, Philips, Ring, Samsung, and Honeywell, among others, using either a Bluetooth connection or your home’s Wi-Fi network. It also works with IFTTT and has Alexa preinstalled, so it can accept voice commands in the same way an Amazon Echo can. All of this is handled by Brilliant’s own simplified user interface, and when it’s not in use, you can use it as a digital picture frame.
In addition to a microphone to pick up voice commands, Brilliant has added a camera that can be used with gestures or other motion controls for some smart home products. That all makes it one of the most versatile smart home hubs we’ve seen yet, putting voice, gesture, and touch control in one place.
Then again, you could also say all that about any old smartphone. It’s true that most of what Brilliant does can be done with a smartphone, but there’s still some value here. Being hardwired, it’s nice to have a smart gadget that can still work the old fashioned way, and you know for sure this control won’t be getting lost. If you’re really into your smart home gadgets or are building a smart home from scratch, the Brilliant Control could be worth a look. It can be preordered starting today for $200, and will ship this summer. Brilliant will only sell 10,000 units for now, with a larger release scheduled for next year.