Very affordable compared to custom made alternatives
Viewing range is limited to between 27 and 39 inches
Each model measures 72 inches long
You can only have one color and choose the fabric
darkening the room only; No option to filter light
There are large gaps of light on all sides
Inexpensive smart blinds from ThirdReality have a Zigbee connection, but they lack aesthetics and options.
Price upon review
$139.99 to $158.99, depending on width (72 inches long)
Today’s Best Prices: ThirdReality Smart Blinds
Outfitting a home with smart window shades can be an expensive proposition, with each window likely costing $500 or more, and professional installation is not included. ThirdReality aims to drastically cut the expenses for installing smart shades, and it has succeeded—albeit with significant practical and aesthetic limitations.
ThirdReality Smart Blinds are room-darkening cellular shades: fabric on the outside with an aluminum foil lining to help with insulation. The company’s shades are pre-made and available in widths from 20 to 39 inches, in 1-inch increments. It stretches to a maximum of 72 inches and is available in only one color: a harmless type of beige.
This review is part of TechHive’s in-depth coverage of the best smart window shades.
The third fact
ThirdReality blinds are powered by four AA batteries (plus two for the infrared remote control), and all the electronics are interestingly located at the bottom of the shade. The batteries slide into a screw-on plate in the right size. Manual controls (up, down, stop) can be found on the left side.
This design has some advantages, as you will not need to climb a stepping ladder to change batteries periodically, but it can also present some control challenges when lowering the shade, in case it is dipped behind a piece of furniture where the infrared beam of the remote control cannot access to it. The bottom rail also includes a mechanical limiter that prevents the shade from lowering further if it hits something; It is the window. If something is in the way somewhere else, such as a cat sitting to the right, the mechanism will not trip.
Christopher Noll / Foundry
The blinds can be installed using an indoor or outdoor bracket on the windowsill. Hardware for either option is included — although neither is particularly attractive. Physical installation is not difficult, but you need to be careful with the measurements to ensure that you do not hang things obliquely.
Trying to test ThirdReality’s blackout blinds, I ran into a problem before I received the product. My test window is just over 42 inches wide, and the company doesn’t make curtains that big. One rep suggested sending two curtains, one 20-inch version and another 21-inch version, that could be installed side by side. This worked well, but left gaps on both sides and a gap in the middle. It was obvious after installation that there would have been room for two 21″ curtains, so if you are considering this option, be sure to measure very carefully. running blinds exactly True to their display specifications.
Christopher Noll / Foundry
After I completed the installation, I was immediately disappointed to see the blackout blinds simply not hanging straight, and there was no way to adjust them. Both curtains hang slightly on the left side, and although you won’t notice this much if there is only one curtain in the window, it is very visible when there are two side by side. The curtain also does not rest against the window sill when it is fully closed, leaving a gap of about half an inch on the right side of the curtain. Sure, these are budget window shades, but I suppose most buyers will have higher aesthetic expectations.
ThirdReality includes an infrared remote control with each shade. These remote controls are interchangeable and will work on all blackout blinds. This can get a little complicated if you have blackout curtains side by side – or multiple blackout curtains in one room. Depending on where you point the remote control, you may be able to control all of your blinds at once — or just one. A great deal of trial and error will likely be required in practical use.
Christopher Noll / Foundry
Being Zigbee smart blinds, you have quite a few options when it comes to controlling your blinds through another device. You will need a $30 Smart Hub from ThirdReality if you want to use the ThirdReality mobile app; But even without them, the blinds can connect locally to various devices, including Amazon Echo speakers with integrated Zigbee smart home hubs (Echo 4th Generation, Echo Plus, Echo Show 10—except for the first generation—and Echo Studio); Amazon Eero 6 and Eero Pro Wi-Fi routers; and smart home hubs Ezlo Plus, Hubitat and Samsung SmartThings. I registered the blinds with Alexa and was able to control them via voice and the Alexa app without any issues.
You can purchase ThirdReality Smart Blinds from the manufacturer (click the previous link to access the company’s online store) or from Amazon. Direct selling prices range from $139.99 (20″) to $158.99 (39″), plus shipping. You’ll find other motorized shades that are reasonably priced in this price range, but they usually lack smart features.
However, those curtains tend to come in colors other than beige as well as in larger sizes. Keep your priorities in mind when shopping.