Review: Onzo Energy Saver




**This is a Product Review Post**

Product Name: Onzo Smart Energy Kit by Onzo
Buy Online Here: www.Amazon.co.uk
Price: £74.95
Star Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The blurb: The Onzo Smart Energy kit is a sensor, display and website designed to put you in control of your energy use. It helps you see the energy your home is using, empowering you to make positive decisions about the financial and environmental cost of how you use it.
There are energy tools on the display that help you understand when you should be thinking about your energy use and when you don't need to, so that energy saving becomes second nature.


Initial Thoughts: It took me a few days to get my head around using this device because I had to connect it to the electrical cable that goes into my fuseboard and being someone who never ventures near my electrics, I wanted to have my husband around to help in case I did something wrong! As it turns out the device was pretty easy to set up although I did have to concentrate on the job in hand - no multi tasking when you are sorting this out!

At first we got an odd buzzing sound from the direction of the fuseboard but after consulting the booklet, I managed to stop this by re-positioning the sensor. It was quite alarming when the display shot up to 2450 from a zero starting position, and I had no way to gauge at that time whether 2450 was low, high or middling. It seemed high but I decided to place the display on our kitchen fridge freezer (it has a magnetic back or can be stood on a desktop) and see how things went over the first few days. The pictures above show the Onzo on my fridge door.

By observing the display over a few days, I could see that the initial reading of 2450 was in a high demand period in our home. The washing machine and tumble dryer were on and 2 TVs from different rooms. I got readings as low as 140 and everywhere in between, but it's fair to say I've never paid so much attention to my energy consumption as I have done since getting the Onzo.

I Liked: With day to day living getting more expensive these days, I liked how the Onzo kept me informed about the amount of energy we were using. I felt empowered when I called up our energy provider to chat about the tariff that we're on, as I felt like I knew more about my circumstances when I called. Not that it mattered for the content of that telephone call, but it was an attitude shift in me. The electricity I use has never been forefront of my mind or something that I knew much about. Armed with my evidence of everyday consumption as displayed on my Onzo, I could see which appliances were using the most power, and in order to try to cut our household bills, we've changed our behaviours towards energy by not using the tumble dryer for each load as we did before out of habit. I was also able to get the kids interested in our household energy consumption by showing them the readings and how they altered by putting the kettle on, and they agreed to help reduce our useage by being careful to turn off lights and TVs when they leave the room.

I wasn't Keen: The instructions could do with some fresh eyes on them and working out what the consumer will want to know! For example, all the set up information is very clear, but there was nothing about how to set up my Onzo device in connection with their website.
On the instruction booklet that came with the Onzo, the website listed on the back was Onzo.com however this is a bit of a 'corporate' site, rather than consumer facing.
I had to trawl through the corporate site to find another URL buried within it, this was for the Smart Energy Kit. I was hoping I could find a way through this website to sync up my device online and take advantage of the online features, but there was nothing there! All I wanted was a simple URL to go to, to find out where I can track my electricity useage online and it wasn't printed on the instructions or listed online!!
I hopped back over to the Onzo corporate site and under a tab called 'Solutions' in the 'Customer Touchpoints' sub-header, there was an image of the customer website. I had to click on this image to view it more closely to see that the image was called myonzo_dashboard3.png. I worked out that this must be the consumer website and tried the URL www.myonzo.com in my browser - fortunately this worked! However I shouldn't have had to become a detective to find a simple URL! The instructions really need to make it clear where to go for what information. There are plenty of references to 'the website' in the Onzo User Guide, and it would be helpful to actually state the URL next to each reference. I don't think there is such a thing as 'overkill' or 'too much information' when you are dealing with factual information or product instructions and I'm sure lots of people would find this helpful.

Overall: This product has a lot of great features like the ability to see in real time what levels of energy you are using and to track your useage over time via their website. However I only gave this product a 3 out of 5 stars because I think it is still in a 'Beta' stage where there are kinks that need to be worked out.
I was one of the first people in the UK to use the Onzo, as part of a launch group of bloggers invited to try it out. Onzo are due to launch a new website in late April 2011 with e-commerce and support in preparation for their consumer launch which is expected late May/early June 2011. Therefore at the stage where I tested the device there were some issues which I seemed to fall down on. In my case it was uploading my data to the Onzo website.

I'm on my third Onzo display because the first two became frozen and unresponsive after connecting them to the computer to do an upload. They would update so far but fail to complete and it would be like the system crashes and just stops working. To their credit, the team at Onzo are very on the ball and extremely helpful when I had an issue - one of the Tech guys even worked remotely with me on my PC to try to work out what the problem was. We came to the conclusion that it must be a compatibility issue with my Windows Vista Operating System, so until they are able to tell me that this issue is resolved, I'm unable to connect my Onzo to the web, although I can still use it to see my 'real time' information on my home's useage.

The Onzo is a great idea and once it has all the early tweaks fixed, it will be a very useful tool for eco and cost conscious households, but for me at this stage unfortunately I wasn't won over.

Thanks for reading! You are looking hot today! x

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