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D-Link Wi-Fi Smart Plug review: Exceedingly basic home control

Michael Brown | Oct. 1, 2014
This is one of the least-intelligent smart plugs I've encountered. As cheap as it is, it's too expensive for what it delivers.

The first step is to install the Smart Plug using its Android or iOS client software. So I reset the Smart Plug, downloaded the Android app to my HTC One smartphone, and started over. It took a couple of tries before I could get the Smart Plug to pair to the app, but it finally worked. The first thing the app wanted to do was update the Smart Plug's firmware. That took a minute or two, but then an error message popped up to report that Smart Plug app had stopped.

Nothing strikes fear in the heart of an experienced electronics user quite like seeing a software failure during a firmware update. You end up with a bricked device all too often.

The app asked if I'd like to report the failure, so I sent a message explaining what happened. Fortunately, when I restarted the app, it was able to find the Smart Plug and most everything operated as it should, except that every time I tapped the icon for the D-Link DCS-933L IP camera that was part of the system, the app would crash.

When I installed mydlink Home on an iPod and tapped the camera button, the app reported that I needed to also install the mydlink Lite app. Once I did that, the iOS version of mydlink Home worked with the camera without a problem. I then went back and installed mydlink Lite on my Android phone, but it didn't help; the app continued to crash when I tried to access the camera.

Patience is a virtue
You can't be in a hurry when it comes to controlling your lamp. It takes about 15 seconds to launch the app and then for the app to connect to the Smart Plug. If you're in the same room as the lamp, it would be quicker to get up and hit the switch yourself. When you turn the lamp on, the app will report its current electrical consumption (in watts) and the temperature of its receptacle (in degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius, depending on how you've configured it). You can set a high temperature limit and the Smart Plug will automatically shut off if that temp is exceeded.

Tap the arrow on the right of the screen, and you can bring up additional information and controls. Tap the power-consumption button, and the app will report the power consumption (for the Smart Plug and whatever is plugged into it) on a calendar or on a defined date. Tap the wrench icon on this screen, and you can establish a power limit (the Smart Plug will shut down when it reaches the consumption budget you've defined).

 

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