Smart home gadgets do much more than just turn your lights on and off or play your favorite music when you wake up. They can also help you save energy by telling you how much power you’re using and how you’re using it. Smart home appliances can give you the information you need to make wise choices to save energy and money.

Everyone is feeling the pinch of rising electricity prices. According to a report, more than 75% of Americans are worried about their ability to pay utility or electricity bills. Economists say consumers should expect their electricity bills to keep rising.

You need information to make wise choices about how to save energy in your home. Data is power. Here’s how to get started.

smart plug and play

Get started with a smart plug with an energy meter. Choose an appliance, install a smart plug, and start monitoring your power consumption. It’s as simple as starting to take control of how much you spend on energy.

For less than $30, a smart plug can collect data about your energy consumption and allow you to control lighting, heating, or any other connected electrical appliance. For example, you can plug a standard space heater in, and you can turn it on and off from anywhere via an app on your phone, and the process is very user-friendly.

Shelley Smart Plug

Style Plus Plug US

Smart plugs with energy meters provide real-time power consumption data and work with voice assistants like the Amazon Echo. You’ll see easy-to-read bar graphs on the Smart Plug’s app that show how many watts an appliance is using at any given time.

You will want to download data using a PC to keep records of your energy usage. You can use an electricity bill calculator to get an idea of ​​how much you are spending on energy for each appliance.

what to measure and why

You will want to plan what to measure over a given period of time. Smart devices collect data about your habits and give you the information you need to decide when you should set your timer to take advantage of non-peak times.

Cooling and heating are where homeowners see their most significant expenses. The water heater is a power-hungry appliance. In the average home, water heating is responsible for about 20% of total energy use.

However, connecting your water heater to a smart device enables you to measure how much energy it is using. It also allows you to turn off the water heater when you’re on vacation. If you can calculate how much hot water you use, you’ll have the information you need to improve your efficiency and reduce your bills.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, one of the largest single uses of electricity is cooling with fans and air conditioning. You can monitor how much energy you are using to cool your home and identify when you are using the most electricity. You’ll know when to adjust the temperature based on your habits and how long it takes to cool your home.

Based on the information you collect from your smart device, you can set up a routine to adjust the temperature when you’re out of the house so you don’t waste the A/C or heat all day. Everything can be set on a timer to turn back on before you return home so the temperature is nice and comfortable when you arrive.

Your refrigerator is another important appliance that you can monitor; That data over time can help you decide when and if it’s time to upgrade to a more energy-efficient model. If you have a home theater, you can monitor how much energy you use on your toys, such as a gaming system or AV receiver (AVR). In terms of lighting, most bulbs now sold are LEDs, which use at least 75% less energy, and last up to 25% longer than incandescent bulbs.

You can compare energy usage before and after installing smart devices. For example, let’s say you track the energy consumption on your water heater over three months with a smart device. Then make adjustments for three months based on that information. You’ll start to see if there’s a return on investment or if you need to make more changes.

knock out vampire power

Vampire or standby power sucks energy out of your devices even when they are not in use. It is estimated that these energy vampires can account for up to 20% of your monthly energy bill.

Everything from your TV to your coffee maker uses an electric current even if they aren’t on if they’re still plugged in. , One or two devices or appliances may not seem like a lot, but with a whole house full of electronics, it adds up. A 2009 study by McKinsey & Company found that Americans spend $130 billion annually on wasted energy.

Style's smart relay product line for measuring and controlling energy efficiency.

Style Smart Relay products monitor energy efficiency and control the power consumption of appliances and equipment.

To identify phantom devices, take a power inventory using the information you collect from your smart devices. Once you know where the vampire energy is coming from, make adjustments.

A simple solution that can help reduce vampire power is to use power strips, including smart power strips. Power strips can shut off power to various devices at once—essentially, unplugging them when they’re not needed.

You can also program smart devices to send you push notifications to alert you when your power consumption is higher than normal. If you’ve accidentally left something on when you’re away from home, a smart device can trigger a notification. Some changes can help reduce the vampire power consumption.

make a detailed electrical plan

Knowing your energy consumption can result in significant savings on your electricity bill. Start with smart plugs with energy-monitoring capabilities to watch specific appliances and devices one at a time. But smart home automation is a journey, and there are affordable options when you’re ready to take energy monitoring to the next level.

Driving efficiency can start with tracking your entire home with a whole-home power monitoring solution. Some devices run as low as $150, plus the cost of having the device professionally installed in your electrical panel. With one device, you can view the total electricity consumption for the entire home on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

An electrician installed a smart device in his house. Within 20 minutes, he was able to gather data that showed him where excess power was being wasted and used real-time power consumption to identify 618 watts of energy when he left for work. .

With that information, they found that some fans and phantom devices were operational. Turning off those devices resulted in a 40% drop in out-of-home electricity consumption.

tax breaks for energy efficiency

Starting this year, homeowners can get new tax credits and rebates for making their homes more energy efficient. The Inflation Reduction Act provides a 30% tax credit – up to $1,200 annually – and may also pay up to $150 for a home energy audit that assesses your home’s energy use.

You can start with a plug-and-play device that monitors your power, then dive a little deeper with more smart plugs or whole-home monitoring solutions. From there, you can make wise choices about when to use your equipment and how to cut down on phantom drains. Otherwise, you’re just guessing.

It’s not just about saving money; It’s about being a good steward of the planet. The energy-saving information you collect will enable you to make decisions to increase energy efficiency and reduce your carbon footprint. Data is power.

If you want a different approach to how you approach your online work productivity and gaming in 2023, InnoView makes your upgrade options easy with its recently released 27″ desktop monitor.

InnoView’s new desktop display adds to a range of portable monitors, such as the InnoView 15.6″ 4K HDR Touchscreen Portable Monitor we reviewed last spring.

This 27″ full desktop option offers an FHD 1080p gaming display with an ultra-thin screen that is HDMI and VESA capable, has a refresh rate of up to 100Hz, and a contrast ratio of 4,000:1. It also comes with an adjustable tilt stand and built-in speaker.

InnoView 27-Inch VESA and Base

The InnoView can mount or attach to a 27″ VESA mount on the included base. , Image credit: Inovue

The INVPM701/27” FHD/1080P is available from the InnoView Store on Amazon for US$159.99. There is also a 24” version available on Amazon for $119.99. The models have similar characteristics.

inner workings

This large screen features an advanced, ergonomic design and ultra-wide viewing angles that deliver crisp, clear, detailed images from any angle. Its black metal body, sturdy slim metal stand and ultra-thin frame are simple and elegant.

You can adjust the vertical screen angle from -5° to +20°, which reduces the strain on the shoulders and neck during long screen time for work or play.

The maximum display resolution of 1920 x 1080 combined with the 4,000:1 contrast ratio makes the screen content crisp.

Users will find that the 100Hz refresh rate is an asset for playing games and viewing videos and other graphic images. Picture changes are sharp and smooth due to the graphics card and monitor refresh rate being synchronized to eliminate stuttering.

InnoView 27-inch vertical angle from -5° to +20°

The vertical angle of the InnoView 27″ screen adjusts from -5° to +20° Image credit: InnoView

The result is smooth stitched video and real-time motion in fast-paced action scenes. The monitor’s response speed is 8ms, which contributes to the elimination of blurriness, tearing, and ghosting. Its low blue light and HDR technology help relieve eye fatigue over long periods of use.

What I generally consider borderline weak is a desktop monitor’s brightness rating of 250 cm2 (equivalent to 250 nits). However, its very high contrast ratio makes a big difference in improving the overall display.

Coverage of 99% of the sRGB color gamut is well within acceptable standard norms. 8-bit grayscale for over 16.7 million colors on the 27″ monitor delivers vivid detail and superior image quality.

exterior design

This desktop monitor has a matte finish and a black display screen, and works with most common graphics cards.

An HDMI cable is included in the box, but if you use a VGA cable to connect your current monitor, you can use it with this display. Though for a standard setup, HDMI is the way to go.

On the back of the panel are a VGA port and an HDMI port for connecting to PCs, laptops, Chromebooks, game consoles, and other devices. This monitor also has an audio-out port for connecting headphones.

InnoView INVPM701/27

InnoView INVPM701/27″ Rear Port | Image credit: Inovue

Its On-Screen Display (OSD) menu provides access to various use cases. You can switch settings for screen sharing, image or video editing, watching movies, and games.

poor sound quality

My only disappointment is the monitor’s speakers.

To test the video quality, I first connected the monitor using my existing VGA cable. Obviously, the two tiny internal speakers on the 27″ monitor didn’t work at that point because VGA doesn’t carry audio signals.

To test the sound, I connected an HDMI cable to the HDMI port. Still, the results were less than satisfactory. Even after maxing out the onboard volume setting, the output sounded tinny and flat.

I switched the audio output to the laptop’s internal speakers, which resulted in much better sound quality. But neither compared to the deep, rich sounds produced by external speakers connected to my docking station.

If the monitor’s speakers are the only option, gamers and users needing loud and clear audio for video calls or audio playback will be sorely disappointed.

final thoughts

This 27″ monitor is impressive and well worth the purchase price, and its large display improves my normal computing routine.

My primary desktop is connected to a 24″ monitor. My laptop is connected to another 24″ monitor and several peripherals via the docking station. This combination lets me use the laptop’s 15-1/2″ screen as a second monitor, which comes in handy when I need to work with Windows that displays data I’d otherwise need on the larger monitor. Viewing is required when working with open windows.

The 27″ display makes it very easy to display more and larger windows on an external screen. The extra screen real estate provides better productivity and may eliminate the need for smaller laptop screens.

InnoView 27 Inch Monitor

photo by author

My desktop has a touchscreen, but I rarely reach across the desk to touch it. So, I don’t miss having a touchscreen with this InnoView desktop monitor.

One annoyance, however, is the tiny, hard-to-find OSD buttons under the bottom bezel. The plastic buttons at the top are hard to find when my fingers slide around to find them.

Overall, the 27″ desktop monitor from InnoView is the nearly perfect way to increase productivity with a larger monitor. The big picture delivers a more enjoyable computing experience at an affordable price.

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Do you use a desktop computer or laptop with a large screen monitor as your daily driver? Either way, adding a second display will more than double the convenience and productivity.

Intel’s P15NF 15.6″ QLED Portable Monitor can boost your work and play performance. This plug and play, no configuration required portable panel is a perfect FreeSync HDR gaming or work monitor.

If you manage to play computer games on your smartphone, or travel a lot, the lightweight, P15NF lets you bring a big-screen powerhouse to life in a handy 0.17″ x 14″ x 9.1″ package that weighs only 1.41 lbs.

The display delivers a stunning FHD 100% DCI-P3 color gamut with 500-nit brightness and has an impressive assortment of connection ports: two USB-C, one mini-HDMI, one Type-C OTG , and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Intehill P15NF as a desktop display

The Intehill 15.6″ portable monitor has enough real estate and enough features to be a full-service desktop display. (image credit: Intihill)

An on-the-go (OTG) port isn’t always included on portable monitors, but having it increases convenience and productivity. The OTG adapter allows you to connect a full-sized USB flash drive or USB-A cable to your phone or tablet via a micro USB or USB-C charging port.

The monitor’s right edge sports a mini-HDMI port and two full-featured Type-C ports for turning this screen into a portable laptop and computer monitor.

It is also ideal for PS5/4, Xbox, Steam Deck and Switch. The monitor’s power ports include a USB-A to USB-C connector with a wall socket power plug, a USB-C to USB-C cable, and a mini-HDMI to HDMI cable.

unbeatable screen performance

The QLED panel with 10-bit color depth delivers an immersive visual experience. It offers better text clarity and vivid image colors in both portrait and landscape view.

The display offers a 178° viewing angle that doesn’t look washed out or faded at the edges of the screen. You can set the panel’s menus to intensify the flicker-free display and adjust for a low blue light mode that helps reduce eye strain when staring at the screen for long intervals.

Intihill 15.6-inch portable display connected to HP Chromebase

The Model P15NF’s 500-nit visual display (R) is connected to a Chromebase computer with a 250-nit, 21.5-inch display. Note that the portable monitor displays a ChromeOS bottom docking bar, which essentially gives full functionality without launching from the main display and dragging it to a second monitor.

business view standard

Another contributing factor to this solidly built portable panel is the difference that DCI-P3 (Digital Cinema Initiative – Protocol 3) over sRGB brings into the picture.

DCI-P3 is a new technical standard for a set of colors from the Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI) and the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), designed to standardize the colors used in the film industry .

sRGB is an older color display standard that was jointly created by HP and Microsoft in 1996 for use on monitors, printers, and the Internet.

While the older sRGB standard is still common in portable monitors, DCI-P3 brings a wider color gamut and its use in this device is a boon for gamers and graphic professionals. Especially if you use the monitor outside, or in brightly lit offices or graphic studios, the P15NF model with DCI-P3 is more visible.

Intihill Monitor Vinodes 10 Display Adjustment

The Integral Monitor (L) in Microsoft Windows 10 Display Adjustment requires only a minor configuration change. Note that each monitor is showing different content and bottom bar for full functionality.

Smart Cover, Dumb Results

The so-called Smart Cover included in the box is a typical weak point for a portable monitor. Most come with some sort of fold-around case to protect the panel while carrying and storing it. The Smart Cover also doubles as a tabletop stand.

Intel Smart Cover
Intel Smart Cover

Unless you love solving puzzles and folding origami creatures, Smart Cover on a monitor can be a pointless and frustrating experience. In this case, however, the textured surface of the cover is a non-slip surface that wraps neatly around the panel.

The heavy plastic vinyl material around a small magnet helps keep the cover attached to the back of the monitor. Its trifold design is more rigid and usable, thanks to a smaller hinge-like reinforcement that forms part of the center of the folding section.

Still, when I use this monitor for long work sessions, I stick to two double-sided pieces of mounting tape. One piece prevents the back flap from sliding off, and another piece prevents the bottom front edge of the panel from sliding forward.

A better solution is to attach a metal mechanism that pulls very much like a picture frame. I’ve only seen that method used on some portable panels.

extra matter

Connectivity is a plus with this monitor. It easily connects to phone, desktop and laptop computers. The only requirement is that the host device must have a Thunderbolt or HDMI port. This is rarely a problem with newer Mac, Windows, Linux, and ChromeOS computers. The panel is also compatible with SteamOS.

Intehill 15.6-inch Portable Panel Dragging Feature

The Intihill Portable Screen (L) displays various content easily by dragging a window from a Linux laptop. With Linux computers, duplicating desktop elements and launchers is not carried over to the second monitor.

The FHD monitor consumes minimal power, which is an added advantage for portable use. It requires 10 watts, but it comes with a 15W power adapter—a sufficient option if the host computer doesn’t power the portable monitor from the connector port.

Since the P15NF model uses less than 10 watts, the 20,000 mAh power bank can keep the monitor working for more than 10 hours when performing regular tasks.

This unit supports all Samsung phones with DeX. You can also extend the screen for the iPhone, but this requires a Lightning to HDMI adapter.

Keep in mind that not all Android phones send an output signal to the USB-C connector. This determines whether your phone works with this portable monitor.

Even my new Moto Stylus 5G (2022) smartphone is dumb in this regard. That result is not Intelehil’s fault.

where to buy

The P15NF 15.6″ QLED Portable Monitor is currently available at the Intelhill Store on Amazon. Its list price is $269.

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The KYY 15.6-inch Portable Monitor is a classy and functional portable monitor that works well as a permanent second monitor while traveling or for home and office use.

This portable display panel is lightweight and sturdy, making it a solid accessory for playing games. This greatly expands the field of view when using mobile phones or game consoles with smaller screens.

The large screen easily adapts to landscape or portrait orientation. Its multi-mode viewing feature offers built-in flexibility to improve work productivity as well as make leisure time fun and hassle-free.

Switching between modes depends on the performance features of the host computer. If provided, you use the computer’s display and orientation settings for Scene Mode, HDR Mode, and Three-in-One Display Mode view. The combination of Duplicate Mode/Extension Mode/Second Screen Mode makes this model quite suitable for meeting sharing scenarios.

Overall, this KYY portable monitor packs an impressive list of features at a low cost purchase. It’s currently available on Amazon in gray (pictured above) for a list price of $199.99, or in black for $219.99. At the time of this writing, Amazon has a “deal with” price for both colors at $161.49.

hands-on impressions

The brightness rating of this unit is 300 nits. By most standards, 300 nits is the mid-point for bright and clear visual acuity. Most low-end devices display at 250 nits.

Color saturation is slightly below the industry standard because this unit lacks Adobe RBG. But unless you intend to do a lot of graphic work and demand the best visual experience for gameplay and video viewing, not having Adobe RBG in the mix shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.

Despite these two factors, I was very satisfied with the 300-nit display’s sharpness and brightness. It was as good or better as my laptop and larger screen desktop monitor.

Overall, this portable monitor works with Windows, Linux, Chrome OS, and Mac Gear. It also plays well with game consoles including PS3, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.

objective test

To evaluate portable monitors, I focus on one unit’s performance as another display. It is important to make sure that you make a suitable selection.

Portable monitors attached to computers and game consoles differ from a full desktop monitor. Portable monitors are convenient. But they may not be suitable enough to meet all your expectations.

For example, I often drag windows to another screen to expand screen real estate when working on various documents or video presentations. They come in handy when working on content creation or research.

KYY 15.6-inch Portable Monitor as a Laptop Display Extension

Simultaneous: The 14″ x 8″ viewing screen at 16:9 aspect ratio offers a fine-tuned second viewing panel next to a large-screen portable laptop.

This is an easy way to cut down on always navigating around multiple windows spread across multiple virtual workspaces, all of which share a single monitor. Keeping track of two side-by-side screens with different objects is a new habit for me.

This KYY portable display did its job well for graphics editing as well. It performed as well as the more expensive units I used with my office laptop and desktop.

My only complaint with this unit is a finicky toggle on the left vertical edge that wasn’t always responsive enough to access the panel’s menus for brightness settings.

what’s inside

The 15.6-inch unit sports a 1080p FHD IPS USB-C display. This is not a touch screen. But its performance and price offer a good collection of features.

Its slim profile of 0.3 inches is pretty standard for a portable monitor. The right vertical edge houses two USB Type-C full function ports and a mini-HDMI port. On the left vertical edge are an on/off button for settings and a toggle wheel for audio and video functions.

The first USB-C port is used for power supply. The second USB-C port is used for video transmission and power supply. Mini-HDMI port is used for video transmission but does not support power supply.

This is an important distinction. Portable monitors do not require a wall socket if the host computer or game console supports power through its Type-C USB port. But if you connect both the devices with HDMI cable, then you should use power plug for AC.

The KYY monitor comes with a USB-A to USB-C cable that can be connected to the included power plug as well as other devices. Two USB-C cables are also included.

The assortment of included cables and plugs is compatible with most laptops, smartphones, and PCs. However, not all smartphones are compatible.

You can plug a 3.5mm headphone into a port on the bottom left vertical edge of the panel. Two one-watt speakers are built into the middle of the left and right outer edges.

final thoughts

The KYY 15.6-inch Portable Monitor is an affordable solution for accessing your computing time for working, watching videos and gaming. It does not require any additional software and requires only minimal setup.

Once connected to the computer by cable, the host machine’s display settings will automatically detect the second monitor. You just select the options it provides for how you want it to work with your main display.