Serena Motorized shade from Lutron review: A step in sophistication, but also in the price

Serena Motorized shade from Lutron review: A step in sophistication, but also in the price

Lutron are some of our favorite smart switches and sockets, so that we have long been curious about your Serena motorized blinds. Serena shades are more expensive than most of the competition, but Lutron has some awesome features in return for the extra coin.

These characteristics are obvious in both the shadow of industrial design and user-friendliness. For starters, if the battery-powered option, battery compartment is integrated into the shadow, the head of the rail (the component that mounts to the top of your window frame and houses the motor for raising and lowering the shade).

The model reviewed here requires six D cells, the smaller the shade or shades with brighter fabrics with a different number of AA cells. If you need to replace the batteries, simply flip two levers and the battery tray. This is a significant improvement over the Graber Virtual string Motorized shade we reviewed in October. The battery compartment on which the is the head of the rail, so you will need to provide the entire shade to access it.

serena light leakage Michael brown / IDG

The rear cover prevents that some loss of light to the head of the rail, but it is not perfect.

If you don’t like the environmental impact of batteries, you can order the shades with a wall-wart ($40) and a 15-foot power cable, the coiled inside the head of the rail only pull as much as you need to reach a power outlet. And if you can’t stand, wall-warts, a licensed electrician can install a Lutron Power Panel in the wall. A panel of honeycomb energy up to 10-to-style shades, but the panel costs $800 plus the cost for the electrician to install it. Personally, I’ll deal with the batteries.

Lutron also offers an optional back cover that is not only the amount of light is reduced to the top of the shade at the time of mounting in the window frame, it hides the brackets when the shade is viewed from the outside the window. Either use the $10 to $20 (depending on shade width) additional cost would justify. Together, they are a no-brainer. Alternatively, you can also mount the shade outside the window frame or above it. Lutron offers a 1/2-inch spacer for the latter case, so the shadow will clear the frame. You will need an additional Spacer if your window trim is thicker than 1/2 inch.

back cover on the lutron serena shade 2 Michael brown / IDG

The optional back cover hides the brackets to the head rail Assembly, a contribution to a cleaner surface when viewed from the other side of the window.

The Lutron app

Serena shades are controlled by Lutron’s proprietary Clear Connect radio-technology, so that a part of the additional cost is the requirement to buy a Lutron Smart Bridge, which cost about $80. But if you’ve already installed Lutron Caséta lighting or a ceiling fan controller purchased, you already have the bridge and the app that goes with it. The same app integrates Lutron smart home devices, including lighting, smart plugs, ceiling-fan-Controller, programmable remote controls, and Serena shades.

lutron app scene control Michael brown / IDG

Lutron app allows you to create scenes with different components of your smart home, including the Sonos speaker (smart and other).

The Lutron ecosystem hook in the third-party products, including Amazon’s Alexa and Google assistant, smart speakers, smart thermostats from carrier, Ecobee, Honeywell and Nest; and also a Sonos speaker. It is also compatible with Apple’s HomeKit technology. This is what makes the Lutron app and bridge combo is a pretty good smart-home system, all on your own.

The bridge is able to compatible devices is based on scenes that the behavior of the selected devices, and schedules (the specified times on the days of the week, or at sunrise and sunset). Scenes can also run on the geofence Trigger: connect the colors and turning your thermostat when you leave, and take your phone; opening the playlist on your sunglasses, turn on your light, and play your favorite, if you are home with him.

But the appeal of the app programmability depends on to support your sticking with Lutron lighting, window, cover, and ceiling-fan controls, plus the limited number of third-party products, as decided by Lutron. Trust me, you want to finally expand beyond the universe.

remote control options Serena shades

voice spoken commands to a smart speakers are the easiest way to manually control the Serena colours, but if you don’t want an Echo or Google homepage, and you pull out your smartphone, Lutron offers two large remote controls for the job. The $25 Pico remote control is relatively tiny to 1.25 inches wide and 2.5 inches high, and it’s only wafer thin. It has five stacked switching: completely open at the top, fully closed, below, manually, manually, to the bottom, and “favorite” position in the middle.

lutron pico shadow remote control Michael brown / IDG

Lutron’s five-button Pico remote control to control Serena shades is excellent but it becomes

The Pico remote control, you can change the size makes it easy to install, but install a plastic block on the wall and slide the remote control, so that the color tones can be controlled from the wall-just like light switches. If you want a more formal look, Lutron also sells a wallplate bracket is the Pico remote control, a built-in look, but it depends on the presence of a junction box in the wall. Both mounting options give you the option to remove the Pico remote control from the wall and carry it.

If you are installing more than a Serena shade in a room, Lutron’s $89 4-group RF-can remote control up to four different tones, either individually or all at the same time. Both of the remote controls depends on the presence of the bridge, but so that none of them will let you escape the cost.

Serena shades as part of a smart home system

lutron app shadow preset Michael Brown

Lutron app does not makes you to guess what will look like the shadow, at 20 per cent.

If you have a smart-home hub that a recourse to Lutron’s own communication Protocol will probably find, if you can integrate the shadow directly in its broader smart home system. Samsung SmartThings supports Serena shades directly, but the Vivint Smart Home system that I use. In fact, Vivint does not officially support, motorized blinds at all, but the company will not prevent you from adding shades to your system and treat it like a dimmer switch, if you have Z-Wave technology.

But I have not found one, the advantage is that smart all the my home devices in a single smart home app, all that is important. It would be easier? For sure. I would much prefer to create the Vivint app rules to control when my lights turn off my shades in the vicinity, and my thermostat regulates the heat. But need to have two sets of rules, the two apps instead of one is simply not that big of a deal, especially since the creation of rules, rather a one-time thing, must only be carried out if you have a new component to add to your system.  

quality and cost of your Serena shades

serena single cell 2 Michael brown / IDG

the cells in The Serena room-darkening shades are lined with aluminum, but the company offers only single-cell designs in this collection.

The Windows I have installed, the Serena shade of the same alignment to the South that the larger window in my home theater work, so I opted for a room-darkening honeycomb structure fabric, similar to what Graber offers. The fabric is lined with aluminum, to improve their insulation value, but Lutron offers only a 9/16-inch-single-celled material in its room-darkening shades, where Graber you can choose either single – or double-celled metallized fabric.

The fabric itself feels very high-end, but, and the entire screen is very attractive, both when closed or partially open. In terms of the quality of the material-and processing quality, which would be in this round of a duel between Serena and Graber. But I found the engine in the Serena shade to very slightly quieter than the Somfy motor Graber used. I registered a 8.3 dB increase in the noise level, while the shadow of the open was closed from fully, to fully open. Compare that with a 9.6 dB increase for the Graber shade. A difference of 1.3 dB is not likely to impact on their satisfaction with the product, especially if you have become accustomed to the sound of the colors to open and close, but it is a difference worth reporting.

serena's head rail with batteries Michael brown / IDG

Serena, the head of the rail pivots to expose to the bottom, the battery tray.

As I said, Serena shades cost more as a Graber product, although the price difference is less, if you already have a Lutron bridge. The 34 x 58-inch-Serena shade reviewed here is priced at $474, plus $25 for the Pico remote and $80 for the bridge for a total cost of $579. The smaller (33.5 x 58-inch) Graber shade I reviewed in October, had a list price of $483, including a simple two-button remote control. But the dealer who supplied the shadow routinely discount coupons and offers. At the time of this review, a 15-percent discount, the final cost to fall to $411. Even if you don’t need the Lutron bridge, the same size of Serena’s shadow, the cost would still be $88 more. And if you are buying several nuances that sum up the difference quickly.

In the final analysis, however, the Serena shade better-designed battery compartment, the back cover hides its ugly side, and its superior remote control, equip you with enough tangible benefits to justify the higher price. And while Lutron’s proprietary wireless does not mean technology, the Serena shade is so strongly supported by third-party smart-home systems, it is fully compatible with Samsung’s SmartThings, Apple HomeKit, and both Amazon as Alexa and Google Assistant. And Lutron’s own bridge and the purpose-built app that goes with it to operate it is much easier, whether this is the only smart device in your home or a complete smart home system from a different manufacturer.

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Released on Thu, 07 Nov 2019 11:00:00 +0000

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