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In case you haven’t noticed, everyone is trying to find the easiest way to control internet-connected home devices. Voice activated devices like Google Home and the Amazon Echo are extremely popular, but sometimes we crave something more. That’s where the Flic button comes in. If you would like to control home devices, make calls on your cell phone, and even call an Uber with the press of a button, then the Flic button by Shortcut Labs is for you.

Flic button

Flic is a small rubberized button that is about ¼” thick and about the size and shape of a quarter. The name “Flic” is embossed in script on the top of each button. Flics are available separately for about $19.95. Purchasing a multi-pack will give you a slightly reduced rate.

flic button

Set up is easy. Activate Bluetooth on your device, then download the Flic app at the Apple App Store or the Google Play store. Create a Flic account, then sign in and follow the instructions to pair the Flic with your device. Tap the + sign to add your Flic. Press the Flic. The button will connect through Bluetooth and the activated button will show up on the screen. Tap on the Flic you want to set up. And you will see the set up screen for that Flic.

Each button has three functions, click, double click and press and hold. The interface is well-thought through and easy to follow. At the top of the setup screen, you will see the color of the Flic that you are setting up. You will even see the number of times that it has been pressed in case you want to use it as a counter. Choose the category that you want to control like Phone Control, Fitness, Smart Home, Connected Lights, etc.

flic button

Then choose the function you want the button to perform. Your phone controls the button’s functionality. When you are at home, it also automatically sees all of your home automation devices. It works with a wide variety of devices including Philips Hue,Lifx, Sonos, Uber, Lightify, Ecobee, Bose SoundTouch, WeMo, Wink, and the Harmony Hub to name just a few.

Each press can have several functions. For example, I have one button whose single click will turn on the several lights and turn on the TV. This is done by coordination with my Philips Hue lights and Harmony remote. Implementing these actions is easy. In the screen shot below you can see that a single click will find my phone, a double click will turn my Hue light to purple and a press and hold will turn the Hue light orange. You can also set these to toggle, so if the light is off the same press will turn the light on. If the light is on the press will turn it off.

flic button

Many regular phone functions are available with the Flic. You can set them use as alarm and snooze buttons, to play music and move to the next track, or set notifications. You can even have your phone take a picture with the press of a Flic button. The Flic also works with IFTTT which greatly enhances its capabilities. It can perform any functions that you have defines with the IFTTT app. This extends Flic’s reach to many other services including Gmail, Evernote, Instagram, Amazon Echo, Google Home and many more.

The Flic’s functionalities differ slightly depending on whether you are using the Apple or Android app. For example, with my husband’s Android phone, I was able to choose several functions for the “Find my Phone” function. I got to choose the sound that the phone made from a list of sounds, like buzzer, bell, horn, etc. I also got the use the phone’s flashlight to Flicker on and off. When the phone is found, the screen says, “Here I am” in large text with a big smiley face. On my iPhone a siren sounds and my notification screen says, “Here I am” in a small text notification.

The Flic button communicates through low-energy Bluetooth. In my testing, the range was very good. It reached to every corner of my average-sized home. The Flic uses a CR2016 watch battery for power. The rating on the battery says it will last about 18 month, but of course, this depends largely on the amount of use.

The colorful Flic buttons come with a peel-off back so they can adhere to a wall or piece of furniture easily. They come with a clip so they can also be worn or clipped onto an object. If, however, you don’t use the sticky back, you will want to be careful to keep them away from children and pets. They could easily be mistaken for a piece of candy or something edible.

You can use Flic buttons in the home, office, car, or any location of your choice. They can actually be useful in the car for one-button access to any functionality your need. There is one other caveat with the Flic buttons. They rely on a connection to your cell phone, so your cell phone must be in reach for them to work.

The real fun of using the Flic buttons is deciding how you want to use them. If you already have some smart home devices, you are sure to find them quite useful.

 

 

 

Sandy Berger, respected computer authority, journalist, media guest, speaker, and author, has more than three decades of experience as a computer and technology expert. Her eight books include: How to Have a Meaningful Relationship with Your Computer, Your Official Grown-up's Guide to AOL and the Internet, Cyber Savers –Tips & Tricks for Today’s Drowning Computer Users, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Better Living through Technology, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to the Internet, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Gadgets & Gizmos, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Health & Wellness, and Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Travel. Sandy’s newspaper column, magazine articles, feature stories, product reviews, and computer tips can be found at her website, Compu-KISS.