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Is this the Home Assistant Killer of the future! The iSG Display!

This looks like a tablet, but it’s so much more than that! This, ladies and gentlemen, appears to become the ultimate Smart Home Hub. You can control almost all your smart home devices with it, plus Home Assistant runs on it by default. Additionally, you can control your devices from your existing Home Assistant setup via this ISG Display, also known as the Intelligent Super Gateway. This thing promises to be the Home Assistant Killer of the future. Or is it?

You can buy the iSG Display here: https://shop.linknlink.com/products/isg-the-next-generation-all-in-one-super-smart-home-gateway

USE DISCOUNT CODE: SMARTHOMEJUNKIE (Valid until the end of July 2024)


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Introduction

LinkNLink sent me this iSG Display, also known as the Intelligent Super Gateway, to test. It is still in the beta stage, so not everything works perfectly yet, but what this display can already do promises a lot for the future. When LinkNLink first contacted me, I thought this product wouldn’t be interesting for you because it looks like just another type of tablet. However, as I read further, it turned out that this tablet also functions as a Smart Home Hub. So this is a tablet that, among other things, runs Home Assistant as a server! So yeah, then it seemed interesting to test this gateway.

LinkNLink sent me this iSG Display, also known as the Intelligent Super Gateway, to test. It is still in the beta stage, so not everything works perfectly yet, but what this display can already do promises a lot for the future. When LinkNLink first contacted me, I thought this product wouldn’t be interesting for you because it looks like just another type of tablet. However, as I read further, it turned out that this tablet also functions as a Smart Home Hub. So this is a tablet that, among other things, runs Home Assistant as a server! So yeah, then it seemed interesting to test this gateway.

Unboxing

In the box, there is a quick user guide and, of course, the display itself. Additionally, there is a box with accessories, including an adapter cable to connect a network cable. There is also a stand to neatly place the display on your desk. Naturally, there is also a power adapter. The display does not have a battery, so it must remain connected to the mains power to function. And then there is also a remote control with the display, but it’s a mystery to me what it’s for. LinkNLink has informed me that the remote control is not yet supported but that a future firmware version will add functionality to control the display. Later, I also found this Zigbee USB stick in the box. I hadn’t noticed it at all because it’s so small, but it is necessary if you want to pair Zigbee devices with the display itself.

The display has various ports, such as the one for the power adapter, a USB port for the Zigbee stick, an SD card slot, and a micro USB port.

Initially, I wasn’t sure what to do with the display, but I quickly discovered that this display can independently control Tuya, Matter, and Zigbee devices without using Home Assistant. And it can do so regardless of the brand. I have now directly connected a Matter lamp, a Zigbee lamp, an Aqara door sensor, and a Reolink video camera to the iSG display. Pairing went fairly smoothly, although I had to make several attempts to pair the Zigbee devices. It could be because I already have another Zigbee network in my house that interfered with the Zigbee dongle of the iSG display. But once they were paired, everything worked perfectly. At the moment, you can only turn a lamp on and off, but LinkNLink has assured me that you will be able to adjust the brightness and RGB values with the new firmware. Subscribe to my channel so I can keep you updated on the functionalities included in the new firmware. By the way, you can adjust the brightness and RGB values if you configure the lamps via Home Assistant.

Additionally, you can also create automations just like you can in Home Assistant. As an example, I created two automations: one that turns the light on when a door is closed and another that turns the light off when a door is opened. This works super simply and is easy to set up for people who aren’t very technical.

And, of course, you can connect the iSG Display to Alexa and Google Home. This way, you can control the devices linked to your iSG Display with your voice. And it also supports HomeKit.

Home Assistant

This Intelligent Super Gateway can already do a lot without needing Home Assistant, and for users who aren’t very tech-savvy, it will be more than sufficient to control their home. Additionally, you have a beautiful dashboard that you can easily customize. By holding down a tile, you can easily change the layout of the screen. But if you really want to go next level, you can also use the Home Assistant server installed on the iSG Display. You can even use devices that you have installed on an external Home Assistant server. The built-in Home Assistant server automatically recognizes many devices in your home, and you can also build your dashboard in Home Assistant and use the ISG display as a Home Assistant Dashboard.

What’s also cool is that Home Assistant immediately recognizes and adds the devices you’ve set up on the iSG Display to the overview dashboard. So, you don’t need to pair the devices you’ve set up on the iSG Display again in Home Assistant. I must say, LinkNLink has really thought about integrating Home Assistant into this display. You can use Home Assistant in parallel with the functionalities offered by the iSG display without losing any functionality. This is a truly great solution for people who aren’t very technical but still want the option to do more advanced things with Home Assistant as long as the iSG display software doesn’t yet support them.

And then I discovered the HA Service button… With this option, you can connect your existing external Home Assistant server to the iSG Display. This is mindblowing! I can control all my existing Home Assistant devices from the iSG Display, create new automations for them, and display them on my dashboard. And even advanced options like changing the brightness and RGB color work this way. Fantastic!!! Let’s add a camera that I configured on my external Home Assistant server in the iSG Display.

My contact with LinkNLink was very good during the making of this video, and I have full confidence that they will succeed. In addition to the features I mentioned, the following functionalities will also be added soon:

  • iSG Lite. This is an APK file that you can install on any Android tablet so you can use multiple tablets throughout your entire house, all referring to your central iSG Display.
  • Support for IR TV and AC (via eHub or eRemote hub) in Home Assistant
  • Support for Modbus TCP
  • Support for MQTT server
  • Support for video doorbell in Home Assistant
  • Support for button categories
  • Support for Zigbee curtain motors
  • and Support for Zigbee flood sensors

This device is super easy to use for anyone who isn’t very technical and finds Home Assistant too complicated. And if you want, you can always switch to Home Assistant later.

Downsides

And now for the drawbacks. At the moment, I’ve found the following disadvantages:

  • Because the display has only one USB port, you cannot connect it via a network cable when using the Zigbee stick, and vice versa. One USB port seems a bit insufficient to me.
  • The Home Assistant version installed on the iSG cannot be updated through Home Assistant itself. You need to perform a firmware update on the display for that. Additionally, it’s not the Home Assistant Operating System version installed, so you miss out on features like the add-on store.
  • Currently, you can only turn lamps on and off for lights that you’ve added using the iSG interface itself; you cannot adjust brightness and RGB color. LinkNLink has assured me that these features will be added in future firmware updates. But, you can adjust brightness and RGB color when you use Home Assistant to add the light.
  • There is a somewhat thick block at the back, causing the display to hang about a centimeter away from the wall. Not a major issue, but I wanted to mention it anyway.

Conclusion:

There’s still quite a bit that needs to happen before this display becomes a full-fledged hub capable of replacing Home Assistant. However, if LinkNLink continues to develop the hub in this direction, it could become a fantastic Smart Home Hub for people who aren’t very technical but want to automate their homes. Additionally, these users can gradually become accustomed to Home Assistant without disrupting their entire home setup. In my opinion, LinkNLink may have sent this device to me a bit prematurely, but I’ll keep you updated on the upcoming firmware upgrades so you can see if this hub lives up to its promises.

Will the LinknLink Intelligent Super Gateway become the Home Assistant Killer of the future? That remains to be seen, but at the moment, Home Assistant seems to have a strong competitor for less technical users. And it’s not just Home Assistant; even Homey will need to watch out for the ISG Display. True tech enthusiasts will probably still prefer Home Assistant, but the fact that Home Assistant is pre-installed on the ISG Display and that it supports Zigbee, Matter, and Tuya standards by default means you no longer necessarily need a Home Assistant Yellow or Home Assistant Green device. LinkNLink has really delivered a fantastic hub for just $199, that can also display your dashboard.

Good job, LinkNLink!

In the description of this video, you’ll find a link to where you can purchase the LinknLink iSG. Additionally, there’s a code that gives you a $30 discount on your purchase. You can buy the iSG Display here: https://shop.linknlink.com/products/isg-the-next-generation-all-in-one-super-smart-home-gateway. USE DISCOUNT CODE: SMARTHOMEJUNKIE (Valid until the end of June)

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