Saturday, September 4, 2010

Insteon SmartLinc Review

One line Summary: Not Very Good

I've wanted to get into home automation for a while so I thought I would splash out on an Insteon Smartlinc Plugin Starter Kit, i figured it would be a good weekend project and for $200 i thought - why not? I was pretty disappointed to find out the device is poorly made and does not work as advertised.

First off despite being controlled via a web interface it cannot be accessed by any device running linux. Well actually it can be accessed but because of the bug the load times are intolerable, just to navigate to the button to turn off a light will involve about 2 minutes of loading. "How can that be?" you ask. Amazingly the device does not implement networking protocols correctly and was clearly under tested. Due to this bug it will not communicate properly over a network with any linux device. "Who cares? linux has a pretty small user base" I hear you thinking. Well, ever heard of a little operating system called Android? That's right this device WILL NOT WORK WITH ANDROID. Despite the description on SmartHome's website saying "direct communication via the Internet or Wi-Fi from an iPhone, iPod touch or any other Web-enabled PC, Phone or PDA". After talking to Insteon and SmartHome they are aware of the bug but have no plans to fix it(or update their product description). So if you are running android or linux do not buy this device.

You can check out a detailed assessment of the bug here.

The second huge problem with this device is that despite being a web device you can only(reliably) access it from one browser on one device at a time. Due to the incredibly shoddy design the mechanism for determining a devices's status(On or Off) will only work for one client at a time. That means for instance if you left your browser logged in at home and then go out or to another computer you have no way of know if you devices are on or off. Again Insteon and SmartHome are aware of this and have no plans to fix it(or mention it in the product description apparently, so it's a nice surprise for you after you spend the $200).

There are a bunch more bugs as well(ie. dimming does not work etc.) they have been outlined here.

So in conclusion: the device is poorly designed, tested and coded. It may work for your circumstances and setup but it certainly didn't for me and many others. I could not recommend anyone buying this device. If Insteon was actually going to fix the bugs with a firmware update I might change this opinion as the hardware seems like ok quality but as it stands the device is essentially useless for my needs - despite clearly stating it should work in the product description.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not surprised. I've been disappointed with the quality of many smarthome products. It's hard to understand how they stay in business.