After updating an older smart plug to support Matter in November, I tested my first Matter-certified outlet. The $19.99 TP-Link Tapo P125M supports Matter right out of the box. As a result, the setup process was essentially… boring.
That’s actually a good thing, and it bodes well for other Matter-certified devices in the coming months. I was able to set up the Tapo P125M in under a minute, testing the process using Apple HomeKit, Google Home and the TP-Link Tapo mobile app. It just worked. Every. Single Time.
I did get a warning from HomeKit that this is a non-certified device. That makes sense because the P125M isn’t HomeKit certified. Thanks to Matter that doesn’t… well, you know. Matter.
The setup process is also standard for most Matter devices. You just scan the unique Matter QR code with whatever smart home ecosystem software you use. For the Tapo P125M, that also includes Amazon Alexa and Samsung SmartThings, although I didn’t test those.
There is one small exception for a consistent setup process: The Tapo mobile app discovers devices on your network, so you don’t yet scan a QR code when adding devices. I expect that will change in a future software update.
The P125M uses 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi to communicate with other devices. So there’s no Thread radio here; it’s a Matter-over-Wi-Fi solution. Even without a 5 GHz radio, my Eero 6 Pro routers quickly got the smart outlet on to my network. Your experience may vary based on your home networking gear.
After on-boarding the Tapo P125M, and selecting a room in my smart home dashboard for it, I was able to control it through my main smart home apps. One tap in HomeKit, Google Home, Eve, and Tapo turned the outlet on or off. Voice control across platforms worked too, which is one of the key benefits of the Matter standard.
Using my Google Assistant or Siri through my iOS devices and Apple Watch, I could flip the switch on the outlet with a spoken command. There’s also a manual power button on the outlet, which is handy too.
Speaking of handy, Tapo’s smart outlet isn’t large. That’s great because some smart outlets are too big to allow for two of them to be plugged into a single outlet. It’s no problem for Tapo P125M. Also useful is how the smart plug supports automations either as a trigger device or as an outlet you want powered on / off based on some other device.
I created a test automation in HomeKit, for example, that switches the Tapo smart plug on when an Eve Motion Sensor detects movement. I limited the times for that automation to run only between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. The idea is that when the Eve sensor sees the first person come downstairs, the Tapo plug can turn on some device in our kitchen. I tested the automation, as did my wife since she’s a morning person, and it worked without fail.
Clearly the Tapo P125M is a smart plug. It could be smarter though.
While it supports remote control, schedules, away mode and automations, it doesn’t provide any energy monitoring data. So if that’s what you’re after in a smart plug, this Tapo model isn’t for you. Then again, for a penny under $20, this is still a good value. Just know that you won’t have access to energy usage data from this plug.
Aside from not having that feature, the Matter-certified Tapo P125M is a great little smart plug for not much money. If my wife wanted a smart outlet, I’d wholeheartedly recommend she buy this. She doesn’t care about energy monitoring data. She would want something that’s easy to set up, works with her devices and digital assistant, and won’t break the bank. That’s exactly what TP-Link delivers in the P125M.
Jon Smirl says
This plug seems to be talking two protocols – Matter and the Tapo protocol. That’s because the Tapo app can access the plug without going through the Matter security process. Also, if you look at the Tapo app Android APK it doesn’t have Matter support inside of it.
So what is the future? Will this plug become a Matter only device following Matter security, or will it keep dual protocol support?
Kevin C. Tofel says
This makes sense to me, at least for now, as the industry and consumers transition to Matter. Since not everyone has a Matter hub, the old method(s) still have to work. Otherwise every device will have to be produced in 2 SKUs, one for Matter and one for non-Matter. As far as the future, it may depend on how much Matter uptake happens. Both by consumers and by device makers.
Jon Smirl says
Two protocols trash the high level of security built into Matter because you can just use the second protocol to access the device.
Not sure if I’m understanding this correctly. Is it possible to pair the smart plug with Apple HomeKit, Google Home and Amazon Alexa and then send commands from either of the three controllers?
If yes, is this something that all future Matter compatible devices will support, no matter the transport (Wifi vs. Thread)? It woud certainly make a lot of sense, but I can hardly believe that it could be that user friendly.
Jon Smirl says
Yes, you can do that. The Google/AppleAmazon Home devices have hidden Thread border routers inside.
Do note that there is a huge difference between “Alexa, turn the light off” and having a house with 200 varied devices participating in 20 different scenes. Matter can do the first, but it is not ready for the second.
Thank you for your reply. It’s wonderful, that matter can listen to different controllers on same network. I’m currently using Home Assistant as a hub to controll devices from many different vendors. But it would be nice to for example have HomeKit also integrated in parralel with new Matter devices.
Why do you think that complex scenes are not possible (yet) with todays Matter devices? I thought that Matter devices are more or less “dumb” endpoints and that the more complex automations are controlled by sytems like HomeKit or Home Assistant.
Jon Smirl says
Matter has deferred supporting scenes until a later release. When Matter supports scenes the devices themselves remember the scene settings and the controller just says “set scene xx”.
You can make controller based scenes on Google/Apple/Home controllers, but there is no way to share those scenes between Google/Apple/Home. If the scenes are inside the devices, then any controller can say “set scene xxx”.
Lawrence K says
Yes. That is how it works. You can have scenes/routines/automations in whatever compatible controller. Apple Home, Smart Things, Home Assistant, Google Home, Alexa and anything I missed can all seemlessly control connected devices. Timer scheduling in Alexa, and Apple Home mirrors the status of other devices to control it, while you talk to your Google Home to turn it on, or trigger it remotely with the Smart Things app on your amazon fire tablet from work.
Lawrence Kibler says
I jumped on this deal and bought one. Arrived 12 hours later. Five minutes after ripping open the Amazon pack I had it paired to Apple Home and Smart Things. IOS user so no ability to add to google or alexa.
I opened the box, plugged it in. Then I opened Apple Home, pressed the + and scanned the QR on the side. No other app needed. Then I went into the device properties, turned on pairing mode, copied the new code, and opened smart things. Smart things asked for the set up code which I pasted in and viola added.
This couldn’t have been simpler.