review

D-Link Smart Plug Review: a Pricey Affair

If you have read our post on Oakter Smart Plugs & how I used to automate some of the appliances at home, you already know basics of what I am going to talk about in this post. If not, you should go and read that.

In this post, I am talking about DLink Smart Plug, which works with Amazon Alexa, and my experience of using it for over two weeks. Do note; I am not just talking about what the plug can do, but also on how you can smartly use it. I had used Oakter plugs with Water Heater and Purifier, and here I am using the DLink Smart plug to work on my washing machine.

Scenario:

My wife needs to use the washing machine twice to get all clothes done. It starts at 8 AM where first the clothes are kept for rinsing for around an hour and then followed by washing. This is then repeated at 10 AM again. Everything completes at noon.

Then I suggested her to use the Smart Plug to schedule the first slot in a way that first washing job is complete by 8 AM, and she can start with the second job by 8:30, and finish everything by 10:30 tops. That saves her at least 1 to 1 hour 30 minutes every day which is huge for any homemaker.

Set-up:

I noticed that with our washing machine if it is directly switched off from the source and gets the power back, it starts from where it stopped. I am assuming this happens with most of the washing machines.

She would put the clothes to rinse at night before going to bed. Setup the mode of washing, start it, and then directly turn off the smart switch. I had scheduled the smart switch to turn on by 6 AM, which triggers the washing mode. The clothes had enough time to rinse, and they get into washing mode right away. The job finishes by 7 AM, and she can get another lot into the machine by 8 AM.

For the second lot, we did the same thing and scheduled the washing machine to start again at 9:15 AM. Now everything gets completed by 10:30 AM.

D-Link Smart Plug:

I got a 16 amp D-Link in which you can also plug-in a 6 amp switch. The switch costs you Rs 3,999 on Amazon.

Features:

  • Impressive build quality.
  • It can monitor the temperature of the plug. In case there is an overheating problem, it will automatically switch off. You can manually change the max temperature.
  • You can also check wattage usage, and configure electricity rates to know the cost. You can also set your billing date and warning percentage.
  • Works over WiFi, and there is no need of central hub.
  • The switch includes WiFi WPS button and LED which is used to show the status of connectivity to WiFi network. Green means you are connected to the network.
  • Comes with a manual switch in case your network is down.

Alexa & mydlink Home App

The plug works with Amazon Alexa, and once you link your Dlink Account with its Alexa Skill, it will auto detect the switch. In case you don’t have an Echo Dot, you can always use the D-Link’s mydlink Home App.

Just like Alexa routines, you can create schedules, and they are much better compared to what we have with Alexa. Here is what you can do:

Schedule:

  • Setup Start and End time.
  • Duration of On/ Off Cycle.
  • Select days on which it should work.
  • There is an option for Advanced Schedule which lets you add multiple on/off schedule for seven days rather much quickly.

Actions:

You can set up a trigger, and get some action performed based on those triggers. Triggers include temperature monitor and electrical power monitor, for which you can set actions like sending an email, sent notification on the phone, or toggle switch state restarts after 30 seconds. However, DLink warns that you should not use Flash toggle, random functions with high voltage appliances such as refrigerators, and electric motors. You can have two responders for each trigger, along with notifications.

An almost impossible Setup process

Setting up D-Link switch was terrible, and probably the most annoying thing. It took me at least 20+ attempts, and two different phone to set this up. This is how it works:

  • Install the myDlink Home App.
  • Add a new device. Here you can scan the QR code to help the app identify the device automatically or just use the product code. It shows the image, so its pretty easy.
  • Connecting to WiFi can be done in two ways. You can use the WPS method or configure manually.
  • When setting up manually, you need to connect to WiFi hotspot of the plug with your phone, and then add your Home WiFi name, and password. Once done, the LED turns green.
  • Once you pass this, everything works flawlessly.

Advantages:

The plug features temperature control, better routines, triggers, and actions. The build quality is impressive, and better compared to Oakter Plugs I have seen before. Using it without a central hub is another advantage.

Drawbacks:

  • It takes around 30 seconds for the switch to get into ON state if you switch it off.
  • The switch to manually turn on / off the plug is very small. If you plug a big 16 AMP plug into it, it’s difficult to press it. Also if your main switchboard is set a little higher, it’s going to be difficult to reach out.
  • The meter calculator doesn’t work really well. The stats displayed doesn’t seem to be convincing.
  • While you can group D-Link devices, using the app, there is no way to include that group into a routine or switch all of them together. You will need to use Alexa for that.
  • You need to shell out double the amount of price compared to TP-Link and Oakter switches.
  • Lastly, the initial setup is a big mess.