I visit our neighborhood Costco at least one time per week. I have been staring at the Belkin WeMo for the past few weeks. Costco has an incredible deal. You can get a 2-pack for $79.99 where Amazon has a single unit for $49.99. I have been reading the Amazon reviews. They range from this is the best thing ever to this thing is junk. I absolutely did not want anything else in my house that needed to be tinkered with. I wanted to be able to buy them, program them, and then simply use them. The litmus test is will my wife text me during the day because it has quit working. I went to Costco on 12/21/12 to pick up a picture and I stared at them for a few minutes. I read the back and then decided to ask my wife for her opinion. She said go for it. Costco has a generous return policy, so I knew I could return them if they were junk.
The package was a little tough to open. I took scissors and cut around the plastic of the container holding them in. The installation process is pretty simple. You download the app from the App Store. It says its compatible with the iPad, but it does not appear to be optimized for the iPad. I am probably going to use mainly on my iPhone, so that is not a huge deal for me. You then plug the units into the outlets. The devices are decent size, so it’s going to cover both of the outlets. Once it is plugged in, you go to your iOS device’s WiFi settings and connect to the WeMo’s SSID. You then swap back to the WeMo app and it begins to program the unit. This includes connecting it to your WiFi network and updating the firmware. You repeat this process for the second unit (there is an option to save the WiFi password to make future setups quicker). After the firmware update (takes under 5 minutes), both units appear inside the app. You can set a custom name for each switch as well as change the default photo. There is a big power button to activate units. The light is lit up green when it is on. The on/off process is nearly instant when at home. It takes about 2 seconds when off network. When you are off network, the button turns yellow while it is in the process of changing states.
Everything worked great for about a day. I then noticed that app was indicating my Christmas tree and baby monitor were off when they were on. This was exactly my fear with this product. I absolutely did not want them if it was something else to tinker with. Someone from Belkin reached out to me on Twitter and said they had a cloud server issue relating to a lot of new activations. It might have been a one time thing, but my trust was broken. I really wanted to like them, but I just don't have the time or patience for technology that complicates my life. I packed them back up and returned them to Costco. While I love the promise of home automation, I am not sure I have the patience.