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smart plug

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Belkin WeMo smart switches review: A good idea held back by connectivity and software issues

With a couple of months of use behind me, my feelings about the Belkin WeMo switches are just as conflicted now as they were when I unpacked these. On paper, the idea of a switch that you can plug anything in to make it smart is fantastic. In reality, I struggled to find many, if any honestly, devices I wanted to use the WeMo with. But that's not even the meat of my issue with WeMo's switches. Their connectivity has been iffy at best, the app is laughably old, and integration with other smart home devices is hit and miss, mostly because of the aforementioned connectivity issues.

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Tip: Turn on your Christmas tree with Google Home and a smart plug

Two years ago, when I started getting into smart home stuff, I had a small epiphany when I heard a podcaster say they set up their Christmas tree to turn on and off with their iPhone. Until then, I had considered smart plugs completely useless for me, since we use recessed ceiling lights a lot here in Lebanon and rarely have floor or desk lamps. But a Christmas tree and one you can turn on and off without kneeling, ruffling half the tree, and dropping several decorations in order to unplug and replug the lights?! That was a light bulb moment, if ever there was any.

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IFTTT adds a channel for TP-Link Kasa smart plugs, switches, and bulbs

IFTTT is continuing its crusade to bridge your different online services and smart home gadgets and appliances together, with the latest addition being TP-Link's Kasa series of smart bulbs, switches, and plugs (which, I might add, are already Google Home-compatible).

The Kasa channel is still marked as "beta" on IFTTT, but there are already plenty of ideas for integrations with motion detectors, smart cams, your phone's location, and so on. For now, the IFTTT channel only offers actions for TP-Link, like turning a Kasa device on, off, toggling its state, changing the color or brightness or color temperature of a bulb, and setting a scene.

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[Deal Alert] Amazon's Alexa Deals include a ton of discounts on home automation products

In the wake of Prime Day, Amazon is running a set of "Alexa Deals" that can only be accessed by Prime members via voice commands given to Alexa. Most of the offers are pretty pedestrian, things like gum, snacks, and batteries, but there are a few good ones our readers might enjoy. If you are interested in home automation, you can pick up a ton of stuff, like Philips Hue starter kit, smart plugs, a wireless Lutron starter kit, a touchscreen Schlage deadbolt, and more. 

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[Deal Alert] Great discounts on Philips Hue, Wink Hub, Canary camera, and more smart home products on Amazon Prime Day

Prime Day is underway at Amazon and there are great deals to be had on plenty of gadgets and accessories for the nerdiest of folks. We've already covered deals on phones/tablets/Chromebooks, but what if you're more interested in making your home a little smarter? Well, fret not, because I've scoured the discounts and used my search-fu skills to find the best deals for the smart home noobs and veterans alike, deals that are especially catered for you, the Android user.

But before I start with my list, let me remind you of the couple of deals we've already covered that are relevant in a smart home setting: the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot are at an all-time low of $90 and $35 ($90 and $15 off, respectively), and the NVIDIA Shield TV is $20 off (remember that it's still slated to get SmartThings Hub integration and the SPOT for a cheap add-on Google Home-like experience).

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