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iHome's Smart Plug gives the power to Siri at CES

Take a closer look at iHome's Wi-Fi-enabled, HomeKit-compatible plug.

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Andrew Gebhart
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Andrew Gebhart

Senior Producer

Andrew loves writing about cool, futuristic technology. He's reviewed everything from vacuum cleaners to beer brewing robots in pursuit of the perfect smart home. He wants the smart home to make him feel powerful, and it's getting there.

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Smart plugs are becoming a dime a dozen. iHome hopes to separate its Smart Plug from the crowd with HomeKit compatibility. The New Jersey-based speaker maker will be a launch partner when Apple gets its smart-home platform rolling. The Smart Plug is iHome's first connected-home product, and it'll allow you to control anything you can think to plug into it by talking to Siri.

With apps for iOS and Android, the Smart Plug connects directly to Wi-Fi. It'll hit stores at the end of the second quarter of this year, and retail for $40 with a $50 version including a USB plug.

The app

The app will let you group multiple plugs, so you can turn off all of the living room lights at once, assuming each lamp is connected to a Smart Plug.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

A plug makes a good place to get started with a connected home, as it allows you to remotely control any number of electronics. The iHome Smart Plug will be easy to move as well, so you can shift it as your needs change.

The competition

Unfortunately for iHome, its plug offers no functionality to separate itself from the many smart home plugs on its own merits. The iDevices Switch only costs $10 more and can double as a bluetooth hub. Grid Connect will offer an in wall smart outlet for $80 that includes a ZigBee antenna. Both will be HomeKit compatible.

Many smart switches, including the Belkin WeMo Insight Switch , can help you monitor and manage your energy usage in addition to granting remote control over one of your electronics. Belkin hasn't announced HomeKit compatibility for its product yet, but it's an established and seamless smart-switch experience.

Outlook

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

iHome's only advantage, then, will be the cost. If you're just looking to try out Siri's smart home chops when HomeKit launches, the iHome Smart Plug will be worth a look. My recommendation would be to spend a little more for a more capable model if you want your plug to be part of a larger smart-home system.

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