Review: Koogeek Wi-Fi SmartSocket for Apple HomeKit
Home automation maker Koogeek is back, adding its second HomeKit-enabled accessory to the mix. Koogeek's new Wi-Fi Enabled Smart Socket is a lightbulb adapter that fits into any standard E26/E27 light socket, allowing you to control any attached bulb from your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, or Apple TV using HomeKit, while also adding the ability to monitor and record the amount of power your attached light bulb is consuming.
Koogeek’s Smart Socket is basically the same concept as Incipio’s CommandKit Wireless Smart Light Bulb Adapter and iDevices’ Socket — it screws into a light fixture, and you then screw a standard light bulb into it, and use HomeKit to toggle your lighting on or off. A button on the side also allows the Smart Socket to be controlled manually; like most bulb-based HomeKit accessories you’ll want to avoid using your normal light switch to turn your lights on and off, as you’ll lose HomeKit control if the Smart Socket isn’t powered from the source. It’s worth noting, however, that Koogeek’s Smart Socket is only rated for a maximum load of 25W, so for all practical purposes you’ll be limited to using LED or CFL bulbs with it. Notably, Smart Socket only provides on and off controls — unlike Incipio and iDevices’ products, there’s no dimming feature. Smart Socket is also similar in size and profile to the iDevices Socket; while it’s a few millimetres shorter in height, that’s doesn’t make a significant difference, so it still suffers from the same limitations as the other sockets we’ve looked at — you’ll basically only be able to use it in a fixture where you can afford an extra couple of inches of space.
Setting up Smart Socket is handled the same way as any other HomeKit accessory, and Koogeek has helpfully printed the HomeKit pairing code on the side of the Smart Socket as well as inside the box. You can add Smart Socket to your HomeKit home using Apple’s iOS 10 Home app or just about any other HomeKit app you may already be using — there’s no need to download Koogeek’s app for basic use, although you will need it to update the Smart Socket’s firmware as well as take advantage of the power consumption monitoring features. Koogeek has updated its HomeKit app with several new features since the last time we looked at it, adding Apple Watch and 3D Touch support, along with a UI that’s very similar to Apple’s own Home app.
As noted, you’ll need to use Koogeek’s Home app if you want to monitor the power being consumed by your light bulbs, as unfortunately there’s not yet any HomeKit interface for power consumption monitoring. Unlike outlets, we’re not sure too many users care about being able to monitor the power consumption from an LED light bulb, but it works well enough, providing monthly and daily power consumption graphs, as well as a real-time wattage indicator, although there’s no way to export or even aggregate the data at this point so you’ll be limited to viewing it within the app. device by device. As with the company’s Wi-Fi SmartPlug, Koogeek’s Home app also provides the ability to create basic on/off schedules apart from HomeKit that are stored and run directly in the Smart Socket. This can be useful if you don’t have an Apple TV or iPad to act as a Home Hub but still want to run lighting schedules when away from home.
Koogeek’s Smart Socket is a useful if somewhat niche HomeKit product; there’s really no appeal or value to using adapters like these throughout your home as opposed to simply investing in something like a Philips Hue system. While Smart Socket can certainly be useful for “one-off” cases where you have a specific speciality light bulb you want to automate, it’s hard to justify a $55 light socket adapter when you can purchase a Philips Hue White Starter Kit for $80, which includes two white LED bulbs and the Hue Bridge, and can then be expanded further for only $15 for each additional basic white bulb — not to mention that you get standard-sized light bulbs that can be used in any fixture. Essentially, Koogeek’s Smart Socket is a competent product, but it’s really only worthwhile for users with very specific needs.