Smart sockets are now available like sand at the seaside. The range extends from inexpensive models from China to expensive adapter plugs from brand manufacturers. Amazon, apparently wants a piece of the cake and is now sending its own WLAN socket into the race with the Amazon Smart Plug for the proud price of 29.99€. The test will show whether Amazon’s own development can hold its own against the competition.
Amazon Smart Plug is big and heavy
The Amazon Smart Plug is delivered, as usual from other Amazon devices, in a visually appealing box. In addition to the power socket, an installation manual and a flyer with product information are included. When unpacking the all-white plug, you immediately notice the size and weight of the device. Compared to other models, the Amazon Plug looks a bit big and bulky. On the front there is a small, non-intrusive LED that indicates the current switching status. If the socket is on, the LED is blue, if the plug is off, the LED is off. On the left side there is a switch with a very pleasant pressure point with which you can also switch the Smart Plug manually. The case has a first class finish but the edges are somewhat “sharp” which feels uncomfortable when you take the plug in your hand. Finally, the QR code required for the installation as well as the obligatory data and test seals are printed on the back of the device.
Setup via Alexa App
Setting up Amazon’s smart adapter is just as easy as setting up a competitor’s model. If you already have the Alexa App installed on a smartphone or tablet, no additional app is needed. This is one of the few advantages of the Amazon Smart Plug without spoilers. In the smart home menu of the Alexa app, the adapter plug can be added in just a few steps. A wizard guides you through the setup process. During setup, a QR code is scanned, similar to Apple’s Homekit. Therefore you should get the installation guide from the package ready because the required QR code is glued on the back. If you don’t have it at hand you have to pull out the power socket and scan the QR code on the back. So the setup takes a bit longer because the Smart Plug has to reinitialize itself first.
No skill required for voice control
When the assistant is completed, the smart socket is ready for use and can be switched via Alexa App, Echo Speech Assistant or manually. An additional skill such as that required for sockets from other manufacturers is not required. In my opinion, this is also the biggest advantage of the Amazon Smart Plug. The switching processes take place exclusively via the Amazon server. Third party providers still have an additional server (skill) in the game. Should this additional server have a malfunction or be taken completely offline, it will turn most sockets into a block of electronic scrap if they do not have a local function. During the test with the Alexa Speech Assistant I could not notice any differences in the switching speeds to my other test devices, but the operation with the cheap China plugs was a bit more pleasant because the slimmer apps simply start faster. There were hardly any differences in the actual switching operations.
Competitor models are more energy-efficient
During the power consumption measurement, for which an ELV Energy Master 2 was used, I had to look twice because the values for a WLAN socket are quite high. The standby consumption was measured with 0.8W, switched on the measurement was 1.3W. The comparison with other WLAN sockets shows that nowadays it is possible to work more energy-saving.
The Amazon Smart Plug does not (currently) offer any extras
Apart from switching on and off, the Smart Plug currently does not offer any further functions. An energy measuring function as well as additional USB ports for connecting other devices, as is now common with the low-cost China models, are not available. The maximum switching load of 10A is sufficient for most applications, but there are already models which can be loaded up to 16A. As an Amazon product it was already clear in advance that the language assistants are not supported by Google and Apple. Most of the low-cost providers can do this better, because depending on the model, all three language assistants are supported. Personally, I don’t think the price/performance ratio of the Amazon Smart Plug is appropriate compared to the no-name products at the moment. Here Amazon should urgently improve or deliver a killer feature.
Direct server connection to Amazon
- Big and heavy
- Only compatible with Amazon’s Language Assistant
- Power consumption
- Parental lock missing