Test: Belkin Wemo & Netcam

Wemo and Netcam is Belkin’s two product categories to keep track of your home and also control the a often wonderfully geeky way.

Wemo has been out in American stores for quite some time now and this year has been even Swedes enjoy the technology. While Wemo has been out there, it has been one thing that separated out Belkin’s home control shit against virtually all other players in the market and there has been the possibility of two-way communication. Say what you want about the home control, but an obvious Achilles heel with Tellstick and its Nexa-compatible devices is that you don’t really have a clue in the case that your “lit the living room light” command actually went through and if you are not comfortable standing next to the lamp. One of the basic functions of Wemo has been just the two-way communication, so you in the app looks if your devices are powered on or not.

Troublesome installation

But if we are going to start from scratch then. Wemo consists basically of three parts. An absolutely huge plug adapter, an equally huge motion sensor and a, in relation to the plugs, surprisingly small and flexible baby monitor. Exactly why Wemo-Stoppers have to be nearly twice as big as most other gadgets in this category we do not understand, but on the other hand, we do not understand why everyone home steering-plugs must be so ridiculously big. Something disturbing is that the motion sensor does not have a euroconnector socket, the plug on itself. It’s just a huge BLOB with a cord out to the motion sensor, which means that the installation will take up even more space.

All parts of Wemo runs over wlan, which means that you do not need to invest in or plug in a fundamental unit in your router that most other systems do. Instead, download the app, connect to each unit own wlan network and set up your regular home network. It sounds just as messy as it is, in any case, if you have multiple Wemo-contacts you had intended to engage. At the same time, you have the advantage that you don’t need to plug in any parent device in the router, but this makes installation much easier.

With all the devices plugged in, you don’t really think about anything, but you just set the system to operate even when you are not at home and so there was nothing more to think about there, which is very nice.

Wonderful geeky

In the app you can then control your lights and create different scenarios, such as what happens when the motion sensor registers movement (and also how much movement). To build different schemes is very simple, even if the app itself does not belong to the most stable we encountered.

If you want to dig deep into it a little bit then this is the system for you. Wemo Belkin has built in support for IFTTT, If this then that. It is a Web service that lets you create different “recipe”. If you put up a new post on your blog, you can post about it automatically on Facebook and save the entire post to Evernote, for example. Or as in the case of Wemo, let a Twitter account leave if the motion sensor detects something, light a lamp when you check in on Foursquare and much more. IFTTT in itself is extremely flexible and in combination with home control gadgets, it is really useful on it which really geek fun way.

Babysitter

Something that connects with Wemo without making a fuss, but unfortunately not with IFTTT, Wemo Baby, the baby monitor in the series.

Installation is the same as the plugs, and soon you have a baby monitor over your wireless network at home. The app seems to be slightly more crash prone with the baby monitor installed, which is pretty sad. The monitor itself really makes the least amount of jobs to be with; you have one-way communication so that you have control of everything the child takes for itself and you can receive alerts when the kid starts to make noise, but two-way communication or some extra features in addition to be able to run the monitor over the mobile network along with the rest of Wemo-stuff does not exist, which means that it is very expensive.

Buggy camera

The last part of Belkin’s series called Netcam is a surveillance camera (if you didn’t understand it by the name already). It is located on the side of Wemo-system and link is unfortunately not with it at all, even if the installation of the wlan go to exactly the same way, though in a different app.

NetCam also requires that you create a special account with Belkin, most to secure the video stream something and even if it had been just amazing cool so the app doesn’t talk at all with IFTTT. Instead, we pretty quickly concluded that app often don’t want to talk at all, then it is extremely buggy and crash-prone.

When the app well would work, you can get a “video power” in low resolution and a refresh rate of one or two frames per second. The camera itself is equipped with infrared eyes to work even at night and if you want, you can set it to respond to the motion. You can also take pictures and shoot video and listen to the camera’s built-in microphone via the app.

While Netcam in large works as promised, and also completely without having to involve a computer during installation, feels the experience still a bit buggy. Why not hang with Wemo-system is also rather strange, and something that really should be fixed rather quickly.

According to Belkin themselves will Wemo-system to grow tremendously in the coming period, with several different types of switches and an Android version of this app. So that the system looks today, it is very easy to operate and with great opportunity to dig deep into the whole thing. But the installation, the size of the stuff, and the price, particularly for the motion sensor, could definitely go for a much better direction.