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Review: HEMA Smart Home – Equivalent, but not the same

Review: This article explains HEMA Smart Home, its working , technology and products available on this platform.

As a retail chain, you no longer belong to this group if you don’t have your own collection of smarthome products in the shops. This time we are going to work with HEMA Smart Home.

It seems like everyone is starting to jump on the ‘Tuya train’. Not only do we have companies such as WOOX and Marmitek with Tuya products, but retail chains such as Action and Kruidvat have also jumped on board. Everyone wants to take part in the possibilities of Tuya. HEMA has also placed a smarthome series with different products in the stores that are based on the Tuya platform and run on your WiFi network. In this review you can read the experiences with HEMA Smart Home.

In this review, we cannot avoid a comparison with the LSC Smart Connect series from Action. At first we also thought that these are simply the same products, but in a different box with a different logo in the app. However, further research shows this is not the case.

The HEMA Smart Home collection

Over the past month, HEMA has placed various smart lamps, a smart plug and a remote control in its stores. There is a color lamp with a large fitting (E27), a ‘Tunable White’ lamp with different shades of white with a large fitting (E27), a color spot (GU10) and various filament lamps with large and small fitting (E27 and E14). A complete collection of smart lamps that are supplemented with a smart plug and a remote control. Prices start at 10 euros for the smart LED lamp with Tunable White and go up to 17.50 euros for the large convex filament lamp. The smart plug costs 15 euros and the remote control has a suggested retail price of 20 euros.

You do not need a hub with HEMA Smart Home. You can easily connect the products to your WiFi network (2.4 GHz only) and get started. The underlying platform is Tuya. Via Tuya, anyone can develop a smart home solution in just a few steps. The American-Chinese company does not make smart home products itself, but provides the underlying technology and cloud traffic via the 4A IoT platform. Tuya works together with 3000 manufacturers with whom you can go straight into the sea via the underlying platform.

In fact, it comes down to creating an account and via the underlying platform on Tuya you come into contact with all kinds of manufacturers. With a few mouse clicks you can develop your ‘own products’ with which you can indicate to what extent you want to take any hardware or software with you, but can also completely outsource this. For example, Action has done it with LSC Smart Connect and HEMA is also doing it with the HEMA Smart Home line. There are therefore many similarities between both products. Do you want to know exactly how it works at Tuya? Then I would like to refer you to our article Tuya: the smart home giant behind the scenes is getting bigger and bigger .

HEMA Smart Home and Action’s LSC Smart Connect are not the same

The first impression of HEMA Smart Home was not very positive. It is very similar to LSC Smart Connect and my question to HEMA about the similarities between the two products did not leave a different impression. According to HEMA, it is true that both series are basically the same. The advantages of purchasing from HEMA were HEMA’s own HEMA Smart app, HEMA’s packaging, service and explanation, the possibility to expand the HEMA Smart range with other HEMA products and the possibilities to use them both online and offline. to buy in stores. Well, if that is to make a difference. And since the products at HEMA are almost twice as expensive as at Action, that was not very hopeful.

Especially because the company behind both series is Electro Cirkel Retail BV. You also know this company from the Calex brand, which you can find in various hardware stores and furniture stores. This company has bought a license and has the white label apps and products made through Tuya and supplies both Action and HEMA with both series. It turns out that HEMA does not know its own products very well either, because the products are really different from those of the Action, although there are certainly similarities.

HEMA Smart app

It is immediately clear that there are many similarities between both apps. The whole environment is exactly the same, except that there are other colors and a different logo. Both apps are White Label variants of the Tuya app, so they work exactly the same. However, you do have a different environment when selecting colors or shades of white. At Action you have a slider to select this, while at HEMA you have a circle. There are still some minor differences between the two apps, but the basics are the same. This also applies to almost all Tuya apps.

At the bottom of the app you have access to My Family with all your added smart products. Via Smart you can set scenes and automation rules using your own IFTTT variant. You can use this to link a certain event or promotion to another promotion. Finally, you can change your personal details via Profile. It is a well-organized and clear app that Tuya has made and there is little wrong with this White Label variant. It does take some time to figure out exactly how to set up those automation rules. That is a matter of trying. The advantage of all those White Label apps is that you are not stuck with this app. If you prefer to use another Tuya app, you can.

The smart plug

The testing of the HEMA Smart Home products started with the smart plug. With a smart plug you make ‘dumb’ products smart by switching them on or off remotely via the app and the smart plug. Ideal for the upcoming Christmas tree with Christmas lights.

Once removed from the packaging, the housing is identical to the smart plug of the Action. However, a closer inspection reveals that the maximum load at the HEMA smart plug is much higher. 3680W with the plug of the HEMA and 2300W with the smart plug of Action. You notice immediately that they are different products internally when you place them on a kitchen scale due to the difference in weight. Once connected, you get another hint because the ‘click’ of switching on the power is much less loud with the HEMA than with the plug of the Action. Ultimately, of course, it is simply a smart plug that switches power on or off, so there is not much difference except the maximum load. But it is a different product internally.

The smart lamps

We will continue with the smart lamps from HEMA Smart Home. What is striking is that the color lamp and the lamp with white tones from HEMA are much smaller than the comparable lamps from Action. In fact, the Action lamp weighs 100 grams, while the HEMA lamp is much lighter at 46 grams. So here too we are dealing with a different product. For a subsequent test I used the Tuya Smart Life app. I wanted to create the same environment for both lamps to make the difference clear. As discussed before, the advantage of Tuya as a platform is that you do not necessarily have to use the Hema app for Hema products or the LSC Smart Connect app for Action products. It all works together. I therefore choose one of the larger apps around the Tuya platform and that is Tuya’s own Smart Life app.

To do that, both lamps had to be reset first. With the lamp of the Action this means switching the lamp on and off three times. As soon as the lamp starts to flash, it has been reset and you can add it in another Tuya app. According to the HEMA manual, this works the same for the HEMA lamp. Not so. No matter how many times I turned the lamp on and off, the lamp did not reset. However, when I manually removed the lamp from the HEMA app, it immediately started to flash. This is how you reset a HEMA lamp.

And indeed adding both lamps in Smart Life is done in no time. Click on the plus sign at the top of the app, select the correct lamp, enter your WiFi password and you’re done. These steps work much the same in any Tuya app. The lamps are even visible under the HEMA name in the Smart Life app. Now that we have added both the Action lamp and Hema lamp, we can take a good look at the color range and the different shades of white. And there is a pretty big difference between them. The lamp of the HEMA is in fact much colder (blue) as standard, while the Action lamp gives much warmer shades. If we set the brightness of both lamps exactly the same and the shades of white as cold as possible, then the lamp of the HEMA is colder (more blue), as if you had a fluorescent bar in the house. We put both sliders all the way to the right to the warm tones, then the Action lamp is much warmer, almost orange, than the lamp of the HEMA, which cannot reproduce such warm shades of white. So it just depends on what you prefer, but personally the lamp of the HEMA is just a bit brighter in terms of white tones and has a (small) edge.

If we switch from shades of white to color, it is the other way around. The lamp from LSC Smart Connect gives slightly richer colors. The color saturation seems to be carried through a little further, but that makes red really red and green really green. With the HEMA, the colors of the lamp are slightly less bright. The colors are slightly duller, which may not matter much in a closed fixture, but if you are using an open fixture, the lamp from LSC Smart Connect is preferred.

Below you see a slider with the above examples. On the left the lamp of LSC Smart Connect from Action, on the right the lamp of the HEMA. Photo 1 shows the coldest possible white tone, photo 2 the warmest possible white tone. Photo 3 and photo 4 show richer colors in the lamp of LSC Smart Connect in comparison with HEMA Smart Home. The conditions are difficult to capture in the photo, but shows the differences between the lamps.

Filament lamps and remote control

There is also a difference between the filament lamps. At Action, the smallest model is also provided with a copper color, which fits well in a classic or industrial interior. At HEMA, the cheaper filament lamps have a white underside, which detracts from the classic look. If we go to the somewhat larger filament lamps in the range, we will also find the copper color there. We saw a few Monday morning models with an annoying beep at Action, we have not seen this at HEMA.

Finally, the remote control is also somewhat larger than the Action’s remote control. The buttons are the same, but the remote is longer. In addition, the range is 5 meters longer. 25 meters compared to 20 meters, although you will hardly notice this in practice. However, a holder is included with mounting material with this HEMA remote. You can easily hang the holder containing the remote control on the wall, although you should not expect too much from the quality of this holder. The remote control lets you switch the lights on or off and dim the light. You can further set the remote control via the app.

Google Home and Amazon Alexa

As with other Tuya products, you can also link HEMA Smart Home to your smart speaker. However, if you search for HEMA Smart Home in Google Home, you will not find anything. Since this app is a rebrand of the Tuya app you will have to search for Tuya Smart or Tuya Smart Life. You can then add the smart products from HEMA to Google Home. Amazon Alexa is also supported. Once linked, you can therefore also operate the smart products via your favorite voice assistant. Support for IFTTT is missing. Tuya has stopped supporting .

Positively surprised

Although there are similarities between the smart products from HEMA and Action, there are certainly major differences. The build quality of the lamps from Action looks just a bit firmer, also due to the much heavier weight. In terms of white tones, preference is given to the lamp of the HEMA, although this is of course also personal. The lamp is a bit more useful during your normal activities due to the colder light, where the lamp of the Action can be used more for the warm atmosphere. In terms of colors, the lamps from Action prefer that are slightly fuller and more saturated. After all, the smart plug of the HEMA can handle a greater load and the remote control also has a greater range.

Ultimately, the products of both retail chains have some minor advantages and disadvantages compared to each other. They are not the same products, but they are equivalent to each other. A lamp is of course just a lamp and a smart plug is a smart plug. It is not all that exciting, but it is excellent quality that you can buy at both HEMA and Action. The price can be decisive here. Action is simply a bit cheaper than HEMA. And although the products are different, the quality is on a comparable level. That means excellent build quality, a clear app, easy to use and the same limitations with WiFi (no 5 GHz, heavy traffic on the router) and dependence on Tuya as the platform.

Although perhaps not a representative study, a small sample has shown that HEMA has better stock levels. In the local shop there is plenty of supply, where the local Action often has some empty shelves. You also have the advantage that you can simply buy the smart products of HEMA in the webshop. You can just start using the products together, so of course you can also buy your smart products at both stores.

HEMA Smart Home – Conclusion

The smarthome series of the HEMA initially looks exactly the same as the series that is in stores at Action, but with a HEMA logo on the box. On further investigation, this turns out not to be the case. The smart plug can handle a higher load and the smart lamps actually differ in housing, dimensions, white tones and colors. The remote control also has a longer range. The app is the same, albeit with different colors and a different logo.

Although not the same, the products are equivalent. And in that case the price is decisive. The smart color lamp at Action costs 6.95 euros. The color lamp at HEMA is almost twice as expensive at 12 euros. This difference cannot be justified, but that does not alter the fact that HEMA Smart Home is an excellent addition or alternative to the affordable smart lamps of the competitor.

Pros

  • Excellent quality
  • Wide collection of different lamps
  • Can also be used in other Tuya apps
Negatives

  • More expensive than the direct competitor
  • Only 2.4 GHz

 

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