Nyrius Smart Switch Review; Simple IoT For Your Home

The smarter home; we all want it, but can we achieve it in the house we have? That's the aim Nyrius has with their Smart Switch; a true, easy-to-use home automation primer via a single plug-in dongle. Accompanied by an app (Android version currently available, iOS coming soon), Nyrius' Smart Switch makes quick work of customized home settings. Easy and simple, Smart Switch nonetheless takes up valuable outlet space. Will a home full of outlet dongles really make your home smart, though? We find out.

Hardware

Put simply, this thing is just too large (but it may be a standardized design used by others). As you can see in the pics, Smart Switch takes up a lot of room in an outlet. The bottom side-facing outlet is obviously clever, but may not work for all purposes.

Plastic, Smart Switch is fairly heavy and feels dense. I won't guess what the internals are about, but we've seen smaller hardware that does the same thing Nyrius' Smart Switch promises. August Connect was/is much smaller, lighter, and equally powerful.

Software

Available for Android, the Nyrius Smart Outlet app is as simple as they come. On download, you're presented with a series of options that can be customized with timeframes. For security purposes, you can also opt to have your outlet action locked with a PIN code.

What you're doing with the app is setting the Smart Outlet to engage when you're around, during a set timeframe, and allowing remote access. Say you lazily stumble into the kitchen each morning around 5:45am (okay, so maybe that's just me); wouldn't it be handy to have the coffee machine just turn on when you arrive?

Even better, wouldn't it be great to have that coffee machine set to a timer so it's on and brewing when you set foot in the kitchen?

Or — stay with me — wouldn't it be great to remotely turn it on while you're waking up on a lazy Saturday morning and you don't have a timer set and aren't in the kitchen?

That's an example of what the app wants to let you accomplish.

Use

Pairing was easy. I plugged Smart Switch in and it was linked to my phone via Bluetooth (just make sure your phone is discoverable).

Bluetooth is key; you can't find the outlet via WiFi, so turning that coffee machine on from work for an after-work cappuccino is probably not going to happen unless you work next door.

For a single person, Smart Switch is great. Sadly, Nyrius didn't consider homes with multiple people trying to control devices, so if you turn the coffee on, you have to turn it off.

Smart Switch can be used for any type of plug-in device. Lights, fans, stereos — you name it. Just keep one thing in mind — you're killing power to the device you have plugged in when you switch it off via Smart Switch. If you've got something keeping time, like a microwave, Smart Switch presents an annoyance.

You're also bypassing wall switches to turn things like lamps on. If someone toggles the lamp on or off when you're not around, you may have to fiddle with the switch settings to get your stuff working via the plug-in again.

Verdict

It would be nice to have this for a lot of different devices around the home. Sadly, the hardware is bulky, so it's one Smart Switch per outlet. If you've got two lamps plugged into one wall outlet, you can control one. Or get a splitter and really make your life more complicated that it needs to be. Smart Switch is about simplicity.

Smart Switch accomplishes that simplicity, too. Maybe to a fault. If you want to automate lights or turn a coffee machine on automatically, Smart Switch is great.

It also has no platform, which is a major sticking point for me in the 'Internet of Things'. Smart Switch doesn't make a home with Nest, SmartThings, or any other platform, so it's another island making up a nation of connected stuff in your home. Consider that before you decide to buy.

For $40 (currently on Kickstarter), you could do worse. You could also do better, or at least different. If you want a toe-dip in the pool of home automation and the Internet of Things, Smart Switch is a good way to do that.