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First Look: This Wi-Fi plug is short on smarts

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First Look: This Wi-Fi plug is short on smarts

2:50 /

D-Link's Wi-Fi Smart Plug had potential, but ultimately left us in the dark.

[MUSIC] Hi, I'm Megan Wollerton for Cnet appliances, and this is the D-Link Wi-Fi Smart Plug. So this $50 plug is designed to give you remote control of your small appliances. That means that, whether you are at home or away, you should be able to use your Android or iOs, a phone or a tablet, to turn an appliance like a lamp on or off remotely. In theory it, should be as simple as plugging this into the wall, downloading the app, and then being able to control whatever you want remotely. We found it to be that simple with the Belkin WeMo Switch and the Belkin WeMo Insight Switch we tested, but it wasn't quite as simple with this D-Link Smart Plug. The usability problem started with actually finding the app itself. I searched my D-Link Smart Plug, my D-Link WiFi Smart Plug, every combination that I thought would make sense and had a really hard time finding it both for iOS and Android. Ultimately, I had the most success just by searching SmartPlug. Setup went pretty well. I was able to access it on a Droid Maxx phone and an iPhone 5, but when it came time to testing on our Nexus 7 first generation tablet, it wouldn't work. Also, on the iOS app, I was unable to enable the alert notifications for scheduling. I could do it perfectly with the Android app, but the iOS app just didn't work. One big inconsistency I notice with this plug is that when you remove it from an outlet and then plug it back in, it doesn't always remember that you set it up. So, you have to go back through the set up process again, and again, and again. Now sometimes, it will remember that you have a lamp that was plugged into it and just start right back up. Other times, it won't. This plug is probably the most similar to the Belkin WeMo Insight Switch. It provides all sorts of energy usage statistics, you can schedule it, and you can just simply turn something on or off with it. When you're using the Belkin WeMo Insight Switch, you can actually look at the dollar amount that you're using or saving on the WeMo app. You can't do that with this plug. It does show the kilowatt hours and the wattage, and all sorts of useful information, but that's not as accessible as having a dollar amount. Now the conversion is pretty easy to do, but I think a dollar amount would improve this app a lot. My biggest complaint though is that this doesn't come with IFTTT compatibility. That's the if this, then that service that lets you make custom home automatioc rules and recipes for your gadgets. If you don't care about its compatibility, this is a good option. It's also $10 less than the Belkin Wemo Insight Switch. So while this is a really good option for controlling the basics, the Belkin Wemo switches and apps are a bit more comprehensive and thoughtfully designed. For CNET, I'm Megan Woolerton. [MUSIC]

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