iHome continues to push into the smart home market now with the iHome iSS50 5-in-1 SmartMonitor sensor, which features five different environmental sensors to help you control your smart home and see what’s going on in your house. Add this to the simple and useful smart plugs from iHome, and you can control the lights, thermostat and more in your smart home using Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Apple Homekit.
iHome iSS50 5-in-1 SmartMonitor: Design
The iHome iSS50 5-in-1 SmartMonitor plugs into an AC outlet and monitors five different environmental categories including motion, temperature, light, sound and humidity. The device itself comes with built-in 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi. There’s a dimmable LCD readout that shows the temperature, humidity and status icons for Wi-Fi, sound and motion sensing.
On the back, there’s a dimmer control, the power input and a reset button. It plugs into the USB cable that comes with the iSS50 and then into the USB to AC adapter that also comes with the package.
The iHome iSS50 5-in-1 SmartMonitor takes up little space. You aim it wherever you want the motion sensor to pick up movement.
iHome iSS50 5-in-1 SmartMonitor: Usability
Setting up the iHome iSS50 5-in-1 SmartMonitor is easy thanks to the iHome Control apps for iPhone or Android. The app tells the user how to first connect the sensor to their phone and then it configures the sensor to connect to your Wi-Fi network. From then on the user will control the iSS50 with the iHome Control app over the Wi-Fi network in the home.
The iHome iSS50 5-in-1 SmartMonitor works best with iHome’s SmartPlugs. These plugs connect any AC powered device and control them using the iHome Control app. The app can connect them to things like an Amazon Echo, Google Home, Android phone and Apple Homekit. I tested it using an Echo and my iPhone and Apple Watch and it worked very well. Although, sometimes the Apple Watch took a long time to load the Homekit controls to turn on and off lights.
The five sensors built into the iHome iSS50 5-in-1 SmartMonitor are a mixed bag. Some work great and others are difficult to control.
- Motion Sensor – this is extremely sensitive and there’s no way to adjust the level of sensitivity. I set it up in a room to turn on the lights when I walked into the room. Just walking by the room’s open door turned on the lights. I even aimed it away from the door hoping that would lower monitor’s sensitivity in the region outside the room’s door and that didn’t work. It’s hard to complain about something working too well, but the sensor is so sensitive it makes it inconvenient for how I wanted to use it. It’s used best to monitor motion for when you first open your home’s door so it can turn on the lights or control other smart home features.
- Temperature Sensor – the device reads the room’s temperature accurately. I don’t own a smart thermostat like Nest, so this was less useful. However, I set it to tell me if the temperature raised above 85-degrees degrees, which would show a problem with my air conditioning in the spring or summer. I’ll set it to let me know if it drops below 55-degrees in fall and winter. This could also show that there’s possibly a fire if the temperature gets too hot quickly.
- Light Sensor – the sensor tells you what the light level in a room is. This can tell you if the lights got left on and you can turn them off at night without getting out of bed.
- Sound Sensor – I turned off the motion sensing and turned on the sound sensor. This way I can use the control like the old clapper. When it hears loud noise, like a clap or shout, it turns on lights in the room where I placed the sensor.
- Humidity Sensor – our basement used to have terrible problems with flooding. If we had the iHome iSS50 5-in-1 SmartMonitor then, we could have received a notice that the humidity in the basement was rising and spring into action before the flooding got out of hand.
It’s convenient to turn on lights with a voice command using your phone or an Echo. That happens thanks to the iHome iSP6 that iHome also gave us to test along with the iSS50. I plugged my lights into the plug and then plugged that into the power outlet.
The iHome Control app sets up rules and rooms. I can turn on all the lights in my basement that are plugged into two iHome Smartplugs. I can also just turn on the lights over my desk or in the den area of the basement.
iHome iSS50 5-in-1 SmartMonitor: Value
A lot of smart plugs and sensors exist, but the iHome iSS50 5-in-1 SmartMonitor and the SmartPlugs work together well. They will also integrate with Homekit to control other smart home devices like a Nest thermostat.
The iSS50 costs $79.99 from iHome. iHome sells three SmartPlugs. The iSP8 costs $49.99 and comes with a wireless remote control so you can control lights or other devices plugged into the plugs from across the room or from another room. The iSP6 is just the SmartPlug and costs $39.99. The iSP5 is the previous generation SmartPlug and costs $39.99.
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