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This TP-Link smart home hub reminds me so much of the Pixel Tablet

A whole other way of approaching smart home hubs and displays.

Published onMarch 2, 2024

At MWC, TP-Link showed me its new Matter-compatible smart home hub, the Tapo H500 Smart HomeBase. And there’s just something about it that reminded me of the Google Pixel Tablet — specifically its charging dock. Just look at it.

In a general way, the Tapo H500 serves the same purpose as the Pixel Tablet: It’s a central place for you to control your smart home. But that’s where the similarities end, really. Everything about the HomeBase is different. For one, you bring the tablet. You can put your iPad, your Galaxy Tab, or even skip the whole tablet part and close down the tablet latch. To control connected devices, I had to open the TP-Link Tapo app installed on the iPad in the demo area.

tp link tapo homebase h500 2
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

There’s no wireless or pin-based charging here, but the HomeBase has a USB-C port for charging on the back. Just grab a USB-C cable and you can plug in your tablet.

You can use any tablet with the HomeBase H500. You lose out on the seamless convenience of the Pixel Tablet, but you gain in versatility.

Between this and the manual app opening, you’re not getting any of the seamless convenience of the Pixel Tablet’s dock. But you’re exchanging that for extra versatility because you can use any tablet and upgrade it without changing the hub.

tp link tapo homebase h500 1
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

I hear you asking, though, what does the actual hub do? Its first purpose is to be the central connection point of TP-Link’s Tapo security cameras and sensors. It has 16GB of built-in storage for storing and processing (facial, object, and package detection) all of your security footage. It also supports ONVIF. And it can connect to 64 other smart home devices over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Matter, or Thread.

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Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

The Homebase H500 also houses a 110dB adjustable siren for intruder alerts and can take calls should you want to check up on what’s happening around your home.

TP-Link also has a higher-end version, the H900, which comes with a tablet and should be much more of a Pixel Tablet competitor. It provides a digital photo frame, alarm clock, calendar, notes, and some entertainment features, but it wasn’t shown at the booth, so I couldn’t test it out. Nor could I see which operating system TP-Link was running behind all of those functions.

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Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

There’s no word on when the two Homebase models will be available, and we don’t know any pricing details either. But if this sits somewhere in the $100 range, I think it’d be an interesting proposition for smart home aficionados.

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