It’s that time of year where you find more items than ever to automate around the house. Out with those old school timers and in with smart home solutions that can be controlled from anywhere in the world. Much more convenient than the “old stuff” and unlike those old timers, you can find so much more to do with the modern solutions. Now that it is the holiday season though, you have the tree, the lights outside and everything else that can benefit from being integrated with your smart home setup.
We have been playing with a new smart plug over the last few days, adding it to the mix around here and seeing how well it plays with others. The Amysen Smart Wi-Fi Plug, which is quite similar to just about any other name you might have heard of, including WEMO and more. You include it to your network using an app, where you can then create schedules, scenes or allow your Alexa or Google Assistant speakers to control them using your voice (“Alexa, turn on the Christmas lights!”).
What’s nice about these is the fact that they are so small. They play nicely with any outlet as they don’t get in the way with other plugs, and they don’t stick out like a sore thumb (like some other outlets, one of which might have already been mentioned above). The blend in nicely with your outlets and seem to function exactly how you’d expect them to.
They are about 1.1-inches front to back (sticking out), and just barely less than 2-inches in diameter. Fully plastic other than the prongs (which is normal for any outlet solution), and they feel durable. The right side of the outlet contains a button to manually turn the plug on and off with, in case you don’t have a mobile device nearby or your network is down. That’s it on the design side of things.
Performance-wise, as mentioned, they seem to work just as promised. The instructions are small and basic, but provide you with everything you need to get setup. You literally just have to download an app (“Smart Life”) onto your mobile device. You register with the app and then choose to add a device. Select the power outlet in the list and follow the instructions to pair it (you have to hold the button on the side down for a number of seconds to trigger pairing). It will walk you through telling it which WiFi network to join and it will appear in your list as a connected device.
From here, you can configure it by naming it, placing it into a group, set a schedule or have it walk you through adding the devices to a third party solution (including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT and Rokid). You can flip to the “Smart” tab and start building scenes to automate things with.
What was nice for us, was that it uses the “Smart Life” app. A number of devices default to this app, including brands like iClever. So we already had the app going on some of our test devices, making the act of adding these to the network much quicker.
The plugs turn off and off perfectly fine via the app, the manual button or using something like Alexa. In fact, we didn’t really run into any troubles at all. The only thing we thought was unfortunate was the fact that we couldn’t add them to any of the main controllers (ie, Vera). So for now, you have to stick to the Smart Life app or the third party solutions mentioned.
These plugs are great. Not only are they affordable, but they offer a number of ways of controlling them thanks to support for Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT. Some others have mentioned troubles with instructions, but the instructions are just fine. They aren’t perfect, but they tell you exactly what you need to know and the app (“Smart Life”) that they refer you to right at the start, walks you through nicely in your setup. The fact that the Smart Life app isn’t an in-home proprietary app is also a plus, as you can mix and match models and brands that also support the app without having to be restricted to a small group of solutions from a single company. This allows you a lot of flexibility in building out your smart home setup.
The plugs are durable, including the button on the side, and they operate as expected via the app, the mentioned third party options or manually (button). It blended in nicely with some of the other options we had lying around that support the app, and groups with them all the same. In the end, this turned out to be a successful field test.
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*Average price is based on the time this article was published
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