2 February 2015

REVIEW: D-Link Smart Plug

A big plug for this product.

We honestly can't get enough of this stuff. In fact, if there is a gadget or item that isn't somehow connect to the internet, we scorn it. SCORN! And so, as Test Pit Towers gets even more connected, and as our phones become even more crammed with apps, we test the D-Link Smart Plug.

'S a plug, innit? That's what you get in the box; something that looks very much like the old-fashioned mechanical light timers. But instead of a winding clock by which to set when your lights come on, you get a plug filled with clever gadgetry and WiFi. As smart plugs go, the D-Link is quite a chunky monkey, much thicker and wider than the one that shipped with the Smappee energy monitor (reviewed here).

But this little thing can do so much more, as demonstrated by the mydlink Home app (for Android and iOS). Simply connect the Smart Plug to your home WiFi network (an account is required, but it's free and takes mere moments to set up), then hit the WPS button on both the plug and your router. In minutes you're ready to go; left only with the choice of where to plug it in.

This is a connected device, one that can be used remotely over the internet. Therefore it is important to select a plug socket that you might want to control remotely, either while you're away on holiday, or generally just around the house. We chose our hallway lamp.

The set up we chose (easily done thanks to the user-friendly app) is to put the lamp on a timer to switch on and off twice a day: once in the morning and once in the evening. That way it was never necessary to actually touch the lamp, as the app's schedule lets you select a timetable down to the half hour. It also allows you to set a temperature limit, meaning the plug will automatically switch itself off when it reaches a certain temperature. This is a very welcome feature, as we found the D-Link Smart Pug to run quite warm. The default switch-off is 60 degrees Celsius, and we were a bit unsettled to discover it reached this quite soon. But, after a bit of adjustment to make sure the plug was well ventilated, we found the temperature never got higher than 50 degrees.

The Smart Plug also features a handy button on the plug itself, which when pressed will automatically switch it on or off. This can be handy if you're passing by the item that is being controlled by the plug, but you can't be bothered to open the app and change the settings.

In use, it does work very well indeed, and pressing the switch in the app for that particular plug (as many other units can be added to the same account) resulted in the light coming to life in just a second or two. Handy for the security conscious, or - like us - the lazy, gadget obsessed.


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