GE Smart Motion Sensor and Touch Sensing Smart Dimmer
Since our recent story about GE smart switches and outlets, built by Jasco, we have received two more of their new products to test – the new Z-Wave Plus Smart Motion Sensor and the Touch Sensing Smart Dimmer.
Affiliate disclosure: This page contains links that may earn us a commission from Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. We received two products from Jasco as a part of this review. Opinions and conclusions are our own.
Adding motion sensors can really help you save energy and effort inside your smart home and enable better security. In our smart home we have motion sensors in most all of our bathrooms, in the laundry room, and in the closets – saving us from remembering to turn off the lights when we leave and in some cases, lighting our way when we enter a dark room. Most of the time they work great, but over the years we have had some issues with responsiveness and stability. Of course, when this happens, we usually resort to waving our arms or jumping around before we bother to walk over to the actual switch to turn it on.
Our new GE Motion Sensor, built by Jasco, makes a lot of improvements. Its small, square size makes it less obtrusive than some of our other sensors and so far it has been really sensitive to motion in our living room. You can manually adjust the sensitivity of the sensor to low, medium or high using a switch on the back, and it covers a range of 180 degrees, up to 45 feet away.
We originally had the sensor sitting on a shelf, but we decided to take advantage of the included mounting kit to install it more permanently up in the corner of our living room. The mounting kit is a great addition. It is on a ball joint so you can point it in the direction you want and easily remove the sensor to to change the batteries when they eventually die. When we mounted it, however, we discovered it was a bit difficult to install the screws to the plate and we had to do it at an angle. It would also be great if there was a corner mount so we could have an even more finished look. But we are still pleased with the results.
The Motion Sensor also promises much longer battery life, up to two years with the included two CR123 batteries. We’ve had many sensors run out of batteries over the years and it is never at a convenient time. If you don’t want to have to change the batteries, you can also keep the motion sensor continuously powered using a micro-USB port – which would be really handy, especially if it is installed somewhere tough to access.
Touch Sensing Smart Dimmer
When we first began automating our home, we had a hard time finding dimmer switches or dimmable LED bulbs. Since then, the technology has improved and the new GE Touch Sensing Smart Dimmer is one of the most advanced we have tested.
The Dimmer uses capacitive touch, much like a smartphone or tablet – just tap to turn on or off, or slide your finger to adjust the brightness, from zero to 100 percent. Wherever you set the brightness, the light remembers when you turn it off and comes back to the last setting automatically.
While the capacitive touch is neat and certainly easy to use for guests, we will probably not have to touch it much since we have it connected to our smart home hub. We can access all those same settings to turn it on and off and adjust the brightness, using triggers from motion sensors or based on the time of day. We can also control the switch with our Amazon Alexa or Google Home and ask one of those voice assistants to dim the lights when we need it.
Both the Smart Motion Sensor and the Touch Sensing Smart Dimmer use Z-Wave Plus, the latest generation of the Z-Wave networking protocol which improves connectivity and battery life. Z-Wave plus promises 50 percent more range and energy efficiency while maintaining compatibility with all our other Z-Wave devices in our house.
All Z-Wave and Z-Wave Plus devices require a smart home hub to control – we primarily use Wink today – but there are dozens of compatible hubs that support both protocols and can be used with the GE range of smart home products – such as SmartThings, Iris, Zipato, Nexia, and more. We find the devices easy to install ourselves, but if you are not comfortable removing and replacing switches, we would recommend hiring a professional to help.
These two new Jasco devices are a great addition to our smart home and we look forward to more great new products to come in the future.