iClever BoostSmart AC Power Plug REVIEW Control Your Outlet and Light Your Way
While touring CES 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada I was amazed at the scope of “smart” automation tech. From Smart home devices to smart car devices, to Alexa/Cortana/Siri/Google integration, our dumb lives are becoming smarter by the day. Imagine if you had to replace every one of your outlets, light fixtures, sensors with new devices. The cost of upgrading/enhancing your technology could potentially be cost prohibitive. Luckily, smart plugs have grown in popularity due to their cheaper cost and versatility. The ability to accessorize, rather than replace, opened the market to the plethora of smart plugs, sensors, bulbs, et cetera. With so many options on the market, how can you choose the winners from the losers? Before reviewing products, I had never heard of a company called iclever. Since that point, I have become very fond of their devices. I just wish that they would focus as much on their packaging, as they do on their quality gear. The iclever IC-BS11 BoostSmart Series arrived in a 4 inches wide by 3 7/16 inches long by 2 3/16 inches thick plain cardboard box. Similar to other iclever devices, you should not judge this book by its cover. The cover displayed a 1 3/8 inches long ink outline of the iclever smart AC plug along the middle. Towards your top left, you will find the company logo, product title and the model number. Located along your top right, you can find “X2.” If you rotate the package to look at the right panel, you will find two QR codes that will link you to the iClever website and to the SmartLife App on iTunes and Google Play Store. The opposite face had an iClever LED Night Light SKU sticker and listed 7 icons: Smart Phone App Control, Share Access to Control, IFTTT available, Compatible with Alexa, Timer Function, Overload protection, and Anti-Fire protection. The rear panel listed the model number, the power intake100–240V 50/60Hz, output power rating 1250W (125V/10A), 0.4W LED output, 55–60 lumen brightness, 3000K color temperature and IOS/Android support. The top panel displayed the iclever logo and the bottom panel was unadorned.
When I opened up the lid, I found a 1 3/4 inches wide by 2 3/4 inches tall Warranty/Registration Card with listed emails and support contacts. Beneath this, I found two user manuals, one for the Smart AC Plug and one for the Application. The BoostSmart Smart AC Power Plug opened into a fifteen-panel informational guide. In addition to listing the same product specifications as the rear panel of the packaging and rear face of the smart outlet, the manual also provided information about overload protection, overheating and recommended indoor use only. The first page of the manual provided a labeled product diagram, detailing the lower power socket, upper night light, and side power switch. The device is made of fire-resistant plastic and has a single Type B wall prong. The second through sixth panels dealt with setting up the application. You can navigate to the Smart Life App on your mobile device or scan the QR code on page 2 of the manual. You will then need to sign into the app, add a username/password, sign in with social media or with SMS. I liked that I could log back into the app using an SMS code only and overall this process was quite easy to follow.
Since I had previously set up the SmartLife App, I did not need to follow the above steps a second time. I invite you to read the BoostSmart Series BS08 review on macsources for additional information. With the app installed, I opened the app and selected the “+” icon toward my top right. The app changed screens and provided a long list of device types. After I chose the electrical outlet, the app asked that I power on the device and confirm that the indicator light was blinking rapidly. The manual did not do a very good job at detailing this step because there was no description of how to make the light flash. I held the button for a total of 5 seconds and then the light began to flash quickly. I selected the blue rectangle at the bottom of the app screen “Confirm indicator rapidly blink,” and then entered my wireless network key. Unfortunately, this process took three attempts to complete successfully.
Each time that the app noted that the setup had failed, I became a little more frustrated. I checked out the Amazon page, I checked out the iclever website and was unable to find troubleshooting information. Even the instruction manual was devoid of a troubleshooting section. After two failed attempts, I realized that I was making a mistake with the button press. After holding the button for five seconds the device will click and will abruptly shut off before flickering on/off quickly. If I held the button any longer than the click, the setup failed. The key to successfully setting up the app was letting go of the button at the time of the click and having the WiFi key prepopulated. I fear that some people would send this device back because of this setup process. A troubleshooting section may save some of the returns.
If app control is not important to you, or perhaps your network is down, the device will still function without the App. You can simply plug it into a standard type B wall outlet and enjoy the same power supply. As a bonus, you will gain the added functionality of a night light and a manual on/off push button. The button controls the entire device and does not simply turn on/off the light. If you hold the button for longer than 5 seconds, the night light will flash on/off slowly. If you desire even more control of your outlet, the App will add a significant enhancement to this device and will allow you to control the outlet remotely. Once configured you can turn on/off the smart plug or you can turn on/off the night light by pressing the large 11/16 inches diameter buttons. If you tap the little pencil icon, you can change the name of the outlet/light. You can also access a countdown timer and schedule for the smart plug and control the brightness/schedule of the night light as well. At the very bottom of the screen, you can choose “All-ON” or “All-OFF.”
Within the schedules icon, you can set the app to repeat once, or you can tap each day of the week that you want to repeat. When I tapped the three circles toward my upper right, I was able to modify the device name, learn how to add my device to Alexa or Google, learn device information, create a group and to check for firmware updates. The beauty of this tech is that you can choose how complicated you wish to make it. If you are not interested in complex automation or app control, you can physically control the device. If a basic setup is important to you, you can enjoy the ability to control the device remotely. However, this setup has the option for an extra layer of advanced features. If you return to the main App page, by pressing the back button, you can tap “Scenes” or “Profile” along the bottom. Under the “Scenes” tab, we can customize condition/tasks based on certain events.
We can add events such as temperature, humidity, weather, air quality, sunrise/sunset, and device. You can navigate to your Alexa App, add skill and search for “Smart Life” from the list. You can ask Alexa to discover devices and she will say I found “Bedroom Outlet” or whatever you renamed the device. You can ask Alexa to “Turn on the Bedroom Outlet,” or you can ask Alexa to “Turn off the Bedroom Outlet.” If desired, you can control the App with your Google Home or you can use the IFTTT app to make more specific if/then activities. The 24 page BoostSmart Series App user manual provided a lengthy discussion of the above features. To use the added functionality, you will need an Amazon device, a Google device or to download the IFTTT app.
I truly love the option to add/retrofit smart functionality to my home. Spoiler Alert!!! If this tech existed at the time of the Super Bowl “This Is Us” Episode, perhaps Jack would still be alive. The ability to control my outlets remotely, to know that I can turn on/off my coffee pot/toaster/lamp/light/fan based on a timer/schedule, and the ability to add a more complicated If/then/then/that program provides a great deal of reassurance. Imagine using the GPS features of your Smartphone to turn on your lights as you pull up to your set address. Now imagine that when the lights turn on, this sends a signal to your smart door lock and unlocks the door. This list of If/then statements could continue even further. Lock all of your doors at a given time, power off all outlets and turn on nightlights near bedtime. With IFTTT technology, the benefits of the tech extend well beyond the hardware. The device will work in the upper wall outlet but will block access to the upper port if plugged into the lower port. My wife loved the light, the ability to control the brightness and to turn off just the light, just the outlet or both. If you are looking to add an inexpensive smart outlet control with an accessory night light, look no further than the iclever IC-BS11.
Originally published at macsources.com on August 13, 2018.