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LG SmartThinQ brings smarts to existing 'dumb' appliances

Seth Barton
11 Apr 2016
LG SmartThinQ
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The SmartThinQ hub and sensors mean you go smart without having to replace your appliance

LG's latest smart home product is designed to turn your dumb old appliances into smart appliances. The (aggravatingly-named) SmartThinQ system consists of a Hub and a number of sensors. The sensors can be placed on or in existing devices in order to bring smart features to older appliances.

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For example, you can place a SmartThinQ sensor on your existing washing machine and it will detect the vibrations given off by the machine and then inform you, via a smartphone app, when the cycle ends. It can also be used a door sensor, so you can see when people are coming or going or even press it into service as a makeshift security sensor. The sensor includes an IR blaster that can be used to communicate with a wide range of devices that accept IR signals, such as air conditioners.

LG SmartThinQ sensor

It's a neat idea, allowing you to start on a smart home without replacing all your devices straight off. However, until we try it out it's impossible to know how well it will work compared to real, 'native' smart devices. The SmartThinQ system is natively built into many of LG's more recent devices, allowing for communication with your smartphone, or the hub (below), without additional sensors.

The SmartThinQ Hub is reminiscent of Amazon's Echo device and can communicate with both its matching sensor and other compatible smart home devices. It supports the AllJoyn Alliance standard, which has been led Qualcomm and has numerous big-name partners, so compatibility shouldn't be a major issue for most devices. It supports Wi-Fi, Zigbee and Bluetooth communications.

LG SmartThinQ display

The Hub also has a built-in speaker to both provide spoken alerts from devices and speak reminders from synced personal calendars. It can also play music, stream internet radio and provide spoken weather reports if desired. A tilted LCD screen on the top lets you look at information and access the various settings.

The hub comes in two colours, Champagne Gold and Black, and we're still waiting for a confirmed UK release, though this is far more likely now that the devices have made it to Europe. It was announced alongside the LG Signature washing-machine-in-a-washing-machine, at the company's 2016 Innofest event.

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