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Light as bright as you like with Belkin's WeMo Dimmer

Belkin's newest smart switch lets you dial the lights up and down, and offers a whole host of new features.

Ryan_Crist2.jpg
Ryan_Crist2.jpg
Ry Crist
Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a writer, a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, broadband and home networking.
Ry Crist
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1 of 16 Chris Monroe/CNET

Belkin's newest smart home gadget is the WeMo Dimmer, a connected light switch that'll let you dim the lights up and down in all sorts of ways. Click through to see what it's capable of.

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Setup

Installation is pretty simple, as far as light switches go. The WeMo Dimmer's four wires (line, load, ground and neutral) are color-coded and clearly labeled on the back of the switch.

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Instructions

The in-the-box instructions are helpful, too.

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Wi-Fi pairing

Once you've wired it in, the WeMo Dimmer will flash blue, indicating that it's ready for you to connect with its Wi-Fi signal on your phone.

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5 of 16 Screenshots by Ry Crist/CNET

Laggy app

From there, you'll sync the switch with your home network using the WeMo app. Be warned though, the app timed out when we first tried it.

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6 of 16 Screenshot by Ry Crist/CNET

All good

Fortunately, all was well once we force-closed the app and relaunched it. Our switch was all set on the home screen, just waiting for us to try it out.

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Neat design

As for the switch itself, you can turn it on and off by pushing the button at the the bottom, or dim things up and down by running your finger over the touch-sensitive groove in the center. LED indicator lights will illuminate as you go, and they'll remain on after the switch is off to let you know how bright it will be when you turn it back on.

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8 of 16 Screenshot by Ry Crist/CNET

Long-press controls

You can also program a custom action that you trigger by pressing that on/off button for more than 2 seconds. Those long presses can turn other WeMo gear on and off, or put the Dimmer into Away Mode.

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Away Mode

What's Away Mode? Glad you asked. It's a new feature that sets the dimmer to turn on and off automatically while you're gone in order to fool people into thinking you're home when you're not. When it's activated, the lightbar at the bottom of the switch will shine orange during those random lighting changes.

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Multicolor lightbar

There are other colors for that lightbar, too. Each one offers some subtle, ambient context to help you understand the status of your switch.

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11 of 16 Screenshots by Ry Crist/CNET

Fade out

The WeMo app makes it easy to set a quick fade timer.

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Night Mode

Another nice feature: "Night Mode," which lets you limit the maximum brightness during late-evening hours so that you aren't blinded on your next midnight bathroom run.

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No three-way switch support

One big missing feature: support for three-way switches, where more than one switch is wired to the same light. You can't use the WeMo Dimmer with lights like those.

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14 of 16 Screenshot by Ry Crist/CNET

Plenty of integrations

All of Belkin's WeMo gear works with a wide variety of third-party smart home products and services. Most notable among these: IFTTT, the Nest Learning Thermostat, Google Assistant and Amazon's Alexa.

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HomeKit coming soon

Later this year, you'll also be able to sync your WeMo gear with Apple HomeKit, though you'll need to buy the yet-to-be-released WeMo Bridge.

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Worth it?

At $80, the WeMo Dimmer isn't cheap, but it's less expensive than buying in with dimmable smart switches from Lutron or iDevices. Still, is it worth it? Check out our full review for the bottom line.

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