Lighting is one of the easiest and most affordable entry points into smart-home gadgetry. Connected LEDs, switches and plugs typically slide in around or under 50 bucks. But now a new type of device is available -- a retrofit Socket that lends smarts to any bulb screwed into it. Sure, crowdsourcing hopefuls have proposed similar products in the past, but this is different. iDevices is , and the Socket integrates with and .
On its surface, the Socket functions as advertised: it smartens up almost any standard bulb, adding dimming, scheduling and voice-activated controls with both Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa. It even includes an RGB color changing nightlight. But there's a fundamental question I've been unable to answer: When is the Socket consistently more useful than a smart switch or bulb? The $80 price tag only adds to my befuddlement, since you can easily find more feature-rich lighting devices for considerably less cash.
Until I find a unique use case that justifies the Socket's otherwise outrageous asking price, I can't recommend iDevices' newest product.
What it gets right
Taken as it is, the Socket actually works pretty well. The iDevices appone of the better third party HomeKit apps out there, and it continues to support its devices with an intuitive interface and easy setup process. Getting the Socket up and running takes barely a minute, and operating its dimming, scheduling, and nightlight capabilities is slick the whole time.