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PureGear PureSwitch review: A HomeKit-only smart plug with a high-speed USB port

PureGear has placed its bets on Apple’s HomeKit ecosystem with the PureSwitch, a combination compact smart plug and high-speed USB charger that only supports Apple’s ecosystem. It could be a good bet, given the large niche it wants to fill.

The PureSwitch has a single switched outlet on the front, and while it seems bulbous, it covers just a single jack in a two-outlet standard wall fixture, allowing a regular two-prong or three-prong plug to fit underneath.

On the right side, the PureSwitch sports a 2.1-amp USB port, allowing maximum charge for most devices except some tablets with larger batteries, like the iPad Pro line-up. The design makes it easily accessible if you want to insert and remove the USB end rather than leave a spare cable in place.

Glenn Fleishman / IDG

The well-designed app allows easy access to HomeKit features.

Setup is typical for a HomeKit device, and was a snap with the particularly well-designed PureSwitch app. Apple lets HomeKit devices pair over Bluetooth and then join a Wi-Fi network either by scanning a code on the device or in a manual, or by entering the code manually.

The switch has brightly lit display labels for both its powered status and for Wi-Fi, with three bars for relative strength. The Wi-Fi label flashes during setup or when you use an identify option to show which switch is associated with an accessories label.

The app shows HomeKit scenes and other accessories, as well as automation rules. Its interface is more compact than Apple’s Home app, and you might find it easier to use to interact with many HomeKit features.

PureGear

The PureSwitch fits neatly in one outlet, has bright LED labels, and sticks its USB port off to the right.

The AC outlet, like other smart plugs I’ve tested, handles up to 1800 watts of power in and out, making it suitable to control anything from a lamp to most air conditioners.

An odd design element is the lack of a manual power switch. It might be unique among smart plugs in requiring all interaction from an app. It’s not a terrible lack, but it stands out, given its price tag.

Bottom line

If you’re looking to get your feet wet with HomeKit, the PureSwitch’s design and USB port make it an obvious choice if you’re willing to pony up $50.

IDG Insider

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