Although iHome was one of the first companies to offer a HomeKit accessory back in 2015 with its iSP5 SmartPlug, it remained relatively quiet in the HomeKit space after that initial release, so needless to say we were intrigued when the company showed up recently with its new iSP100 Outdoor SmartPlug, a new HomeKit accessory that builds on the company’s early success with an affordable HomeKit-controlled plug that can be used outdoors — an ideal solution for adding HomeKit support to your outdoor Christmas lights this time of the year.
As it typical with most HomeKit outlets we’ve seen, there’s not much to the iSP100 — the package includes only the smart plug itself accompanied by a quick start guide, The main unit is a rectangular block approximately two inches around by six inches long, with a single AC power port on one end and a six-inch power cord ending in a grounded three-prong AC plug. A button on the side allows for manual on/off control, and two LEDs show power and Wi-Fi connectivity status. A mounting point is also included on the power cord end so you can attach the plug to an exterior surface.
Setting up the iSP100 for HomeKit is a familiar story by now, and in this case it’s as simple as plugging it in and then using Apple’s iOS Home app or iHome’s own Control app to go through the usual process of scanning the HomeKit code from the bottom of the device, joining it to your Wi-Fi network, and adding it to your HomeKit configuration. Note that like many basic HomeKit accessories, there’s no need to use iHome’s own app for basic control, although it will be required for firmware updates and also includes the ability to access a log of the outlet’s power state history. It’s also worth mentioning that the iSP100 only supports 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, so you’ll need to ensure you’re connected to a 2.4 GHz network before beginning the HomeKit set up process.
Like most HomeKit outlets, you can choose to configure the iSP100 as an outlet, light, or fan, depending on what you’re controlling with it, and it will be labelled and identified by Siri accordingly — this is a particularly handy way to keep your outdoor lights on when otherwise telling Siri to “turn off the lights.” A button on the side also allows you to toggle power on and off directly, with a white status LED that illuminates to let you know when the plug is on. A green Wi-Fi status LED is also present to show that you’re connected to Wi-Fi and HomeKit, but unfortunately there’s no way to disable this LED, so it will remain on whenever the iSP100 is plugged in. The outdoor plug is rated for up to 1800 watts, so it can control any appliance that would plug into a standard North American 15 amp power outlet, and of course it’s waterproof and ruggedized for outdoor use and designed to work with GFI enabled outlets typically found in most modern homes.
While indoor HomeKit outlets have been plentiful, iHome’s iSP100 is only the second outdoor HomeKit plug we’ve seen, joining last year’s iDevices Outdoor Switch, a product that was twice the price and provided two outlets that can’t be controlled separately. To be fair, idevices’ Outdoor Switch still has an edge in providing power consumption reports, but considering that most outside decorative lights are power-sipping LEDs, that’s not going to be something that a lot of people actually need. Although iHome’s iSP100 only provides a single outlet, the $40 price tag is far more reasonable, especially considering that if you need more outlets, you can easily add an outdoor extension cord or power bar, or simply buy a second iSP100 and gain two independently controlled outlets for the same price as a single iDevices Outdoor Switch. As far as we’re concerned, if you’re looking for an outdoor HomeKit-compatible switch, most people won’t go wrong with the iSP100.
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