Esolom WiFi Smart Plug, Mini Smart Socket Outlet with Energy Monitoring, Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, Timing Function, Remote Control Your Devices Anywhere, No Hub Required – 2 Packs



Awesome plug! The long slim design works great wall outlets because it doesn’t block the second outlet!! This plug works great with the “Smart Life” app which is a must for all the smart plugs I buy! Smart Life has an awesome Alexa skill that allows these plugs to be used with Amazon Echos or any other Alexa enabled device!! Smart Life also works with other brand outlets which is a must for me!

Note: A home hub is not required for these plugs but also know that these plugs won’t work with hubs like Wink! If that’s a must for you, look elsewhere.. but know that Google Home, Alexa, and a lot of other devices can communicate with this outlet via “Skills”, “app” or whatever

Note 2: These outlets work with other Apps but I have always used Smart Life (which the outlet recommends). Just keep in mind, the features I mention in this review are based on the Smart Life App

Pros
1.) Uses Smart Life App
2.) Plugs can be named (if using smart life app.. other apps might also allow names).. naming the plug allows you to say “Alexa, turn off the Aquarium Light” and if the plug is named aquarium light Alexa will turn it off
3.) Allows imer function (if using the smart life app)
4.) Smart Life App is compatible with other brand smart plugs

Overall: Great Plug! I highly recommend it

Smart Plug 2-Pack Mini Smart Outlet WiFi Smart Switch Compatible with Alexa & Google Home, No Hub Required, Remote Control Your Device from Anywhere, Timing Function

Use: I will be moving early next month to a larger apartment and I am purchasing extra smart outlets so that when I setup my new home, I can do it form the beginning! I can do it the day I move in, even if I don’t plan to use that outlet in my smarthome setup at that time.

Short Review: These round plugs are still my favorite, even after trying a few other options! They simply work the best, they are sleek, and they allow use of both outlets on a standard wall socket.

Pros (Please note, a lot of these pros are features of the smartlife app so your use might differ if you use a different app)

1.) SmartLife App – These are compatible with the smartlife app. This makes them easy to use with Alexa, easy to schedule timers, and most importantly not bogging down your phone with a bunch of pointless apps.. I’d hate to have an app for all 10 of the different brand outlets I have in my home!

2.) Easy to schedule timers (Use smartlife app)

3.) Outlets can be named (Using smartlife app)

4.) Very durable and high quality

5.) Will work with heaters

Overall: great outlets! I think from now on, round is what I am sticking with

Maxcio Mini Smart Plug, No Hub Required, Wi-Fi, Control your Devices from Anywhere – Smart Timer Wireless Outlet – Works with Alexa and Google Home



Short Review (Summary): Great WiFi Outlet that works with the “Smart Life” app meaning it is VERY SIMPLE to use with other smart outlets and very simple to use with Amazon Alexa or Google Home!! I always look for these “Generic” outlets that are compatible with “Smart Life”. Why? Because I don’t want to have 50 different outlets using different apps!! That’s hard to manage..

Use: Purchased this to use with Christmas Tree this season (Video review will be up when I finish getting my Christmas Tree setup something later this week I know, it’s early but we always do it BEFORE Thanksgiving). I have already tested the outlet with Alexa (Amazon Echo) and it works GREAT!!

Pros
1.) No Hub Required – This is also my only Con because it also means it doesn’t work with Wink which is what I use to control the rest of my smarthome in conjunction with my Echo (Alexa) devices

2.) Easy Setup – Hold the button then follow prompts in “Smart Life”. It really is that simple!

3.) Works with “Smart Life” – I am not sure if Maxcio has their own app or not, I just saw that this worked with the Smart Life app which is great!! That’s my app of choice because so many of these outlets work GREAT with smart life

4.) Can be Scheduled – If you use the Smart Life app, you can create schedules for this.. I will be having it turn off my Christmas Tree late at night and then turning it back on by itself..

5.) Can be controlled with your voice (Alexa or google home) – For Alexa, simply download the smartlife skill.. That’s it!! I can now say “Alexa turn on the Christmas Tree” and it will!! Even if the outlet is scheduled to be off.. Simple!!!

6.) Outlet can be named – At least if you use Smart Life. I know I keep saying if you use that app, but that’s because these do work with other apps, but Smartlife is one of the best apps out there for these outlets.. I am not sure how other apps function

7.) Very GOOD QUALITY

Cons
1.) Not compatable with Wink Hubs meaning while these work GREAT with Lamps and stuff, I normally use them with other products that way Wink compatable plugs can be used to control my home lighting.. (Wink is a hub that controls smart things such as light bulbs.. I use mine to control my lighting mainly and can control it from my Echo)

Overall: This is an EXCELLENT OUTLET, one that I highly recommend!! I am happy with mine and it is offered at a very good price

Wifi Smart Plug, Tonbux Switch Outlet Mini with Timing Function for IOS/Android, Works with Amazon Alexa & Google Home, No Hub Required, App Control Your Devices from Anywhere Anytime (2 Packs)





Short Review (Summary):. These Are my GO TO smart outlets for Amazon Alexa! They are simple to activate, very inexpensive, and they do not require a hub (but also note they don’t work with hubs like Wink as far as I can tell). I use these with my smart home light setup and they work very well!

Please Note: I own several brands of these but normally buy Tonbux BUT any brand that looks the same is probably that.. the same! I have about 3 brands of these from various retailers (here, Newegg, and others). Amazon seems to have the best prices unless a sale is being ran. Best app to use is “Smart Life” some makers have their own app but Smart Life will allow you to control all with the same app! And all should work with Smart Life. The Alexa skill is also called Smart Life

Use: I purchased a few more of that knowing my new Echo was arriving this week! I wanted to setup more items on my smarthome! I use these for pretty much anything other than lighting (I don’t use with lighting, because I use a wink hub in conjunction with Alexa for lights) I did use one on ym Aquarium light however!

I will also be using one my my Christmas tree in a few weeks!

Other uses I have these on
1.) Bathroom Heater
2.) Computer Monitor – For when an update decides to hit at night and it turns on my monitor for whatever reason
3.) TV – For when I loose my remote in bed
4.) Fans

Pros
1.) Works with Alexa and Echo – Must Download the “Smart Life” skill on Alexa

2.) Can be used to set schedules – Do this in the smart life app on Android or IOS

3.) Work with heaters – At least for short periods of time! I have a heater in my bathroom setup with one and turn it on about 10 mins before i go in there.. never had any issues

4.) Can be individually named through the smartphone app

5.) Very inexpensive!

Cons
1.) Don’t work with hubs like Wink so probably not the best if you want to use them with lighting and control them from Wink ( Wink has great features that randomly turns on lights when you’re gone.. unlike a timer, it’s all random making people think your home)

2.) Being round it sometimes blocks two plugs, especially on powerstrips.

Overall: These are my go to outlet for my smarthome.. I use them on pretty much anything except lighting! (Aside from my aquarium light). I very much welcome these outlets to my home!

All-new Echo (2nd Generation) with improved sound, powered by Dolby, and a new design – Charcoal Fabric

Please Note:  The full review will be coming soon!  My new Echo just arrived today so I am still working on testing it out fully!

Short Review (Summary):  So where to start?  First, while overall sound to me DOES sound a little better than the original, the Bass is somewhat lacking compared to the original BUT this Echo does cost $50 – $75 less!!  Everything else is an improvement over the original ECHO!!  I am very pleased with it!

Why I decided on this over the new “Plus” unit:  I already own a WINK hub so I had no need for the built in hub the plus unit had.  Keep in mind, the plus unit DOES have more of the original sound of the old echo (Bass wise), but the rest of the features such as the built in hub, I had no use for

Improvements

1.) Size – The size is much smaller than the original!  The original stands tall! This is much shorter making it easier to tuck places

2.) Looks – It is now easier to find one to match your home décor!  This looks much nicer than the older version

3.) Price – This is much less expensive than the original!  (Although I purchase my original during the “Prime” deal, making mine only cost $99)

4.) Much improved over the “Dots”

Downgrades

1.) Bass – The bass has been downgraded in this unit.. Some think its due to the fabric cover.. I believe its due to the unit not being as tall.. The original Echo had a built in tube to help increase bass.

Upgrades I wish they made

1.) USB – I wish they went to USB charging.. They did not!  I assume this is due to the speaker using more power than your typical dot BUT they do make USB “C” cables that are capable of more power..  I just hate the very large power brick that is included..  Make that brick smaller or allow us to use USB “C”

My Uses

1.) Smarthome – I control a lot of my smarthome devices via Alexa! And it works GREAT

2.) Music – My wife uses these like a Sonos.  She ask Alexa to play her Pandora and she will leave these speakers running all day playing music!

3.) Flash Briefing – I love listing to this while in the shower every morning!

New Amazon Dash Wand with ALEXA

Before I start my review, I want to post some tips

Tips
1.) $20 Credit – This is NOT a gift card.. This is a promotional credit that shows up if and when you buy eligible products.. The nice thing about the “Wand” credit is that it will show up on MOST items sold by Amazon

2.) As stated in the description THIS DOES NOT play music.. BUT it is good for other things in the kitchen. Think of it as a “Mini” Alexa without all the expensive features

3.) The main purpos of this is a barcode scanner! Yes, that’s true BUT now that it includes ALEXA for simple features which I think is a great plus!

Pros
1.) Essentially Free
2.) The Alexa features are nice! But I purchased this as a barcode scanner to help me reorder stuff
3.) I find the Amazon prices on stuff I buy to be comparable to other stores.. I know some folks complain about high prices and who knows what they are buying.. I also know some stuff on Amazon is expensive BUT for the stuff I buy, it’s not
4.) Makes it easy to build a shopping list!
5.) Good battery life

Test Purchase:  Sun Bum Shampoo Normal cost everywhere else is $17.99.. Amazon cost after scanning barcode was $17.99 but free because I used my $20 credit..  So yeah! Price is fine!

Overall: I will update this more as I use it more.. Mine just arrived but so far I am impressed with it

New AMAZON ECHO SHOW – Black

Review will be updated as I play with the device more..

Updates:
1.) 6/30/17 – Added photos of the device and setup process & Updated the PRO about setup a little

So far I am very impressed with the Echo Show! As with all the Alexa devices, setup is extremely easy! The screen is very nice and sharp and the speakers are much improved, over the original Echo!

Pros
1.) Build Quality is OUTSTANDING!
2.) Sound Quality is simply amazing! Better than the original Echo even!
3.) Easy setup! Setup is even easier than previous Alexa devices due to the screen! – No phone or computer browser required!!
4.) Nice sharp VIVID screen! Bright and Excellent colors
5.) Video Flash Briefing is very cool and has several different sources that you can choose from
6.) Shows music Lyrics
7.) Works very well with my Wink system and smarthome devices! Alexa has always worked well with them and still does
8.) Can hear me very well and responds to my commands
9.) Video calls work well and if you have two of these in the same house it can work as sort of an intercom system if setup correctly. That’s super nice! It would be nice if video calls take off like Skype or FaceTime, but that will probably never happen and if it does, it will take a while.

Cons
1.) Not compatible with many home cameras yet.. Hopefully YI and a few other popular cameras will become compatible with Echo Show

2.) I was hoping to use this as an alarm clock but the screen is very bright.. they need to make a sleep or alarm mode.. Saying “Do Not Disturb” helps a little, but a full alarm clock mode with very dim screen would make this almost perfect

3.) Not a lot of skills that use the screen yet.. for example, a newer Alexa skill is Sirius XM.. All my other SiriusXM devices at least show artist name and song, some show album art even.. The echo show just shows “SiriusXM” and nothing else.. I know developers will soon use the screen better but just know for now, the screens functions are limited

Overall I am very happy with my show and will be using it more over the weekend!