Throughout these last few weeks of the summer I’ve had the opportunity to try out a unique smart home device. Air conditioning costs truly add up, and there’s nothing I needed more than something to help me avoid excess fees.
Sensibo is a tiny device that connects your average wall/window air conditioner unit to the internet. It can be used with any model that has a remote control, including many brands like Frigidaire, LG, TCL, and much more. It started out as an Indiegogo campaign and collected over 200% of its needed funds to take off.
The updated model, coined Sensibo Sky, is the device I’ll talk about here. The only difference is the original runs on a battery that needs to be replaced every few months, while the Sky must be connected to power at all times (and works indefinitely).
Sensibo Sky is a lightweight rectangular module that fits right in with your A/C setup. So far it comes in one color, gray and black, and is powered via a micro-USB cable. The device can be either mounted on a wall or simply placed on a table top near the unit.
The device works by using infrared signals (IR), the same technology used in most remote controls around the home. This means that it needs to have a direct line-of-sight to the air conditioning unit that it’s paired to. I personally love this idea, as so many of us still have the classic window/wall units laying around and “modern” smart air conditioning just isn’t in the budget.
Installation is like any ordinary smart home device: I downloaded the iOS app, and it walked me through the process. Once I connected the device to my Wi-Fi network, I was able to control my air conditioning through the app, anywhere. Originally I had tried the TP-Link Smart Plug to control my A/C with my phone, but that limited the options to turning it on or off. With Sensibo, I can use the app to turn it on or off, adjust the fan speed, temperature and humidity.
That’s not all, though. Sensibo also has automation options like a geofence you can set around the home. When you enter the set radius, it knows that you’re on your way home and will automatically turn on to start pre-conditioning the room. Similarly, when you leave, the device will turn your A/C off automatically.
Sensibo Sky wouldn’t be a real smart device without Alexa and Google Home integration, of course. I’m a big fan of this feature, as all I need to do is say “Alexa, turn on A/C” to get started. To set up the device with Alexa, you simply add the skill which can be installed via the Alexa app.
Last but not least, while not necessarily a “smart” feature, a very basic on/off timer is very useful nonetheless. On the physical remote it would take some time to actually configure, but the app makes it easy with a tap and a virtual dial.
It isn’t a perfect device, for example, it’ll sometimes think it’s off when it’s on, or vice versa. A quick recalibration fixes the issue if need be. But the truth is it’s so simple that it doesn’t matter, and the device is definitely worth its price tag.
Sensibo Sky is available at $119 per unit, or you can save by buying more than one at a time. Currently, the Home Kit (three units) is on sale for $297. Keep in mind, you’ll need one Sensibo device for each air conditioning unit as it can’t control multiple air conditioners.