Picostone Basic Review: Home Automation Made Easy

Imagine you are on a vacation with family miles away from home and suddenly a day after your neighbor informs you that you have left your hall lights and AC switched on. What will you do now? Rush back home abandoning your trip or let it be and pay the heavy bill the next month.

Now, consider the second situation, you are traveling back home beating the heat and realize that your AC takes around 10-15 minutes to cool the house. That moment you will regret not having an automated smartphone controlled house.

The demand for home automation has increased drastically since past couple of years. But it is still a dream for middle-class users because of the high cost of setup. Though we have many big players in the market, the cost is a way too much to handle.

About Picostone

While searching for some home automation devices in the country, I came across an Indian startup called Picostone with low-cost home automation devices. Started in 2016, Picostone aims at resolving many problems with the current home automation devices in the budget. The company is based in Mumbai and has two major products, the Basic and the Polar.

Picostone Basic is a small wifi based device that fits right behind your switchboard and lets you operate your lights and fans through your phone. Whereas, the Picostone Polar is a small wifi-enabled plug-like device that talks to the IR Stone using Picostone's proprietary RF communication protocol for operating AirCon.

I got hold of the Picostone Basic for a month and here's my in-depth review of the same.

Picostone Basic

Picostone Basic

Picostone Basic is a small rectangular box-like hardware device with Wi-Fi support. It comes with a connector which can accommodate up to 4 switches. The Picostone Basic is sturdy and made of good quality material. The major features of the Picostone Basic are: 

Picostone Basic Features

  • 15 Minutes Installation
  • No Rewiring Required
  • Control From Anywhere
  • Dim Your Devices Using Phone
  • Schedule Appliances On or Off
  • Add Scene To Control Multiple Appliance at a Single Tap
  • Voice Controls using Alexa
  • IFTTT Support
  • Physical Switch Act as Two-way Switch
  • Highly Secured Inter-device Communication
  • Offline Customer Support
  • 2-year Replacement Warranty

Picostone has priced the Basic for Rs. 11,800, which might sound costly, but for the features and support Picostone provides, the pricing is justified. Picostone also has something called as MadSale which happens once every quarter, where the price of Picostone Basic is dropped up to Rs. 3,000 or even less at times, which makes it a steal deal.

The company also offers Effortless Starter Kit for Rs. 10,999 during the sale which includes 1 Polar, 1 Basic and 3 IRIS products. Other kits are... (Note: Kit prices are subject to change on every sale)

Picostone MadSale Kit Offers

Picostone Basic Technical Specifications

  • Input/Output Voltage: 230v/50Hz
  • Power Consumption: 1W
  • Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n WiFi
  • Input Voltage For Switches: 230v/50Hz
  • Power Per Channel: 220W (Max) 5W (Min) Resistive Load
  • Communication Security: 256-bit AES Encrypted
  • Dimension: 87.75mm x 57 mm x 22.8mm


Installation & Setup

One Picostone Basic device will allow only 4 switches to be automated. The device packaging is very basic and it includes the Basic itself with a connector/socket, fuse, and a 1ft long wire which needs to be cut into 4 pcs for the switches. As the device is very compact, it easily fits inside existing switchboard. The space required is very minimal. No extra wiring or construction work is required to install the Basic.

Picostone How It Works
Picostone Basic: How It Works
After getting the Picostone Basic, you can install it either by calling your own electrician or the one from the company. I selected the latter one. Picostone has partnered with the HouseJoy team for the installation of Picostone Basic across the country. They have well-trained and experienced electricians, and the service cost anywhere between Rs. 250 to Rs. 300. HouseJoy follows up with you twice a week to check if everything is working perfectly.

If you know the basics of electrical engineering, then you can manually install the Basic easily using the installation guide provided by the company inside the packaging. Installing Basic is not a rocket-science, rather a few minutes work. It would be better if you decide the four switches to automate prior the electrician comes.

Picostone Basic
Picostone Basic Socket

Picostone App

After you are done installing the Basic inside the switchboard, the next job is to set the Picostone Basic using the Picostone app. Picostone has included a step by step guide for configuring the Basic inside the box. It took me less than 2 minutes to configure the Picostone Basic with my phone. In case you face any issue with the setup, you can contact the Picostone customer support, as they are very responsive and well-knowledged about the product.

The primary step of setting the Basic is to first enter personal details of home WiFi network inside the Picostone app. Then connect to Picostone WiFi created by the Basic. After that, traverse back to the Picostone app and under Device Configuration click on Configure. This will configure the Picostone Basic with the home WiFi network and now it can be easily used from anywhere, as it is synced with the server and has a dedicated network connection.

Do note that you need not connect to Picostone wifi after the configuration is done, though it will be always shown in your nearby WiFi networks.

                

After the Picostone app is configured with the Picostone Basic, the device is now ready to use. Inside the app, you get the list of all rooms/Picostone devices. Selecting one will show 4 set of switches. You can rename the room name and type by going to individual listing settings. Also, if you want multiple users to get control of that particular room then you can also add users to that room listing.

Long press on any switch will help configure that switch where you can rename the switch and select the switch type as Light, Fan or Motion Sensor. Also, you can select if the switch is dimmable or not to enable the dim setting. Last but not the least is that you can add an auto switch on or off schedules on particular days and at a varying time. There's one more feature called Scene which allows to switch on or off multiple appliances with just a single tap.

                

After using the Picostone Basic for a month I found it very convenient for daily use. The app has become very responsive after the latest update. They have revamped the UI and made is more clean and simple to understand. The device at times face an issue of syncing the speed of the fan if changed manually via a regulator, but it isn't a deal breaker.

Controlling the app using mobile data is not at all a problem, but you need to wait for like 10-20 seconds for the app to get synced with the device at home. All multiple Picostone products can be controlled using one single app. The device comes with voice control feature using Alexa, but I haven't tried it, so I'm not well-aware of the working using voice.

           

Verdict

With Picostone Basic installed in your house, you can easily control any appliance at your fingertips with ease. The best time to buy the Picostone Basic is during the MadSale where you can get it for over 75%  discount, or buy a kit package of your choice.

If you are looking for a cheap and best solution to automate your house, then Picostone has you covered with its offers and support and the product is very well designed for anyone to understand and use. It would be great to see Picostone bring voice support using Google Assistant and Siri for more convenience.

I cannot comment on the long-term performance of the Picostone Basic, but as far as my one-month usage is considered, the Basic definitely gets a 👍👌.


How to Buy?

Picostone products are only available from official Picostone website. Any Picostone product sold on Amazon or Flipkart or any other e-commerce site (at the time of writing this review) is not officially authorized by Picostone. You can click here to buy Picostone Basic.

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