If you are interested in remotely controlling lights and home appliances via internet and are confused on what to choose, a Wi-Fi smart power strip or plug from the choices: Belkin WeMo, Xiaomi, Orvibo, Smarteefi, D-Link etc., this review is for you. I had been researching all these products in order to find one that’s cheap and works best in India (plug and 220-240V voltage). I finally got the Indian product from Smarteefi. This seems to be the best if you plan to use in India.
My most important requirement was for a power-plug or switch that can be turned on remotely, via internet on my phone or laptop computer. You may be searching for home lighting automation. But I wanted this in order to water my flower plants while away on vacation and wanted to be able to switch on a tiny watering pump while I am at my home town/village (will share the whole set up in another article).
Finally I purchased this Smarteefi power plug after technically reviewing most of the good products online. This power strip has three plugs which can be controlled individually.
Comparing WeMo vs. Orvibo vs. Smarteefi etc.
While WeMo and Orvibo etc. have similar products, I found them not very suitable for usage conditions in India. One major requirement for us was to be able to control the switches after a power cut or power outage. Not many products have considered a power outage scenario and they stay turned OFF when power comes back after an outage. That’s a FAIL for use in India where power cuts are very common. We need to be sure about getting the control even after a power cut.
Other than that, most of these products are designed for US or Europe power plugs and you may need an adapter to use Indian devices. After all my research, I decided to go with the one designed purely for Indian users.
I haven’t yet set up the plant watering system. However, here’re some important details about the Smarteefi smart extension board. The build quality is “good”, as good as a normal power extension board you can find in market.
The set up took less than a minute for me. Instructions are crisp and precise. And once set up, you can control the three plug switches from the android app or from the website.
While iOS app is yet to be made available for the smart power strip, you can use the website from any phone or computer in order to control your switches. Here’s how the website looks like on my phone:
The switching speed depends on your internet speed. I tried it from a 2G mobile internet connection (my village has 3G though!) and it took about 3 seconds to switch on and update the status. Using a fast 3G or Wi-Fi on your mobile will switch on/off the plugs in 2 seconds or less.
What happens after a power cut
The Smarteefi plugs will keep looking for the WiFi connection when power is back. I tested this scenario and was able to gain control within 12-15 seconds when power is restored. (This is too fast considering the WiFi router also takes time to switch on after a power cut)
Extra tips for usage:
- Remember which plug is connected to what appliance or light. If possible, take a photo on your phone.
- Make sure all the appliances together are under the power (watt) rating of the power strip. You don’t want the power strip to auto-shutdown due to excess load.
Expectation from the Smarteefi product in future:
- Timely updates for the power strip I purchased in terms of the firmware and more features, bug fixes if any
- A simple option/instructions to use this for heavy usage appliances: geysers, big water pumps etc.
- Open source development: For programmers/developers to be able to customize and use it with our own server
You will find most details about the product from the links here. Please feel free to add a comment if you liked the product or want some info on usage and customizations for external circuitry. I will keep updating this article based on my experience and your comments. Happy automating!