By Sandy Berger
The new Flic button brings a new facet to home automation by making your remote a truly universal one for your home. The Flic button is the size of a quarter, but is quite a bit thicker, measuring in at about ¼-inches high. The outside has a silicon rubbery coating with the word Flic embossed in the middle. It comes in several different colors including black, green, yellow, and teal.
Set up is a simple Bluetooth pairing between the button and your cell phone or tablet. The Flic has a free app for both Apple and Android devices. Using the Flic app you can define different actions for each Flic button. There are three actions for each Flic: click, double-click, and press-and-hold.
The Flic buttons work with many of the functions on your phone, like music, alarms, and the camera. They also work with quite a large variety of home devices including Lifx, Philips Hue, Sonos, Lightify, Telldus, and WeMo to name just a few. The functionality is also greatly expanded by Flic’s support of IFTTT. So anything that IFTTT can control can also be controlled by a Flic button.
Half of the fun in using these buttons is to choose what you want them to do. I programmed my first button to turn on the television with a click and to turn on the lights in my TV room with a long press. Repeating the actions when these items were already on, toggled them off. This was possible because the Flic recognized all my Philips Hue lights and the Logitech Harmony remote that I use for my television.
I guess I shouldn’t have been amazed, but I was. Press one button and the television turned on, the audio receiver moved to the proper selection and the input on the television was set to the correct input mode. A long press and two lights turned on and my colored Hue light changed to the blue light that I prefer for television watching. It was amazingly easy as the Flic found all my light bulbs and TV remote settings and all I had to do was to choose the ones I wanted to use with that particular button.
Of course, you must have internet-connected lights and a Harmony remote to make this work, but if you do, it is amazing.
The Flic also works with regular phone functions. You can set them to use as alarm and snooze buttons, to play music and move to the next track. You can even have your phone take a picture with the press of a Flic button.
I used my second button to help my husband find his phone. After pairing his phone with the Flic button, I chose the Find My Phone option for the Click action. I also got to choose the sound that the phone will make, like buzzer, bell, horn and the volume. On his Android phone, I set the flashlight flash to turn on and off. Now when he presses his Flic button his phone whistles and flashes helping him find where it’s hidden. (Some of the choices and animations are different on Apple phones).
How Flic Works
The Flic uses low-energy Bluetooth to communicate to your phone so the app must be kept running on your phone to make it work. The range of the Flic was quite good. It reached all corners of my average-sized house and patio. The replaceable battery is rated to last approximately 18 months. The Flic twists open when it’s time to replace the battery, which uses a CR2016 watch battery.
Since the colorful Flic buttons can be mistaken for a piece of candy, you don’t want to leave them lying around where there are kids or animals. Luckily, the Flic has an adhesive back so you can easily attach it to a wall or other object.
The Flick buttons work without a hitch and it’s fun thinking up creative uses for them. Amazon is currently selling them in a four-pack for $70. While not terribly inexpensive, they pack a lot of functionality in a little package.
Sandy began her career as a computer programmer and over the years has become a trusted authority on a variety of tech, gadgets and gizmos. A regular on TV, radio and podcasts, Sandy speaks at tech events around the world.See all articles