SmartThings Hub 2018 V3 vs V2

The new SmartThings Hub V3 also known as the SmartThings Hub 2018 is here in Canada with the official Canadian release on Oct 10th.  With the new model release, the question is what’s new.  So we’ll take a look at the SmartThings Hub V3 vs V2 but first a bit about the product.   SmartThings works with all sorts of automation devices as a central automation hub designed to bring different technologies together.  SmartThings Hub will allow users to check the status of devices and control them from anywhere they have Internet on their iOs or Android devices.  Users can set up scheduled events, triggers based on device status or even geolocation events.  They can also receive alerts by email.

Like the previous model, SmartThings V3 supports ZWave and Zigbee home automation devices as well as WiFi and network based devices from over 40 brands.   Samsung also makes sensors, outlets and buttons of their own that are aggressively priced, based on the Zigbee protocol.  Of course Samsung is also adding support for the SmartThings app in many of its new smart appliances and smart televisions.

SmartThings V3 also works with Google and Alexa voice assistants, allowing users to control their devices with simple voice commands.  There is an official “Works with SmartThings” page here but the short list of brands includes Leviton (Zwave and WiFi), Philips (Hue), Yale, Kwikset (Weiser in Canada), Schlage, Ring, Honeywell (Thermostats), Aeotec, Fibaro, Ecolink, Lutron (Caseta) and so on.

As its name implies, this is the third generation SmartThings Hub.  So what’s the difference between SmartThings V2 and V3 then?  Let’s have a closer look.  Although we can’t speak for Samsung’s intentions, it appears that the new hub is aimed at new user adoption with a very aggressive price.   V2 users are not likely to be running to upgrade to the new hub.  For one thing there doesn’t appear to be a migration utility at the time of writing so users would be starting from scratch.

The new model has both wired Ethernet and WiFi connectivity to make placement simple.  It’s also more compact.  The processor is actually slower and the ram smaller on the new version but we have to assume this is more than adequate to support everything the hub needs to do.  SmartThings V3 has built in radios to support Zigbee, ZWave and ZWave Plus just like the V2 hub so no change there.

Some of the changes that most users will never notice, relate to security.  Based on a post from a staff member on the SmartThings community here, the new V3 2018 platform allowed them to opportunity to tighten security.  Basically internal communications between the “brains” and the Zigbee chip are now encrypted using a unique key per device.  Also the ARM processor TrustZone features allow for a secure isolated place to store keys and sensitive data without it being accessible to the underlying Linux operating system.  They’ve also made changes to how they deal with secure Zwave and Zigbee devices.

As an aside, for those sharp eyed readers, in Canada the SmartThings Hub uses part number GP-U999SJVLGDB while in USA it is GP-U999SJVLGDA so they are presumably able to tell from where the hardware originates.  We’re not sure if they will block USA models from being activated in Canada or vice versa but they may very well decide to only support local models for warranty so it would seem wise to purchase your hardware from the same country in which it will be used.