(Pocket-lint) - The smart home takes many forms. You can control your lights, music, heating, doors and so on from your mobile phone. But what about situations when your phone isn’t there? When you’re out, say, but somebody else needs to turn the smart lights on? Or maybe your kids want to interact with the smart home but don’t have access to your phone or tablet? Here are five ways the Elgato Eve Button is a real delight.

1. You’re out, but the kids want to watch a movie

With Eve Button you can activate scenes so that, say, pressing the button will send a command to HomeKit to turn the lights low, power up the projector and close the blinds ready to watch a film. With an iPad acting as a home hub, for instance, you could simply say, “Hey, Siri, movie night!’ to trigger the scene. But if you’re out and the iPad is safely stored out of the kids’ reach in your bedroom, they can achieve the same effect by using an Eve Button that you left on the coffee table for them. 

2. You don’t want to spend a lot of money on a smart home speaker

After all, the latest smart speaker from Apple, the HomePod, costs £319, compared to £50 for the Eve Button. For many people, the Button will be all that’s needed. Maybe you’re on the phone, so surprising your caller by interrupting the conversation and shouting a smarthome command is better handled by quietly pressing a button instead. If you choose to play your music through your existing speakers, an Eve Button is a no-brainer.


3. You have several tasks you want to control from one place

Don’t be deceived by the simple elegance of the Eve Button: it’s a sophisticated device which can be used in various ways. The button, which has a satisfying click when you press it, is more advanced than a wall switch with just two possibilities: on or off. You can control the Button in three different ways, a single press, a double press or a long press. Each can be configured to a different task. So a single press might turn on all the lights in the living room, a double press could turn on the kitchen lights and a long press could be the last thing you do in the evening, like turning off all the lights downstairs, locking the front door and putting the lights on in the bedroom.

4. You don’t want to control your home with your voice

Maybe you want to do these things silently, or, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t get your smart speaker to understand you – at least, not with 100 per cent reliability. Some smart assistants are notoriously loud and while they can control the volume of the music they play, the assistant itself stubbornly replies at a volume that interrupts you.

Or maybe a family member or a visitor is uncomfortable or anxious about using their voice to make the lights turn on or off, say. Eve Button has the security and comfort of an old-fashioned switch. A physical control is reassuringly familiar and instantly understood. And Elgato thoughtfully includes stickers in different colours with images of lamps, so you can let guests know that a single press controls a lamp, a double press adjusts the heating and a long press controls a door lock. Simple. 

5. There’s an activity you want to be time-limited

Say your Eve Button is set up to turn on the lights in your garage, so that happens as you step out the front door, if that’s where your Button is placed, without pulling your iPhone from your pocket. But you don’t want the lights to stay on after you’ve driven off to work, nor get out of the car to turn the light off before you drive away. Simply set the Button so the instruction ends after 15 minutes, or whatever, and the lights will turn off again automatically then. This is also useful for that kids’ movie scenario, so they won’t watch too late because the projector turns off after two hours, for instance.