The good folk at Meross have sent me some of their smart-home gadgets to review. Let's dive in!
And the Smart Power Strip.
The single plug socket is good for 10 amps. It is smaller than the Wemo and Sonoff plugs I've reviewed. It has built in power monitoring - which is handy.
The surge protector is curious. You get three regular plug sockets - each of which can be switched independently - but there is no power monitoring. There are also 4 USB sockets - they get switched on and off as a block. You can get 4 amps out of the sockets, with a maximum of 2.4 on any individual one.
Oddly, there are no mounting holes on the back of the strip - so it needs to rest on a flat surface.
Usually smarthome apps are crap. The OEMs do the bare minimum to get things working, and stuff their products with invasive permissions. I'm delighted to say that Meross are different.
The app is well laid out, uncluttered, and spelled properly. The only permission it asks for is location - to control presence detection - and the app still works if you refuse it.
The app is available on Google Play - again, better than a lot of other manufacturers who make you download an APK from a random server.
You can set up timers and various other scenes from the app. You can also monitor energy usage and switch on individual plug sockets.
Amazon's Echo is still a pain to set up. You have to manually add a skill, sign in, then configure it, then hope it works.
Once done, it's lightning quick. You can rename the switches from "switch 1" to "kitchen fan" - or whatever.
The plugs only work on 2.4GHz WiFi - as they're not transferring loads of data, that's fine.
As soon as I connected the plug, I was prompted to do a firmware update. Good to know that they get published - but there was no changelog.
There is a link to the GPL on the website, but it doesn't go anywhere.
There's no API - so you're stuck with the app or a voice assistant.
I love these. They work quickly from the app and Alexa. The surge-protector strip's USB ports are particularly useful. And they're the same size as regular extension sockets.
But - and this is the problem with all smart plugs - what will you use them for? There are only a limited number of devices which are plug activated. A fan, air freshener, air heater, lamp. What else?
Most devices are low-power when on standby - so a WiFi switch isn't going to save you much energy.
Readers of my blog can get 25% off a Meross smart plug using the code:
(Valid until 28th August)