The smart home is in full swing, so iDevices has plans to release Instinct, a $99.99 light switch that has a built-in Alexa. This isn’t just support for Alexa, but this smart light switch features a tiny speaker and two far-field microphones.
Even better, the Instinct fits into a standard wall spot, but keep in mind that this isn’t a plug and play solution. Installation is required. You’ll need to remove your current switch, remove the gang box and disconnect the wires. Then you’ll wire the Instinct, which fits into a standard electrical gang box. As always, with any electrical work, make sure the switch is shut off or hire a professional if you’re not comfortable installing it.
Once wired, the Instinct will give you the ability to control those lights. You can easily click the switch to turn a light on or off. And since it’s an Alexa device, you can also control it via the companion app for iOS or Android. You can even ask Alexa to turn on the switch via the Instinct or from another Alexa-enabled speaker.
With a circular LED ring built into the Instinct, you’ll know when Alexa is listening via a blue ring or when she’s on mute with a red circle. When you’re setting up the smart light switch, it will glow orange. The Instinct’s LED ring looks a lot like the ring on an Echo smart speaker.
And with a built-in speaker, Alexa can respond from this light switch. In a briefing ahead of the launch, I quickly tested the switch. At volume level 7, the Instinct filled a small-sized conference room at the Underscored office. The speaker not only lets Alexa respond to you, but you can play music from a variety of services and even get news briefings. It’s kind of like an Echo Dot ($29.99, originally $49.99; amazon.com) built into a light switch. So yes, you can treat it like any other Alexa-enabled device.
The best news about the iDevices Instinct is built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, meaning you don’t need a smart hub. You can add Instinct to the Alexa ecosystem or use it as a standalone smart device.
We’ll put Instinct to the test in the coming weeks. And while you’re certainly paying a price at $99 for this smart light switch, the Instinct gives you a switch and Alexa smart speaker built into one device. And yes, iDevices squeezed a lot into a switch.
Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed prices at the time of publication.