ConnectSense Review: The Smart Outlet Offers Two HomeKit-Enabled Sockets and a USB Port

Discussion in 'Guides, How Tos and Reviews' started by MacRumors, Dec 15, 2015.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    #1
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    Now that HomeKit's been available for several months, more and more HomeKit-enabled products are popping up. When HomeKit first launched in June, there was only one smart plug available (the Elgato Eve), but now there are a handful to choose from. ConnectSense is the latest company to develop a HomeKit-enabled plug, debuting its Smart Outlet in October.

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    I went hands-on with the new ConnectSense Smart Outlet to see how it measures up to similar HomeKit products that are available for purchase.

    Design

    Unlike the other intelligent HomeKit-compatible plugs on the market, the Smart Outlet from ConnectSense combines two outlets in one simple device, with an additional USB charging port for charging an iPhone or iPad. To connect to the iPhone and other HomeKit devices, the Smart Outlet uses Wi-Fi and connects to a home Wi-Fi network.

    The Smart Outlet plugs into any traditional outlet in the home, fitting into either the bottom or the top socket. Plugged into the top socket, it fits neatly over an in-the-wall outlet, and while it sticks out about an inch, it's largely unobtrusive thanks to a simple design. It can also be plugged into the bottom socket of a standard wall socket, but its shape does not allow it to leave the top socket free for use, so there's no real reason to use it that way.

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    Made of a smooth white plastic with curved edges, the Smart Outlet has an attractive no-frills design and a decent build quality, but I'm not entirely sure it feels like an $80 product.

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    Each socket in the Smart Outlet is treated as an individual HomeKit product, so devices plugged into the Outlet can be controlled separately. On the left side, there's also a USB port for charging iPads and iPhones, but this port can't be controlled via Siri or through the app.


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    Article Link: ConnectSense Review: The Smart Outlet Offers Two HomeKit-Enabled Sockets and a USB Port
     
  2. runeapple macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    Why is there nothing like this in the UK I'd literally buy it right now.
     
  3. ArtOfWarfare macrumors G3

    ArtOfWarfare

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    Nov 26, 2007
    #3
    The only piece of smart equiptment in my house is my garage. I paid $30 to have a little device that connects directly into my modem and can control my garage. It doesn't have HomeKit (so no Siri), but it works perfectly, unlike, it seems, all of the HomeKit products.

    I'm thinking about just DIYing a smart outlet solution for myself... it doesn't seem all that complicated.
     
  4. patrickcwelsh macrumors member

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    Jan 5, 2015
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    Atlantic City, NJ
    #4
    Excuse my laziness for a minute, but does anyone have a wifi-enabled wall outlet that they like better? I'd like to get one at some point, but the $80 price tag is a turn-off, especially if it "Occasionally loses connection to Wi-Fi"...
     
  5. Jeaz macrumors 6502

    Jeaz

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    Sweden
    #5
    It's an interesting prospect, but I'm more keen on having built-in version, replacing the wall plug completely. And EU socket.
     
  6. Jimmy James macrumors 601

    Jimmy James

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    Oct 26, 2008
    #6
    This is the product for everyone who ever wished they could accentuate their electrical outlets with lights?
     
  7. rbrian macrumors 6502a

    rbrian

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    Aberdeen, Scotland
    #7
    We use a very different socket from the rest of the world. It doesn't take much redesign to change from flat to round to diagonal pins, to reach hundreds of millions of potential users, against a huge redesign for our huge sockets, to reach less than 10% of the potential market.

    It will come, but it will take time. On the plus side, at 240v our devices charge faster.
     
  8. Bigsk8r macrumors 6502

    Bigsk8r

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    Austin, Texas
    #8
    Yeah, I like the concept of HomeKit, but this seems like even more of a "hobby" than the Apple TV.
     
  9. vipergts2207 macrumors 68010

    vipergts2207

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    Columbus, OH
    #9
    How many different outlets and light bulbs are companies going to release before we get some other HomeKit devices? I get that they're probably simple to make, but come on now. Still waiting for a Honeywell Lryic with HomeKit support.
     
  10. runeapple macrumors 6502a

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    #10


    This thing is super bulky it wouldn't require a big redesign. There are at least 10 different smart sockets in the US now and I haven't see any for any other country.

    Hopefully soon, who ever comes first to market will likely get lots of sales
     
  11. zorinlynx macrumors 603

    zorinlynx

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    #11
    It occasionally loses connectivity to wifi and has to be unplugged and plugged back in again?

    WTF? This is an $80 device, and you have to turn it off and on again every couple days? **** that, I think I'll stick to manually turning on my lights until these companies figure out how to stop making *garbage* and trying to sell it at obscene markups.
     
  12. bennibeef macrumors 6502

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    May 22, 2013
    #12
    If Apple isnt providing an Homekit app it will never take off.

    I dont want to use 10 Apps to use 10 different vendors of smart devices.

    Its nice that they have Homekit but what advantage does this really bring. Yes I can tell siri to switch my lights off. But there are times where its just easier to use an app if you have to "flick a couple switches" or if you have to be quiet and turn something off.

    Like in the middle of the night if you want to turn off a light in bed with your wife and shes already sleeping.

    Hey Siri

    turn the lights off

    Now shes awake.
     
  13. mw360 macrumors 65832

    mw360

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    #13
    Absolutely. How hard can it be for a wifi device to figure out somethings wrong if it hasn't heard from the network in a while? This problem plagues all these plasticky pieces of crap, and makes me very wary of buying anything remotely similar.
     
  14. jclo Editor

    jclo

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    #14
    Not having a centralized app is my biggest complaint with HomeKit right now. When you have multiple devices installed, it's frustrating to use a different app for each one, all with a different layout and many with different capabilities. There's also zero way to troubleshoot what's wrong with a HomeKit setup if something won't connect, for example. The only solution is to reset it, re-connect it to HomeKit, and cross your fingers.

    I agree that using a light switch or an app is often faster and easier than asking Siri to turn off the lights (and there's no misinterpretation), but it's nice to have the option. I think a lot of the future promise in HomeKit lies in the ability to link items and have them complete a lot of tasks automatically based on triggers, but things just aren't fleshed out enough right now to make that reliable. A sensor that knows when I get into bed and turns my lights off, for example, would be deal. That doesn't exist yet, but it might a few years in the future if some of the HomeKit problems can get worked out.
     
  15. moxxham macrumors 6502

    moxxham

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    #15
    I would kill to have some cool HomeKit stuff, but the prices here in Australia are just insane. For some connected lightbulbs, it's over $300 for a hub and 2 lightbulbs! Smart plugs are about $100.
    Can't wait for cheap and useful home automation
     
  16. SteveJobs2.0 macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    "Siri, prepare for sex!" Music comes on, light go pink, coffee starts brewing,...
     
  17. FieldingMellish Suspended

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    #17
    That's some giant and thick switch plates they got there.
     
  18. Vanilla Face macrumors 6502

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    Aug 11, 2013
    #18
    What do people do with HomeKit outlets? The only thing I can think of is using it for lights, anything else that I'd use it for would require pressing an on button after the plug has power. I'm much more interested in in wall switches that control 95% of the lights in my house.
     
  19. zorinlynx macrumors 603

    zorinlynx

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    Florida, USA
    #19
    Professional networking equipment has hardware and software known as a "watchdog". It basically does a quick self diagnostic periodically, and if the diagnostic fails, reboots the device.

    It is trivial to implement and would make a lot of equipment out there more reliable.
     
  20. rbrian macrumors 6502a

    rbrian

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    Aberdeen, Scotland
    #20
    If you look at a travel adapter, you'll see they usually fit most other sockets, just by rotating the pins. This means all they have to is put different pins on. To fit ours, the pins would have to be substantially bigger, and significantly wider apart. Not only that, the sockets would have to be wider, deeper, and further apart. This means the internals would need to change, which would have knock on effects elsewhere, etc etc. Also our sockets are horizontal, so they'd pretty much have to start again. Maybe then they'd take the opportunity to fix the wifi problems...
     

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  21. chiefsilverback macrumors 6502

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    Jul 25, 2011
    #21
    A couple of examples I've thought of are using something like the Eve indoor sensor to monitor temperature and humidity and then turn a heater and humidifier on and off as necessary to maintain a comfortable environment. Adding in geo-fencing would ensure that i wasn't wasting electricity when I'm not home.
     
  22. adam9c1 macrumors 68000

    adam9c1

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    Chicagoland
    #22
    I don't have any homekit devices.

    I did purchase this app (in case it gets pulled from the store, etc):
    Home - Smart Automation

    I hope I'm right on this.
     
  23. Anonymous Freak macrumors 603

    Anonymous Freak

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    Cascadia
    #23
    One thing I'd like to see on these reviews is power consumption. For me, one of the biggest selling points of "smart home" uses is power savings. So knowing how much power draw these devices have "at idle" would be good to know, as well as if they impact the power draw of any attached devices. If these draw more power than my devices do when in off/standby mode, I might as well use an old-fashioned power strip with a physical power switch, since this won't save much.
     
  24. Recognition macrumors 6502a

    Recognition

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    Jun 27, 2013
    #24
    Buy some Belkin WeMo switches and download 'Homebridge' from GitHub, https://github.com/nfarina/homebridge
    You'll need an always online computer to act as a server, a raspberry pi works well apparently and then you can use HomeKit and Siri with devices not currently HomeKit enabled!

    I've been using it with my WeMo switches and Nest thermostat for a few weeks now, the server is running on my MBA. Works well and haven't ran into any bugs yet!
     
  25. 0098386 Suspended

    0098386

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30 December 15, 2015