Home / Gaming / Serena Motorized Shade by Lutron review: A step up in sophistication, but also in price

Serena Motorized Shade by Lutron review: A step up in sophistication, but also in price

Lutron makes a few of our favourite sensible switches and plugs, so we’ve lengthy been interested in its Serena motorized window sun shades. Serena sun shades are dearer than a lot of the contest, however Lutron delivers some nice options in go back for the additional coin.

The ones options are obvious in each the colour’s business design and its ease of use. For starters, if you select the battery-powered possibility, the battery compartment is built-in into the colour’s head rail (the element that mounts to the highest of your window body and homes the motor for elevating and decreasing the colour).

The type reviewed right here calls for six D cells; smaller sun shades or sun shades with lighter materials get by way of with various numbers of AA cells. When you wish to have to exchange the batteries, merely turn two levers and the battery compartment drops down. It is a important growth over the Graber Digital Wire Motorized Colour we evaluated in October. The battery compartment on the ones hangs at the again of the pinnacle rail, so you wish to have to dismount all the colour to get right of entry to it.

serena light leakageMichael Brown / IDG

The again duvet prevents some mild leakage across the head rail, but it surely’s now not very best.

For those who don’t just like the environmental have an effect on of batteries, you’ll order the sun shades with a wall wart ($40) and a 15-foot energy twine that’s coiled within the head rail—simply pull out up to you wish to have to succeed in an outlet. And if you’ll’t stand wall warts, a certified electrician can set up a Lutron Energy Panel to your wall. One panel can energy as much as 10 honeycomb-style sun shades, however the panel prices $800—plus the price of the electrician to put in it. For my part, I’ll take care of the batteries.

Lutron additionally gives an not obligatory again duvet that now not simplest reduces the volume of sunshine leaking across the best of the colour when fastened within the window body, it additionally hides the mounting brackets when the colour is seen from out of doors the window. Both receive advantages would justify the $10 to $20 (relying on colour width) in more value. Put in combination, they’re a no brainer. Then again, you’ll mount the colour out of doors the window body or above it. Lutron supplies 1/2-inch spacers for the latter situation, so the colour will transparent the body. You’ll want further spacers in case your window trim is thicker than a half inch.

back cover on lutron serena shade 2Michael Brown / IDG

The not obligatory again duvet hides the pinnacle rail’s mounting brackets, contributing to a cleaner end when seen from the opposite facet of the window.

The Lutron app

Serena sun shades are managed by way of Lutron’s proprietary Transparent Attach radio era, so a part of the added value is the requirement to shop for a Lutron Sensible Bridge, which prices about $80. However when you’ve prior to now bought any Lutron Caséta lighting fixtures or ceiling fan controller, you have already got the bridge and the app that is going with it. The similar app integrates all of Lutron’s sensible house gadgets, together with its lighting fixtures controls, sensible plugs, ceiling fan controllers, programmable faraway controls, and Serena sun shades.

lutron app scene controlMichael Brown / IDG

Lutron’s app permits you to create scenes with disparate elements to your sensible house, together with Sonos audio system (sensible and another way).

The Lutron ecosystem gives hooks into third-party merchandise, together with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant sensible audio system; sensible thermostats from Provider, Ecobee, Honeywell, and Nest; or even Sonos audio system. It is usually suitable with Apple’s HomeKit era. That renders the Lutron app and bridge combo a horny excellent sensible house machine all by itself.

The bridge is in a position to controlling suitable gadgets in line with scenes that set the conduct of decided on gadgets, and schedules (outlined instances on days of the week, or at daybreak and sundown). Scenes too can function on geofence triggers: last your sun shades and turning down your thermostat while you go away and take your mobile phone with you; opening your sun shades, turning in your lighting fixtures, and taking part in your favourite playlist while you go back house with it.

However the enchantment of the app’s programmability relies on your sticking with Lutron’s lighting fixtures, window masking, and ceiling fan controls, plus the restricted collection of third-party merchandise that Lutron has made up our minds to reinforce. Accept as true with me, you’ll ultimately need to enlarge past that universe.

Faraway keep watch over choices for Serena sun shades

Voice instructions spoken to a wise speaker are one of the best ways to manually keep watch over Serena sun shades, however when you don’t have an Echo or Google House and also you don’t need to pull out your smartphone, Lutron gives two nice faraway controls for the activity. The $25 Pico faraway is fairly tiny at 1.25 inches extensive by way of 2.five inches top, and it’s wafer skinny. It has 5 stacked buttons: totally open on the best, totally closed on the backside, guide up, guide down, and “favourite” place within the middle.

lutron pico shade remoteMichael Brown / IDG

Lutron’s five-button Pico faraway for controlling its Serena sun shades is very good, however it is going to upload $25 for your invoice for every colour you order.

The Pico Faraway’s length makes it simple to misplace, however you’ll mount a plastic block to the wall and slide the faraway onto it, so the sun shades may also be managed from the wall similar to a mild transfer. If you wish to have a extra formal glance, Lutron additionally sells a wallplate bracket that provides the Pico faraway a integrated glance, but it surely relies on the presence of a junction field within the wall. Each mounting choices provide the alternative to take away the Pico faraway from the wall and elevate it with you.

For those who’re putting in a couple of Serena colour in a room, Lutron’s $89 Four-Team RF Faraway Keep an eye on can keep watch over as much as 4 sun shades, both personally or all on the similar time. Each remotes rely at the presence of that bridge, on the other hand, so neither of them will allow you to get away that value.

Serena sun shades as a part of a wise house machine

lutron app shade presetMichael Brown

Lutron’s app doesn’t make you wager what the colour will seem like at 20 %.

For those who’ve arrange a wise house hub, that reliance on Lutron’s personal communications protocol will most probably decide if you’ll incorporate the sun shades immediately into your broader sensible house machine. Samsung SmartThings helps Serena sun shades immediately, however the Vivint Sensible House machine that I exploit does now not. Actually, Vivint doesn’t formally reinforce motorized window sun shades in any respect, however the corporate gained’t save you you from including sun shades for your machine and treating them like dimmer switches—supplied they use Z-Wave era.

However I haven’t discovered the good thing about incorporating all my sensible house gadgets right into a unmarried sensible house app to be all that necessary. Wouldn’t it be more straightforward? Needless to say. I’d a lot slightly use the Vivint app to create regulations to keep watch over when my lighting fixtures flip off, my sun shades shut, and my thermostat adjusts the warmth. However desiring to arrange two units of regulations the use of two apps as a substitute of 1 simply isn’t that massive of a deal, particularly since growing regulations has a tendency to be a one-time factor that simplest must be carried out while you upload a brand new element for your machine.  

Price and high quality of Serena sun shades

serena single cell 2Michael Brown / IDG

The cells within the Serena room-darkening sun shades are covered with aluminum, however the corporate simplest gives single-cell designs in that assortment.

The window I put in the Serena colour on has a similar southern publicity that the bigger window in my house theater does, so I selected a room-darkening honeycomb material very similar to what Graber gives. The material is covered with aluminum to beef up its insulation price, however Lutron gives just a nine/16-inch single-celled subject material in its room-darkening sun shades, the place Graber permits you to select both single- or double-celled metalized material.

The material itself feels very top finish, regardless that, and all the colour is reasonably sexy each when closed or partly open. Relating to high quality of subject material and construct high quality, this spherical can be a tie between Serena and Graber. However I discovered the motor within the Serena colour to be very quite quieter than the Somfy motor Graber makes use of. I registered a eight.3dB build up in noise stage whilst the colour used to be opening from totally closed to totally open. Examine that to a nine.6dB build up for the Graber colour. A distinction of one.3dB isn’t prone to have an effect on your delight stage with both product, particularly while you’ve grown aware of the sound of the sun shades opening and shutting, but it surely’s a distinction value reporting.

serena head rail with batteriesMichael Brown / IDG

The Serena’s head rail pivots down to reveal its battery compartment.

As I stated previous, Serena sun shades value greater than Graber’s product, despite the fact that the fee differential is much less stark when you already personal a Lutron bridge. The 34 x 58-inch Serena colour reviewed this is priced at $474, plus $25 for the Pico faraway and $80 for the bridge for a complete value of $579. The smaller (33.five x 58-inch) Graber colour I reviewed in October had a listing value of $483, together with a easy two-button faraway. However the broker who provided the colour robotically gives bargain coupons. On the time of that assessment, an to be had 15-percent bargain dropped the general value to $411. Even assuming you don’t want the Lutron bridge, the same-size Serena colour would nonetheless value $88 extra. And when you’re purchasing a couple of sun shades, the variation will upload up briefly.

Within the bottom line, on the other hand, the Serena colour’s better-designed battery compartment, the again duvet hiding its unpleasant facet, and its awesome faraway keep watch over endow it with sufficient concrete advantages to justify its upper value. And whilst Lutron’s proprietary radio era manner the Serena colour isn’t as broadly supported by way of third-party sensible house programs, it’s totally suitable with Samsung SmartThings, Apple HomeKit, and each Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. And Lutron’s personal bridge and the purpose-built app that is going with it make it a lot more straightforward to make use of whether or not this would be the simplest sensible tool in your house or you might have an entire sensible house machine from any other producer.

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