Eve Energy smart plug review

A great energy-tracking smart plug - if you're a HomeKit fanatic

Eve Energy smart plug
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A common complaint among HomeKit users is there aren't a lot of compatible devices – unless you need a smart plug. Then you’re in luck, as there are multiple, even many, certainly more than two or three. And the Eve Energy is arguably among the best, especially if you are a dedicated HomeKit user and aren't too concerned about those other voice assistants.

As with all HomeKit smart plugs, you can use Eve Energy to have Siri control whatever appliance is plugged into it, use schedules to control the device autonomously, and - with the energy monitoring element - see actual and projected costs as to how much electricity the connected appliance is sucking up.

Read this: The best HomeKit devices

We lived with the Eve Energy smart plug for three months to test its HomeKit and home energy chops. Read on for our review.

Eve Energy smart plug

Eve Energy Smart Plug: Design and setup

The Eve Energy is a smart plug with energy monitoring built in, and pretty comprehensive monitoring at that. It’s a large, square device, with rounded corners and has a small LED button on the front (on the US version) that indicates the plug’s status, as well as giving you a physical switch (which can be child-locked in the app - usefully).

It is the biggest single outlet available in the HomeKit ecosystem, and this is a downside as you can’t put two side-by-side in a double outlet; unless you put it at the bottom of a vertical stacked outlet, it’s going to be a one-prong pony.

Newer HomeKit plugs such as the Satechi Dual Smart Outlet can get you four outlets in a two-socket gang box, so if you are looking for multiple smart outlets, you’ll want to look elsewhere.

However, if you have a specific need for a good, sturdy, energy-monitoring smart plug, this fits the bill.

Set-up is simple, plug it in, pair it to the Apple Home app over Bluetooth - no congested Wi-Fi here - by scanning the HomeKit code. Then choose a room for it and name it.

Eve Energy smart plug

Eve Energy Smart Plug: The app(s)

For basic control - turning it on / off, setting scenes and automations - Apple’s Home app is a perfectly serviceable way to control Eve Energy, and probably what you’ll want to use primarily.

We tested the Eve Energy with our living room TV and set up an automation that turned the TV off when the last person left the house. We also added it to our Goodnight scene, so it turns off when we tell Siri goodnight, plus we set a schedule to shut it off between 6pm and 8pm each night (homework and dinner time in our household). With the power cut off no remote controls will work, much to my children's frustration.

Read this: How to set up HomeKit scenes and automations

However, to tap into this plug's most intriguing features - energy monitoring - you’ll need to use Eve’s App. Here you can input your actual electricity rate in the General Settings so you get a more accurate reading, plus the app has detailed charts on how much energy the appliance has used in the last hour, day, week, month, even year. It shows consumption and projected cost, and total consumption and cost since the last reset.

Eve Energy smart plug

This is genuinely useful information and can help you tailor your scheduling to better conserve energy. Here, you'll again want to use Eve’s app, whose scheduling options are way more extensive than Apple’s automations.

If you want a device to turn on and off, and on and off again, at a certain time of day and certain days of the week, you’ll want to use the Eve app, which can handle up to 15 events per day.

Another neat feature in the Eve app is the child lock, toggle this on and no one can turn the switch back on again by pressing the button on the device (another good way to foil the kids trying to turn the TV back on).

Eve Energy smart plug

Eve Energy Smart Plug: Everyday use

Oh HomeKit, I love you so, for any device that is within 5 feet of my Apple TV, works wonderfully. After that, all bets are off.

As mentioned, I plugged my living room TV in to Eve Energy and it worked like a charm, turning it off instantaneously with a press in the app or a command to Siri. Scenes and automations were similarly reliable, more so than the previous WeMo Switch I had set up to do the same thing; the lack of a bridge to HomeKit keeping things snappier.

However, when I moved the plug around to test range, assigning it to do duty controlling a lamp in my son’s bedroom upstairs, I found it dropped off line pretty consistently. More often than not I was unable to control it with via Siri, and it would show up in the Home app as “No response.”

Now this isn’t Eve’s fault exclusively: this happens to most HomeKit devices I’ve tested when I put them upstairs. At least Eve has a solution - the Eve Extend, a device that will extend the short range bluetooth single from the Apple TV (my HomeKit hub) downstairs, to my devices upstairs.

The Eve Extend was just released this month and we’ll be testing it shortly and will update this review.

This hub issue is another problem with Eve. If you don’t have one you can’t control your smart plug from outside the home, that’s a big disappointment for a $50 plug.

Overall though, when it was in range of our Apple TV, and our Apple TV was plugged in, the Eve Energy offered a great experience. Super speedy response times, Siri always knew what I was asking when I said “Turn off the TV” (which can’t be said for other voice assistants I’ve tried this on), and the energy monitoring is very comprehensive. I just really wish it wasn't so big.



Eve Energy Smart Plug
For HomeKit enthusiasts, this is one of the best smart plugs, snappy, well-designed, good software and a great user experience. Plus, for energy monitoring, it's one of the most comprehensive. However, if you're looking for flexibility in your smart home, look elsewhere.
PROS
  • Energy monitoring
  • Super responsive
  • Child lock
CONS
  • Big and bulky
  • Pricey
  • A separate hub for remote control
  • No Alexa or GA



TAGGED    apple

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