When you think about a smart home, one of the first things that comes to mind would be smart plugs. But maybe you'd like to manage some USB-powered tools ortrinkets with the touch of an app or the sound of your voice. If so, you might want to look to the Chinese accessories market as Sonoff has made what it calls a smart remote control to link your widget up with Google Assistant or Alexa.

The Sonoff Micro adapter acts as a pass-through between a 5V USB power source (up to 2.5A) and any compatible widget. It's able to turn that device on or off by command when connected to 2.4GHz Wi-Fi or on a pre-defined schedule. Multiple adapters can be assigned to so-called Smart Scene groups that can be activated all at the same time.

It's a pretty good product on paper for most people who already rely on a spare USB port on their computer or an existing adapter to power their widgets, though we can definitely see the case for a self-contained version of the Micro with a battery inside.

This smart adapter probably exists in hundreds of Chinese manufacturers' catalogs, but Sonoff's version is currently on presale at ITEAD for $4.99 through December 20. After that, each unit will cost $6.49. First shipments are due to go out December 27.

If you're using it with a Google Assistant device, you'll need the Android app below and an integration which we've linked here before you can start sending requests to the widget. For Alexa users, you can download the associated skill here.

Those of you who have concerns about sending their data off to China might want to wait until a domestic manufacturer comes out with their own version, but hey: a tool's a tool and it's here right now.

  • Thanks:
  • Andreas