TechBlog

Product Review: WeMo Insight Smart Plug

About the Product

A Wi-Fi enabled smart plug that can help to control home gadgets remotely using a smartphone. It enables to monitor energy usage of the device plugged into it, in terms of cost and watts. It is one of the most recommended devices for beginners looking to start automating their homes. Its ability to sync with smart phone to provide features such as setting custom rules to receive alerts and notifications will give users a flavour of how smart gadgets make life more convenient by saving time and energy.

Concept and Design

The plug extends out by around 2 inches from the mains socket.

Installation of the WeMo Insight Switch is pretty straightforward and getting it to work with devices doesn’t require much skill either. Just push the WeMo Insight Switch into a mains socket, and then plug the required device into the WeMo smart plug. Three Wi-Fi bar lines will flash green on the WeMo’s display indicating that it is searching for a Wi-Fi signal. Once a signal is detected, the power symbol turns green indicating that the plug is ready to connect.

Next step is to connect the smart plug to its compatible app on your smartphone. First, we need to download and install the WeMo app and open it. Tap “Get Started”, and complete some easy steps that follow. Smart plug and your phone need to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network. You also need to enter the energy charges per kWh to enable it to calculate the energy usage in terms of cost.

App

The WeMo app is doesn’t really offer any help or steps to follow to use the app. You just need to use your common sense and move forward or trial and error to figure out few functions. The three main functions of the app are:

  1. Controlling the device plugged into the WeMo
  2. Track the device’s energy usage
  3. Customise notifications

On the top-right, there is a power button to turn the device on or off. The green power symbol is useful for users to identify if the device is turned on or off at any particular time. The device can be switched on or off from anywhere (even when you are not at home – over 3G or 4G).

If the default mode is set to “Off”, the status on the app will be set to “Standby” (even if the device is plugged in) until the device is turned on.

The device’s energy usage is visible on the main page of the app. It shows the cost of using the device for a single cycle as well as other metrics such as monthly cost of using the device.

The app also shows in real time the exact duration of time for which a device has been running.

The WeMo app can send notification when the device has been switched off.

Next interesting feature of the WeMo app is its ability to send custom notifications. This can be set up in the “Rules” section of the app.

The Good

  • Remote control via iOS/Android app
  • Tracks energy consumption in terms of cost and watts
  • Supports IFTTT

The Bad

  • Bulky design for some wall sockets
  • App could be designed to be smoother and more user friendly

Verdict

The Belkin WeMo Insight Switch is a perfect and one of the most convenient option as an entry point to home automation because it’s a straightforward device without complicated installation and monthly subscription. We recommend it if you’re concerned about energy consumption of certain home gadgets and wish to make some changes to the way they are used to save some money.