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I get a kick out of saying "good morning" to my iPhone, and watching my HomeKit lights, locks and fans respond simultaneously according to my wishes. The $80 Grid Connect ConnectSense Smart Outlet plays along with the Siri-controlled smart home software baked into iOS 8 and iOS 9. Stick the device into one of your outlets, use the intuitive app to connect the plug to your home's Wi-Fi -- it walks you through every step of the 2-minute process -- and then you can plug any two dumb devices you'd like to smarten into the outlets.
Siri can control the two smart ConnectSense outlets together or separately, just make sure you assign them names you can remember. Both the app and the Siri controls work consistently well. You can purchase the ConnectSense outlet now on the company's site or Amazon.com. Grid Connect hopes to bring it overseas soon, where the $80 US price converts to approximately £55 and AU$115.
The ConnectSense app deserves particular praise, as it lets you control all of your HomeKit devices, not just Grid Connect's, and makes it easy to group them into HomeKit's organizational buckets such as rooms and zones. I dismissed the app when discussing all HomeKit apps back in November, but the Grid Connect team obviously worked on it a lot since then. It's simple to create that "good morning" scene with the app, enabling many devices to respond to a single command. It even allows triggers, letting you set timers or "If this, then that"-style rules for your HomeKit devices.
The outlet also has a nightlight, Bluetooth, and a USB charging port, but that's it. The $40 iHome iSP5 works with Android; the $60 iDevices Switch includes energy monitoring. The ConnectSense doesn't do either, so I recommend the iDevices plug over it, at least until ConnectSense unleashes its own energy monitoring. According to the company, that feature is built into the hardware, just not ready on the software side.
Right now, the ConnectSense Outlet is a solid smart outlet, especially if you have a couple of devices in close proximity that you want to automate separately. I enjoy the HomeKit functionality it offers, but the best part of ConnectSense -- the app -- is free and useful whether or not you buy the plug. The plug joins HomeKit's growing bag of interconnected tricks, but doesn't stand out from the rest.