Monday, 9 October 2017

Review and Giveaway: Mi Home Smart Plugs by Energenie




We installed smart heating nearly 2 years ago, smart light bulbs soon afterwards and last Christmas we got our first Amazon Alexa. I love them all. I have been thinking about getting smart plugs for a while so I was excited when I was offered a Mi Home starter kit to review by Energenie. I just had to work out how I would use them.

Mi Home Gateway, 3 times Mi Home Adaptors and Mi Home Remote Control boxes and devices


What Are Smart Plugs?


Smart plugs (radio controlled sockets or adaptors)  can be plugged into your wall electrical sockets before plugging in your normal devices. They have the same effect as you turning a socket on or off at the wall, but they allow you to do it remotely, on a timer or using geofencing (based on when you are in, or leaving, a particular place).

I was sent the Energenie Mi Home Starter Set (affiliate link) which contains 3 smart plugs, a remote control and a home gateway.  You can control the plugs through an app on your phone (from Apple App Store or Google Play), through the website, with Amazon Alexa or by the remote they come with. The remote is helpful and I haven't heard of one coming with other makes of smart plug.

Like smart heating, lighting and other smart devices you need the internet and a hub (or home gateway) to control all the devices. You only need one hub to control multiple smart devices of the same brand. 

A small white square box with the words "Energenie" on it

Where Can You Use Smart Plugs?


You can use smart plugs with any electrical device that plugs in to the wall and doesn’t need to be turned on manually each time e.g. I can set my kettle up and leave it with the on switch pressed, but the smart plug off so when I turn the plug on it will start to boil. With my television I can use a smart plug to turn it off, but if I turn the plug back on the television stays off until I turn it on manually.

The plugs need to be a maximum of 25 metres away from the Home Gateway. Walls and ceilings will reduce the distance, but anywhere in a normal size house should be fine.

Ideas for Using Smart Plugs


Get the kettle boiling as you walk in your house. To enable this you need to set the kettle up so the adapter is remotely powered off, but the kettle is switched on (and full of water) as well as setting up geo location for the adapter via the app. When you arrive home the adapter will give power to the kettle and it will boil. You can use a similar set up (without geo location) to boil your kettle before you get out of bed in the morning.
To control lamps. Socket adapters are a cheaper alternative to smart light bulbs and they can work with all types of plug in lamps. You can control the lights individually and if they are set up as a group they can all be turned on and off together. As well as controlling manually you could set them to go on and off at set times or when you enter or leave the house. 
To control children's screen time. If you don’t want your children to watch TV, listen to music or play on a computer in their room after a certain time you can use a smart plug to turn the electricity off without even being in the same room. Of course they can unplug the smart plug and plug in their devices to the socket directly, but I’ve found strategically placed furniture helps prevent this.
To save electricity. When charging devices overnight you can set them to go off at a particular time so the device will be charged, but not charging all night. This saves money and reduces the risk of an electrical fire.
Security. You can set lights or music to come on when you are away from home making it look less like you have an empty house. You can do this by putting devices to come on and off with a timer or just turn them on yourself using the app from where ever you are.

Two Plug adaptors

Can Anyone use Energenie Mi Home Smart Devices?


To use the Home Gateway you need:
Reliable broadband 
A router with a free ethernet cable socket (my Sky wifi box has 4 ethernet sockets)
A wall plug near to the router so you can plug the home gateway into both.
A smartphone which you can download the Mi Home smartphone app from Google Play or Apple App store OR you can use you the website to set it up.
Once set up you can turn up to 4 devices on and off using the remote control (sold as part of the bundle or separately). You can also control them via the app, website or Amazon Alexa. 
The smart plugs aren't suitable for use with all devices as described above.


What happens to my smart plugs (and devices) if there is a problem with the internet?


The plugs (and heating and lights) need the internet to work so you can’t turn anything on or off without it. Fortunately my broadband is very good and in the two years I have had smart devices I haven’t had any major problems.

A small white and grey remote control with 10 buttons on to turn the adaptors on and off

Setting Up The Energenie Mi Home Starter Set


I set up my home gateway using the app and it was really easy. Once I had installed the app I was asked to set up an account. I then plugged the gateway into my router and the power socket and scanned a QR code on the gateway when asked. 
To set up the smart plug adapter I put the adapter in a plug socket and held the button on it until it flashed. I was asked to name the adapter and it was ready to use.
There are easy to follow instructions in the box.

Setting Up Mi Home To Work With Amazon Alexa


Once Mi Home was set up I went to my Alexa app and searched for the “Mi Home” skill. It asked me to log into my Mi Home account and then I asked Alexa to discover the devices. It took a few goes to give the right voice command, but eventually I found “Turn [adaptor name] on” worked. 

Giveaway


I have a Mi Home Energenie starter set (as reviewed) to giveaway to one reader. Giveaway closes 9th November 2017 and entry is via Gleam widget below. Please note The Review Directory are managing this widget and they will be responsible for selecting and contacting winners. 

Win the Energenie Smart Plugs (3 Pack) #3

***Disclosure: I received the Energenie Mi Home Starter Set (affiliate link) for purposes of honest review and running a giveaway***
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5 comments

  1. I've not seen these before, what a sensible invention #TriedTested

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  2. We really want smart plugs as we already have smart bulbs and smart heating and find them really useful! We have yet to get these but we also want the amazon alexa too! :)

    #TriedTested

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a great idea, perfect for saving energy and money! Thanks for linking up with #TriedTested

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  4. Brilliant blog gained awareness here
    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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