Perfection in Every Detail?
FIBARO describes their new plug-in smart wall switch as "Perfection in every detail”
That’s a gutsy claim to make, as the Z-Wave product catalog isn’t lacking in its share of plug-ins. Is it worth the hype?
The FIBARO Wall Plug (FGWPB-121 ZW5) shares the look and feel of the rest of the FIBARO line; starting with the packaging. This reviewer was impressed by the heft of the Wall Plug right away. Whether I was swayed by the marketing claim or not; the device felt solid; the plastic felt ‘luxurious’ to the touch (if that’s possible with plastic) and the button was nicely done, with a solid feel.
Upon plugging the Wall Plug into a dumb receptacle, the first thing I noticed was the color LED Ring. The LED works as a visual energy monitor, so you don’t have to get out your smartphone to check appliance usage from your FIBARO Home Center 2. I’m not one for garish displays; I like my Z-Wave devices to be neither seen nor heard. However, I couldn’t help playing with different lamps and small appliances to see the LED change. FIBARO recommends the soothing LED to be used as a nightlight, and that’s exactly what I did; replacing a GE plug in switch and nearby nightlight with this one unit.
As of this writing, I have not checked how much power I used over a month or better (I hope to do a follow up with this device and a non-FIBARO hub). The FIBARO Wall Plug integrates nicely with the Home Center 2 (or LIte) to give the user a picture of appliance energy usage, so it would be great for use with an A/C unit or heater. I like the idea of being able to check a supplemental space heater from work, since I tend to leave those on. Heed the recommended load on the spec sheet, but also rest assured that the FIBARO Wall Plug also has overload protection; a nice safety feature for a device of this size. Even better is the ability to turn something on or off automatically; either timed from the HC2, or due to a trigger of another device (motion sensor, etc). Even the Wall Plug itself can use the energy monitoring portion as a trigger; a change in the load of one device can be used to turn on (or off) a couple others.
The bedroom seems to be FIBARO’s target for this device (based on the marketing collateral I’ve seen). The integrated USB charger for a bedside phone, the night light, and the control of lamps or other devices does make sense. But I think I’d prefer the living room or even the kitchen, as this is where I have the most appliances I’d like to automate; turning my old dumb coffee maker into a state of the art unit that works in concert with the rest of my smart house is just one example. Apartment owners will love the no-wiring feature, and the fact that you can take it all with you if you move.
I can say that I’ve gotten used to the LED ring. I haven’t exhausted all the possible uses for the Wall Plug yet. FIBARO continues to put out nice products that work well together yet still play nice with others. The basics are there for just about any controller (Vera, SmartThings, HomeSeer, etc) but I haven’t tested the remote energy monitoring function with any of these, which is where this device shines.
So, it comes down to the question: is the long-awaited FIBARO Wall Plug “Perfection?” I think it’s difficult to get worked up about a plug-in, but its beauty lies in it being a part of a bigger FIBARO environment. I do like it, and I can’t help but dream up a few more purposes for a couple more (alerts that something was left on, alerts that my son is using his computer, etc). It’s a welcome addition to my Z-Wave ecosystem that seems to be gaining additional FIBARO. The FIBARO Wall Plug is a great device that has many features, and is a good addition to the FIBARO family.
If you have any questions about this, or any other Z-Wave device, please feel free to contact us. Thanks for reading!