Smart WiFi Plug with Energy Monitoring
On any given day in our household, it is mayhem. In the morning, the adults are up and preparing for work by roughly 7:30 am. My computer is on for work and the kettle is boiling as I prepare my first cup of tea. Already, by this time, I have had my phone on charge, the water heater for my shower and the iron in use.
We take electrical items for granted, never giving it a thought as we flick the switch to the on position.
This week when I was asked to test and review this smart socket, I jumped at the chance. Part of the test, was to have it connected to Alexa and operate it verbally. When it arrived, I did not really give it any forward preparation in my head. In fact, I had been on my way out of the door to go to the hardware shop, when the postman handed me the package.
On my return, I flicked on the kettle and daydreamed what it would be like in a world where you didn’t have to press any buttons, flick any switches. A world where you just gave a command and the job would be done for you. We are closer to this world than we think. The box was very small and unassuming. Plain white and very little text, the lack of direction on the box made it appeal to me initially. I figured that this would be as simple as just plugging it in.
On removing the plug from the box, I was struck at how normal it looked. There were no fancy components to fiddle with, just a single switch on the side and a tiny light on the face. This particular socket is designed to be small, so you can have two plugged in side by side and they do not touch or overlap.
The instruction book was very small, that had to be my only major complaint. I am not visually impaired by a great deal, but I am 47 and I do have spectacles for reading as a lot of people do at my age. The text in some of the instruction book was so small, I had to call my son to come through and read the pages for me.
The first thing to do was to download the special App. It’s called Smart Life; you recognise it by its simple blue design with a house. There is a QR code in the book you can use to find the App quickly if you are in doubt.
The instructions to set up the socket in the App were easy enough, once you have the App you can link as many sockets or appliances into it as you wish so long as they have the capability.
The tricky bit was getting the App to link with Alexa; I struggled here because the instructions were too small. Once again, I called in my son who read the page and had it connected in about thirty seconds – I am told it was not too difficult! What would I know compared with a 15-year-old boy?
You can control the socket from the App; however I think that is not the point of the item. You can also set up a basic timer or if you are clever, tell the socket to turn on under certain conditions such as when it gets dark, or even when it detects you are in the house via tracking your phone. In addition, the socket tracks power consumption of the item which is plugged in. This feature makes you aware of your energy usage and you might even be inclined to switch the item off when it is not in use.
Like probably every, first time user of a smart socket I was wondering what to try out first. The obvious choice was to try plugging a lamp into it. A lamp is a visual thing; you can see when the light is on or off.
We renamed the socket to ‘lamp’ inside the app. Then very politely I told Alexa to switch on the lamp and it worked. Alexa was told to switch the lamp off then on again several more times until that became no longer fun. The weird thing about asking Alexa to turn the lamp on is that she is so compliant. Her only word is ‘okay’ and the job is done, no backchat, no eye rolling, nothing. I don’t even have to say please or thank you, imagine that!
I judge things by asking myself if I would buy that product again. And in this case I would, you can still operate the socket manually, but there is something inherently lazy about not getting up out of your chair to switch the lights on.
Value for money? Yeah. This socket costs £12; however you can buy a double pack for not much more. Bearing in mind that once the item is bought, it’s a non-consumable object, so you get to keep it forever so I consider it to be value for money.
You can purchase this item on Amazon.co.uk SLITINTO Wireless Smart Outlet with Energy Monitoring, Timer, Set Schedule,Voice and Remote Control.