SmartThings Classic vs SmartThings Connect Compared A Deep Dive into Smart Home Platforms Featured Image

SmartThings Classic vs SmartThings Connect Compared: A Deep Dive into Smart Home Platforms

When it comes to managing your smart home, the choice of control platform can be a pivotal decision. In this article, we delve deep into the key aspects of SmartThings Classic vs SmartThings Connect. We’ll explore their differences, similarities, and specific advantages to help you make an informed choice. Whether you’re new to the smart home world or looking to upgrade, our comparison offers insights that can guide you through the complex landscape of smart home management.

What is the Main Difference Between SmartThings Classic and SmartThings Connect?

The main difference between SmartThings Classic and SmartThings Connect lies in the platforms’ user interfaces, features, and capabilities. SmartThings Classic is the older version and was designed with a focus on smart home automation but had a more complex user interface that could be less intuitive for new users. On the other hand, SmartThings Connect, also known simply as SmartThings, offers a more streamlined and user-friendly interface aimed at broader IoT (Internet of Things) functionality, not just smart home control. The newer version provides easier device pairing, improved navigation, and integrates better with other Samsung ecosystems, making it more aligned with modern IoT trends. Both versions allow for home automation, but SmartThings Connect aims to provide a more seamless, integrated experience for users.

Who is SmartThings Classic and who is SmartThings Connect?

SmartThings Classic and SmartThings Connect are both platforms designed to facilitate smart home automation. SmartThings Classic is the earlier version, created by SmartThings Inc., a company that was acquired by Samsung. This older platform aimed at providing a robust, if somewhat complicated, framework for smart home control, focusing on a wide range of Internet of Things (IoT) devices but with a steeper learning curve for newcomers.

SmartThings Connect, often simply referred to as SmartThings, is the revamped version of the Classic system, launched by Samsung to simplify and modernize the user experience. This newer platform aims to provide a more intuitive interface and focuses on ease of use and broader IoT functionalities beyond just smart home control. It also more seamlessly integrates with other Samsung ecosystems.

Key Differences between SmartThings Classic and SmartThings Connect

  1. User Interface: SmartThings Classic has a more complex user interface, catering to users who are accustomed to customizing their smart home setups in detail. SmartThings Connect offers a cleaner, more intuitive interface designed for easier navigation.
  2. Ease of Setup: SmartThings Connect simplifies the device pairing process, making it more straightforward for new users to add smart devices to their ecosystem.
  3. Integration with Samsung Ecosystem: SmartThings Connect is more deeply integrated into the Samsung ecosystem, offering compatibility with a broader range of Samsung devices and services.
  4. Automation Capabilities: While both platforms offer automation features, SmartThings Classic provides a more complex range of automation options, requiring a better understanding of smart home logic to fully utilize.
  5. App Availability: SmartThings Classic initially offered a separate mobile application which has since been phased out, whereas SmartThings Connect is integrated into a single, unified SmartThings app.
  6. Community Support: SmartThings Classic had strong community involvement with user-created ‘SmartApps’ and device handlers. SmartThings Connect focuses more on official partnerships and integrations.
  7. IoT Focus: SmartThings Classic was more strictly focused on smart home automation. SmartThings Connect broadens this focus to include a wider range of IoT devices and functionalities.
  8. Software Updates: SmartThings Connect receives more frequent software updates and improvements, in line with its status as the current, flagship version of the platform.
  9. Customization: SmartThings Classic allowed for a higher degree of user customization, often requiring manual input or coding, whereas SmartThings Connect aims for out-of-the-box functionality with less need for user tweaking.

Key Similarities between SmartThings Classic and SmartThings Connect

  1. Core Functionality: Both platforms aim to provide robust smart home automation capabilities, allowing users to connect a variety of IoT devices.
  2. Compatibility: A significant number of devices that worked with SmartThings Classic are also compatible with SmartThings Connect, although the latter supports a wider range.
  3. Remote Control: Both versions allow for remote control of smart devices via smartphone apps, facilitating easier management of your smart home ecosystem from anywhere.
  4. Automation Rules: Both SmartThings Classic and SmartThings Connect allow users to set up automation rules, albeit with differing levels of complexity and customization options.
  5. Z-Wave and Zigbee Support: Both platforms offer support for Z-Wave and Zigbee protocols, enabling a broad range of device connectivity options.
  6. Cloud-Based: Both versions are cloud-based platforms, meaning that they require an internet connection to function optimally, although some local control is possible.
  7. Samsung Ownership: Both versions are part of the Samsung ecosystem, following Samsung’s acquisition of the original SmartThings company.
  8. Security Features: Both platforms offer security features like device encryption and two-factor authentication to protect user data and smart home setups.

Key Differences in Products Offered by SmartThings Classic and SmartThings Connect

  1. SmartApps: SmartThings Classic offered a more extensive range of user-created ‘SmartApps’, allowing for highly customized setups. SmartThings Connect has limited this feature in favor of official integrations.
  2. Device Handlers: In the Classic version, device handlers, essentially custom drivers, could be created by the community, allowing for a broader but less standardized range of devices to be included. SmartThings Connect prioritizes officially supported devices.
  3. Hub Versions: While both platforms utilize a central hub to control various devices, the hardware iterations compatible with SmartThings Connect are generally newer and offer more features, such as enhanced security protocols.
  4. Sensors: SmartThings Classic supported an older range of sensors, both from SmartThings and third-party manufacturers. SmartThings Connect focuses on newer, more feature-rich sensors with better compatibility across the Samsung ecosystem.
  5. Voice Assistants: Both versions support voice control via assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant, but SmartThings Connect is more deeply integrated into Samsung’s Bixby voice assistant system.
  6. Multi-Purpose Sensors: The SmartThings Connect platform has introduced more advanced multi-purpose sensors that offer a variety of functionalities like temperature sensing, vibration detection, and more, in a single device.
  7. Third-Party Integrations: SmartThings Classic had a wider range of third-party integrations available through custom code. SmartThings Connect has fewer third-party integrations but aims for deeper partnerships with key players in the smart home industry.

Key Differences in Features of SmartThings Classic and SmartThings Connect

  1. User Experience: SmartThings Connect offers a more streamlined and user-friendly interface designed for mass appeal, whereas SmartThings Classic targeted tech-savvy users comfortable with customization.
  2. Device Setup: SmartThings Connect has introduced a simplified setup process, including QR code scanning for easier device pairing, unlike the manual setup often required in SmartThings Classic.
  3. Automation Engine: While both platforms provide automation capabilities, SmartThings Classic had a more extensive, albeit complicated, rules engine. SmartThings Connect offers a simplified, more intuitive rules engine.
  4. Software Updates: SmartThings Connect benefits from more frequent software updates, which are not only more readily available but also easier to implement due to the platform’s newer architecture.
  5. Local vs. Cloud Control: SmartThings Classic relied more heavily on cloud-based control, while SmartThings Connect aims to provide enhanced local control options, reducing latency and improving reliability.
  6. Customization: SmartThings Classic provided a broader range of customization options, often requiring manual input and coding. SmartThings Connect, on the other hand, is designed for easier out-of-the-box functionality.
  7. Security: SmartThings Connect has introduced enhanced security features such as more robust encryption and improved two-factor authentication, offering a more secure user experience compared to SmartThings Classic.
  8. Scene Creation: Both platforms offer scene creation features, but SmartThings Connect has made this process more intuitive, allowing users to set up scenes with a more user-friendly interface and fewer steps involved.

Pros of SmartThings Classic over SmartThings Connect

  1. Customization Flexibility: SmartThings Classic allows for a greater degree of user customization, including the ability to write and implement custom code, making it ideal for tech-savvy users.
  2. Extensive Community Support: The SmartThings Classic platform has a strong community of developers and users, providing a wide range of community-created SmartApps and device handlers.
  3. Detailed Automation: SmartThings Classic offers a more intricate set of automation capabilities, allowing for complex setups that can be tailored to specific needs.
  4. Third-Party Integrations: The Classic version supports a broad array of third-party devices and services through custom integrations, which can be particularly beneficial for those who already own non-Samsung smart devices.
  5. Transparent Processes: SmartThings Classic’s more technical interface offers insights into the inner workings of your smart home setup, giving you a higher level of control and understanding of your ecosystem.
  6. Legacy Device Support: The platform is more accommodating of older smart devices and sensors, providing a solution for those who don’t want to upgrade their entire smart home setup.
  7. Less Reliance on Samsung Ecosystem: Unlike SmartThings Connect, the Classic version is less tightly integrated into the Samsung ecosystem, offering more independence for those who use a mix of different brands.

Cons of SmartThings Classic compared to SmartThings Connect

  1. User Complexity: The Classic version’s interface and setup process can be daunting for users who are new to smart home technology, making it less accessible.
  2. Limited Software Updates: Being the older platform, SmartThings Classic receives fewer updates and is not the focus of new feature rollouts.
  3. Phasing Out: As Samsung shifts its focus to SmartThings Connect, support for SmartThings Classic is gradually being phased out, which may lead to decreased functionality over time.
  4. Inconsistent Experience: The extensive range of custom codes and community support means that the user experience can be inconsistent and may require troubleshooting.
  5. Security Concerns: SmartThings Classic lacks some of the enhanced security features found in SmartThings Connect, such as advanced encryption and two-factor authentication.
  6. Reduced Integration with New Samsung Products: The Classic platform may not be compatible with the latest Samsung smart devices, limiting its future-proofing capabilities.
  7. Limited Local Control: SmartThings Classic relies more on cloud-based processing for automation and device control, which can result in latency issues and makes the system more dependent on a stable internet connection.
  8. Manual Setup for Many Devices: Adding new devices in SmartThings Classic often requires manual setup and potentially custom code, unlike the more straightforward QR code scanning available in SmartThings Connect.

Pros of SmartThings Connect over SmartThings Classic

  1. User-Friendly Interface: SmartThings Connect provides a cleaner, more intuitive interface designed for a broad user base, making it easier for newcomers to smart home technology to navigate.
  2. Ease of Setup: The setup process for devices is more streamlined in SmartThings Connect, often involving simple QR code scans, reducing the complexity of adding new devices to your network.
  3. Enhanced Security: SmartThings Connect offers more advanced security features, including robust encryption and improved two-factor authentication, providing a more secure experience for users.
  4. Frequent Updates: Being the focus of Samsung’s smart home strategy, SmartThings Connect benefits from more frequent software updates and feature rollouts, ensuring users have access to the latest capabilities.
  5. Deep Samsung Ecosystem Integration: SmartThings Connect is more tightly integrated into Samsung’s ecosystem, making it a better fit for those who already own or plan to invest in Samsung smart products.
  6. Improved Local Control: SmartThings Connect has made strides in offering more local control options, reducing reliance on cloud-based processing and enhancing the speed and reliability of automations.
  7. Simplified Automation Engine: While still offering robust automation features, SmartThings Connect uses a more intuitive rules engine, making it easier for users to create complex scenes and automations without the need for custom coding.
  8. Future-Proofing: SmartThings Connect is better positioned for future updates and compatibility with new smart devices, making it a more sustainable choice for the long term.

Cons of SmartThings Connect compared to SmartThings Classic

  1. Limited Customization: SmartThings Connect offers fewer options for user customization, which can be a disadvantage for tech-savvy users looking for a highly personalized setup.
  2. Reduced Community Support: The platform has less community-created content available, limiting the range of custom SmartApps and device handlers that users can employ.
  3. Focus on Samsung Ecosystem: The tight integration with Samsung’s own ecosystem may not be ideal for those who have a mix of smart devices from different brands.
  4. Simplified Automation Limitations: The simplified automation engine, while easier to use, may lack some of the intricate customization options available in SmartThings Classic.
  5. Lesser Third-Party Integrations: While focusing on deeper partnerships, SmartThings Connect supports fewer third-party devices and services, which may be a limitation for those invested in other ecosystems.
  6. Phased Out Classic Support: Users of SmartThings Classic may find the transition to SmartThings Connect challenging, particularly if they rely on features or customizations not supported in the new platform.
  7. Limited Legacy Device Support: Some older devices and sensors that were compatible with SmartThings Classic may not be supported in SmartThings Connect, requiring users to potentially update their hardware.
  8. Dependency on Frequent Updates: While the frequent updates keep the platform current, they can also lead to issues of compatibility and stability, requiring users to adapt to changes more regularly.

Situations When SmartThings Classic is Better Than SmartThings Connect

  1. Complex Automation Needs: If you require complex automation rules that involve multiple conditions and triggers, SmartThings Classic offers a more detailed rules engine that can meet these needs.
  2. Extensive Customization: If you have specialized needs that require custom coding, SmartThings Classic allows for this level of in-depth customization.
  3. Multi-Brand Smart Home Setup: For those with a wide range of smart home devices from different brands, the broader third-party integration options in SmartThings Classic may be advantageous.
  4. Legacy Device Use: If you have older smart devices or sensors, SmartThings Classic is more likely to support these legacy devices, reducing the need for hardware upgrades.
  5. Community Support: If you benefit from or contribute to a community-driven platform, SmartThings Classic has a strong and vibrant user community that can provide additional support and custom solutions.
  6. Technical Insight: Users who want a more transparent look into the backend of their smart home setup may prefer the detailed insight offered by SmartThings Classic.
  7. Gradual Transition: For existing SmartThings Classic users not ready to make the transition to the newer platform, sticking with Classic makes sense as long as it continues to be supported.

Situations When SmartThings Connect is Better Than SmartThings Classic

  1. Ease of Use: If you are new to smart home technology and desire a straightforward, user-friendly interface, SmartThings Connect is the better choice.
  2. Security Concerns: Users looking for the latest security features, such as advanced encryption and two-factor authentication, will find SmartThings Connect more robust in this aspect.
  3. Samsung Device Ecosystem: If you own or plan to own multiple Samsung smart devices, SmartThings Connect offers better integration and a more cohesive user experience.
  4. Frequent Updates: Those who value having the latest features and updates will find SmartThings Connect more appealing due to its more frequent software updates.
  5. Long-Term Viability: If you’re concerned about the longevity of your smart home setup, SmartThings Connect is more future-proof and is likely to receive ongoing support and updates from Samsung.
  6. Simplified Automation: For users who want to set up automation rules but are intimidated by complex engines, SmartThings Connect offers a simpler yet effective automation setup.
  7. Local Control: If reduced latency and the ability to operate without an internet connection are important to you, SmartThings Connect’s enhanced local control options are a plus.
  8. Global Compatibility: SmartThings Connect is more aligned with global standards and is likely to be compatible with new market releases, making it suitable for those who want a globally adaptable system.


How do I migrate from SmartThings Classic to SmartThings Connect?
To migrate, download the SmartThings Connect app and sign in with your Samsung account. Most of your devices and automations can be transferred, although custom SmartApps will need to be set up again in Connect.

Is it possible to run SmartThings Classic and SmartThings Connect in parallel?
While it’s technically possible to have both apps installed and running, it can lead to conflicts and is generally not recommended by Samsung.

Are all SmartThings Classic SmartApps compatible with SmartThings Connect?
No, not all SmartApps and custom code that run on SmartThings Classic will be compatible with SmartThings Connect. You may need to look for alternatives or updated versions compatible with Connect.

What happens to my existing devices if I choose to stick with SmartThings Classic?
While the devices will continue to function, you’ll likely miss out on new features and updates, and there’s a risk of diminishing support over time.

Is SmartThings Connect faster in terms of command execution compared to SmartThings Classic?
SmartThings Connect has improved local control capabilities, which can result in faster execution of commands, although the difference may not be noticeable in all cases.

Are there any subscription fees for using advanced features in SmartThings Connect?
As of the last update in September 2021, there are no subscription fees specifically for SmartThings Connect. However, certain partnered services may have their own fees.

How do I know if my third-party smart devices are compatible with SmartThings Connect?
You can check the official SmartThings website for a list of compatible devices, or consult the device’s documentation to see if it specifies SmartThings Connect compatibility.

SmartThings Classic vs SmartThings Connect Summary

In summary, the choice between SmartThings Classic and SmartThings Connect largely depends on your specific needs and level of technical expertise. SmartThings Classic offers more advanced customization features, making it suitable for those who want a tailored smart home experience. On the other hand, SmartThings Connect provides a streamlined, user-friendly interface with better security features, making it ideal for newcomers and those deeply integrated into the Samsung ecosystem. Both platforms have their merits and drawbacks, but understanding these can help you choose the platform that is most aligned with your smart home objectives.

Feature/AspectSmartThings ClassicSmartThings Connect
Ease of UseComplex, but customizableUser-friendly, streamlined
AutomationDetailed rules engineSimplified automation
Security FeaturesBasicAdvanced encryption, two-factor authentication
UpdatesLess frequentFrequent
Third-party IntegrationWider rangeLimited to Samsung ecosystem
Community SupportStrongGrowing but not as extensive
Local ControlLimitedEnhanced
LongevityDiminishing supportFuture-proof
Legacy Device SupportSupportedLimited
ProsComplex Automation, Extensive CustomizationEase of Use, Security Features
ConsOutdated Security, Limited UpdatesLimited Customization, Ecosystem Lock-in
Best for Situation: Complex AutomationYesNo
Best for Situation: Simple UseNoYes
Products SupportedOlder and broader rangeNewer, mainly Samsung devices
Global CompatibilityLimitedMore aligned with global standards
SimilaritiesBasic Automation, Mobile App, Cloud-basedBasic Automation, Mobile App, Cloud-based
Key DifferencesAutomation complexity, CustomizationEase of Use, Security
Situations: Technical Insight NeededBetterNot ideal
Situations: Security ConcernsNot idealBetter
SmartThings Classic vs SmartThings Connect Summary

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