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Wattson Silverlining helps reduce your electricity bill, makes you paranoid

Climate change is one of the biggest problems we face. But so are massive energy bills, so why not kill two birds with one stone and reduce your costs, and environmental impact with a Wattson.

Ian Morris
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"307 Watts!" Crave yelled over breakfast this morning. Where the hell is our 307W going? This is now a daily rant in the Crave household, because we've got a Wattson Silverlining, a device that enables us to see how much electricity we're using, and get cross about the resulting electricity bill. Wattson claims this rage can help reduce your power bills by 25 per cent.

We aren't sure if we've actually saved money since we've been using it. We can tell you, however, there's been an awful lot of furious running around the house switching things off here and flipping switches there, until we reduced our power consumption to levels that won't bankrupt us by Christmas.

There are three main parts to the Wattson Silverlining we're using. The main unit is obviously the most important, and it's aesthetically very pleasing. But the fancy display is nothing without the information provided by the clamp, which attaches to your single phase electrical intake cable and the wireless transmitter that sends information about your consumption to the Wattson itself.

There's also a fourth component here, the Holmes software -- geddit? -- which you can download for free. This allows you to download your historical consumption from the Wattson and work out what's going wrong -- or right -- with your power use. The software also allows you to update the Wattson with your current energy costs, and set its built-in clock.

The Wattson can also tell you how much your estimated yearly bill will be. This is, of course, slightly pointless because it's generated at that precise moment. If you want a realistic estimate, you should use the software, which is much more geared-up to helping you moderate your power consumption.

We love the Wattson Silverlining. There are some things that are less than perfect: it uses 7W itself, which seems like quite a lot, and we didn't find the instant cost estimate especially helpful. But as a tool for making you think about your power consumption, we think it's a fantastic gadget, and a superb talking point to boot. Just be prepared to go crazy trying to work out what's drinking the power.

It's available online now for around £130. The less fancy-looking Wattson 01 will set you back £100.

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Your current (arf!) power usage is displayed on the cool-looking surface of the Wattson in Watts.
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The front display is backed-up by these LEDs, which change colour based on your consumption. Blue means low use...
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...while, logically enough, red means you're doing something expensive.
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There's also an instant cost display, which isn't all that accurate, as it's based on your current (sorry) consumption, rather than an average.
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There's a USB socket, which allows you to connect the Wattson to your computer. The free software then allows you to monitor your usage, and make some changes to your habits.
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The Wattson has a built-in battery, which means you can put it anywhere. But it will need to be charged with the supplied power adaptor quite regularly.

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