Editor's note: This review has been updated since it was originally published to account for a software update that expanded its features, including adding remote access functionality. The rating and recommendation have changed accordingly.
The season of untangling orange masses of extension cords and balancing on icy ladder rungs is almost upon us, and you might be wondering if lights are even worth the effort this year. Even in warmer climates, outdoor lighting setups often involve one brave family member climbing to the roof and the rest watching and worrying. And after the setup, people in colder climes have to pull on their boots and a coat, traipse through the snow and manually plug in the lights to turn them on every night.
Enter the new smart Outdoor Switch from iDevices, acompatible gadget that the company hopes will make outdoor lighting, whether for the holidays or just for your patio, a little easier. Of course, the Outdoor Switch won't string up your lights for you, but it can schedule or toggle them anytime using the iDevices app, so showing off your handiwork will only take the swipe of a finger.
The iDevices Outdoor Switch, available this November for $80 at select Lowe's locations and on the iDevices website, is a welcome addition to the smart-plug market. The new offering from the company that brought you the and the will fill the niche of outdoor home electronics that few other smart switches are trying to fill. Many remote switches are already on the market, though, and with Black Friday approaching the question is, why is iDevices asking for 80 bucks? Turns out, between remote access and energy consumption tracking, this Outdoor Switch is worth its price tag.
One more thing to set up?
The good news is you can get this smart plug up and running within minutes. It connects to the free iDevices app, a smart-home device integration app that connects HomeKit compatible products in one place. Although that list of products is not long right now, the app works well with them, subtly guiding you through its interface to various command options, from turning the Switch on and off to scheduling its activation ahead of time.
As we saw with the first, the app is simple and slick, and within fifteen minutes you'll have a great handle on how to use the Switch to its full potential.
How does it look?
The iDevices Outdoor Switch's design cleverly mixes aesthetic with function. The black outer shell of the Switch's body is weatherproof. Power outlets themselves are nearly impossible to keep completely insulated from the elements, but iDevices includes simple directions for fastening the Switch to the side of your house or an arbor post with an included screw -- an approach that seems to successfully avoid any of the problems common to operating electricity outside.
The Outdoor Switch includes the external nightlight I liked on the original iDevices Switch, and this one creates a similar effect, making what could just be another black plastic utility box by your house glow with more style. I wish you could control the nightlight colors like you can with the indoor iDevices Switch, but most buyers won't sweat it. The Outdoor Switch is too bulky to scream intelligence, but it certainly won't detract from a modern home exterior.