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I love a device that offers the convenience of automation and hands-free operation. Dozens of daily tasks could be automated to make routines easier -- automating a coffee maker to run when you walk by an Echo Dot each morning, asking Siri to turn off the bedroom lights from your bed or having your door automatically lock behind you as soon as it senses it's closed.
Before testing the SwitchBot Curtain 3, I had the previous SwitchBot Curtain robot opening and closing the curtains in my living room. I like to open them so I can see my kids playing in the sunroom, and they, of course, love the idea of a robot opening curtains.
But the new Curtain 3 robot wouldn't replace its predecessor; it warranted a much bigger challenge than my living room. Instead, I put it to the test of handling the heavy, room-darkening curtains in my toddler's bedroom.
If you've ever raised a baby, you probably know that room-darkening curtains are a must -- they really should be the first thing to go in the baby registry. It's a staple I've come to rely on for my kids, who have learned to associate bright lights with waking up. Just think of what this means in the summer when the sun sets two hours after bedtime.
Setting up the SwitchBot Curtain 3 took a few minutes, with some time dedicated to playing with the parts and manual to figure out what went where and which direction it needed to face. If you've never set up any previous versions, I'd recommend setting aside about an hour for installation. Once familiar with the process, adding the device to your curtains takes only a few minutes.
The curtains in my toddler's bedroom are two 84-inch-long room-darkening panels that meet in the middle to close. I added two SwitchBot Curtain 3 bots to keep the functionality of opening the curtains in the middle, but you can add just one to push the curtains from one side to the other.
I also added two solar panels, as SwitchBot just launched brand new versions of its for-windows model. These panels are larger than the previous model and are attached to the curtain with a charging cable encased in plastic. They face the window to attain power for the Curtain robot. The solar panels move with the Curtain robot, so keeping their travel area clear is important. Once I set mine up, I noticed an old bracket on my window was in the way, catching the solar panel and not letting the robot advance to close the curtains.
Along with the solar panels, I set up a SwitchBot remote by the light switch. I like to open the curtains each morning when I'm getting the toddler ready, which helps wake her up. So I can walk into the room and press the button, and the curtains start opening before I even reach her bed.
Adding the SwitchBot Curtain 3 to the SwitchBot app was as simple as pairing it through Bluetooth with a button on the curtain robot itself and following instructions on the app. Once you're in, you can rename the device and label what room it will be located in case you use multiple ones. We already have several SwitchBot devices in the nursery: a smart plug to control the monitor, nightlight, and sound machine, a thermometer/hygrometer and a bot to switch the sound machine from rain to white noise.
If you have a SwitchBot Hub Mini, you can then turn on Cloud Services in the SwitchBot app to connect the Curtain 3 to the internet, which gives you access to routines and automations, as well as the capability of controlling them remotely and accessing third-party services like Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, IFTTT, and Siri Shortcuts.
The newest Matter-enabled SwitchBot Hub 2 lets you add the SwitchBot Curtain 3 to your preferred home automation system, like Samsung SmartThings, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and even Apple HomeKit.
Everyday operation has been a seamless experience. I was a skeptic before I got the previous SwitchBot Curtain 2; I didn't believe a device to automate curtains would work without getting stuck or caught on something. But it did -- and the new Curtain 3 has delivered the same experience, with several improvements.
The new SwitchBot Curtain 3 is much quieter than the Curtain 2 model, as it has a QuietDrift mode to keep the noise level at only 25 dB. This mode is slower, but it makes for a quiet, less distracting experience.
It's also stronger than before, capable of passing up to 36 lbs of curtains, and has a larger battery to ensure a longer time between charging, though the new Solar Panel could mean never having to charge it.
ZDNET's buying advice
The SwitchBot Curtain 3 is available now on Amazon for $90. If I had to answer whether they're worth the price, I'd say yes, especially if you're like me and spend too long opening all the curtains in the house each day.
For security reasons, I prefer closing all the shades at home every night. The task is tedious (especially when you realize you forgot to do it as you're getting out of the shower), but this is why I love the SwitchBot Blind Tilt and Curtain so much because they automate my experience.