I tried the ultimate smart home controller at CES 2024 — and it brings back the iPod click wheel

The Linxura Smart Controller at CES 2024
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Besides using my voice or an app on my smartphone, I’m always looking for cool new ways to control all of my smart home devices and I think I may have found the perfect smart home controller at CES 2024.

Sure, telling Alexa or Google Assistant to turn off the best smart lights is fun as well as convenient but sometimes, you just want to control your smart home by pressing a button. For this very reason, I picked up Govee’s Wireless Mini Smart 6 Button Sensor earlier this year. This six-button device makes it really easy to control all of my Govee lights and even my smart space heater and there’s plenty of routines and other customizations you can set up in the company’s app.

But what if you want to control the best smart home devices from a variety of different manufacturers though? Well, at CES this year, I think I may have found my new smart home controller and at just $99, the Linxura Smart Controller can do quite a lot in a tiny little package.

An overhead view of the Linxura Smart Controller

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Unlike other physical controllers for your smart home, the Linxura Smart Controller is compatible with multiple brands like Alexa, Sonos, LIFX and Philips with support for Matter and Google Home rolling out soon. In fact, this tiny, little puck-shaped device can control up to 52 smart home devices.

Its E Ink screen shows up to four devices at a time but by turning the click wheel, you can see additional pages of devices along with scenes to control them. I went hands-on with Linxura Smart Controller at CES and using the click wheel felt very natural and really made me miss my old iPod. I also like the simplicity of the E Ink screen and since Linxura isn’t using an LCD display, the controller can last up to three months on a single charge. That's a big deal. When it does come time to recharge the Linxura Smart Controller, there’s a USB-C port at the back.

A single click on the click wheel will turn whatever device you’ve selected on and a double click will turn it off. However, you can also click and hold to rotate clockwise or counterclockwise to enable the wheel to adjust different smart home device functions like brightness, temperature, volume, etc. On its site, Linxura also sells a wall mount for the device. This way, you can leave it mounted on your bed’s headrest or even on the wall in the kitchen where more people will be able to access and use it. Think of it much like a smart light switch, but for everything.

Adding a physical controller to your smart home might seem like you’re going backwards but if you have a lot of guests or your older, less tech savvy relatives come to visit often, it can be really helpful. There’s nothing worse than having to control your smart lights for guests when they just can’t figure out how to do it on their own. The Linxura Smart Controller looks to solve this problem in an elegant way with the perfect touch of retro design.

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Anthony Spadafora
Senior Editor Security and Networking

Anthony Spadafora is the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to password managers and the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. Before joining the team, he wrote for ITProPortal while living in Korea and later for TechRadar Pro after moving back to the US. Based in Houston, Texas, when he’s not writing Anthony can be found tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.