Lenovo Goes All-in on Smart Home With Essentials Lineup

Lenovo's smart-home conquest isn't stopping at a smart display. At IFA 2018, the company announced Lenovo Smart Home Essentials, a new lineup of smart-home devices.

Credit: Lenovo

(Image credit: Lenovo)

The lineup includes a smart plug and a smart bulb, which will launch in November, and a camera you can buy in the first quarter of 2019.

The smart plug will be $29.99 with a circular design that's small enough to leave adjacent outlets open. You'll be able to schedule it to turn on and off using the Lenovo Link app or voice control. Lenovo has not specified which voice assistants the Smart Home Essentials products will be compatible with, but since Lenovo's Smart Assistant speaker and Smart Display use Alexa and Google Assistant respectively, we'll likely see some combination of both.

The smart plug will be slightly more expensive than leading competitors, such as the $26 TP-Link HS105, and the Aukey Mini Wi-Fi Smart Plug (two for $27).

Credit: Lenovo

(Image credit: Lenovo)

The smart bulb will also be connected to the app and voice assistants. It appears to be a white A19 bulb, which the company claims will light up to 800 lumens and last for more than 15,000 hours. You'll be able to adjust the brightness and color temperature. A $29.99 price tag will put it about on par with other tunable white smart bulbs, such as Kasa's $29 dimmable A19 and the $29 Lifx Mini Day & Dusk.

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Not much information has been given about the camera ($99), other than it will take 1080p video, and feature motion detection, night vision, and two-way audio.

These products will be firsts for Lenovo, whose smart-home offerings are currently limited to its Google Assistant-powered Smart Display and Alexa-powered Smart Assistant. All three devices are Wi-Fi enabled and will sync to the Lenovo Link smartphone app.

The app is core to Lenovo's smart home experience. We saw an early preview of the app, which isn't quite ready for primetime yet, at IFA. Like other smart home apps, Lenovo Link allows you to create rooms and scenes so you can group your devices together and control them all. But the smart home space is already crowded with competing products, including a plethora of excellent plugs, cameras and lightbulbs.

"Our plan is owning the smart home space with a full portfolio of products," Anjana Srinivasan, Lenovo's executive director for consumer products, told Tom's Guide. "The Lenovo Link app is really key to making that experience really work. You’ve got to start somewhere. What sets Lenovo apart is nothing individually, but as a portfolio, how those products come together."

Srinivasan is an evangelist for the smart home devices because, as a new parent, she prefers anything that can be controlled hands-free.

"I’m using the smart home at home," she said. "I’m the customer for it. I feel like the hands-free assistant is not just a gimmick. When you try to get into a new category, it’s awesome when you can use the product multiple times a day and see the benefit in your life. It’s right. I know it."

Stay tuned for our impressions of Lenovo's smart home devices — and how they work together — when Lenovo rolls out its products later this year.

Caitlin McGarry contributed to this report from IFA. Updated Aug. 31 at 4:06 p.m. Berlin time with information from Lenovo's IFA press conference.

Monica Chin is a writer at The Verge, covering computers. Previously, she was a staff writer for Tom's Guide, where she wrote about everything from artificial intelligence to social media and the internet of things to. She had a particular focus on smart home, reviewing multiple devices. In her downtime, you can usually find her at poetry slams, attempting to exercise, or yelling at people on Twitter.