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TechnologyTell Review: Nyrius Smart Switch Outlet

Sections: Internet of Things, Power management, Remote control, Reviews, Smart Home

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If you’re interested in providing wireless connectivity to a variety of devices, you’ll do well to keep an eye on Nyrius. I’ve granted Bluetooth wireless to speakers with the Songo and wireless HDMI with the Aries Home+, both of which are fantastic products and deliver. One of Nyrius’ latest gadgets for the home is the Smart Switch, which brings the power of Bluetooth to an outlet.

Design & Installation

The Nyrius Smart Switch wireless outlet isn’t much to look at, unless you’re partial to things that resemble fresh, creamy white bars of soap. It’s gently tapered at the sides, slightly rounded at the corners, and does well to melt into the background of living spaces.

Nyrius smart switch outlet box

Product is totally ready for consumers!

When it comes to plugs and outlets, most people likely prefer things to work without having to think about it. And if you do have this switch in a visible location, the branding on the face is muted and classy.

As for placement, the Nyrius Smart Switch is clearly meant to take up the bottom port of a wall socket. The prongs are set at the very top of the switch so that even the wall plate’s mounting screw is unobstructed.

Although fitting an AC wall adapter above the Nyrius Smart Switch may be an exercise in futility, you’re guaranteed enough space for all standard electric plugs. Small AC wall adapters might work. Especially if they lack a grounding prong so you can flip’em upside down.

Plug the Nyrius Smart Switch in, plug whatever electronic into the bottom socket of the switch, hit the button on it’s side if the LED on the front isn’t already flashing, then pair via Bluetooth with your smartphone or tablet. Done! So long as the switch has power going to it, the LED triple-blinks a faint cool white. This turns into a double-blink while paired. You have to be looking at it close to dead-on in order to see it during the day. Even when it’s dark at night, the LED is just a meager flicker.

Nyrius Outlet App & Performance

Even though a paired device won’t show (at least on Android) the Bluetooth icon as being connected, you need to have Bluetooth on in order to play with the Nyrius Smart Switch. The app does a cursory check for you when you pop it open. I happen to really like the Nyrius Outlet app on Android; it’s simple, fast, and effective. When it comes to the internet of everything and connectivity, too many companies muck up the user interface unnecessarily.

Nyrius smart switch outlet hand

Simple, small.

The landing page will show a list of each detected smart switch. If you’re not in range, the switch(es) won’t show, even if they’re on and active. Unlike wireless switches that require a hub (usually separate) to connect to your home network for remote operation, this one by Nyrius is limited to Bluetooth wireless range. It’s a different option to choose from for your wireless home.

As for controls users can: toggle power on/off, toggle proximity on/off, create/edit/delete/toggle timers, rename, and create a pin to lock access for each Nyrius Smart Switch. Powering on/off and renaming switches should be self-explanatory.

The proximity sensor, which I dig, works well; if you’re in range, then the switch is on, otherwise it turns off. The Bluetooth distance can reach the listed 10 meters (33 feet), depending on obstacles in the way.

Nyrius smart switch outlet wall

You’ll never guess what I have plugged in next to wine in the kitchen, bwahahaha

Moving bodies can and will block the wireless signal, even in passing. The same goes for walls. Treat the Nyrius Smart Switch like you would a Bluetooth wireless speaker, except that the furthest 2 meters of range is a little loose. The Bluetooth boundary has some flex, making it pretty impossible to pinpoint an exact edge (I tried, though it’s not big a deal).

Even though the Nyrius Smart Switch can’t be controlled remotely (e.g. away from the home or Bluetooth range), the timers provide a means for automatic operation when you’re not around. So if you wanted to have a lamp turn on and off at certain times of the day, just create each timer rule and leave them on. That’s it.

Keep in mind that you have to be in range of the switch in order to manage any of the timer settings. So if you’re on vacation, you won’t be able to edit anything until you get back home. Timers can be overridden by manual powering on/off.

The app is great and does exactly what it needs to do without any extra fuss. The power drain for having Bluetooth enabled on the mobile device is less than when connected to a speaker and actively playing music. One addition/improvement I would like to see is a power toggling icon+indicator to the left of each smart switch name on the app’s landing page. This way, control would be more immediate, leaving the sub-menu for changing proximity activation, editing timers, or renaming the outlet and such.

Verdict

Some of the most convenient uses for the Nyrius Smart Switch would involve electronics plugged into outlets that are not connected to a wall switch. Things like lamps, fans, heaters, stereos, and such, especially if they’re in a hard to reach place, maybe behind furniture or something else. But don’t feel limited by my suggestions! It’s a neat device that works very well.

So where can you get one of your own? If you act quickly (before April 21st, 2015), you can visit the Nyrius Smart Switch Outlet Kickstarter page and pledge for your own. Yup, that’s right, mine is a pre-production (maybe beta?) unit complete with packaging and all. It’ll be interesting to see what improvements Nyrius implements before the final release. Aside from purposely blocking the wireless connection, there wasn’t anything to do to thwart the overall performance!

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