The MiHome range represents a promising foray into the home automation market by EnerGenie, but a number of usability issues need to be ironed out to compete with the best. But it’s an encouraging debut with a wide range of devices to suit most energy-conscious users.
The Home Automation (HA) market is exploding, with new devices and hubs springing up everywhere, but perhaps most commonly on crowd-funding websites.
So, it’s great to see an established company make a move into the HA space, introducing good ideas from their existing range of power-saving devices.
This is the first of a few reviews, with each looking at a different part of the new MiHome range from EnerGenie. This time, we’ll discuss the MiHome Gateway, and an Adapter Plus.
It’s worth pointing out at this stage that a number of different ‘starter packs’ are available, for example, a MiHome Gateway unit and a few power sockets, or radiator valves, etc. You can find the full range of kits over at the company’s website.
MiHome Gateway: What’s in the Box?
In these days of bloated packaging, I was happy to see that only the bare essentials were included with the MiHome Gateway. Although, if I’m being picky, I think something could be done about the size of the box, which is much larger than it needs to be.
Inside, you’ll find:
- MiHome Gateway
- 1A USB UK 3-pin plug
- Micro USB cable
- Network cable
- One-sheet quick start guide
MiHome Adapter Plus: What’s in the Box?
- MiHome Adapter Plus UK 3-pin plug
Er… yes, that’s it.
The Gateway itself is a fairly nondescript little box. It feels quite cheaply made, but I wouldn’t go as far as calling it ugly. In reality, the design doesn’t matter, as it will most likely get hidden away somewhere, although as it needs a physical connection to a router, it’ll need to be in the same vicinity. The LED activity light flashes red and green, with no way of disabling it. This is useful for seeing that it’s actually doing something, but it’s like a light show in a dark room.
The Adapter Plus follows a fairly typical pass-through smart plug format. There is a bulge above the actual plug connection which houses the circuitry, and in this case, has a power button, and LED indicator.
Although typical, this design isn’t great as it can obstruct other sockets/devices. Perhaps the next version will follow the design of the Samsung SmartThings smart plug, which is far less obtrusive:
The MiHome control website, while not pretty, is very clear and functional. The app, however, stood out as being very well designed, and very simple to use. Bearing in mind that the app would be the primary control interface for most people, I think it would fit into daily use very well. My only slight criticism would be that the on/off buttons for devices are a little too small.