Belkin has been one of the leaders in creating accessories for your smart home, with its growing line of WeMo devices.
The company’s newest device, the WeMo Mini Wi-Fi Smart Plug, will let you automate anything you plug into it, but as the name suggests, it is a lot smaller than its predecessor. This means that it will not block off adjacent outlets like the original WeMo Switch.
Belkin sent us a few WeMo Mini switches along with a WeMo Insight Switch, which will let you track the electricity usage of any device plugged into it. This review will cover both of these products.
Belkin WeMo Mini Wi-Fi Smart Plug
Aside from the design changes, there is nothing really new here. The WeMo Mini offers all of the same features as the original WeMo Switch, including integration with platforms and services like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and IFTTT. The device is still not compatible with Apple’s HomeKit, which would be needed for Siri support.
The WeMo Mini is a well-connected smart plug and is a really good purchase for anyone who got an Amazon Echo or Google Home smart speaker for Christmas. Both assistants will let you turn the plug on and off using voice commands.
The WeMo Mini is the perfect way to take a step into the connected home of tomorrow.
The WeMo Mini uses the same app all other existing WeMo devices. I’m hoping that Belkin will overhaul that app sometime soon. Even though it’s a good-looking piece of software that’s pretty easy to navigate, it suffers from laggy performance.
Belkin does have one clear advantage, though, and that’s the $49.99 CAD price tag. It’s a cheaper cost of entry than iHome or iDevices, and closer to what you’ll pay for bargain-priced competitors from names like TP-Link, where Belkin’s name recognition should serve it well.
Overall, the WeMo Mini is a solid starting point for your smart home, and at just $49.99 the WeMo Mini is the company’s best offering yet.
Belkin WeMo Insight Smart Plug
The Belkin WeMo Insight Switch also offers the same capabilities as the original WeMo switch, including remote device power control, programmability, and support for integration with services like IFTTT.
The device provides a more compact design than the original WeMo switch, however, it still blocks adjacent power outlets when you have it plugged in. The WeMo Insight Switch has the ability to track the energy consumption of any connected device.
If you are looking for a convenient way of tracking energy consumption, along with the abilities of a smart plug. The energy consumption tracking won’t be useful for everyone, but thanks to IFTTT, I can see certain use cases, particularly for tech-savvy parents and roommates.
An ideal version of this product probably would look more like Apple’s iPhone USB plug adapter. At the very least, it would be nice if it one day became small enough that it wouldn’t block off an adjacent plug.
Belkin also tweaked some of the external features on the Insight Switch. The power-on indicator is much larger than on the original, making it easier to see. The indicator light also shines green now, instead of blue.
For the power usage tracking, I will say that it’s thorough. Through the app, Belkin gives you quick-glance real-time information and average data for power draw, usage time, and operating cost for whatever device you’ve plugged into it. If you dig deeper into the app settings, you can adjust the energy billing rate and the power draw threshold it uses to determine whether a device is on or in standby mode.
The WeMo Insight Switch really shines when you integrate its programmability through IFTTT with that energy tracking. If you are familiar with IFTTT then setting this up should be a breeze, but if you are not, it should be fairly easy to get a hang of.
The most obvious benefit of the Insight Switch is the improved plastic housing and the smaller design. However, if you are not interested in the energy tracking feature, I would highly recommend the WeMo Mini Switch as it is smaller and is compatible with smart assistants like Google Home and Amazon Alexa.
The Belkin WeMo Insight is priced at $69.99, which can be a bit steep if you consider that it is blocking one adjacent electrical outlet. However, if you are really into energy tracking the extra $20 over the WeMo Mini might be worth it.