SwitchBot Hub 2 Review: Does Matter Help?

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The SwitchBot Hub 2 grabbed a lot of attention when it was first announced given the inclusion of support for the new open smart home standard Matter. Beyond that it’s a great room sensor, with a bright, clear display, and the ability to act as an IR remote control for a wide range of devices, so long as you use them within the SwitchBot ecosystem.

In this review I take a look at the options available for customizing the hub, how to get it into Matter and the various limitations I encountered, and how it performs its most obvious role, as a highly visible room sensor.

Switchbot Hub 2 set up on a shelf showing the illuminated display

The Good

✔ Bright, clear display
✔ Accurate sensor readings
✔ Built-in IR remote control transmitter

The Bad

✘ Matter support still in Beta
✘ Limited to 6 child devices
✘ Limited supported child types

When I first took the SwitchBot Hub 2 out of the box I was once again struck by the choice of plastic used in its construction. It’s the kind of plastic I associate with toddler toys and has a soft, almost translucent appearance that makes it look cheap at first glance. I had the same impression when looking at my other SwitchBot devices, but this belies the fairly solid construction that is actually present.

As soft as the plastic appears, the reality is that it’s lightweight, but hard, with virtually no give in it at all. The face of the device is a thin translucent plastic sheet covering the internal structure while allowing the backlit LCD elements to show through clearly. The IR transmitters are also under there and pass through this membrane as well. The display is on by default, and quite bright. Two touch buttons are provided at the bottom to turn it on and off and these can be configured with additional functions that we’ll look at later.

The device is powered by a USB-C port with the provided cable. However, this is not a standard USB cable as it also includes and in-line sensor module. This is what feeds the temperature and humidity values to the hub. It’s unusual to have this separated in this way but given the higher power consumption of the hub functions, which use Wi-Fi, it no doubt improves sensor accuracy keeping it away from the extra heat source.

The power cable inserts upwards into the rear of the hub. This seems awkward at first, but following the guidance of the sticker on the back showing how to pre-bend the cable it goes it fairly easily. This also helps to ensure that it sits flat on a surface if you opt to use the built in stand rather than wall mounting. There are no mounting holes, but 3M adhesive pads are provided for both the hub and the sensor module if you choose to go that route.

Switchbot Hub 2 box contents

product shot 1

Close up shot of the rear of the Switchbot Hub 2

product shot 2

Close up of the sensor module built into the power cable

product shot 3

Installation and Setup

As with other SwitchBot devices, the Hub 2 uses Bluetooth as a default communication medium. This makes setting up fairly simple as the SwitchBot smart phone app is able to communicate directly with the device from the outset. I simply had to tap the plus icon in the app to add a new device, the app found the Hub right away and added it to the app. You’ll then be prompted to configure the Wi-Fi network so it can be used as a hub, both with Matter and remotely over the internet through a SwitchBot account.

One of the key selling points of the Hub2 for me was its support of the Matter protocol as a bridge for other Bluetooth SwitchBot devices. This would provide an officially supported way to get these devices into HomeKit, which has previously been largely left out of the supported smart home platforms from on offer. Once the hub is set up on Wi-Fi the Matter setup becomes available in the Hub settings page, along with an ominous (Beta) suffix.

To their credit, SwitchBot have provided in-depth instructions for this part of the setup right in the app. Tapping on the Matter Setup status on the Matter page takes you through a series of screens providing a guided explanation of how to do this. I had to update the firmware before I could proceed, but this went smoothly and didn’t take too long.

Once done, essentially the process requires doing a factory reset on the hub (yes, after just setting it up) by holding the two shortcut buttons for 15 seconds, copying the setup code in the app using the Copy Code button, then going to you chosen smart home app (Apple Home in my case) and adding a new device, pasting the code when asked.

Once I kicked this off it connected to the hub, reconfigured it’s Wi-Fi settings based on my phone’s settings, added the bridge device and two additional Matter accessories, the temperature sensor and humidity sensor. The hub also has an ambient light sensor, but this was not provided to Matter. This is listed on the SwitchBot site as ‘under development’.

The SwitchBot app explaining the requirements for Matter setup

The app explains Matter setup clearly

SwitchBot app screenshot showing how to factory reset the Hub 2

A factory reset is required to being the pairing

SwitchBot app instructions for adding the Hub 2 to Matter

Once ready you can copy the code to add the Hub

Configuration options

Given the more user facing nature of the SwitchBot Hub 2 over previous hub models, there are some useful features you can set up beyond the sensor display and Matter bridge.

That display is quite bright, and while you can turn it on and off with the touch buttons on the face, you might want to adjust the brightness as well. Thankfully you can do just that with a slider in the Display Settings options. This runs from a dim, almost e-ink, display to the full brightness. Alternatively, you can make use of the ambient light sensor and set it to auto-adjust the brightness as required. That’s my preference, but it depends on where the Hub is placed. You can also have it default to off and just light up when you interact with the touch buttons.

The display elements themselves can be adjusted. This just means you can choose which of the three elements are illuminated: status indicator, temp and humidity, or the touch buttons. You can choose any combination of these as toggles in the settings. Interestingly, you don’t have to show the sensor values from the Hub itself. If you have SwitchBot Room Meters, you can select one of those to display in the screen instead. Useful if you want to keep tabs on a less visible sensor from time to time, or if the Hub 2 is in a location that isn’t representative of the overall room climate.

Also in the settings screen is a Desired Conditions section that allow you to set alert thresholds for various data values. These can be for temperature, humidity, absolute humidity, dew point, or VPD (vapor pressure deficit) which is useful for plant moisture management. Each of these can be set with an upper and lower range, outside of which the hub can generate an alert light and sound.

Back on the main hub screen, there are a couple of options to set up additional controls through the hub. The first is to program IR remote controls. This works like other SwitchBot hubs, and you can choose from a variety of device types such as robot vacuums, fans, streaming boxes, air conditioners, and so forth.

There’s likely something here for what you’re looking for. SwitchBot has a database of remotes that if can match on, so you can try automated matching, select manually, or program the controls you want through a learning process if your remote is not otherwise supported.

The other optional feature here is the ability to select a SwitchBot scene to assign to each of the two touch buttons on the display. You can have the on/off function remain or turn it off and just use the scene. The labels on the buttons won’t change, however. These can only be assigned to scenes created within the SwitchBot app, so it’s limited to SwitchBot devices only.

The main screen for the Hub 2 in the SwitchBot app

The main view where you add IR remotes

Screenshot of the SwitchBot Hub 2 Matter page where you can add child devices

Bridged devices get added under the Matter settings

SwitchBot App settings page showning the various display options for the Hub 2

The display customization options

Real World Performance

Matter Bridge

If all goes with adding the Hub 2 to your smart home platform the sensors should start reporting data, but more often than not I had No Response issues in Apple Home. I’m not alone here as forum posts and Redditors have reported lots of issues with getting the Hub 2 to pair, or having it become unresponsive. I’m not ready to blame SwitchBot here, I’m seeing a lot of Matter issues in general, and with iOS17 in particular, so I think there is some general maturing of the implementation yet to come.

As for the reason I wanted a Matter bridge in the first place, once it was set up, I could choose to add child devices in the SwitchBot app under the Matter section. This is as simple as tapping the option and selecting from the list of available SwitchBot devices. Disappointingly this list is limited. Currently supported devices are the Curtain and Blind products, Lock, Bot, Motion and Contact sensors. The room meter, remote, and display on/off buttons are still coming.

It’s a shame that the IR remote control functions don’t get surfaced as any supported device types either, which limits them to being used through the SwitchBot eco system.

I added my SwitchBot Bots, but they only appear as a lightbulb type device with a stateful on/off status. Since my Bots only press buttons, not switches, this status is fairly useless, and I wasn’t able to change it (in HomeKit at least) to display as anything else. Using Homebridge to integrate SwitchBot devices gives me a lot more options, so I guess I won’t be retiring that anytime soon.

Sensor Accuracy and Reporting

I’ve found SwitchBot sensors to be quite good out of the box, and the Hub 2 is no exception. Nonetheless I always look for calibration options, so we aren’t reliant on that default state. Thankfully SwitchBot has come to the party here and in the settings screen, we have a good calibration section for both the temperature and humidity sensors.

You can manually adjust the offset for both of these, seemingly without limit. Humidity is in single percentage points and temperature can be adjusted in 0.1-degree increments, one tap at a time. I got up to 17 degrees before I got bored tapping, so there doesn’t appear to be any arbitrary limit. The app also provides some fairly creative ways to auto calibrate both values using salt and ice water if you really want to be sure.

The ambient light sensor is interesting as it’s not displayed on the device, only in the app when looking at the Hub 2 main page. It doesn’t provide any normal luminance values but uses a scale of 1-20 for brightness level. I suppose that makes it a bit more relatable for general users than lux. This value, like the other two, can be used as triggers for SwitchBot automations, but as yet it’s not provided to any other platform via Matter.

All three sensor values are logged and can be viewed as a graph over time. From the main Hub 2 page these can be accessed with a tap on any of the current sensor values. Temperature and Relative Humidity are shown by default, and absolute humidity, dew point, and VPD can be toggled on as required. Each shows a graph of the sensor readings over time, with data capture every minute.

The graph can be scaled using the buttons at the top of the screen between day, week, month, and year views. I was pleased to find the graphs very responsive and tapping on them at any point calls out that specific data point. You can scroll the graph left and right through the time range, and a tap and drag on the graph to select different specific values. This data can also be exported over whatever time range you need.

In-app instructions for sensor calibration

Auto calibration can seem extreme

Sensor data graphs as shown in the app

Graphs are clear and well presented

The sensor alerting options for the Hub 2

Alert thresholds for all sensor values

IR Remote Functions

I’ve used the IR remote functions with the Hub Mini to good effect, and the Hub 2 performs very similarly. The biggest concern I had was around the upward facing angle of the display since the IR emitters are in the face. This isn’t as big of an issue as it first appears, however, given the broad angle of the output and the multiple emitters. The signal is powerful enough to reach pretty much anywhere in a typical room provided there are not obstructions between the Hub 2 and the target.

Selecting a remote from the provided list is an easy way to go, and I found useable options for my appliances for the most part. Roomba wasn’t provided, so I had to use the learning function for this one. I was able to program the fairly rudimentary functions it requires after a couple of tries. Once it was set up in the SwitchBot app I could start and stop the vacuum from the app reliably, which is pretty cool.

The SwitchBot app presents IR devices with nice, intuitive on-screen controls which are specific to the type of device that you selected for setup, much like a remote control on your phone. Unfortunately, these functions aren’t exposed to Matter, so you’ll have to use the SwitchBot app, SwitchBot Remote, or something like Homebridge to use these.

The Verdict

The SwitchBot Hub 2 is a great addition to a SwitchBot home set up. If you’re big into the SwitchBot ecosystem, then the hub provides a great room sensor display, IR remote control functionality, and more ways to use SwitchBot automations. These features all work well and are a good extension of the functions on offer in the eco system.

The biggest point of interest for many, however, would have to be the inclusion of Matter support. Some have found this to work fine, but plenty of others, myself included are having issues with Matter device stability. I’m uncertain if this is down to the implementation on the Hub 2 itself as there are a lot of issues with Matter reliability in general floating around at the moment.

However, given the Matter support is still in Beta and is quite limited in both the number of bridged devices you can add, and the members of the SwitchBot family that can be used, it hasn’t lived up to my expectations in this regard. More supported devices are in the works, and hopefully things will start to settle down as Matter matures, but right now I’m inclined to stick with other integration solutions to spare my sanity.

David Mead

David Mead is an IT infrastructure professional with over 20 years of experience across a wide range of hardware and software systems, designing and support technology solutions to help people solve real problems. When not tinkering with technology, David also enjoys science fiction, gaming, and playing drums.


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