Handling electricity sucks. Devices can be overcharged, lights can be left on accidentally, there aren’t always enough outlets…the potential problems are infinite. As to be expected with any technology that’s remained mostly untouched for over 20 years, let alone longer. It’s about time that something smarter come around.
Quirkey’s Pivot Power Genius is the first step towards that. A “smart” version of the older Pivot Power, the Genius is one of the first devices born of the partnership between GM and Quirky to make smart devices for the home. It combines controlling a basic power strip with the flexibility of the Power Pivot while also incorporating some timing functions too.
The Genius, however, isn’t the sharpest of today’s smart devices. Compared to the Power Pivot, which released over two years ago, the Genius is double the price and has four electrical outlets instead of six, and only two of them have “smart” functions. At face value, that’s a bad deal, especially since a traditional power strip can go for $10, so $30 for a standard flexible power strip is already a premium price. $60 is into the field of absurdity, especially when only half of the outlets have a brain.
Using the free Wink app (for iPhone and Android), users can control two things on the Pivot Power Genius: turning power on and off, and set times for those two outlets. That’s it. The app is very clean and organized, and is so easy that you couldn’t possibly make a mistake with it.
The options are minimal; only one timer per outlet, and the basic on/off switch. With that, there’s very little that you can do with the Genius. I’ve used it for setting my desk lamp to turn off at 8pm to make sure I leave the office at a reasonable time. However, the timer will only turn the power off, not on; you cannot set the timer to have off and on hours, so every time I’d get back into work, I had to turn the power back on for that outlet, then turn the lamp on. The process is extremely inconvenient.
Ultimately the Pivot Power Genius doesn’t fit the bill as a smart device. Smart devices are supposed to make our lives easier and more convenient; the original Pivot Power did exactly that by fitting six plugs of any size. The Genius is more trouble than it’s worth; less outlets, a higher price, and features that are anything but smart. The only real benefit over Pivot Power is it provides 60% better surge protection; for double the price, it’s just not worth it.
Bottom Line: The hardware is a step in the right direction for a smart device. But the implementation and usability is a serious step back. More costly in time and money than it should be.