CENT Amazon Smart Plug review: A smart plug for Alexa only - CNET

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Smart plugs are a way to connect devices to your smart home for less money than replacing them with smart models. Amazon jumped in the smart plug game earlier this fall with the Amazon Smart Plug. It might not shock you to learn this $25 (£24.99) plug only works with Alexa, so don't expect Google Assistant or Siri compatibility. If you're all-in on Alexa gear, this smart plug is fine, but there are better models out there, like the TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug with Power Monitoring, that provide more customization and broader compatibility. 

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The Amazon Smart Plug is only compatible with Alexa. Chris Monroe/CNET

Simple setup shines

Setting up the plug with an Echo was easy. I tested this plug with the new Echo Plus ($150 at Amazon), and Wi-Fi Simple Setup made the process as easy as asking Alexa to discover devices. 

Wi-Fi Simple Setup is part of Amazon's latest initiative for what the company calls "frustration-free" setup, a plan to make connecting smart devices easier across the Alexa platform. Wi-Fi Simple Setup works by sharing encrypted information about your Wi-Fi settings with your new device and establishing the connection. Simply ask Alexa to discover your devices, and your plug is ready to go. It saves a lot of time, since you won't need to toggle back and forth between apps and Wi-Fi networks to get things up and running.

Soon, says Amazon, there will also be an option to rename the device via voice command. For now, you'll still need the Alexa app to edit the details of your smart plug. You will also need a smart speaker or phone connected to a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network to set up the plug. 

What you get

When it comes to design, Amazon didn't try anything new here. The plug looks very similar to what we've already seen in the market. It's a white rectangle with one power button and one LED indicator. Measuring 3.2 inches wide and 1.5 inches tall, the plug's space-saving design keeps adjacent outlets free for other devices.

The Amazon Smart Plug can do what nearly any smart plug can these days in terms of scheduling, routines and remote control. Add the plug to an Alexa Routine or set a schedule for that plug individually from the Alexa app. In addition to scheduling and routines, you can control the plug remotely via the Alexa app to turn the plug on or off while you're away. 

What's missing

One big miss from Amazon here is the omission of any power monitoring. We've seen reliable, detailed power data from plugs from TP-Link or Belkin's WeMo Insight Switch, yet Amazon seems to be going the AmazonBasics route here with minimum functionality. Compatibility is another issue, though not a surprising one. You won't be able to add the Amazon Smart Plug to your Google Home ($129 at Walmart) or Apple HomeKit setup. This plug is really an Alexa-only product. 

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Space-saving design keeps adjacent outlets free. Chris Monroe/CNET

There's also no dedicated away mode, also like with other smart plugs. You can manually create your own on and off schedule or routine to run while you're away, but being able to simply enter a time frame and allow the plug to randomize its action is a nice perk. In fact, you get a lot of nice perks like power monitoring and away modes from other smart plugs without spending much more money (if any).   

If you're using Alexa in your home and looking for an affordable, reliable smart plug, this one will get the job done. When it comes to power monitoring or broad integration, I can't recommend it. You'll be better off with the brains of TP-Link's or Belkin's plugs. 

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