Today we have had the rare opportunity to review some UK designed and built smart home tech, meet NCube – ‘the brain at the heart of your home’.
What does NCube do?
NCube is an all in one smart home hub, the idea being it takes away the need for multiple apps bringing everything into it one interface. You can then setup rooms and group devices.
NCube also works like a ‘local IFTTT’ (If this then that – https://www.ifttt.com ) allowing you to create interactions between devices. They call these ‘Cubes’. However as local and not cloud based the commands are quicker, we all know how slow IFTTT / Stringify can be sometimes.
NCube came to life from a Kickstarter project back in 2016.
How easy is it to setup?
The first thing we must mention is the user guide, sorry to say but this needs work – it’s overwhelming and text heavy!
However that said the setup was quick and easy, it took longer to read and understand the guide than setup the NCube.
Setup is done via the app, you enter the activation number from the unit, oddly placed underneath the rubber base.
Once setup you can add your smart home tech. NCube supports 120 devices and this keeps growing as they do. Sadly a few key players like Ring are missing and at present its slightly limited.
Adding devices was easy and intuitive, most are done via self discovery or as always with Hue, press the Hue hub button button then add.
You can then create your ‘Cubes’, using standard rules. Here is one we made to turn off our outside light.
What’s the connectivity?
In addition to the 120 devices it supports:
Another interesting point is it works offline, still auctioning ‘cubes’ assuming tech allows – for example Bluetooth.
How much does Ncube Cost?
Ncube cost £149 – a good price point for a smart hub!
What’s it like living with Ncube?
Not bad, the app does need some work – the interface at times can be a little clunky and items overlap.
However, this could well be down to the fact it’s not designed for iPhone X.
The functionality is all there and ‘current mode’ is a good feature and something lacking from competitors like Homey. This lets you to quickly set yourself to ‘Home’, ‘Away’ or ‘Holiday’.
Each device has its own interface allowing you to control it, for example Sonos:
A few times the app did appear to fall offline, closing the app and reopening it did fix it.
What are our final thoughts on NCube?
NCube has made a good start, it has a way to go to compete. The biggest restriction is the limited integrated tech and the app needs a little work.
We do however like the idea and the direction they are going in, one to keep an eye on for sure!
As they grow and update we will revisit it.