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Belkin WeMo LED Lighting Starter Set

Belkin's WeMo LED Lighting Starter Set uses a small square wireless hub, shown at left below, to connect to your wireless network.

Belkin WeMo LED Lighting Starter Set

Belkin WeMo LED Lighting Starter Set

The screenshot below shows the landing page (left) and the brightness adjustment page (right) when you tap the down arrow. The landing page screenshot shows that the Desk Lamp in on at 50% brightness and the Rear Desk is off. You just tap the power button to toggle the light on/off. The light will come on to the default brightness that you have configured.

The expanded page also exposes the Sleep Fader. This is like a sleep timer on your clock radio. You can set the amount of time over which the light will fade from its current brightness to off. Only the Belkin WeMo has this feature.

Belkin WeMo Landing page (l) and brightness page (r)

Belkin WeMo Landing page (l) and brightness page (r)

In the WeMo environment, schedules are called Rules, which you access by tapping the Rules icon at the bottom of the page. Your existing rules are shown along with the option to create a new rule by tapping the "+" in the upper right corner of the screen. You can also edit, enable/disable or delete a rule by tapping on the right ">" on the right side of the screen adjacent to each rule.

A rule defines a single action. You can either turn one (or more) lights on / off with a rule. When creating the rule, you can configure the brightness and the fade in time (for "On" rules) or fade out (for "Off" rules) for each lamp. Your choices are Default, 1, 5, 15 and 30 minutes. To help you get a feel for the interface, I've created a short gallery that shows several interesting screens from the WeMo UI.

WeMo's control architecture is simpler than other products'. Lighting commands are sent locally between the hub and the lights. While Belkin has a cloud infrastructure that stores your rules for synchronization between mobile devices, rules will execute on a local network even if the internet connection is lost. Other products use their clouds to send commands to the hub, which then sends the commands to the Smart LED bulbs. During the setup process remote access is set up without requiring an account setup. No changes or port forwards were required on my router.

The iOS app for WeMo is an iPhone app, but it ran normally on my iPad. With a color temperature rating of 3000K, the WeMo bulb is the coolest, most white bulb in our roundup. With the WeMo bulb placed near the other products, you could see that the light was whiter than the others. Still, 3000K is considered a soft white - not the cold white lights that turned many people off on the original CFLs. It uses a miserly 9.5 W to generate 800 Lumens of light which, at 84.2 Lumens/W, makes it the most energy-efficient bulb in the roundup.

I didn't really run into any unexpected problems during setup. I did, however expect one problem because Tim had previously configured the WeMo before sending it to me. Being previously configured, when I reset the hub, it couldn't find any bulbs when it searched for them. This gave me a chance to check out Belkin Tech support. After a very short wait, the support tech told me I had to reset the light bulbs to factory defaults.

To reset bulbs, the sequence is as follows:

  1. With the light bulb on, turn it off and wait for three seconds
  2. Turn the light bulb back on and wait for three seconds
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 three more times. The bulb will flash to indicate that it has been reset.

That solved the problem and I haven't had any issues since.

I found the UI very easy to navigate and easy to learn and use. While I did all of my testing and screenshots on the iPad, the Android app looks and acts exactly the same as the iOS app.

I noticed while dragging the slider to adjust the brightness of a bulb, the bulb didn't really dim or brighten until I lifted my finger. However, the percentage of brightness indicator did change as the slider was moved.

I was disappointed that Belkin hasn't yet implemented IFTTT for the WeMo, which would provide additional functionality. But even without IFTTT, WeMo met my needs.

Pro: Does not require an internet connection to control lights
Con: IFTTT not yet implemented

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