Smart plugs–the backbone of any possible DIY intelligent home scheme. They were, of course, what got me began on this trip in my case. I would say that the intelligent bulbs are just as rudimentary alongside intelligent plugs, but with a plethora of intelligent plugs and intelligent bulbs, it has started to get a little crowded. Nothing is wrong with the decision, though, right? If you’re new to the Smart Home game, you’ve got a lot of options now–single socket, dual outlet, energy bar, USB charging ports, night lights, even color night lights!
Despite this decision, the issue encountered by many producers is to build a intelligent outlet in a shell that only takes up one of the two outlets on your wall to do what it requires. Some companies, such as iDevices and iHome, have solved this from the beginning, but what we have here today is a intelligent outlet that still manages to prevent covering more than one outlet, but actually provides you with two intelligent outlets from a periodic outlet.
The packaging itself is therefore decent enough, and the entire text seems to be in American English and French in Canadian. It’s a wifi product, and it just says that on the front. It’s appropriate for HomeKit as well, so there’s no Google or Amazon folks here. The back demonstrates a lifestyle picture, and below that, four boxes spell out four selling points, Timer, Insights, Dual Outlets, and Easy Setup features.
It’s not hard to see when you see these’ selling points’ that smart plugs generally don’t have a lot of selling points per se, and of the four here, two refer to the app in many ways, and the’ simple configuration’ is relative. Still, a little later we’re going to get to the timers and perspectives chapter. The other edge cites the Satechi app, which is itself a full-fledged HomeKit 3rd party app and will be needed to update the firmware. If you want the functionality of timers and perspectives, this is another reason for getting the app.
Open the box and there are two things you can find, the smart plug and the manual. Although installing a intelligent plug is usually simple, do not throw away the handbook as it contains one HomeKit code example. There’s one on the switch itself, but destiny has a way to make things go away just when you need it, so I’d suggest hanging on it or saving the code using the HomPass app from Aaron Pearce.
THE SMART PLUG
The Satechi Smart plug, or as they call it, the once unwrapped Dual Smart Outlet, lost some of the magic to me (yeah, I know, it’s a intelligent plug…). It was just down to the good packaging and the cellophane wrap that gave way to a device using shiny, inexpensive plastic. If, like the Aqara appliances, they had used plastic with a more matt feel, it would have really felt premium. Still, I suppose it’s how it performs, but while it looks like it isn’t all, it counts for something. The front of the plug has the two single outlets, together with a groove above them, which also includes the black and orange business logo.
It is sufficiently subtle enough that their decent business logo helps. The back has Type B, North American, one set of buttons. Rubber stoppers are installed on each corner of the buttons to cover the screw recesses that hold the plug together. These stoppers fall out very readily, so if a pet or young kid chooses to swallow one, it may be better to remove them completely. The back also includes the plug information and legal info. The intelligent plug side as nothing other than the reality that you can see the join is not too big, at least not my unit. This would be a nice point to discuss the sizes and overall specs of the plug;
- width – 5.12″ / 130mm
- height – 1.57″ /40mm
- depth – 2.36″ / 59mm
- 120V @ 60Hz
- 1800W (15A)
This last point is worth noting as even if you get two inputs, the total output for both of them is only 1800w, so if both are used, each outlet is only capable of 900W, or so it seems, although I might be incorrect. The top of the device has two circular buttons individually to regulate the authority of each outlet, together with a matching blue LED that will switch on when the outlet is active. There’s no way these blue LEDs can be disabled.
Because of the size of this double outlet, you can not only regulate two distinct equipment plugged into it by simply using the one outlet, but because it is so small, the second free outlet is not obscured, and as you can see from the primary picture, you can position another Dual intelligent outlet below / above for a total of four intelligent outlets from two wall sockets. An early review asserted that this was the first intelligent plug with two independently regulated outlets, although this accolade must actually go to the ConnectSense Smart Outlet, although the Connectsense obscures both sockets completely in fairness.
As anticipated, installation via the Home app was a doddle, so there’s little point in going through the process as it’s really easy–assuming you’ve installed a phone at least once through the Home app–and you’ve been able to add it the first time. Both outlets have their own tile and, as you would expect, can be regulated completely separately. These are just outlets in the Home app, and as such, you can choose to make them appear as any of the three normal alternatives–a fan, outlet, or lamp. Other than that you can’t do much else with this plug in the Home app that can’t be accomplished with any other intelligent outlets already.
THE SATECHI APP
Like many who came before it, the Satechi app is a full-fledged HomeKit app, so you can do just about everything and more in this app that you can do in the formal Home app. While I still have to discover an app that matches Home for its balanced look and clean’ Apple’ lines, it’s not poor looking. However, it’s free, and if you want to make sure that the outlet is up-to-date with the recent firmware, this app is where you will discover it. Two selling points at the beginning of the article I listed–timers and perspectives.
As you can imagine, timers are automations to turn on and off the intelligent outlets for a certain duration of moment–to be accurate, up to 2hrs, 59mins and 59secs. You dial in the moment in hours, minutes and seconds and press the virtual switch to countdown to zero, after which the channel will be turned on or off depending on how you have the’ when the timer finishes.’ This may be helpful when you may want a fan or lamp to switch off after a certain quantity of moment, regardless of any planned moment you may have already set up.
Schedules are more regular in that you can set particular times for the plug to switch on and off and have that schedule repeat on a daily, weekly or custom loop, so if you want an outlet to switch off at midnight and come back at 7 a.m., but only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, you’d be covered by that.
Insights are linked to energy consumption, and if you want to use this to monitor the energy consumption of something that has been plugged into these outlets, then this function has the components to make it occur. Besides being able to see live energy usage on the settings page together with complete usage for the present month, you can also set the price per unit, while selecting from four distinct currencies for additional convenience–US dollars, Japanese Yen, European Euros and (oddly) Swiss Francs! It may not be as comprehensive as the Eve app, but it’s still useful to have, with Total Consumption and Total Cost display screens for line graphs.
I never had the feeling that this unit would change my mind, and apart from the sizes that make it much more convenient than many other intelligent plugs that tend to block outlets, and that you get two outlets in one, the upper line is that it’s just a intelligent plug, and I’ll add one more to my collection. It’s not meh in that context, but it’s also not much more than that. Usually I’m’ half glass full’ on the side of things, and so far the good news is that the device is responsive and hasn’t left its connection to the network once, and I really like the layout.
The inexpensive feeling plastic used for the situation is not a large surprise as these plugs will not be seen most of the moment, although getting back to the pictured picture at the bottom of this evaluation, if it is used in immediate perspective in your kitchen, then perhaps a stronger grade of plastic would not have gone wrong. If you were to put two of these in two sockets while they fit snuggly together, the buttons for the bottom of the two pipes are unavailable! Maybe something to remember. Price-wise, it’s not massively inexpensive, as you can get a 2-pack of very secure Vocolinc SmartBar plugs for less than US$ 30, but then a 2-pack of these brings up two stores, while the Satechi gets only one socket, but for almost double the cost, so it’s a case of what you believe a double socket intelligent plug will be helpful for.