Homey Community Forum

Feedback: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 🤠

Hi! Homey user for 3 weeks now. I’d like to share my feedback. This is kind of a review, but there’s a lot of suggestions so I put it in this topic.

The Good
I came to Homey Pro after several years on Home Assistant (HA) on a Raspberry Pi, due to an upgrade dead end: I had chosen an install method that was discontinued, so I had no upgrade path, and had to start over from scratch. I also needed a faster Pi anyway, so I started reconsidering.

My power company recommends Homey, and they provide real-time power consumption data and price-based automation (e.g. start car charger when power becomes cheap). Homey is costly, but I liked the all-in-one features. I’m using both Zigbee, Z-wave, and 433 MHz devices, and my Pi closet was by now looking like a spaghetti casserole with all the connected devices and power supplies. The info on the Homey web is quite good. There is a comparison article with Homey vs. HA, and despite some natural pro Homey bias it’s quite fair and well put.

The setup was easy. Adding devices is easier and more consistent than with HA. All my existing devices from the HA setup work with Homey, with the exception of two Nexa 433 MHz door sensors that seem not supported. The visual programming is conceptually similar to HA, but easier in Homey due to better device organisation, it’s easier to find the device I’m looking for. Wireless reception seems good. I had a problem getting Homey+ subscription up and running, but fixed that with quick help from support.

The Bad
There’s a lot in here, but please know I’m actually quite happy with the Homey so far. There are suggestions as well as complaints. I try to sort them by biggest problems first.

  1. Insights: There’s no persistence. It forgets my carefully set up graphs as soon as I click something else. This constant forgetfulness discourages use of an otherwise well made feature.
  2. Flows: The when-and-or-then-else paradigm is often too limiting. A simple if-elseif-else requires two flows, one calling the other.
  3. Insights: Should not insist on same unit of measurement when making combined graphs. It can be quite useful to combine watt readings and temperatures together, for instance.
  4. Limited sharing seems missing. For instance I might like to share my outdoors climate data with my neighbour in the same building, but that’s not possible. I’d have to share the whole house, it seems.
  5. The phone app should represent the phone sensors/values as Homey sensors, like the HA app does. Like temperature, acceleration, proximity, charge status, etc. Example use case: A flow that switches off the socket which is charging the phone when charge reaches 80%, to extend battery lifetime.
  6. 433 Mhz: Hit & miss compatibility. Many things work, some don’t. Some work in the brand’s own app, some require another app. Some work if set up as another device that apparently has the same internals, but it takes trial and error to find such matches. I need many apps to get all my old stuff working.
  7. Flows: Lots of scrolling when editing due to the many apps I need. It does not remember my most commonly used apps.
  8. The web interface often gets “stuck” with old sensor data. An F5 refresh solves it. The app also gets stuck quite often, then it shows a refresh button for me to tap. Couldn’t it refresh by itself?
  9. Zones is the only way to group items, and an item can only be in one zone. Metazones/tags for multiple types of categorisation would be nice. E.g. “all thermometers”, or “all motion detectors”. There is some of this, like for lights, but it’s limited.
  10. The Chronograph app is essential and should be adopted as official built in functionality, if the author is willing. Also there seems to be no built in way to react to the content of a http response, that’s a rather basic need.
  11. Naming: I have to add the zone to device names to tell them apart, since the zone is not shown in all contexts. In other contexts it is then redundant, like “Living room: Living room thermostat”.
  12. Lists: Items are not always sorted, like HomeyScripts, so I always have to scroll down to find my stuff, or delete all the examples.
  13. Hardware: No ethernet.
  14. Insights: Graph hover doesn’t sort values. When a graph has several plotlines that cross above and below each other, I’d expect the legend in the hover box to be sorted top to bottom in the same order as the graph at that point. Currently it’s easy to get confused.
  15. Flows: A “view/edit as code” for flow cards would be handy sometimes. If the use of this permanently converted a flow to a script, that would be ok.
  16. 433 Mhz: Has crashed on me twice. All 433 devices stopped sending and receiving, all other devices were fine. Restarting their apps had no effect. Had to restart Homey, then all was good again.
  17. Insights: Don’t exist in the Android app. A web page link doesn’t quite cut it.
  18. Insights: Filters should return only matching sensors, not all sensors of a device, when only one matches the filter. Now there’s lots of scrolling to add sensors. Though persistence would ease this pain (see above).
  19. Customisable dashboards like Home Assistant Lovelace could be nice. It lets you build your own view of graphs, toggles, numeric values and action buttons, as you wish. Kind of like the favourites on the Home view in Homey, but more powerful. Can also become a neverending quest for layout perfection, though…
  20. Bug: When a flow card text parameter is large enough, the end of it becomes inaccessible. It won’t scroll to the bottom of the parameter, but drops me out of edit mode.
  21. It would be nice if the light ring could go much weaker than the minimum setting it has now.

The Ugly
Ugly is a strong word, but Homey could have looked better. In good light it looks like a rather plasticky white plastic ball. A darker shade or some texture might help. Maybe some slight transparency to make the ring glow wider. Metal might look good, but is expensive and could block antennas. Wood finish might work, or a pearlescent finish. Imagine it in tweed fabric or a knitted pattern. Or like an eye, with a big pupil and eye lashes. Or how about a globe print, like the earth or the moon? There’s space for personal creativity here, but given the cost one wants to be careful.
The conspicuous ferrite lump on the cable isn’t really necessary for mere power delivery, is it?

BTW, my first HomeyScript is this little bit which I use to pull a random quotation and say it, every now and then:

const res = await fetch('https://api.quotable.io/random');
if (!res.ok) { throw new Error(res.statusText); }
const body = await res.json();
const quote = `${body.content}` + ' - ' + `${body.author}`;
log(quote);
await say(quote);

Thanks for reading.

Although I can agree with some ‘bads’ and see them more as improvements rather than things that really make it less usable, I do miss a lot of ‘goods’. Is it really just the installation? If this is more like a review you should put just as much effort in what Homey does right as you do in what you miss. :wink: But, no product is right for everyone, and there’s a lot of room for improvement.

1 Like

To be fair, I did mention several other good things than “just the installation”, and I mentioned I am quite happy with the product.

The thing is, when things work just right, that is quickly forgotten. When they don’t, it’s much easier to remember. That’s human nature, and it takes a professional reviewer to balance that. Which I am not :slight_smile:

I get it. I am a professional reviewer so that might be why. :slight_smile:

Anyway, thanks for the feedback. Some of them are good points.