Nuimo Click review: This smart home device's novelty wears off quickly Credit: Michael Brown IDGSupplied Art
Business Management

Nuimo Click review: This smart home device's novelty wears off quickly

The pitch for Senic’s Nuimo Click is enticing: With the touch of a button, you can start your Sonos speaker system playing your favorite song, artist, album, or playlist; or trigger your favorite Philips Hue lighting scene. And what could be cooler than smart switches that generate their own electricity, so they never need batteries?

Yes, you can turn on lights and start music playing with voice commands if you’ve deployed a smart speaker, but just as you don’t always want to pull out your smartphone, there are times when it just doesn’t feel appropriate to talk to your smart home. The Nuimo Click is a good way to impress your friends with your tech savvy—provided you can remember to show it off. Because you’ll probably forget you have it after the first few days.

OK, enough raining on Senic’s parade. Let’s dig into what the Nuimo Click is all about. The $229 starter kit reviewed here consists of the Nuimo Hub that you’ll plug into power and connect to your Wi-Fi network (it also has an ethernet port, but that’s currently disabled), a USB dongle from EnOcean that makes the kinetic-energy thing work, and two Nuimo Clicks. The hub has a Bluetooth LE radio and a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi adapter (the hub will not connect to a 5GHz network, which is typically less crowded). You can purchase additional Clicks for $69 each (the hub can support up to 10).

nuimo click front Michael Brown / IDG

The star side of the Click’s rocker switch initiates an action, and the circle side ends a routine. The plus and minus buttons perform volume adjustment if the Click is controlling a Sonos device; they brighten and dim lights if it’s controlling a Philips Hue smart lighting device.

Each Nuimo Click has two rocker-style switches onboard. When oriented vertically, the left-hand switch is labeled with a star (asterisk) at the top and a circle at the bottom. The right-hand switch has a plus sign at the top and a minus sign at the bottom. Keyholes on the metal plate on the back of the switch give you the option of mounting it so the switches are horizontally oriented if you prefer, or you can leave it on a tabletop or even carry it around with you. If you do move the switches around, you’ll probably want to label them as to which device they control.

The gee-whiz appeal of the Click, which measures about 3 1/8-inches square, is that it doesn’t require a power supply or even a battery. The friction generated by pushing down on the rather thick (the exposed portion is about 1/4-inch high) switch generates just enough electricity to send a wireless signal to the hub. This action also produces a very audible “click” on press, and again on release, that’s slightly louder than pounding a key on the Corsair Strafe mechanical keyboard I use for writing. Senic has a slick animation on its website that shows how this works.

You’ll need Senic’s app, which is available for Android and iOS, to install and configure the system. Once you’ve added the hub to your network and onboarded the Clicks to it, you’ll need to pair them with the systems you wish to control. I paired one of the Clicks with my Sonos speaker system, and the other with my Philips Hue lighting system. I’ll discuss how it works with Sonos, first.

nuimo click backplate Michael Brown / IDG

Keyholes on the back of the Nuimo Click allow you to hang it so the switches are oriented either vertically or horizontally.

Using the Nuimo Click with Sonos

There are just two Click settings: “Speaker selection” and “Station settings.” When you click on the first, the app presents a list of all the Sonos speakers operating on your network. You can choose only one of these in the Senic app, but if you’ve grouped multiple speakers in the Sonos app, that grouping will carry through to Senic’s app.

When I grouped the Sonos Connect in my media room with the Sonos One in my bedroom (which is in turn paired with a Sonos Sub), I was able to control all three simultaneously with the Click. When I added the Sonos Beam in my kitchen, the Play:1 in my garage, and the Play:5 in my home office to that same group in the Sonos app, the Click could control all the Sonos speakers in my house. I’ll go deeper into what “control” means in a moment.

nuimo click sonos control Michael Brown / IDG

When controlling a Sonos system, you have three slots that you can use to trigger a playlist, an artist, an album, or a track (but you need to mark them as My Sonos favorites in the Sonos app, first.

Once you’ve selected the Sonos speaker (or speaker group) you want to control with the Click, the next step is to assign Stations to it. And here’s where the Click gets a lot less interesting, because you get just three Station slots. Ordered here in increasing order of granularity, you can assign any one playlist, radio station, album, artist, or single track that you’ve added to your My Sonos list to each of those Station slots.

The My Sonos entries the Senic app pulls from can come from your personal music collection (stored on a NAS box in my case), the music services you subscribe to (Spotify, Qobuz, and Sirius XM for me), internet radio stations, and so on.

Understanding how the Click’s buttons work explains the limitation I’ve just described, so this is a good time to talk about what “control” means when you’re using a Click.

Each time you push the Click’s star button, it changes the Station slot you’ve programmed. In my case, I set Station 1 to an artist (Donald Fagen), Station 2 to a Spotify playlist (“The Pulse of Americana”), and Station 3 to a specific track on Spotify (“Hands on You,” by Ashley Monroe). Now, each time I push the Click’s star button, it changes the Station. Pushing it twice in rapid succession will even skip over the station in the middle.

Pressing the circle button on the Click stops the music. I can even move up and down my playlist by pressing down on the seam between the two switches to depress both switches at the same time. Pushing on the star and plus side of the switch together advances to the next track; pressing the circle and minus together goes back to the previous track. That’s quite ingenious, especially for a device that never needs batteries.

nuimo hub ports Michael Brown / IDG

The Nuimo Hub has a micro-USB connection for power, a USB port for the EnOcean dongle, and a currently non-operable ethernet port.

When you can’t get enough of that new track from your favorite artist, it’s fun to be able to hear it at the push of a button. And it’s a lot faster to do it that way then to pull out your smartphone or talk to your smart speaker. It’s also easy enough to swap those three Stations in the Senic app for any new three when you get tired of hearing the same music—provided you first add them to your My Sonos library—but there’s no getting around the fact that you’re limited to just three slots at any one time.

It will come as no surprise that the plus and minus buttons on the Click that you’re using to control your Sonos speakers adjust the volume and up down respectively. Just be aware that these adjustments will affect every active Sonos speaker. If you want to tweak speakers individually, you’ll need to pull up the Sonos app or touch buttons on the speakers themselves.

I’ve had the Nuimio Click set up for several months, and I’ve only used it to control my Sonos speakers a handful of times—mostly to explore its capabilities and limitations in preparation for writing this review. Nine times out of 10, I’ve pulled my smartphone out of my pocket and used the app to listen to my own music library, or my streaming service’s app to listen to music I don’t own.

nuimo hub Michael Brown / IDG

The Nuimo Hub has a roughly four- by four-inch footprint.

Force of habit? Perhaps. And maybe I would have used the Click more if I’d attached it to the wall, like a light switch. But it was mostly because I live in a world where I can choose from an ocean of music to listen to at a moment’s notice, and the Click realistically limits me to just three flavors unless I want to reprogram its Stations frequently.

Using the Nuimo Click with Philips Hue

The other most common use for a Nuimo Click is to control your Philips Hue lighting (I say “lighting” because Hue has moved far beyond just smart bulbs). In this case, Senic’s app lets you select as many Philips Hue devices as you’d like to control; but as with Sonos speakers, it’s an all-or-nothing affair. Any change you make to one bulb using the Click affects all the other bulbs in that group. You can’t set one bulb to red, another to green, and a third to white. But you can configure multiple Clicks and assign different groups of Philips Hue lights to each of them.

nuimo click philips hue control Michael Brown / IDG

The other wrinkle with lighting is that the Click can’t turn the lights on if they’re connected to a switch that’s in the off position. That’s not the Click’s fault, of course, and it wasn’t a problem at ll for the Philips Hue Cala and Lilly landscape lighting I’ve installed, since those devices are plugged into outdoor outlets that aren’t controlled by switches.

If I didn’t already have smart speakers I could use to turn them on and off with voice commands, the Click would deliver a much bigger benefit because my only other alternative would be to pull out my smartphone and launch the Hue app.

Here again, once you’ve selected the bulbs you want the Click to control, you can program three Stations to cycle through by pressing the star button. In this case, the Stations are the Philips Hue scenes that are available for the bulbs or fixtures being controlled. Pressing the circle button turns all the lights off. And in this case, the plus and minus brighten and dim the lights respectively.

A worthwhile investment?

I really wanted to like the Nuimo Click, but its novelty wore off quickly. While I found it much more useful for controlling Hue lights than Sonos speakers, I wouldn’t part with $179 to acquire a starter kit with one Click, much less spend $229 for a kit with two. If you think you’ll get more utility out of this device than I did, Senic has a 30-day return policy, and they’ll even entertain the idea of your testing the product before you buy it if you’ll talk to them over the phone (details here). Either way, it seems there’s very little risk in giving the system a shot.

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