Text your plug: Energenie GSM power socket pictures and hands-on

We know what you are thinking, it's a big plug, and what the devil is Pocket-lint doing covering plugs now. That's just so boring. You are right, plugs are boring, but this plug has a hidden secret, it comes with its own SIM card slot so you can text it instructions.

Load in a PAYG SIM card, plug it in to a standard three-pin socket, plug something into the Energenie, and then run through some very quick and easy to understand instructions on your phone.

Hey presto you can now turn the plug on or off via your mobile phone wherever you are in the world as long as you and it are in coverage and have the ability to text it.

In practice and the Energenie works just as it says it does. You can give up to four other friends or family members access to send in text messages as well, and you always get a text message reply letting you know that your text has got through.

Beyond the texting functionality of the GSM power socket there is a temperature gauge that can be used to control the switch and there is a daily timer feature as well meaning you can set it to come on or off on a Tuesday, but not a Thursday for example. You can override the timer settings at any point with another text message.

The temperature feature is more than just "if it gets to 21F turn on", but a fully programmable temperature range. It offers features such as if the room temperature is lower than 10F degrees the output power to the device will automatically turn on but when it has reached 20F  the output will be turned off automatically. That's handy if you want to control the temperature of a room, but don't want to have to rely on a standard heater on a standard timer regardless.

Likewise you can use it for cooling a room, perhaps with a fan or A/C unit whereby if the temperature is higher than 30F the output is on but when it reaches 20F it will be turned off.

All these status updates automatically get pinged to your phone, including when you lose power, or someone has unplugged a device connected to the Energenie.

All sound fantastic, and in reality it is. We've had great fun in the office turning a lamp off and on from various places around the UK and even further afield.

The question however is what could you really use it for in daily life that would justify the £150 price tag and the PAYG you go SIM card to go with it?

Putting the question to Pocket-lint readers via Twitter and the answers are varied, but a few suggestions kept on cropping up.

The main ones were the ability to turn a light on or off while you are on holiday to make it look like you are still in, while many women suggested it would be fantastic to make sure they really had turned their hair straighteners off.

Other more random suggestions where to pre-heat the oven or slow cooker before you got home, or to be able to reset your Sky box if it had crashed while using services like Slingbox from another country, or turning off a device in a kids' bedroom after lights out.

Business suggestions included the ability to reset the office server without having to go into the office or to inform you you'd had a power cut - handy if you've got food in freezers.

Whatever you decide you need the Energenie for, it does work, and works well.