WeMo Insight Switch and WeMo Light Switch are but two of the many products in their lineup. Available for and respectively, both come in a very similar minimal packaging. The boxes are bright and provide a ton of information which is always nice. Inside, there’s not much on display. You get the product itself (and any additional parts required for setting it up) underneath a bright green tab and a little leaflet letting you know how to get it all set up.
The WeMo Light Switch comes with all the tools you need to install the light switch itself. There’s a very handy YouTube video which explains the set up process. It takes a while to get all the wires properly connected but the process itself is quite simple and straightforward. Similarly, the Insight Switch has a ridiculously easy setup process. Just plug it in and you’re ready to go, like a boss.
The rest of the process takes place from your phone (which has to be running Android 4.0+). Now, you can use the devices without having a phone/tablet but that’s really counter-productive. You’d essentially just have paid for a normal light switch, albeit one which glows in the dark. Download the WeMo app from the Play Store and it’ll search for your connected WeMo devices. From there, just follow the steps and you’re done.
The WeMo Insight Switch is a lot smaller than the previous model, ensuring that it not only looks better, but it also takes up one socket only, without blocking any other outlets. It’s also got some design changes. At the top, you’ve got a tiny little reset button as well as an on/off indicator which doubles as the power button. It’s a fantastic touch sensor/power button. Just place a finger on it and you’ll hear a reassuring click letting you know it’s been pressed.
Near the back, you get the microUSB port. When I first saw it, I got incredibly excited thinking I could use it to charge my phone. It took my brain a few minutes to realise that it’s a microUSB port and not a full USB port. I’ve absolutely no idea what that microUSB port is there for, but whenever I see it I feel a pang of regret. It’s a constant reminder of what could have been. On a side note, you can use the microUSB to power the Insight Switch up. How or why that’s useful, I have no idea.
On the software side of things, you can use your phone to control multiple devices connected to your WeMo switches. Through the Belkin WeMo app, you can turn them on and off using the power button for each switch. Or, if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you can set up multiple rules or settings for each switch. For example, you could set your lights to turn off automatically at 7 AM every morning except on weekends. The rules are easy to set up and work quite well.
Another brilliant thing Belkin has done with their WeMo switches is that they’ve made them compatible with the ever useful IFTTT (If This Then That). You connect your IFTTT account through the WeMo app and use custom recipes for various outcomes. You can set it so that every time you turn the lights on or off, a new file is added to your Google Drive, letting you know the time and date of the event. Or you can have it work in reverse. Using the IFTTT Weather Channel (as seen below) you could set the lights to turn on at sunset each day.
There are so many different recipes and rules you could create. They could be as simple or as complicated as you want. Another great feature is that you can get suggestions for recipes from other users. The possibilities are endless. However, this does complicate the setup process. While most people will be happy with the WeMo app’s features, the more tech-savvy folk will need to use two apps to fully take hold of their WeMo switch’s potential.
The WeMo Insight Switch has added functionality which gives it its specific moniker. You can monitor the energy consumptions and costs for any device connected to the Insight Switch through the WeMo app. One thing to note is that whatever you plug into the switch must be turned on (if it has its own switch, which most electronics do). Otherwise, the whole point of the switch is defeated.
Notice how my lamp’s switch is permanently set in the On position. There’s nothing worse than turning the switch on from your phone and then realising you didn’t have the lamp turned on. You’d have to get up and turn the lamp on yourself which would take so much time (first world problems). And we here at ADDITS are all about saving time.
Belkin provides you with a whole lot of data about your devices. It lets you know how much power your device is using, how much it’s costing you and how long it’s been on. You also get stuff like estimated monthly usage and if you delve further into the settings you can have a CSV file outputted with all the data organised neatly. Personally, I doubt the average user would ever feel the need to make use of all this information, but it’s always nice to have more rather than less.
All in all, the WeMo Insight Switch and Light Switch are really great products. They’re reasonably priced, easy to set up, and above all, make your life so much easier. The WeMo app could do with an upgrade – adding some of the most common IFTTT recipes directly into the app itself would be a good start – but it does the job for now. While the WeMo app will be enough for the average user, having IFTTT compatibility along with Tasker integration makes the WeMo switches a great buy for even the most tech-savvy of users.