While it's easy to appreciate the benefits of a fully connected smart home, setting one up can be a pretty daunting undertaking — not only do you face the same pressures as making any tech purchase (am I getting the right brand, does this have the features I'll need, am I paying too much) but you also face the increased stress from taking on a home-renovation project. What if you want to change something later? A new smart outlet from Swidget hopes to add some flexibility to that process, with support for modular hardware add-ons.
The base Swidget Outlet — retailing for about $40 — doesn't do much that's very special on its own. But once it's wired up and installed in your house, you can quickly add your choice of functionality through a variety of snap-in-place inserts.
Right now there are three such inserts available: one for controlling your outlet over Wi-Fi, one for Z-Wave control, and one that simply adds a USB port for charging your devices. Those are set to be joined next month by inserts that offer nightlight or power-out lighting options, as well as combo inserts that deliver both lighting or USB alongside remote control functionality.
In the more distant future, Swidget promises some significantly more ambitious-sounding inserts, including Alexa or Google Assistant integration, surveillance cameras, and even an aromatherapy option.
The simpler USB or lighting insets sell for $5-$15, while Wi-Fi or Z-Wave add another $30 to that price. Combined with the base outlet cost, that has the potential to get pretty expensive, especially compared to more bare-bones smart plugs. Still, maybe the flexibility and promise of future expansion really speaks to you.
Sales of the Swidget Outlet and first three inserts are open now, with new inserts arriving May 1.