Pros and Cons of a Bluetooth Smart Switch

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My six year old daughter is a night owl. As she snuggles into bed each night, she assembles a large pile of books next to read. However, as proud of her as I am for her voracious reading habit, she does need sleep. Each night, as I turn down the lights to just the right level for her reading, I say that I'll be back in 20 minutes to turn them off completely. I have never remembered to turn the lights off. Perhaps technology can help. Would a smart switch help?I want a removable system (We're renters.) with the following options.

  1. Ability to switch off desk lamp after a customizable amount of time (ex. 20 minutes or so).
  2. We need to be able to use the lamp's own switch during the day.
  3. Ability to program a schedule for the desk lamp to normally go off (say at 9 pm on weekdays and 9:30 pm on weekends) and back on in the morning.
  4. Ability to turn off lights when I'm away from the house.

Test 1: Avi-On Plug-In Bluetooth Smart Switch

GE Bluetooth Smart Switch
GE Bluetooth Smart Switch

I got the Avi-On Smart Switch at Lowe's for about $30. Installation is crazy simple. Plug into your outlet. Plug the device (ex. lamp) into the smart switch. Download the Avi-On app. Click the + symbol and the app will discover your device. You can then turn on or off the device and set up schedules that work with your family.

This smart switch works over bluetooth. That means you don't have to deal with wifi passwords. The downside is that you can't remotely control this switch when you're out of bluetooth range about 30-50 feet away.

GE Bluetooth Smart Switch
GE Bluetooth Smart Switch

The switch worked well enough. I quickly set up a schedule for weekdays and weekends for when the outlet would turn off at night and back on in the morning.

The Avi-On App

The app is pretty clear and simple to use. Available from Google Play and iTunes App Store. However, I had 2 main problems.

  1. The app would sometimes not connect or "find" my switches if I was on the other side of the house. I think I might have been too far from the outlets for the bluetooth to connect.
  2. I could not control this at all if I was away from home.

Verdict

This was returned within a couple of days. I didn't like how slow the app was to connect to the switch when I was in range and I really didn't like how small that range was. My search continues.