Smart outlets have become de riguer in modern homes, as they offer an express route to automating non-smart devices such as lamps, fans, and myriad other appliances. Moreover, their rapid adoption can largely be attributed to the integration of voice assistants, enabling the use of simple voice commands for switching them on and off. The ConnectSense Smart Outlet2 is one of the latest examples of how this genre is evolving and making it easier for consumers: It includes out-of-the-box support for Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, and Google Assistant.
Does the ConnectSense Smart Outlet2 deserve a place in your home? The short answer is yes, and it takes a different approach than most competing products by installing over a standard duplex outlet—delivering a pair of nicely-spaced outlets on its face and a USB charging port on its side. Read on for our in-depth look at this device.
ConnectSense Smart Outlet2: Out of the Box
Smart outlets are among the easiest to install among all connected home accessories, as they simply plug into a nearby outlet. This makes them appealing not only to homeowners, but for apartment and flat dwellers as well: It only takes a moment to unplug them when it’s time to pack up for the next move.
In the case of the ConnectSense Smart Outlet2, this ease of mobility is supplemented by its universal support for the 3 predominant voice assistants, including those from Amazon, Apple, and Google. Furthermore, the over-outlet design eliminates our major objection to some single-outlet smart plugs: many of them can’t be used two-up in a duplex outlet, as they are too large.
As the ConnectSense Smart Outlet2 covers the entire wall outlet, its designers were able to space its electrical outlets farther apart (2.25-in versus 1.5-in. for a standard wall outlet), making it a slam-dunk to plug in most power adapters and angled plugs.
Each outlet has its own blue LED bar which illuminates when the outlet is powered on, as well as a convenient on-off button on the right side. On the left, there is a single a 2.4-amp charging port, ideal for a smartphone or tablet.
A Wi-Fi status indicator on the face of the outlet flashes as it connects to the home network, and goes off to indicate a solid network connection.
ConnectSense Smart Outlet2: Smartphone App
The complimentary ConnectSense app, available in the App Store for Apple iOS devices and on the Google Play store for Android, is required for getting things set up. We tested the iOS version of the app, which is well done and provides a deep set of features. These are accessed via the Home, Scenes, Devices, and Rules (schedules and automations) tabs. The Android app is quite similar.
Since the ConnectSense Smart Outlet2 has onboard support for Apple HomeKit, you are effectively setting up a fresh HomeKit installation on iOS in the event this is the first HomeKit accessory in your home. Typical of most HomeKit accessories, you will be asked to scan the unique HomeKit barcode on the back of the outlet as you install it.
Once the device has been paired with HomeKit, two instances of the outlet (one for each plug) will appear in the ConnectSense app alongside other HomeKit accessories in your home. Additionally, they will reside within the Apple Home app as well as other HomeKit-compatible apps, like the iDevices Connected app.
While the Apple Home app can be used for individually turning the Smart Outlet2 outlets on and off and adjusting brightness of lamps, using the ConnectSense app will enable access to more features. This includes electrical consumption (in watts) and minutes of usage (though both metrics reset every time an outlet is switched off).
ConnectSense Smart Outlet2: Voice Control
As you might expect, Apple Siri voice support is part of the package, since this has become part and parcel of every HomeKit accessory. Beyond the initial setup, no further configurations are necessary to get Siri working. The voice command, “Siri, turn ConnectSense Outlet A on” will activate the outlet from any connected Apple device where Siri is available, or from an Apple HomePod speaker.
For Amazon Alexa, you will need to use the Alexa app to install the ConnectSense skill, and then authenticate with your ConnectSense account to complete setup. Then, the voice command “Alexa, turn ConnectSense Outlet A on” will activate the outlet. Voice commands can be issued directly from the Alexa app, or through any Amazon Echo speaker, smart display, or compatible speaker.
Google Assistant will also require a few more setup steps, including adding the ConnectSense Outlet2 through the Google Home app, then authenticating with the ConnectSense app to complete setup. Once that is done, the voice command “OK, Google, turn ConnectSense Outlet A on” can be issued directly within the Google Assistant app or to any Google Home-compatible speaker or smart display.
ConnectSense Smart Outlet2: The Bottom Line
Given the diversity of voice assistants competing for control of your smart home, we recommend purchasing accessories that can work with more than one of them—it just makes sense to hedge your bets in this way. The ConnectSense Smart Outlet2 scores high marks in that regard, with equally-competent voice activation skills within the Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit/Siri, and Google Assistant realms. Beyond that, it offers more flexibility in accommodating power adapters and non-standard plugs due to its over-outlet design, and offers a handy USB port to sweeten the deal. And at a competitive cost of $59.95 for a dual-outlet setup, it’s an attractive addition to your home.
Tom Kolnowski is the Chief Content Officer & Founder of Digitized House Media, LLC, the publisher of Digitized House | Guide to the Connected Home. When he isn’t writing about smart home technology, sustainability, and high-performance architecture, you’ll find him exploring faraway destinations with his family.