<b>gizmo geek:</b> The smartest shower of them all
Whether you like a blast of icy-cold water on your face first thing in the morning or a warm spray to wind down at night, U by Moen will take care of it all
We know that smartphones are a necessary evil, and may just admit that smart watches are not so bad either. Perhaps we are even beginning to acknowledge, however grudgingly, that smart gadgets are going to take over our homes and roads sooner or later. But what would you say to a smart bathroom? Specifically, a smart shower that knows exactly how you like to begin your day or end it.
U by Moen is one such clever bath accessory, a luxury product that comes with customisable controls and personal device integration. So whether you like a blast of icy-cold water on your face to wake you up first thing in the morning or a warm spray to wind down at night, U will take care of it all once you program it in. It comes in two varieties—a two-outlet option with a shower head and handheld shower, and a four-outlet option that along with handheld and shower head also includes four body sprays—both with a classy terra beige finish that ought to look good in any modern bathroom.
The WiFi-connected shower controller of Moen’s U can be remotely activated and adjusted via a smartphone app. It allows one to control time and temperature of the shower to pinpoint accuracy. Say you like your shower at 35 degrees, and of course you have to keep the water running on a cold winter mornings till it heats. With U, you can now set the temperature, and relax with a cuppa and the newspaper till you’re ready for your bath or till your app notifies you that your water is done. While you wait, the system flushes out the cold water from the pipes and readies the hot water as per specs, ready to flow from the shower heads from the moment you turn them on, thus saving water. You may also set shower durations. A pause mode is also available, though reviewers have said that water temperatures can fluctuate if paused.
Should you not want to bring your phone into the shower cabinet (which would be a very smart move), there is a 5-inch shower controller with an LCD screen and soft-touch buttons to control the different shower heads as well as power and temperature. And if you’d rather not bother with customisations, there are shower presets available, 12 in the app and two in the wall controller.
Needless to say, U by Moen doesn’t come cheap. The thermostatic shower valve that controls the magic behind the scenes, the digital controller, battery kit and the external finish cost upwards of $3,500 (about Rs 2.5 lakh) for the four-outlet model and about $2,000 (around Rs 1.3 lakh) for the two-outlet one. The showerheads are separate, and finding a plumber for the installation is, by all accounts, not an easy task. Even if you were willing to lay out the cash and had the technical know-how to kit your bathroom out with Moen’s U, unfortunately it is currently available only in the US and Canada.
Payal Dhar