Elgato’s new Eve Button is the latest entry in the company’s lineup of HomeKit-focused accessories. Announced at CES 2018, Eve Button is a simple Bluetooth button that takes advantage of recently expanded HomeKit support for controllers, similar to that added by Philips Hue last fall.
Eve Button borrows its design style from last year’s Eve Degree, with a glossy black face surrounded by an anodized aluminum frame. It’s a design we liked a lot when we first saw it on Degree, so we’re happy to see Elgato staying with it for other new devices. Eve Button is powered by an included CR2032 battery, and in the package you’ll also find rubber feet for mounting Eve Button and six sheets of stickers with icons in case you want to label your Eve Button — something that may be especially useful if you end up with more than one in a room.
Eve Button also uses the new iOS 11 style HomeKit label, which incorporates a scannable QR code rather than the older numeric code, and the new code style also appears to simplify the pairing process a bit more — after scanning the code, the HomeKit pairing procedure jumps immediately to the configuration page for the device, rather than stopping to ask you to select the device first. Further, the new labels allow you to even pair your HomeKit devices directly from the iOS Camera app (providing that you have QR Code scanning enabled in your Settings) — simply open the Camera app, point it at the label, and a notification will appear prompting you to open the Home app, which will in turn take you directly to the accessory configuration page. Note that as with other HomeKit accessories, Elgato provides its own configuration app, but there’s no need to use the Eve app for anything other than firmware updates; everything else can be configured through Apple’s Home app.
Once set up in HomeKit, you can assign individual scenes or devices to three different button presses, which are fairly self-explanatory — a single press, a double press, and a long press. Once configured, each type of press simply activates the associated scene or set of devices, so you can use it to turn lights on or off, set lighting modes, or even lock up your doors at night. Note as well that, unlike Siri, HomeKit allows buttons to be used to unlock doors with a single tap, which is a useful feature, but one you’ll want to be careful with for obvious security reasons. As with setting up automations, if your’e using Apple’s Home app, you can assign individual devices directly to each button press without having to create a scene first; most third-party HomeKit apps, including Elgato’s Eve app, only allow you to assign whole scenes.
On the face of it, Eve Button is a relatively simple concept, and one that we expect we’ll see other HomeKit vendors expanding on. While we really like Elgato’s design aesthetic here, however, the price is pretty high for something that basically just saves you the trouble of pulling out your iPhone or talking to Siri. Further, if you’re already a Philips Hue user, you can purchase a Hue Dimmer switch for half the price, which provides four HomeKit-assignable buttons, albeit in a considerably less attractive enclosure. Eve Button of course doesn’t require a bridge and works directly over Bluetooth, however, which will be an advantage for some people, but we don’t think the price is such that most people will consider setting these up all over their homes.