Like many over the holiday season, I found myself wanting to automate and remotely control our outdoor decor. Unfortunately when it comes to HomeKit, there are very few options available for outdoor power, with just the iHome iSP100 and the iDevices Outdoor Switch being the entire catalog. Since I have had some experience with iHome’s indoor smart plugs, I decided to go with the known quantity, and it also helped that it was priced lower than the competition. While I didn’t put the device through the harshest of conditions, with it being used under a covered porch area, it did get exposure to below freezing temperaturs for an extended period of time. So how did it perform? Let’s take a look.
Unboxing the iHome iSP100 is a pretty uneventful experience, which is not neccesarily a bad thing. Inside the box is the outdoor plug itself, a mounting screw and anchor, and the manual. The outdoor plug is an all black design, with two versions of iHome’s branding on the front, one “engraved” and one of the company’s logo. On the side of the unit, a single button can be found, which acts as the manual power toggle and the reset button, as well as two LED indicator lights for power and Wi-Fi status. Rounding out the device itself is a tab on the top which allows for the unit to be mounted, the associated HomeKit code on the back and one outlet on the bottom. The design as a whole takes on a “blockly” or “rugged” design, which fits the bill for a product marketed as being for the outdoors.
As previously mentioned, the device features just one outlet, which can definitely limit its applications. Of couse, you could always plug in a “splitter” or “adapter” to turn the one outlet into many more, but this is discouraged by the manufacturer, presumably because it would add additional failure points in an outdoor setting. In my case, this limitation was not an issue, as the lights I was using all connected to each other, leading to just one plug to connect at the end of the string. Once plugged in, setting up the device itself followed the standard HomeKit pairing process, which involved scanning the HomeKit code, allowing it to join the Wi-Fi network, and assigning it a room. Once paired, the device looked and acted like every other smart plug within Apple’s Home app, with a simple option to toggle the power state being the only control. The iHome Connected App is rather basic, and outside of firmware updates and the ability to use their devices outside the home without a HomeKit hub, the app does not offer a compelling reason to ever open it, which is pretty much what I did.
Performance wise, the iSP100 responded quickly to changes made via the both the Home App and Siri, and in most cases seemed instant. In the month that I had the device installed outdoors, I never once saw it go into “No Response” status, and every automation that I had set up worked without fail everytime. Granted, in my case, the outdoor plug was pretty much right outside my front door so your mileage may vary in terms of connectivity. After moving the outlet after the holiday season, I did not notice any visibile signs of defects that could have occurred due to the outdoor elements, which is encouraging in terms of the longevity of the device goes, and I could easily it lasting for many years to come.
When it is all said and done, the iHome iSP100 outdoor smart plug is an easy to recommend device. Even though there are few options when it comes to this category, the device checked all of the boxes. A relatively affordable price ranging from $29-$39, fast response times, and a solid, reliable connection makes it a device that anyone can add to their Home set up to allow them the luxury of controlling outdoor devices with a tap.