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Review: Nyrius is an effective Smart Outlet for dumb devices

Review: Nyrius is an effective...
We put the Nyrius Smart Outlet to the test
We put the Nyrius Smart Outlet to the test
View 6 Images
We put the Nyrius Smart Outlet to the test
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We put the Nyrius Smart Outlet to the test
The Nyrius Smart Outlet app lets you control up to seven outlets on an Android device and three on an iOS
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The Nyrius Smart Outlet app lets you control up to seven outlets on an Android device and three on an iOS
Once on, the Smart Outlet establishes a Bluetooth connection to your phone or tablet via a free downloadable app
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Once on, the Smart Outlet establishes a Bluetooth connection to your phone or tablet via a free downloadable app
The Nyrius Smart Outlet works with any three-pronged electrical outlet
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The Nyrius Smart Outlet works with any three-pronged electrical outlet
Nyrius began shipping the product in October 2015 with a list price of just under $40
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Nyrius began shipping the product in October 2015 with a list price of just under $40
Any device you plug into the outlet can also be controlled via the app's timer function
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Any device you plug into the outlet can also be controlled via the app's timer function
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The Internet of Things might be driving us further toward smarter devices, but there are still plenty of 20th Century analog appliances out there that won't be immediately cast aside. The Nyrius Smart Outlet could be the interim solution, as it applies some smart controls to those plugged-in devices via Bluetooth-connected iOS or Android smartphones or tablets. We recently had the chance to try it out for ourselves.

First of all, we can confirm that it's as easy to set up as the company claims. It plugs into any standard three-pronged 120 V, 60 Hz AC wall outlet, and a button on the side turns the device off and on. Once on, the Smart Outlet establishes a Bluetooth connection to your phone or tablet via a free downloadable app.

Once downloaded, you sync the app with the outlet. You can then plug in just about anything in the home you can think of, such as lamps, toasters, stereos, coffee makers, electric blankets or even a laptop. We tried all of these with no issues.

Users can control up to three Smart Outlets via iOS and up to seven via Android. Nyrius sent us one Smart Outlet so we could only test a single outlet, but we did use it on an extension cord with more than one device plugged into that, to see how it would handle the extra load. It did so with no problem.

The Nyrius Smart Outlet app lets you control up to seven outlets on an Android device and three on an iOS
The Nyrius Smart Outlet app lets you control up to seven outlets on an Android device and three on an iOS

The app is limited to some basic functions, but frankly we couldn't think of any others that might make it more robust. Tapping a simple on and off icon in the app lets you control any device plugged into the outlet. We put that to the test by turning on a lamp from outside the house after returning home in the dark. This could come in handy if you forget to use the timer function in the app and you don't want to enter into a dark house, apartment of even an office.

Any device you plug into the outlet can also be controlled via the app's timer function. It allows you to choose a set time frame and days of the week when you want the outlet to be activated. We tried it on a coffee maker that didn't have a timer, and it worked fine.

There's also a proximity control that automatically turns off connected electronics when you've traveled outside of range with your iOS or Android device, and turns them on when you're back in range. For example, a TV connected to a Smart Outlet will automatically turn off when you leave for work once you go beyond the proximity operating range, and turn on again once you are back within range.

Since the Smart Outlet is dependent on a Bluetooth connection, that range can be both a blessing and a problem. The company claims it will operate within a radius of 33 feet (10 m). That's fine for situations where you do leave the house, but you'll be hard-pressed to move outside that range as long as you're inside an average-sized house or apartment. This means that the proximity feature within such a situation may not be that useful. The upside is that unlike devices that rely on an internet connection, like D-Link's mydlink Home, using the Smart Outlet means you never have to worry about an always-on Internet connection.

Nyrius first introduced the Smart Outlet earlier this year via a Kickstarter campaign that raised a little over US$20,000. The company began shipping the product this past October with a list price of just under $40.

Check out the company's Kickstarter video to see how the Smart Outlet works.

Product page: Nyrius

Buy it now: Amazon

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6 comments
ivan4
It would appear that this is a slightly upgraded (bluetooth) X10 unit from the late 70s.
Maybe they will eventually get to producing built in units (just like X10) rather than plug in devices.
swaan
ivan4- There are built in units from many manufacturers using all kinds of protocols (X10, Zigbee, ZWave, BT, Ethernet/wifi...).
What wonders me about this product: 1) Can it be controlled by other hubs or computers? 2) Does it have power metering?
I like that its easy to setup and use but it does also look like a dead end if you want to integrate it into a larger system one day. Yes you could hack it but is it worth it?
Tommo
LightwaveRF have been doing this (but better) for years. Their range is way higher too as it uses WiFi. It also allows dimming of lights which is another advantage - I see nothing new with this.
Paul Anthony
Being bluetooth makes this appealing, but not as versatile as a WiFi. The author suggests plugging in a TV but the engineers of TV's make it a nuisance if you unplug your set and lose the time.
pmshah
@Tommo
With increasing use of fluorescent lamps dimming is no longer an option. Or can it handle that?
The only advantage I see in Bluetooth control would be the limited range. For some one to hack it one would have to be pretty close. I can buy a 10 outlet wifi / lan / internet controlled outlets for $129/-
MarcinBuglewicz
devices are not dumb. people coding them are dumb, machines just process code