Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, our families worried about coffee pots, toasters, crock pots, Christmas Trees and essentially every device that required a wall plug. We had no way to know if we turned off the devices and many of us made special trips back home to make sure the devices were off or unplugged. For those of us with more significant OCD, we may have had to make the trip a few times. Or, we may have at least called home to make sure that we turned off the device. For anyone who is a fan of the television show “This is Us,” (SPOILER) we can truly empathize with the Pearson family. Luckily in 2018, we can control our outlets from afar with smart plugs like those from Aukey.
The Aukey Smart Plug (duo) arrived in a generic brown box similar to the larger double outlet smart plug. The cover showed a single ink outline of the rectangular smart plug and displayed the title along the top left. Each side panel displayed a recycling logo and “GO GREEN WITH AUKEY.” The top and bottom panels were devoid of writing, and the back panel contained a 2 3/8 inches wide by 1 9/16 inches tall product sticker. To access the two single port plugs, simply lift the top flap of the box. Inside of the packaging, I found two 2 1/2 inches wide by 1 7/16 inches tall by 1 5/16 inches thick smart plugs, a useful 20-page 2 3/4 inches wide by 2 5/16 inches tall instruction manual and a 24-month warranty card with a gold circuit board themed key sticker on the cover. Each plug had a centralized type B outlet prong, on the back panels, that oriented the charger horizontally. The front panel of each of the devices had a single Type B outlet centered along the vertical and horizontal axis. If you look towards your left, you will see a small LED indicator. This will alert you to the status of the wall plug. When the indicator flashes blue, the plug is in the powered on state. When the indicator flashed blue rapidly, the plug was in connecting mode. When the indicator LED was red, the power plug was connected. The left panels (your right) boldly displayed “AUKEY,” the top panels were bare, the right side ( your left) panels had a 3/8 inch diameter power button, and the bottom panels provided the product specifications. The product can accept 110–125V/15A power at 50/60Hz and can output a max of 1800W (110–125V/15A).
You can plug each of the smart plugs into a wall outlet or an extension cord, surge protector or power strip. Personally, the device works best plugged directly into the outlet. The B type prongs fit securely into the upper and lower wall ports in my living room and did not have any wiggle or extra play. If desired, you can manually disconnect and reconnect the outlet by pressing the small button on the side of the outlet. For the more tech-savvy and those who want to be able to control the device from afar, navigate to the appropriate app store and download the AUKEY Home App. Since I had previously registered and set up an account for the app, I did not have to complete those steps again. Setup was not difficult. This process was described in more detail in the double outlet smart plug review. Tap “Add Device” on the app, hold the side power button until the device clicks (about 5 seconds) and wait for the device to connect. Since I had previously entered my WiFi network key, this information was prepopulated. After about twenty seconds, the device was added to the AUKEY Home app. To add the second device, I had to repeat the steps above. Each of the devices will be listed on the main page of the App. If you tap one of the switches, you will be directed to a secondary page with a large centralized power button, “…” along the top right and along the bottom, a power slider, a countdown timer, and schedule timer. If you tap the three circles, you can rename the outlet (important for Alexa integration), create groups, learn more about Alexa/Google Assistant, check firmware update, remove device and more. If you read my previous review, you would know that the AUKEY Home App does not work with Alexa. To integrate these into your Smart Home Setup, you will need to download the “Smart Life APP.”
To add the devices to the Smart Life App, hold the side power button for 5 seconds and select “Confirm indicator rapidly blink,” input the WiFi key (unless prepopulated) and then note that the devices unlink from the Aukey Home App. The Aukey Home App becomes irrelevant/redundant if you link the outlets with the Smart Life App. Additionally, the Smart Life App allows you to add more types of devices than the AUKEY Home App. Within the Smart Life App, you can add the following devices: electrical outlet, wall switch, multiple socket, lighting devices, lighting devices (Bluetooth-enabled), air conditioner, robot vacuum, water heater, heater, oil heater, electric blanket, air purifier, dehumidifier, kettle, rice cooker, oven, microwave, soymilk maker, bread maker, gas stove, washing machine, refrigerator, fan, air cooler, milk dispenser, door, lock, curtains, burglar alarm, security camera, plant grower, thermostat, Wi-Fi connector, Smart IR, Sous Vide, and other products. Additionally, you can link devices from a variety of companies to the app and control them through scenes (Back home, Leave home, Good morning, Goodnight). If you tap the individual outlet, it looks identical to the Aukey Home App interface. Thanks to my Linksys Velop network, my entire home and nearly most of my 1-acre lot have WiFi signal. When I turned off the power to the outlet through the app, the device activated/deactivated within about 1/2 of a second. When I pressed the button again, the outlet quickly returned to the powered on position. I disabled the Smart Life skill and Re-enabled it within the Alexa app. I had the option at that point to link to AUKEY Home or Smart Life. As noted, the Smart life Skill is more involved, and I chose to add the Smart Life skill again.
The best part of the Aukey Smart Plug had to be the price. For the price of $27, we get two manual, App and voice assistant controlled outlet plugs. For the average user, this device is the perfect kit to upgrade your outlets to smart outlets. You can use them both on a single outlet, or you can use them in separate locations. Link them to the App, control them from afar or use Alexa to do it for you. Although you can link the AUKEY HOME APP, I feel that the Smart Life App does this better and links other brands into the same app. The device seems to be a solid investment, but the App is not necessary. I did not experience any connectivity issues; I also did not experience any issues with the setup process nor with the voice assistant. If you link to either of the apps and then try to link to the other one, you will wipe the data from the first app. That feature was rather annoying because you have to go through the setup process again.
Additionally, I did not get the option to link the AUKEY Home App until I disabled the Smart Life skill and re-enabled it. At that point, I was able to link one or the other apps but not both. The section detailing the voice assistant integration could use an update, as it was a little vague. If you are looking for an inexpensive app controllable outlet double pack, definitely consider the AUKEY Smart Plug as an option.
Originally published at macsources.com on October 1, 2018.