4 October 2017

REVIEW: Flic Smart Button

Push our buttons.

As we recently discovered in our Google Home review, when smart things are connected everything is so much simpler. Using your voice to switch on your heating on a chilly day is up there with the stuff they do on Star Trek and we love it. However, actually talking is still quite a bit of effort, so why can't there be a single button which sets in motion complicated processes? There is, and we've been mucking about with it. Let's check out the Flic Smart Button.

The what? The Flic Smart Button is a tiny individual button which will sit happily on the end of your finger. There is no on/off switch; the unit is just a simply clicky button with a velvet-smooth finish and a sticky-back plastic behind. Using Bluetooth, the Flic connects to your smartphone running the Flic app; the place where all the cleverness is assigned to other smart devices.

In a nutshell, you can either click, double click, or press and hold the Flic, and these three physical actions can be applied to three different digital outcomes, depending on what services you've added to the app. For example, a single click of the Flic could be set to switch on your Hue lights in a particular room, while a double tap could activate a Spotify playlist through your Sonos speaker, and a press and hold could order an Uber (just not in London, eh?). It's up to you.

Obviously, for real world use, you need to have some sort of smart system in your home, but Flic is also compatible with IFTTT - expanding the device's use. We had ours set up as a security button by the front, so one tap activated our Piper security system, while a double tap disarmed it when we returned. No talking to Google, and no complicated app controls each time you want something to happen - just a simple press and you're done.

Fortunately the sticky rear of the Flic Smart Button is reusable, meaning if you change your mind about the function of the button, you don't have to buy another: simply yank it off the wall and re-position. It also comes with a clip with attaches to the back and allows the Flic to be worn. This means you have control of things on the go, but also could use it as a personal safety device. Feeling scared? Just tap the button to send an emergency message to someone, along with you GPS locations. For at-risk people, especially the likes of those living with autism, this is a great use for it.

The Flic app also expands this programmable one-button fun to the virtual world, allowing you to create 'buttons' that exist merely on your phone. This means you can create an on-screen version of those processors, and although they might lack the real-world tactile joy of a button, are still bloody handy and easy to make.

We love the Flic Smart Button and think that, even without smart-home gadgets available to you, it is still a worthwhile and helpful device. Oh, and you can also programme it to make fart noises on your pone. Oh, now you're gonna buy one, aren't you?


Available from www.amazon.co.uk

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