Belkin WeMo

When Shawn Blanc first told me about the WeMo, I was pumped. An iPhone controlled outlet and a web enabled motion sensor sounded not only awesome, but perfect. With Belkin making the project I was even more in love with the idea — because while I don’t think everything that Belkin makes is great, I do think that for the most part they don’t make crap for the sake of making crap.

I purchased the kit that included the switched outlet controller and the motion sensor device — I had the perfect scenario mapped out. My living room is lit with two tall lamps, neither of which are on a switched outlet and thus must be turned on by hand. I put the switched outlet on one lamp and was amazed at how well the entire thing worked.

I then started to play around with the motion sensor, and quite honestly am not impressed by it in the least. I can’t seem to find a good use for the motion sensor and this is in part due to the fact that anything it would alert me to, would likely be too late of an alert by the time I was alerted. Even though we are only talking about a seconds type of delay, it’s still significant enough to make the product harder to find a fit for. Since I haven’t used the motion sensing bit very much, this is all I feel comfortable saying about that part of the WeMo.

The Pros of the Switched Outlet Component

  • It works very fast. In my home there is a less than one-half second delay from the time you tap the on/off button on the iPhone to the time the light turns on and off. (The light has an LED bulb in it, so the delay isn’t some CFL nonsense.)
  • It’s very reliable. My biggest fear was that it would crap out at times and leave me high and dry. It hasn’t once crapped out that I can remember. It did stop working one day, but then I found out the cats had unplugged it somehow.
  • It’s insanely convenient. We can now leave the light on while we walk the hallway to the bedroom at night and wait to turn off the living room light until we are both in bed. That may sound silly to some, but we really love being able to do this.

The Cons of the Switched Outlet Component

  • You cannot turn on the light without using the WeMo app, which is logical, but you can turn off the light without using the app — and once someone does that it can’t be turned back on with just the app. Do you see where this can get confusing?
  • The app needs to launch faster.
  • The switch makes a very audible click when you turn it on and off. I wish it was silent — that’d be far better.
  • The icon for the app is, well, let’s just say that I keep it hidden in a folder — as inconvenient as that maybe.

Wrap Up

The WeMo switched outlet component is a solid device and we will likely be getting another for the other lamp in our living room. I wish the UI was a little better on the app, but it’s not the worst I have seen and is perfectly useable as is.

The motion sensor is simply not something I can find a use for, but I am certain there are uses for it. 1

There’s a bunch of cleverness about WeMo, from the rules you can setup to the WAN support. It’s a solid product all around.

If you buy it from Amazon, you can support the site: here’s just the switch component and here’s the switch plus motion sensor package.

  1. If you want mine, send me an email — best offer gets it.
Originally posted for members on: September 9, 2012
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