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Best Smart Light Switch? ecobee Switch+ Review!

Buy Switch+ on Amazon

Video Transcript:

I’ve recently begun to transform my house into a smart house, starting with my wireless security system all the way to my thermostat, and when I was researching the best smart thermostats I saw a particular brand called ecobee that was mentioned quite frequently. So when they reached out and asked if I wanted to do a sponsored video of their latest smart home product called the Switch+ I thought it looked like something you guys would be interested in so I agreed.

The ecobee Switch+ is a smart light switch with far-field voice technology and built-in Amazon Alexa which is the name of Amazon’s virtual assistant and it’s one of the main features of the ecobee Switch+. According to Amazon “The Alexa Voice Service is an intelligent voice recognition and natural language understanding service that allows you to voice-enable any connected device that has a microphone and speaker.” And that’s exactly what the ecobee switch+ is equipped with.

The Switch+ is like a smart personal assistant and simple light switch wrapped into one. With the built-in microphone and speaker for Amazon Alexa, the Switch+ enables invisible voice control in any room it’s installed in. It also provides smart light control by detecting occupancy and daylight. Also, a software update coming this summer will enable the Switch+ to function as a sensor to manage hot or cold spots in a room when the switch is paired with an ecobee thermostat. Like all ecobee products, the Switch+ integrates with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, SmartThings, and IFTTT. The Switch+ is $99 in the U.S. and $119 in Canada and it’s available for pre-order starting March 13 and will start shipping on March 26. I’ll leave the link in the description below for you to check out.

First, let’s go over what’s in the box. Inside, you’ll find the main attraction itself the Switch+, along with a wall plate, 4 wire nuts, 2 mounting screws, and the setup guide. The install is fairly simple and only takes about 45 minutes. Even though you can follow the setup guide that comes in the box, it’s probably easier to download the free ecobee app because the app will actually walk you through the entire process and it has helpful videos along the way. The app will also tell you what tools you need and it will do a compatibility check to verify your light switch will work with the Switch+.

Once you’ve verified compatibility, you’ll need to turn off the breaker for the switch you’re installing. After confirming the power is off, remove the old switch from the wall and disconnect the wires. Next, identify and connect the necessary wires to the Switch+. This part took the longest for me so be patient. Once that is done, push the wires back into the wall and screw the Switch+ to the wall. Turn the breaker back on and test out the Switch+ by pressing the button to turn your light on and off. If it works, then the final step is to snap on the wall plate.

Next, you can use the ecobee app to finish setting up the Switch+ by creating your free ecobee account, giving your Switch+ a name & location, and connecting it to your WiFi network. Keep in mind that even though it has built-in WiFi, it does not have Bluetooth enabled at this time. Once it’s fully set up you can control your Switch+ from anywhere using the ecobee app as long as you’re connected to the internet.

On the app home screen you can quickly turn the light on or off using the main button or you can tap the middle icon at the bottom to bring up more controls. the Smart On feature will automatically turn on the lights when someone enters the room. If you enable daylight detection, Smart On will only activate when the room is dark. Smart Off will turn the lights off when no one is in the room, and you can set the off timer to different intervals based on your preference. Another awesome feature is the built-in night light which will automatically glow when the room is dark. And if you have your Switch+ set up as an outdoor light, you can set it to automatically turn on at sunset which is nice.

As I mentioned before, Amazon Alexa is a big part of the Switch+ because it allows you to perform voice commands like asking it to set a timer, read the news, give you the weather forecast, and more. This is all part of ecobee’s “Whole Home Voice” vision to deliver effortless hands-free voice control in every room without dealing with hubs or wires.

To start using Amazon Alexa, first link your Amazon account within the ecobee app. Then download the free Amazon Alexa app and sign in with your Amazon account. Next, add the ecobee skill and authorize Amazon Alexa with your Switch+. Then you can ask Alexa to discover devices, and Alexa should respond with the name of your Switch+.

What’s really cool is the built-in speaker that I mentioned earlier, and if you’re in the US and have Amazon Prime you can tell it to play any song that’s available on Amazon Prime Music and it will play it out of the speaker. Now don’t expect to use this as a high fidelity party speaker for loud music but honestly if you just want to listen to low-level background music while you’re working or studying, this little speaker does the job. You can also listen to iHeartRadio and use Tune-In Radio for audiobooks & podcasts, with support for SiriusXM & Pandora coming soon.

However, the Switch+ does not currently have Spotify integration and as a heavy Spotify Premium user I was a little let down by this. But if you have an Amazon Alexa-enabled Sonos speaker, you can ask Alexa to play music on Spotify that way. I don’t have a Sonos speaker but I was able to add a skill in the Amazon Alexa app that lets me control the playback of Spotify on my iMac which is pretty cool. And that is the key, search the Amazon Alexa app for any skill that you’re interested in and if it’s available you can add that skill to the ecobee Switch+. And you can also control other smart lights in your home if they’re connected to your Amazon Alexa account. I was also surprised at how well the Switch+ picked up my voice from across the room and even when I was playing music pretty loudly it heard me most of the time.

Overall, for $99 I think this is a pretty neat smart device that is perfect for people who want voice-control in their home without adding bulky hubs or wired speakers since this is just a small light switch basically hidden on the wall. The ecobee app is very intuitive and it’s nice that you can use the same app for the Switch+ and ecobee thermostat if you have one. The Switch+ itself is nicely designed and has worked as expected so far. Again if you want to pick this up, the link is in the description below.

Thanks to ecobee for sponsoring this video, and thank you for watching. Be sure to hit the thumbs up if you enjoyed this video and subscribe if you haven’t already to see more tech videos in the future. I will talk to you in the next video.

Driving the Tesla Model 3 – My Experience!

Save $25 when you rent a Tesla

So I rented a Tesla Model 3 on Turo and had it for 24 hours. These are my first impressions and thoughts on the car. Can’t wait to get mine!

How Self-Driving Cars Will Save The World (& Destroy It Too)

Self driving cars are coming (some are even already here) and they will have a huge impact on the way we all live, work and travel. But are they out to harm us or help us? Let’s find out.

Through the years, technology has always improved our ways of transportation, whether it meant getting somewhere faster, safer, or more efficiently.

Way back in the day, we humans just had our legs to rely on for traveling. Then we found out we could jump on the back of horses to go faster.

Then some genius invented the wheel which led to bicycles and wagons, improving the efficiency of travel.

Finally, trains, planes, and automobiles revolutionized the transportation industry. The car quickly replaced the horse & carriage because people wanted to get to places faster & faster, and it was obvious the automobile was superior to the horse in almost every single way. (They’re cuter)

Now, humans (who are constantly prone to distractions and mistakes) are controlling these heavy machines at extremely fast speeds with many other human-controlled heavy machines zipping past one another in the opposite direction with only a couple of yellow paint lines separating total disaster.

Which brings us to the next transportation revolution: self-driving vehicles.

Also referred to as fully-autonomous, a self driving vehicle is one that does not need human intervention of any kind and is completely controlled by some combination of computer software, hardware, radars, sensors, and cameras.

It’s estimated that by the year 2030, there will be approximately 380 million partially or fully autonomous vehicles on the roads. Elon Musk claims that within a decade, self driving cars will be as common as elevators. That’s pretty much expected coming from a guy who likes to take things to the next level. (bad joke)

To fully understand how self driving vehicles will eventually take over all the roadways, let’s briefly go over the 6 different autonomy levels of vehicles.

Level 0 is No Automation. This is when a human driver is solely responsible for operating the vehicle at all times. Most cars up to this point in time are Level 0.

Level 1 is Driver Assistance meaning in certain driving modes, the car can either take control of the steering wheel or the pedals. However, the computer is never in control of both steering and acceleration. Some examples of level 1 are adaptive cruise control and parking assist.

Level 2 is Partial Automation which means the car can take over both the pedals AND the wheel, but only under certain conditions, and the driver must maintain ultimate control over the vehicle. A popular example of Level 2 is Tesla’s Autopilot.

Level 3 is Conditional Automation where the car can fully take over the driving responsibilities under certain conditions, but a driver is expected to retake control when the system asks for it. A Level 3 car can decide when to change lanes and how to respond to incidents on the road, but uses the human driver as the fallback system.

Level 4 is High Automation where the car can be driven by a human, but it doesn’t ever need to be. It can drive itself full time under the right circumstances, and if it encounters something it can’t handle, it can ask for human assistance, but will park itself and brings its passengers to safety if human help is not available. Level 4 is the first level that is truly self-driving. An example of this is Google’s Waymo self driving car, which is widely considered the leader in the fully autonomous car revolution.

Level 5 is Full Automation where a steering wheel is optional. At this level, the front seats might face backwards because the car doesn’t need any type of human intervention. The computer has full-time automation of all driving tasks on any road, under any conditions, whether there’s a human present or not.

This brings us to one of our big questions: How will self driving cars save the world?

First: Safety.

According to Waymo, each year over 1.2 million people die on roadways. In the US alone, traffic collisions result in over 35,000 deaths per year, and 94% of US crashes involve human error or choice. Mature digital systems in self-driving cars are designed and expected to be exponentially safer than human drivers. Self driving vehicles won’t make the typical human mistakes like falling asleep at the wheel, driving drunk, having road rage, or texting while driving.

With all the benefits from the software, hardware, sensors, and cameras, a self driving car will be able to make instant decisions based on not only calculations from its internal system, but all self driving cars will eventually be connected to each other sharing real-time data. Sorta like the internet. For example, right now you can buy a smart refrigerator that’s connected to the internet, it has a touch screen where you can order food right from the fridge itself. And soon it will be able to automatically order food when it detects that it’s running low on something.

Self driving cars will be similar with something called collective intelligence. All self driving cars will eventually be completely up-to-date with each other so if one car detects an object in the road, it will immediately share that alert with all other cars. If you use the Waze app, you know this is already happening except with autonomous vehicles it will be automatically done by computers instead of relying on humans.

This leads us into the other main benefits of self driving cars: Savings & Convenience.

According to a study, Americans spent an estimated 6.9 billion hours in traffic delays in 2014, cutting into time at work or with family, and increasing fuel costs. However when self driving cars are sharing real-time data about the traveling conditions and they are programmed to see and detect everything around them, that’s when there will be a huge decrease in traffic congestion and wasted time.

Self driving cars will give the elderly & disabled a huge amount of freedom to travel nearly anywhere at anytime. Today there are 49 million Americans over age 65 and 53 million people have some form of disability, and in many places, employment relies on the ability to drive. Self driving vehicles could be the solution. In fact, one study suggests that self driving vehicles could create new employment opportunities for approximately 2 million people with disabilities.

Autonomous vehicles can lead to saving money because owning your own vehicle won’t be necessary for many people when self driving cars will be constantly available for picking up and dropping off. This will also lead to less land needed for big parking lots since most of the cars won’t be parking without anyone in it for long periods of time. Fewer accidents will lead to saving on insurance costs. A study from the NHTSA showed motor vehicle crashes in 2010 cost $242 billion in economic activity, including $57 billion in lost workplace productivity, and $594 billion due to loss of life and decreased quality of life due to injuries. The major improvement in safety with self driving cars could drastically reduce these costs.

So with all those benefits it might seem like a no-brainer, right? Well, let’s talk about some of the negative aspects of self driving cars.

First, Job Loss.

According to a Goldman Sachs report, when autonomous vehicle saturation peaks, US drivers could see job losses at a rate of 300,000 per year. In 2014, there were 4 million driver jobs in the US. That represents 2 percent of total employment which could theoretically be erased when self driving cars become viable.

However, with most technology breakthroughs, new jobs will come with it, for example: cyber security experts, which brings us to the next con: Security & Privacy.

Like with all computer systems, self driving cars will be susceptible to hacking. Autonomous vehicle security is something that will need to be taken very seriously because a successful cyber attack on one or more self driving cars could be detrimental to human safety and the transportation infrastructure.

Also the privacy concerns will be more significant when all cars will be tracked at all times with the data from the computers and cameras being collected and stored by multiple entities. Even though this might be extremely beneficial in situations like kidnappings and missing person cases, it also takes away certain privacy and freedoms from good law abiding citizens.

While most driving is repetitive and mundane, some people actually like operating a car and prefer to drive for relaxation or enjoyment. When the roadways are strictly taken over by self driving cars, it will most likely be against the law for a human driver to drive on public roadways. This is when there may be a boom in recreational driving businesses. They’ll probably be similar to golf courses. There will be a certain area of land that is dedicated to human driving only for those people who want to drive cars themselves.

The last negative is the initial cost of the self driving technology. While autonomous vehicles will eventually be worth it, the upfront cost of the engineering and implementation will be high.

Given all the pros and cons of self driving vehicles, what do you think? Are you for or against them? Let me know by leaving a comment in the description below!

12 Mac Hidden Features You NEED to Be Using

Quick Look

One of the simplest tricks on Mac is press Spacebar to preview files. It works on a surprisingly large variety of file formats: office docs, PDFs, audio files, video files, fonts, etc. Saves a lot of time.


Cmd + Spacebar is the shortcut to Spotlight search which you can use to quickly open apps or files. This is a very simple and well-known feature and one of my most used keyboard shortcuts on the Mac. Spotlight can also perform calculations and look up other useful info like current conversion rates for currencies, the weather and flight statuses.

Digitally Sign PDFs with Preview

Preview app can automatically create a digital signature to allow you to digitally sign PDFs. Go to Preview, Tools, Annotate, Signature, Manage Signatures. Then hold up a signed piece of paper to the webcam and it will automatically create and save that digital signature for you so you can use anytime you need to digitally sign a PDF in the future.

Emoji Keyboard

To bring up the emoji keyboard in Mac OS simply press ctrl+Cmd+space

Quickly hide or close apps

Hold Cmd while pressing tab to scroll through your open apps. When you reach the app you want to close or hide, press either Q to quit or H to hide the app.


MacOS has a built-in speech to text feature called Dictation. Instead of typing, just press the fn key twice and a microphone icon will pop up and then you can start speaking into your microphone and it will type out what you’re talking and when you’re done you just click Done.


Cmd + shift + 4 = Capture dragged area & save to desktop
Cmd + shift + 3 = Capture entire screen & save to desktop
Cmd + ctrl + shift + 3 = Capture entire screen & copy to clipboard
Cmd + ctrl + shift + 4 = Capture dragged area & copy to clipboard
Cmd + shift + 4 + Space = Capture a window & save to desktop
Cmd + ctrl + shift + 4 + Space = Capture a window & copy to clipboard

Quickly create file from selected text

Select text then drag and drop to desktop or folder and it will automatically create a file with the selected text in it

Precise Volume/Brightness Control

Hold Shift + Option and change your brightness or volume to adjust in smaller increments for more precise control.

Summarize Text

Mac OS allows you to quickly summarize long pieces of text in just a few seconds. To summarize a text first select it, right click on the selection and click on “Summarize”. To enable the summary feature, click on the app name in the status bar, click Services, Services Preferences, scroll down and check “Summarize”.

More Space

If you own a Mac with a Retina display you can scale the screen to create more screen space. This feature also works if you have a second monitor connected to your main Retina device. Go to System preferences, Display, Click Scale, and choose More Space.

Quick Dictionary

If you have a Trackpad you can select a word and do a 3-finger tap to quickly bring up the definition of the selected word.

Tesla Model 3 vs Model S: Top 5 Advantages of the 3!

Tesla has made it a point to strongly emphasize that the Model S is their most premium flagship sedan. In most ways the Model S is obviously better than Tesla’s smaller, simpler and more affordable sedan, the Model 3. However, there are a few key advantages that the Model 3 has over the Model S.

This video was inspired by this Reddit post.


The base Model 3, which should start delivering later this year, is $36,000 at its cheapest which includes the unavoidable delivery fee. On the other hand, the cheapest Model S is $75,000. So technically you could get two base Model 3’s for the same price as one base Model S (kind of a two for one deal there). We still don’t know how much a loaded AWD Performance version of the Model 3 will cost, but right now it’s safe to say that a Model 3 is half the price of Model S even when they have the same add-ons and options. The Model 3 is also more efficient than the Model S (we’ll get into the reasons why later in this video) but that means charging a Model 3 at home should cost less than charging a Model S because a Model 3 uses less energy than a Model S when traveling the same distance. Given the drastic price difference it’s also safe to assume for most people the car insurance should cost less for the Model 3 compared to Model S. So if saving money is a priority, choosing a Model 3 will definitely give you that advantage.

Battery & Range

Based on EPA documents, all Model 3’s come with newer 2170 battery cells which have 18.5% higher energy density than the older 18650 cells in the Model S. Tesla claims that the 50 kWh standard Model 3 has an estimated range of 220 miles, and the 75 kWh Long Range Model 3 has an estimated range of 310 miles. However, Tesla was found to be under-selling the actual range of the Model 3. According to tests, the Long Range Model 3 has a 78.3 kWh usable battery capacity compared to 72.6 kWh usable battery capacity in the Model S 75D. So even though they’re both equipped with 75 kWh batteries, the Long Range Model 3 actually has more usable capacity compared to the Model S 75D. And what’s even more interesting, according to the EPA, the $45,000 Long Range Model 3 actually has 334 miles of range compared to the $94,000 Model S 100D which has 335 miles of range. That’s a difference of $50,000 in price with a difference of 1 mile in range. That’s pretty crazy and it means Tesla is choosing to under-advertise the Model 3 range capability. Not only that, but a Tesla executive said the 18” Aero wheels that come standard on the Model 3 can potentially add up to 10% range. Some tests have shown it’s more likely to be around 5%, but even then that’s still something that the Model S currently does not have as an option. According to, the Long Range Model 3 has 130 MPGe which is much better than 103 MPGe on Model S 75. On average, Long Range Model 3 only requires 26 kWh to travel 100 miles compared to 33 kWh per 100 miles on the Model S.


The Model 3 has a different motor technology. It uses permanent magnet motors for high efficiency instead of induction motors that are used on the Model S. Some people think permanent magnet motors are the cheaper inferior option. However, permanent magnet motors used to be more expensive but have recently come down in price and still hold many advantages. The Model 3’s permanent magnet motors are lighter and have better track performance. They also reduce weight and improve handling. The induction motor on the Model S is larger, heavier, and less efficient resulting in more draw on the battery pack, when compared to a permanent magnet motor. Permanent magnet motors are also more efficient than induction motors over a wide range of RPMs and more efficient at capturing regenerative energy at low speeds. So even though the motor is not a newer tech per say, it does have its advantages compared to whats in the Model S.

Interior Features

The Model 3 has one of the most minimalist interiors in a car right now. It lacks a lot of the physical buttons and knobs that were typical in cars up to this point in time, and it replaced most of those functionalities with one big center-mounted 15” touchscreen display. However, The Model 3 does have some things that the Model S does not. For starters, the Model 3 has a small interior-facing camera built into the rear view mirror, and while Tesla has not yet said what this camera will be officially used for, it’s most likely there to provide some type of facial recognition features for Autopilot or driver profiles, and it’s also very well meant to monitor the inside of the car when it’s used in Tesla’s future ride sharing network. I did an entire video about this if you want to check it out here. The Model 3 center console has more storage space than the S, and with the Model 3 Premium Upgrade Package it also has charging docks for two smartphones. The Model 3 has coat hooks, lighted vanity mirrors, folding rear seat armrest with cup holders, and door pockets, all of which are lacking in the Model S. The Model 3 infotainment computer has a liquid cooled & faster processor which results in a more responsive touchscreen. The Media Control Unit is now powered by an Intel SoC instead of the Nvidia Tegra chip in Model S. The Autopilot ECU is still powered by Nvidia. But it’s worth mentioning the Model 3 needs a lot more processing power because it has to do everything on one processor. The Model S runs the navigation routing and voice recognition on the Instrument Cluster computer which divides the workload. The Model 3’s minimalist interior also provides a better field of vision out of the windshield because it’s completely flat all the way across the dashboard since there is no instrument cluster and the front hood doesn’t stick out as much as it does on the Model S.

Size & Space

You may be saying “Andy, how can this be an advantage when everyone knows the Model S is bigger and more spacious?” Yes that’s true, the Model S is supposed to be the bigger, better car. But the smaller, more compact Model 3 has its advantages too. The Model 3 is 184.8” long and 82.2” wide. The Model S is 196” long and 86.2” wide. So the Model S is about 11” longer and 4” wider. However, with the mirrors folded, the Model 3 is only 76.1” wide and the Model S is 77.3” wide, which only makes up a difference of about 1” in width. With the Model 3 being smaller, it’s most likely easier to park and maneuver in tight spaces. The Model 3 has been reported to have better handling because of it weighing less than the Model S. The Model S 75 curb weight is 4,469 lbs, and the standard range Model 3 curb weight is 3,549 lbs, which is a difference of 920 lbs. The weight difference is also similar when comparing the Model S 100D to the Long Range Model 3 which is a difference of 841 lbs. The lighter weight of the Model 3 also results in better range when compared to a Model S of the same battery capacity. And what’s the most surprising to me is that based on certain tests, the Model 3 has 1.5″ more headroom in the front and 2.4″ more headroom in the back compared to the Model S. Also, the Model 3 has the same amount of front legroom as the Model S, and only 0.2” less legroom in the back. So even though it’s smaller, it might not even be noticed.

Those are the top 5 advantages that the Tesla Model 3 has over the Model S. Does that mean the Model 3 is a better car than the Model S? Absolutely not. There are a ton of advantages that the Model S has over the Model 3 and I’m betting that Tesla releases a new refresh of the Model S very soon with a lot of the advances that the Model 3 has over the current S lineup, but since I’m a Model 3 reservation holder I am just more enthusiastic about the Model 3 for the time being so that’s why I wanted to do this video, to show the Model 3 some love as if I haven’t fanboy’d over it enough already. Let me know what you think in the comments below. Do you prefer the Model 3 over the Model S? Why or why not? Looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks for watching, if you enjoyed this video give it a thumbs up and subscribe to this channel if you haven’t already. My name is Andy and I’ll talk to you in the next one.


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