Wouldn’t it be nice to have even your vintage electrical lamps and other devices work smartly through your smartphone? Well, you don’t have to have a totally “dumb” vintage electrical item at all, because you can plug them in a smart plug. This can at the very least allow you to turn on or off the device remotely, because you can virtually unplug or plug the device. That’s what the WeMo Mini Smart Plug does.
The thing is that the WeMo isn’t the only smart plug in the market these days. So what makes it so special? Let’s take a more detailed inspection in this review:
What It Is
The WeMo Mini Smart Plug is a plug that you plug into a wall socket, and then you plug in your electrical appliance into it. This will then enable you to control your electronic device remotely and you don’t even absolutely need a connected hub. The plug can at least turn on or off whatever electrical appliance you’ve plugged into this plug.
What you do is download the Wemo mobile app to your smartphone, and then use it to connect the plug to your home Wi-Fi connection. After that, you can then use the app for the mini plug to essentially control the electrical device with your smartphone.
This works on a 2.4GHZ wireless connection, but it’s not limited to just that. You can also connect it to your voice assistant system, so that you can instead give vocal commands through your Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa device.
If you want to run more advanced functions than just turning on or off the device through the smartphone, you can also use FTTT applets. This may then automatically turn off your switch at sunrise (and not just on a specific time you set). Or perhaps the device plugged in to your plug did something special, and the plug then sends you an email.
The mini plug is actually quite sleek, measuring 3.8 (length) by 2.4 (depth) by 1.4 inches (high). It’s not too big at all, so that when you plug it into a socket in a 2-socket outlet the other socket isn’t blocked. You can still use that other socket.
This makes it a lot more practical than other plugs, which often are a lot bigger. They often occupy enough space to block the use of the other socket in the outlet. With this, you can plug in 2 of the mini plugs side by side. It looks innocuous and nice, so it shouldn’t disrupt whatever interior design theme you’ve got going.
If you want to use the Wemo plug, you better make sure that you have either an iOS or an Android mobile device. Just make sure your iOS is V9 or higher and that your Android is version 4.4 or later. You can then download the app from the App Store or Google Play.
After that, you can then plug the mini plug into your socket. You then open the app and follow the directions regarding your connection to your Wi-Fi. The mini plug connects to your Wi-Fi, and that’s, as they say, is that. You’re now able to use your smartphone to control the device you’ve plugged into the smart plug. A hub, as has been emphasized, isn’t necessary.
Yet if you want your device on the plug to work with other smart devices for scenes, a hub will be needed. If you want to use vocal commands for your device, you will need to connect it with the Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant device.
Working with Amazon Alexa
When you have Amazon Alexa, you can just say something you want to do and Alexa coordinates the actions of your many smart devices to create the environment you want. So, if you say you want to watch a movie, Alexa may turn on your TV, dim your lights, and even close your smart shades. You may even have a preferred thermostat setting for snuggling in the couch while TV bingeing.
To do this, you will need an Amazon device with Alexa, such as an Echo or Echo Dot. Then you use the Alexa app to create routines.
Working with Google Assistant
This time, you’ll need to get a device like Google Home or Google Home Mini. You can log into the Google Home app, and you’ll find instructions from Wemo telling you what to do. After this, you can then create “groups” that include controlling your Wemo mini plug. The routines tell Alexa what devices to activate to suit your purpose, even when you just give a single command.
Working with Apple HomeKit
The Wemo plug can also work with the Apple HomeKit. However, you’ll need to spend additional money to buy the Wemo Bridge. This bridge connects your Wemo devices with your Apple HomeKit app. When you’ve set up this connection, you can now talk to Siri to control your Wemo device like your smart plug as well as other Wemo devices.
You can then create scenes like with Alexa and Google Assistant, although it’s comparatively a bit more difficult to create scenes with Apple HomeKit than with Alex or Google Assistant.
Using Wemo for Security
Many homeowners realize the inherent risk of having a dark unlit home when you’re away. The lack of light tells burglars that if the can sneak in, there’s nobody there to offer resistance. That’s why the Wemo works with lamps and other lights to help improve your security. You can be at work and turn on your lights while you’re still not home.
It’s not really a good idea to have your lights turn on at the same time day after day. Burglars can figure that out, like Joe Pesci in Home Alone. But you don’t have to manually turn on your lights with your smartphone each day.
Instead, the Wemo app enables you to pick the Protect mode when you’re not in the house. The app then controls the lights through the smart plug so that the various lights turn on and off at more random times for about 30 minutes. You just pick the times and the days which you want the lights to go on and off automatically, and the app figures out which times they’ll go on and off.
Here are some reasons why you’d want to consider buying the Wemo Mini Smart Plug.
- It’s very inexpensive, so you don’t need to invest heavily right away into smart home automation.
- It doesn’t need a hub, as all it needs really is your Wi-Fi connection. Since many homes have Wi-Fi to power their smartphone Internet use, there are no other expenses required.
- If you do have a hub, then the Wemo plug may work with it. This works the Wemo system obviously, but also with IFTTT and Nest.
- You can get to use vocal commands to control the device plugged into your smart plug when you have Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or Apple Siri.
- The design is excellent, as it doesn’t block the other socket in the wall outlet.
- The setup is very easy and simple, and there’s really nothing complicated about it for the most part.
- The Protect mode is very nifty. It can work randomly enough to make burglars think that there really is a person in the house turning on the lights.
- There’s no Bluetooth option, as it’s all Wi-Fi.
- The setup does become more complicated when you’re using IFTTT.
- You also need to buy the Wemo Bridge to use Siri and the Apple HomeKit.
- The Wemo can be a bit awkward to use.
Yes, now with a smart plug all your vintage electric lamps are now back in the smart home automation game. If you’re just trying to dip your toes into the smart home industry, then a smart plug is a good way to start too.
With a smart plug, you have a device that’s easy to setup and control, it’s very affordable, and yet it’s versatile as you can use it to automate all your non-smart appliances.
So why pick the Wemo Mini Smart Plug? It’s a good first choice, because despite its shortcomings you truly get a lot of value for the money. It’s obvious the designers took a lot of trouble with it, as its size immediately addresses the problems with overly large smart plugs.
With this, you may even use the plug in conjunction with IFTTT to turn on a bunch of items like coffeemakers and lamps to work together. You can use IFTTT and your smart plug to turn on your lights when the coffeemaker gets done brewing you a cup of java in the morning.
This works with voice assistants too, and it can be very efficient. Just tell Alexa you want to watch Netflix, and the lamp you plug into the pill work with your TV, cable box, sound bar, and even your smart window shades to give you the perfect viewing environment.