Belkin Conserve Insight and Conserve Socket (Energy Conservation) Review
A few years removed from the start of the economic crisis, people are still experiencing the effects to this day, but thankfully things are starting to slowly improve. When something of this extent hits, people come to realize that they need to alter their lifestyles in order to adapt to the economic crisis.
What this means varies from person to person, although it could mean saving a little money by denying yourself that Starbucks coffee or Tim Horton’s donut, which is a blessing in disguise (health wise). Or perhaps it’s even more drastic than that, by forgoing your monthly cable or satellite TV bill, in exchange for going with OTA (over-the-air) HD instead, something that ModSynergy.com has covered in the past with reviews pertaining to HDTV antennas and giving you information on the digital ATSC standard. Simply put, people are becoming money conscious as they know the state of their economy.
Saving money can be motivating and fun too, almost making it such as a game to play. This review will introduce you a product that gives this impression.
One of the ways people can save even further is by looking at their electricity bill. There is no such thing as outright free electricity (even with solar energy) but if you take the time to observe your running appliances and electronics, and consider at what time of the day these are run, this can help you be more educated and help you down the road.
Belkin has released a product line of devices that’s goal is to help you make wiser decisions. One of these products is the Belkin Insight Energy Use Monitor that lets you know how many watts a certain device is actually drawing from the electricity grid (verifying the manufacturers claim in some cases being false) and by knowing this information, better choices can be made. You can choose to run it at off-peak hours to save cost, or replace it with a more efficient unit instead; such is the case when comparing traditional incandescent light-bulbs to compact florescent light-bulbs, or even comparing them to newer (but higher initial cost) LED units.
The second product is a simple yet effective way in helping you save money. You know the times when you plug in a wall charger, a night-light, or plug in virtually any power device and you forget to remove it out of the wall socket? Well forgetting to un-plug these devices can cost you money. Even a computer monitor (or for that matter your 60-inch HDTV!) that is turned off is not really fully off; it still draws a little bit of energy in the off position. Having a device such as the new Belkin Conserve Socket Power Timer can help you in these situations.
Today I review the Belkin Insight Energy Use Monitor and the Belkin Conserve Socket Power Timer.
"Belkin International, Inc., offers an extensive range of innovations designed to give computer and consumer electronics users seamless integration in their homes, cars, and on the go. Belkin, a privately held company founded in California in 1983, is the recognized global leader in connectivity solutions. Since our inception in 1983, Belkin has experienced an amazing 25 consecutive years of dramatic growth and remains committed to making significant strides in the areas of research and design.
Our diverse and far-reaching product mix includes award-winning innovations for easy-to-use networking solutions, accessories for mobile devices, such as iPod®, iPhone™, laptops, and netbooks, as well as energy conservation products.
Belkin also provides business-class solutions that include KVM switches, LCD rack consoles, racks and enclosures, in addition to a broad USB and cable product mix. Belkin has developed industry-leading innovations, prized by channel partners and end users alike for their dependability, customer service, and comprehensive warranties.
Belkin's U.S. presence includes corporate headquarters in Playa Vista, CA and a distribution center in Indianapolis, IN. With major facilities in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, our reach extends throughout Europe, Latin America, and Asia Pacific, with offices in Australia, New Zealand, Korea, and Hong Kong.
Belkin has come a long way to become the market leader across its product lines in just over two decades. From a garage in Hawthorne, California, with two employees and sales of $100,000 for the year, Belkin has become one of the fastest growing companies in the world, with over 1,000 employees and sales topping $1 billion. In addition to earning Inc. magazine's 2003 Hall of Fame award, Belkin has been listed twice in its list of "500 Fastest-Growing Privately Held Companies in the U.S.," the "Inner City Top 100" list for six consecutive years, and the Los Angeles Business Journal's "Fastest Growing Private Companies" list for five years.”
Belkin Conserve Insight Energy Use Monitor Product Overview and Features
Find out how much energy your devices really use—including, the cost of operation, the amount of carbon dioxide (CO₂) produced in generating the electricity consumed, and watts. See at a glance the true impact to your wallet—and the environment.
Belkin Conserve Insight Energy Use Monitor Product Specifications
Belkin Conserve Insight Energy Use Monitor First Impressions
Belkin makes a wide variety of accessories for a large number of devices on the market, almost anything you could need, they make and they do a fantastic job at designing them as well. Belkin products are usually very modern in design, stylish to the eye, and the Insight is no different. Being a green product, the packaging is very minimal and is essentially a single piece of cardboard that displays the Energy Use Monitor at the front, keeps the cables tucked away below, and can be hung or placed on shelves.
There are two components that make up the Belkin Insight Energy Use Monitor and are separated by a 5 feet tethered cord. The first is an LCD display unit which gives you real-time information such as wattage, pounds of CO2 produced per month or per year, projected cost per month or per year, and the second piece is the wall socket outlet that you plug in the device you want to monitor. It is important to note that CO2 and projected cost information can be adjusted to what your local electricity company charges you by holding the desired button down for a few seconds.
Additionally, it was a fantastic idea by Belkin to have two pieces (socket and display) separated by a 5 tethered cord. This implementation is much more convenient and gives freedom to the user than comparable units that have both socket and display as one piece plug-in models. This means you don’t have to crouch or knee down to check real-time information or be forced into tight spots. With the Belkin Insight, you can have the display in your hands and have it anywhere you like.
Belkin Conserve Insight Energy Use Monitor – How good is it?
The Belkin Insight Energy Use Monitor is a very simple device to use and the more you use it, the more fun becomes because you start becoming curious about just about every device you own. It is likely that you will end up spending hours using this product on everything you own. If you are curious how much wattage your PC is consuming, how much wattage it consumes in sleep/hibernate mode and how much it consumes while turned off, this can do it for you.
If all you want to do is obtain wattage information, all you do is plug in your desired device to monitor into the Belkin wall socket outlet and plug it into your wall receptacle. That is all you need to do in order to get started.
The Belkin Insight manages to obtain a wide range between as low as 0.5 Watts to as high as 1800 Watts and does its real-time updating with a quick delay, meaning that it’s constantly updating every second. It would have been great to have been given more flexibility in extending that delay time because it might be too quick for some people.
This display is large, clear and has easy to understand symbols and the buttons are also simple and have recognizable symbols easy to decipher.
A nifty thing that the Belkin Insight manages to do automatically after around 45 minutes of being plugged in is that it will switch to an averaging mode. But I don’t understand why Belkin wouldn’t give this device more flexibility in letting you choose how long you wanted it to average for. Maybe you wanted to average for a single hour or three hours; you can’t really get it done without some math. Also the averaging mode does not apply for the wattage aspect, which is a shame.
One of the downsides to this device is that the Belkin Insight does not offer a backlit display for times in which you happen to be monitoring at night. This is a small negative but might be otherwise for some.
While the Belkin Insight is not as advanced as it could be (it lacks metering units such as voltage, current, amps, power factor) I think it is fair to note that Belkin is targeting this as a simple device and as such, they did not include these units because most average consumers will not use this values. I think wattage, cost and carbon footprint (which can make you feel guilty) are what most normal consumers will easily understand and still be influenced from.
The fact is while the Belkin Insight is a nifty and very useful device; the makers should have brainstormed all possible scenarios and implemented it into this product in the first revision. You can still do amazing investigative work with the Belkin Insight but it will take you some time to get an answer, aside from the basic information it already provides you.
All in all, a well executed product by Belkin that can compute true power of a particular device, show you important information such as your carbon footprint (makes you feel guilty), how much wattage a device is pulling, and if you have wasteful electronic devices and appliances currently being powered when you don’t need them to be. The Belkin Insight is a device that can influence your decisions and that is why it is easily recommended.
Belkin Conserve Socket Power Timer Product Overview and Features
Belkin Conserve Socket Power Timer First Impressions and Thoughts
The Belkin Conserve Socket Power Timer is a simple, yet effective product to have in one’s household. Some may say that having such a product is useless but I would say otherwise because this is a product that does have legitimate uses around the home such as to use with night-lights, dumb chargers (ones that don’t shut off and can ruin your battery if left on for too long) for power tools, Christmas lights, portable heater units, electric blankets, hair curlers (for you forgetful ladies), rice cookers, and much more.
A device such as the Belkin Conserve Socket Power Timer is not a new invention. Belkin did not reinvent the wheel; they just happened to make a product that has been done before better, one that is dead simple to use, and one that has updated modern looks. There are ones on the market that look very outdated and have the old style rotating adjustment which you turn to your desired setting.
The Conserve Socket Power Timer measures in at 2.5"(H) X 1.5"(L) X 2.5"(W) making it not the smallest plug in item out there; it’s essentially similar to a hockey puck. When you plug in this to the bottom receptacle outlet, you cannot plug anything else to the empty outlet. Fortunately, if you place it at the top of your receptacle outlet, you can plug in a normal power cord to the bottom empty outlet. Being a little smaller would have been better off.
Safety is everything and the Belkin Conserve Socket Power Timer meets safety regulations of various standards and as an AC Rating of 120Volts, 15Amps, 60Hz and can handle a maximum wattage of 1800W being plugged into it so you can feel safe knowing it can handle just about everything you can throw at it such as your HDTV, coffee maker, portable heater and the like.
Looking at the front fascia of the Conserve Socket Power Timer we can see it has a modern minimalistic feel to it, almost making it feel Apple-ish in design language. We see a green power LED at the top, the Belkin company name, and a three-prong grounded outlet.
Looking at the back of the device we find technical specifications and ratings and a three-prong grounded outlet. Do not try to power this device without the ground.
Looking at the left side of the Conserve Socket Power Timer, we find a time selector switch that has three different settings of 30 minutes, 3 hours and 6 hours. Nothing else in terms of flexibility of hours is offered, which is disappointing to say the least. Honestly, six hours may not be enough for some applications. What happens when you sleep at 10pm, plug in a portable heater to the Conserve Socket Power Timer for 6 hours? At 4am in the morning, you will have no heat and wake up cold. Or what about your rechargeable hand vacuum that needs to be charged for 10 hours?
Also there is no ability to renew time mid-cycle, which I find odd. The biggest problem with the device is the lack of time given to you to choose from. Three values are simply not enough. Having a time selector dial where you can dial in your desired time would have been the best bet.
Looking at the top profile of the device we find a lone start button. Once you plug the Conserve Socket Power Timer and a device to it, press the start button once and the green LED will illuminate to tell you the timer has begun.
Unfortunately there is no stop/off button on the Conserve Socket Power Timer which is a little weird for when times when you need to immediately stop the timer (if something goes wrong). The only way to stop the timer and the device for the matter is to unplug the whole unit making it a little inconvenient when it doesn’t need to be.
Belkin has made a simple product that anyone can use and that works well with a variety of electronics and appliances. I would have liked more selection of hours to choose from, however, that is not the case with the Conserve Socket Power Timer offering only 30 minutes, 3 hours and 6 hours in total. If Belkin couldn’t given us more hours to choose from, it would have been good to have the ability to renew the counter at any duration by simply pressing the start button again, but, that is not the case as well.
But as it stands now, I can still recommend the Belkin Conserve Socket Timer for being simple to use, and useful for a wide variety of uses. Recommended.