Wire-Free Smart Lighting from ThirdReality
We review ThirdReality’s wire-free smart lighting products: the RealitySwitch, RealityLight and RealityAdapter smart home lighting products.
A few years ago we made the decision to install Z-Wave smart outlets and switches throughout our house, since they were relatively easy to install and control with our smart home hub and gave us a lot of flexibility to automate things within our house.
Affiliate Disclosure: This page contains links that may earn us a commission from Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. We received the Third Reality RealitySwitch, RealityLight and RealityAdapter as part of this review. Opinions and conclusions are our own.
For someone just getting started today in home automation, this can seem like an intimidating path, especially if she doesn’t own her own home or is not comfortable removing and re-installing electrical switches.
If you have an Amazon Echo or Google Home and you want to start controlling your home lighting simply and easily, Third Reality can get you started started with their new simple, no-wire RealityHome Products.
This smart switch allows you to quickly and easily convert nearly any existing rocker or toggle switch to a smart switch, without any wiring required. Just remove the two screws from the wallplate and install the bracket in the same screw holes using the longer supplied screws. Then install the batteries in the RealitySwitch and snap it in the bracket. When triggered, the RealitySwitch will physically turn the switch on or off. Unlike other solutions we’ve tested, you can buy the same switch regardless if you have a toggle or rocker, which removes some of the confusion when purchasing.
Third Reality also offers two types of LED smart bulbs you can add to the fixtures in your home to give you control over your lighting. You can buy both standard and reflector bulbs that should work for most of your home lamps. Once installed, you can use either the RealityApp or your smart speaker to turn them on and off, adjust the color temperature warmer or cooler, and change the brightness as needed. The RealityLights are dimmable between 2700K and 6500K (soft white to daylight) but cannot be used in a traditional dimmable outlet as they need full power to operate.
If you don’t already have a Zigbee-compatible smart home hub, you can control the RealitySwitch and the RealityLight with the easy-to-install RealityAdapter to connect the devices to your home network. Simply plug in the adapter in between your smart speaker and its power supply or power from a USB outlet, download the RealityApp to your smartphone, then pair it with your WiFi Network.
Once your RealityAdapter is connected, you can pair your RealitySwitches and RealityLights and start controlling them with the RealityApp and connect them to your Amazon Echo or Google Home. Depending how big your home is, you may need to get more than one RealityAdapter to get good coverage throughout the house.
Using with other Smart Home Hubs
If you already have a compatible smart home hub such as the Amazon Echo Plus, Wink or SmartThings, you can install the Third Reality devices on the hub and use its app. This is a convenient solution since you can control not only Third Reality devices but the rest of your compatible home devices in one place. This also allows you to connect to Amazon Alexa or without having to install another Alexa skill.
We have tested the RealitySwitch on our SmartThings hub and it works just fine. We also paired the RealityLight to the SmartThings hub and then you can control the intensity as well as any variation from Soft White to Daylight temperature.
On the Wink hub we were able to pair the RealityLight, but we could only control the intensity. As for the RealitySwitch, we were unable to pair with the Wink hub after multiple attempts, which was a bit disappointing.
You can only be connected to one hub at a time, so you’ll need to choose, the RealityAdaptor, Wink or SmartThings. Surprisingly enough we don’t have an Amazon Echo Plus with Zigbee, so were unable to test that as a hub.
The RealityApp is well designed and easy to use. After you have installed your devices, you can use the app to easily name them, set up timers, programs and groups, with both your Reality Home products and other compatible Zigbee devices, including lights, locks and plugs that are paired to the RealityAdaptor.
While the RealityApp works well to control your devices, the best way to use these devices in our opinion is with your Amazon Echo or Google Home. In our case, we are primarily Alexa users, so after we installed our RealitySwitch and named it “Patio”, installed the Third Reality skill, it was simple to say “Alexa, discover devices,” and we could immediately start using it.
The RealityHome products are all based on the Zigbee standard, with thousands of certified devices worldwide. As we mentioned, the RealitySwitch and the RealityLight should work with the Amazon Echo Plus as well as the Wink and SmartThings hubs – also many other common smart bulbs based on Zigbee such as the Phillips Hue and Sengled bulbs should work with the RealityAdapter and RealityApp, While we haven’t tested other Zigbee devices with the Third Reality Adaptor, ThirdReality keeps a list of known compatible devices on their website, and you may also be able to use other ZigBee products with RealityHome as well.
Opportunities for Improvement
In general, installing, configuring and connecting the RealityHome products is simple and straightforward. Our only issue was when we needed to reset the RealityLight bulb when it did not pair the first time – it requires you to flip the light on and off nine times until the light blinks. This was not terribly difficult, but seems more complicated than it needs to be, plus if you look at the light while flipping the switch it does become disorienting.
The RealityHome products are well-built, easy to use and set up and a great wiring-free way to start controlling your lighting with your Amazon Echo or Google Home smart speaker. They are also a great entry point to potentially connect you to hundreds more Zigbee devices without having to invest in a separate smart home hub. We would especially recommend these to folks who are renting a home or apartment or for people who want the benefit of smart switches without the need to hire an electrician.