Ikea has now finally released the delayed smart blinds and this week I finally got my hands a pair of FYRTUR blackout versions. This is my first impressions of the blinds ahead of the Ikea smart blind review. Which will look in-depth at both the FYRTUR and KADRILJ blinds
Please note – This Ikea smart blinds hands is just that. I have had the FYRTUR installed for about 72 hours now. A full review is available at our sister site homekitauthority.com
Oh, one other thing. This hands-on is using 2 FYRTUR smart blinds paired to the same remote.
If you prefer to watch a video version of this article, then check it out below
In the box
If you have shopped at IKEA, then you know that the packaging is minimalistic and the Ikea smart blinds are no different. Cutting to the chase, in the box you get;
- IKEA FYRTUR blackout blind
- Mounting brackets
- USB charging cable
- Signal repeater
- Remote control
- Power point for charging and Signal repeater.
The blinds come in several sizes with a standard drop of 195cm.
Ikea smart blinds design
- FYRTUR blackout blind only comes in grey
- 100% polyester, 100% polyethylene blind
- Battery powered
We all know Ikea for its simple designs and the FYRTUR blackout blind follows that tradition. Ikea has made the FYRTUR blind from a black-out woven material that only comes in grey. I would not say they look overly premium, but what do you expect from smart blinds at this price point.
At the top of the blinds you find the aluminium casing that holds the blind spindle and motor. Around the front of the smart blinds you find the battery compartment, along with 2 small buttons that can operate the blinds.
The included accessories have some nice design elements. The signal repeater has an USB port which allows you to charge the included battery. The other nice touch, the remote attaches to the wall mount magnetically. This then allows you to take it off the wall easily.
Install and setup
- Easy install of the blinds
- Remote already paired out of the box
- Setting up with the IKEA Home smart app is troublesome
Installing the FYRTUR blinds is just as easy as any other blinds. You first install the two mounting brackets, but you need to provide your own screws. While some will see this as an inconvenience, I think it makes sense as you will need to use different screw fittings depending on the surface you are mounting them on. For instance, I used heavy duty plasterboard cavity expanding screws to ensure a solid and secure fix.
Once the mounting brackets are fixed in place, the next step is to mount the smart blind to the brackets. You do this by pressing a button on the brackets and pushing up. It’s that simple to get them installed.
Once you have them in place, you then install the battery, plug in the signal repeater and everything is good to go. The remote is comes pre-paired. So if you don’t want to use the app, then you good to go.
Note – You need to have the signal repeater always plugged in and within 5 meters of the smart blinds. As I am using 2 blinds paired I only have one plugged in and it works fine. But I am not sure if you will need a signal repeater for each blind if you had them all working independently, I will check this.
However, if you want to use the app, then you will need a Tradfri gateway and follow a few more setup steps.
Connecting to the app
While the installation of the blinds is simple, the app setup is cumbersome and could end up with high returns with people thinking they are faulty, let me explain.
First, connecting the smart blinds to the Tradfri gateway requires 3 steps.
- Pair the remote with the gateway
- Pair the remote with the signal repeater
- Then pair the remote with the blinds, again
Ok, some will say that this is not much to get them connected and I would partly agree. But why are so many steps needed? Why cannot IKEA find a way to cut down the steps?
However, it’s not just the amount of steps that is the issue. It is the amount of tries it took for me to get the smart blinds connected. When I was setting them up, it took me 50 minutes and over 10 attempts to get the FYRTUR blind connected to the Tradfri gateway and app.
I also had to reset everything after the first pairing process because of issues with dual control within the IKEA Home Smart app.
As I was using two FYRTUR blinds paired together I also had to add the 2nd blind. This process was a far simpler and only requires pairing the smart blind to the existing room, rather than the 3-step process above.
As I continue to test them, I will investigate the install issues in more detail and report back if it was something I was doing wrong or not, I am sure it’s not.
Oh, almost forgot one step before you can start using them, you need to set the drop length for your windows. Well, you guessed it this is another issue I encountered.
Setting the drop
Well, it’s not so much the process, it is the instructions. The online instructions say that you can use the remote to set the length. However, I had zero luck using the remote, and it was only until I eventually paired them with the app I could set the custom length.
The reason being is that the instructions on the app advised me to use the controls on the blinds. Once I followed these instructions, I completed the process in two minutes.
Hands-on with the App and features
- Tradfri support
- Google Home, Alexa and HomeKit coming soon
- Control them via the blinds, remote, app or voice
I will save most of the app and features details for the full Ikea smart blind review, but I will cover a few points.
- If you a user of the Tradfri app, then you will know its basic and nothing changes with the blinds.
- You need a Tradfri Gateway to use the app.
- Via the Tradfri gateway the smart blinds support, Google Home, Alexa and HomeKit will he coming later this year
- The app as a nice animation which shows the progress of the blind when it’s moving up or down.
- You can use the remote controls on the unit or the app to control the blinds. I enjoy having the option.
- IKEA says you can pair 4 blinds to one remote, I have 2 paired so far.
- I have 2 blinds paired to one remote and the app. You can control the blinds individually or together within the app
- The blinds do a decent job at blocking out the light, but if you want perfect, then you will not be 100% happy.
- I like that I can carry the remote around, helpful when on the sofa and if you are not planning on using the app.
- Found them fairly quiet to operate and will open and close fairly quickly
- You charge the battery via the USB port on the signal repeater. but because of placing of the charging port and power out, you cannot charge the battery when inside the blinds.
Ikea FYRTUR blackout blind hands on first impressions
Overall, I am impressed with the build quality for the price point. I was expecting them to feel and look cheap, but they are not. The blackout blind does a good job at blocking out light when they closed. The frame does not rattle or move around when they are in operation either and the motor noise is acceptable.
But, and this is a big, But. Based on my hands-on experiences so far with the IKEA smart blinds, they are let down by the software. The setup process is a total pain in the backside and software interface is clunky. It is also disappointing that despite the delays, HomeKit support is missing in action.
The FAQ and online instructions could do with a revisit as they are not overly clear, with conflicts between the app, paper and online versions.
While I have reached out to IKEA with my concerns and questions and deep down I am hoping I may have a set of faulty blinds. It is also in the back of my mind that IKEA has delayed these for nearly 9 months from its original release and these issues should not be in the product.
So that’s a wrap on this Ikea Smart blinds on-hands first impressions. Don’t forget to subscribe to get more smart home reviews. If you have a question or a comment, then leave it below. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.