The Almond + is to smart home early adopters what a Swiss army knife is to campers.
You can zip down what Bill Gates famously referred to as the Information Superhighway at speeds beyond the limits imposed through cheap routers. But you need not chuck out older Wi-Fi-enabling tech — the Plus can pick up signals from these and spread it to areas such as your balcony or back garden.
Securifi’s multipurpose long-range router with concurrent 2.4GHz and 5GHz signals also acts as a Wi-Fi range extender, can monitor and activate a range of sensors and switches via a user-friendly companion app on iOS and Android. Is your child’s bedroom door opening at midnight? Your phone will buzz. The house flooded while you’re off on business? There’s a notification for that. An if this-then-that (IFTT) protocol allows this. Want the lights turned down at midnight? The app will send a message to the switch via the Almond + to do that.
There’s no denying that this device is pretty pricey at $246 (Dh904). However, this is largely down to the feature that sets the Almond + apart from your average Linksys machine: its touchscreen. You can manage Wi-Fi settings — including password entry and changes — on a simple grid format that vaguely resembles Windows 8 tiles. This removes the need to open a browser on your device or laptop. It’s also possible to edit settings for the sensors and other home automation (HA) hardware connected to the Almond. The Plus is compatible with both ZigBee and Z-Wave HA standards.The Plus has four Gigabit LAN and two USB 3.0 ports.
This lets a user hook the device up to a small network of PCs. With USB 3.0, you can connect a large-capacity hard drive to the Plus and enjoy video, images and audio content wirelessly across computers and smart devices at home.
It was nice being able to watch Leonardo DiCaprio being viciously mauled by a large bear in The Revenant on my tablet in the kitchen over dinner, before continuing where I left off on the living room’s smart TV. The next day, IFTT switched on the smart bulb in my room after the alarm went off at 7am. Almond + is a useful start for making your home smart.