The Good The system works as a midtier router and a SmartThings home automation hub, all controlled by a single app.
The Bad The app. Setup can be a challenge and you can’t customize many of the settings. You may need additional units to get the speed and coverage your want, which can be costly.
The Bottom Line The Samsung Connect Home will give you adequate Wi-Fi coverage in a large home, and you can connect SmartThings devices to it without having to buy a separate hub. But for the price, you can find better options such as the AC3000 Netgear Orbi.
The Samsung Connect Home is an AC1300 mesh Wi-Fi system that doubles as a SmartThings hub. A three-pack of units costs $380. (It’s not yet available in the UK or Australia, but that converts to £275 or AU$475.) There’s also a Pro model, which comes as a single AC2600 unit for $250, that you can add to a system of Samsung Connect Home units.
Having a hub and router in one package is convenient. And you’ll save money since you won’t need to buy a separate SmartThings hub, which costs $90 or £99 (it’s not yet available in Australia).
Unfortunately, neither the Samsung Connect Home or the Pro lived up to my expectations. The accompanying app and setup process were frustrating. Both systems were only average at best when it came to speed. And even though it will cover as much as 4,500 square feet of your home with Wi-Fi coverage and keep your smart devices connected, you can find something better and cheaper. Unless you’re set on a SmartThings hub and router in one, consider theor for your mesh system.
The Samsung Connect Home units are sleek, off-white disks without any antennas or bulkiness that needs to be hidden. Many Wi-Fi mesh systems are going with this minimal, fits-anywhere look, like theand . The Samsung Connect Pro version looks the same as the regular version, but it has a clear plastic top and is a little heavier. Both have one LED light on the front that you can shut off from the app. The backs of the units have two Ethernet ports — in and out — plus a reset button and an AC port for power.
The Samsung Connect Home (three-pack on left) and Pro (right) have a very similar sleek, all-white design.
Setting up the Samsung Connect Home was inconsistent and frustrating.
First, you need to download and sign into the Samsung Connect app on a device that’s connected to a mobile network. Next, enable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on your mobile device and make sure its battery is fully charged. Then you can set up each unit individually. You connect the first unit to your modem with an Ethernet cable and plug in its power cord. Then, the Samsung Connect app is supposed to automatically recognize it. With the next two units, you don’t need to use an Ethernet cable; just plug a power cord into each one, and it connects to the others wirelessly.
The app didn’t always recognize each unit if I had to unplug it and plug it back in, so I’d sometimes have to add the unit to the app manually. Holding down the reset button (you’ll need a pin, a small nail or a paperclip as it’s recessed) on the unit for about 10 seconds when it was plugged in sped up the process when the app didn’t recognize it. And completely closing and reopening the app helped sometimes.
It should only take a few minutes to connect each unit, but I occasionally had problems when I was more than 10 feet away from the unit, so stay relatively close to it during setup.
The setup process using the app may be a challenge.
The app advises that you “place your Wi-Fi hub in an open area within 40 feet of your other Wi-Fi hubs,” and “the ideal distance may vary depending on your home’s layout and construction materials.” I placed the second and third units about 30 feet from the main unit with one wall or floor between them, but the app still had problems. It didn’t recognize either device until I reset the unit and stood a few feet away with my phone. I had better luck with an iOS device than with an Android, but both had instances of not recognizing at least one of the units.
Once the Wi-Fi is setup, you can now create your network name and password, as well as set up the Samsung Connect Home as a SmartThings hub for your smart devices. To set up this feature, you check a box, hit “next” in the app and wait a minute. At least Samsung made that simple.
Setting up the smart hub and adding automations between devices was easy.
Once you’re setup, the app has enough general options to control your network, but it lacks customization. Here’s what you can do from the app:
But you can’t customize your 2.4GHz or 5GHz bands. There aren’t any security settings or VPN or network sharing options. And the app is the only way to control your network. Samsung dropped the ball on usability, especially since I couldn’t see which band or unit I was connected to, let alone manually switch to find the best connection.
For a mesh Wi-FI system, the Samsung Connect Home offers average coverage of 1,500 square feet per device. You can connect as many as five total devices to create your network, so you can get the coverage you need — if you have the money for additional units.
Its AC1300 rating is a little on the slow side, offering 400Mbps on 2.4GHz and 867Mbps on 5GHz. The Pro doubles those theoretical speeds with its AC2600 rating, but it won’t give you much more speed out of additional regular units. Check out my speed tests below to see how fast each one actually performed.
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