Via App or Alexa, use the Aukey Smart plug to spice up your smart home experience.

If you are a fan of technology, you may have been given the title of nerd, geek, dweeb or techie.  At first, these may seem like insults, but I no longer find these terms degrading.  It is a fact that I love tech and that I want to learn all about it.  Thanks to MacSources, I have had the pleasure of attending and geeking out at the Consumer Electronics Show for the last three years.  Over the past couple of years, smart home features and Alexa/Siri/Google integration have dominated the show floor.  Companies have added smart features to most of the devices that we use on a daily basis.  They then decided app control was too low tech and added voice integration and IFTTT.  From lights to switches, to plugs, to fans, to blinds, etc., nothing has escaped the App upgrades.  Excitedly, I recently received a smart outlet from Aukey to review, the Aukey Smartplug.

Aukey Smart PlugUNBOXING:

The Aukey Smartplug arrived in a rather bland 4 3/4 inches wide by 2 3/8 inches tall by 1 3/4 inches thick brown recyclable cardboard box.  Upon first impression, the packaging reminded me of an internal box, separated from the outer packaging, or the box within a more detailed slip cover.  Unfortunately, there was no slip clover, no enhanced artwork, or tech specs for the product.  The cover displayed a thin black ink-outline of the double smart plug, which provided a general representation of the product.  Although the image was a good representation of the product, it did not enhance the curb appeal of the product.  Since we all know the goal of marketing is to get the product into the consumer’s hands, Aukey needs to work on enhancing the grab-it-and-go product experience.  The back panel provided the typical product packaging labels and a large white UPC label sticker.  Both side panels displayed a recycling symbol and the phrase “Go Green with Aukey,” which was underemphasized.  Additionally, the company did not successfully utilize the naked top and bottom panels to their advantage either.  Overall, the packaging review left me underwhelmed.

Within the box, I found a 4 5/8 inches long by 1 5/16 inches wide by 1 9/16 inches thick double type-B wall smart plug, a 20 page 2 1/8 inches tall by 2 3/4 inches wide instruction manual and a 24-month warranty card with a key sticker on the front.  The AUKEY double Type-B smart plug had a 1/2 inch power button flanked by the double Type B outlets.  The rear panel had a single type B wall plug that aligned the plug horizontally.  You can insert the smart plug into either the upper or the lower wall outlet and still access the remaining plug.  The model SH-PA3 smart plug will accept AC90-125V/15A input and will output a maximum of 15A/1800W, will support Amazon Alexa, Google Home, IFTTT and works with the AUKEY HOME App.  To use the device, plug it into an outlet, navigate to the appropriate App store for your smart device and download the free app.  When I opened the free Aukey Home App, I had to allow/disallow notifications before selecting “Register” along the bottom.  The USA long distance code came prefilled by the App, but I had to manually enter my phone number.  I received a text message with a code to input into the App.  I entered my desired password and progressed to the next panel. The App asked me for access to my location services, which I did not allow.  The App stated that the location services were needed so that they could get some necessary information to provide me with a smarter service like weather, temperature, etc.  As noted above, I chose “Don’t Allow.”

AUKEY Smart outlet
Device:

To connect the device, select “Add Device,” hold the power button for 5 seconds and then “Confirm Indicator blinks rapidly.”  You will need to input your WiFi Key to complete the setup.  Once the device was installed within the app, it was accessible via the populated list of devices. You can add additional devices (lighting devices, wall switches, electrical outlets) by selecting the “+” icon at the top right and following the prompts.  If you tap the “Mini 2 in 1 Socket” the app took me to another screen, which displayed the wall outlet.  If I touched the 1/2 inches wide by 1/4 inches tall white rectangle with green power icon, at the top left, both outlets were disconnected from power.  Pressing the button again provided power to the entire device.  The app did a great job providing visual cues about the status of the device.  When off, the App greyed out both of the ports and the two circular power buttons for each switch.  If desired, you could activate/deactivate either one of the switches or press the main button again to activate/deactivate both outlets.  The option to control individual outlets or the entire device was important.

Furthermore, I loved that we were given the option to adjust the name of the switches by tapping the pencil icon on the right.  When I tapped the “…” icon along the top right, it took me to a setup panel.  Within the setup panel, I was able to modify the device name, to check the network and to add Amazon Alexa Control.  Alexa Integration proved to be a little more challenging than the initial setup process.  If you tap the Amazon Alexa app icon, it will detail how to setup the Alexa integration.  If you have not previously downloaded the “Smart Life” app, you will need to download it to integrate with Alexa.  Hold the central button of the device for 5 seconds, until the central ring flashes quickly.  The Smart LIfe App will then discover the device.   Navigate to the Amazon Alexa App, select the three bars across the top left and select  “Skills & Games.”  Enter Smart Life into the search bar across the top of the screen and then enable the skill.  Alexa will discover the device, and then you can control the device via voice control.  You can turn on/off the device, but I did not find a way to vocally turn on/off the left/right outlets.

Aukey Home and AlexaInterestingly, if you link the device to the Smart Life App, it removes the device from the Aukey Home App and vice versa.  Since I could control the device with the Smart Life App, the experience was essentially the same as with the Aukey Home App, and it had Alexa integration, I had no reason to keep the Aukey Home App.  I thus deleted the redundant app.  With App and Alexa integration, it is often easy to forget the hardware.  Aukey did a great job with the device build.  The type B prong plugged securely into my wall and each of the outlets securely held either type A or B prongs. Combined with the Apps, the Aukey Smart Plug was a solid addition to my Smart Home.

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