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CNET First Look
Belkin better watch the throne. iHome is on the riseThe ISP8 SmartPlug partners with well-chosen smart home allies -- but is it enough?
[MUSIC] When you're building a smarthome, connected in-wall switches can be a great way to smarten up your life. The problem is, when you're in a rental space, like this, the CNet smart apartment, then you have to have something with a lighter install. Enter the smart plug. A smart plug can give almost any pluggable device a brain. And in the case of this, the $50 iHome ISP8 smart plug that brain means that you can connect that dumb old lamp to Siri, Alexa Alexa, Smartthings, Wink and even Nest. The iHome isn't perfect, though. I found the setup especially cumbersome. Pairing the iHome with the wi-fi took a couple of tries. And more importantly, when I wanted to connect the device to the Amazon Echo, I had to actually download a separate app, Wink, and set up an additional account in order to connect my iHome app to my Alexa app. If that sounds like too many steps for what should be a simple pairing, it is. Now once iHome is set up, it does work pretty seamlessly with HomeKit and Siri. The iSP8 even comes with this handy remote control to let you toggle it remotely. Between the remote and the [MUSIC] Pretty impressive platform interoperability. The iHome is going to work pretty well with gadgets in a lot of people's houses. The problem is that broad interoperability doesn't correlate with depth of integration. Other than what's now pretty standard energy monitoring. the iHome doesn't bring very much new to the table. The lack of [UNKNOWN] integration in particular really means that you don't get those same creative and cool triggering scenarios that you can get with, say, the Belkin [UNKNOWN] switch. At the end of the day, the iHome ISP8 smartplug is a reliable device. And if you have a particular device that you're wanting to automate with it, then it's worth the 50 bucks. The problem is, it doesn't distinguish itself from the rest of the larger market. And I can't recommend it over the industry leading belkin wemo insight switch.