Control4 vs Savant: Home Automation System Comparison
Beginning with Savant, the system has the ability to intelligently light your home, deck out your media room, improve your audio set up, and seamlessly control climate. The system is run by a dedicated Mac or Linux based processor that connects the various appliances within the home for ease of use.Control4 is a powerful system that is intelligently priced for the high-end luxury market with pricing that is consistently 20% lower than Savant. Control4 products are highly reliable, easily programmable, and allow you to control everything in your home from lighting, to your home theatre and audio, to climate, security, surveillance cameras and more.
The following is a breakdown of the main differences between Control4 and Savant Systems:
- Price Control4 is considerably more cost-effective than Savant. This may be due to the fact that Savant’s pricing is Crestron-based, meaning they price everything the same as Crestron, the one-time industry leader. Control4’s pricing is market-based, which in no way means it is affordable, but that they are continually searching for the perfect price point to manage production demands while maintaining the highest levels of quality.
- Processors Savant was a Mac-based system that utilized re-configured Mac-mini computers for their processing power. This was their strongest claim – Apple plays better with Apple, meaning their Mac-minis would communicate better with iPhones, iPads, AppleTV, and Airplay. But Droid based devices are now outselling iPhones and iPads 2-1 and Savant has had to start over, introducing a Linux based processor that communicates with some, but not all Droid based devices (Kindle Fire being one major exception). Control4 has always built their processors independently and they are compatible with iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, and all computers supporting Adobe Air (both Apple and Microsoft). Their dual core 1.8 GHz processors are lightning fast. While both processors are excellent, Control4 may have gained an advantage by building upon an existing processor rather than starting from scratch with a new one.
- User Interfaces Savant has introduced a new user interface that is nothing less than stunning. Users can set their own backgrounds, create their own lighting scenes and do things that in the past would have cost at least three hours in programming time. Control4 offers a wide variety of native interfaces from standard remotes to keypads, in-wall touch panels and on-screen TV displays. Savant has the advantage here, but they charge an extra fee for on screen displays on your TV’s, a feature that is included in Control4.
- Streaming Music Savant supports iTunes and provides streaming content via a rebranded Mirage Media Server (MMS) that retails for $1995 for two simultaneous streams or $3995 for five simultaneous streams. The MMS is ok, but for the price users should not have to see compromised UI’s of their favorite streaming sources. Pandora is OK, but Spotify and Rhapsody are so compromised that most users prefer an AppleTV with Airplay over the MMS. Add to that the fact that the MMS is incredibly susceptible to heat and you’ll find yourself frustrated all too often with this music source. Control4 supports iTunes, and provides Rhapsody and TuneIn native to its processors. Control4 also happens to work seamlessly with Sonos, the streaming music source that has become an industry leader. A Sonos controller retails for $349 and the user interface within Control4 is first class.
- Programming As mentioned previously, Savant’s new app now allows the user the ability to program lighting scenes on their own. This is an innovative move, but their highly customizable graphics still require a custom program for almost every installation. Control4 has developed a simplified user interface which assists in saving on programming time. It is the hope of many C4 enthusiasts that they will soon follow suit with a do-it-yourself lighting scene like Savant’s.
- Compatibility Both Savant and Control4 offer direct integration with a host of vendors in the AV/Security/Automation industry. As for lighting Control4 is compatible with more LED lighting
vendors than even Lutron or Vantage. Control4’s greatest coup may be its compatibility with Sonos and Nest thermostats. Savant is not compatible with either.
- Lighting Savant offers lighting solutions through LiteTouch, a company they acquired in 2012. Control4 has consistently developed their own lighting control system over the past ten years and now offers a panelized lighting control system that is in every way comparable to Lutron or Vantage and nearly 20% less expensive. Again, the advantage may go to Control4 as they have been innovating their product over the last ten years while Savant is banking on a lighting company buyout to add lighting control to their offerings. Note: Most Savant dealers spec Lutron lighting and simply skip the LiteTouch option altogether.
In conclusion, while both Savant and Control4 offer a virtually unlimited number of options, we at Mackie Electronic Systems are of the opinion that Control4 offers the perfect blend of cost-effectiveness, intuitive controls, speed and versatility. Hopefully this comparison helps you when you are deciding between the two.