ProsA simple but brilliant way to save energy; includes extension cable; easy to setup and use
ConsPrice is just a bit high; won't work with PCs that have "sleep issues", overly bright power light
Overall, the TS1910 USB Motion Sensor worked just as you'd expect. Walk away for 15 minutes, and you'll return to a PC that's sleeping. But there are a few "gotchas" with the device that we hadn't anticipated. First, one of our test PCs has always had a bit of trouble going to sleep, and unfortunately the TS1910 couldn't overcome this. We had always thought that some background processes were keeping it active enough that it would not sleep via the Windows Power Control Panel settings, but there is apparently something a bit more complex going on. So, in short, if you have a PC that doesn't reliably sleep, this device may not work as expected. We were a bit surprised by this, as manually sleeping a computer almost always works, and that's essentially what the TS1910 is replicating, or so we thought.
The next issue is that you need to have the TS1910 in line of sight of your head or hands. During testing, we tried mounting the TS1910 in various locations around our workspace, and found that if we mounted it on our desktop, which was sitting on the floor, we could easily go 15 minutes without moving our legs enough to avoid a sleep trigger. Indeed in the course of one hour of work, the PC went to sleep twice, as we apparently were sitting a bit more still that we had imagined! This issue was easily resolved by placing the TS1910 on our monitor, as TrickleStar advises in its manual. It's pretty hard not to move your head for 15 minutes, even when you're deep in thought, and just a few simple motions are enough to keep your PC awake.
But that brings us to the last concern we have, which is that the light on the TS1910 is a bit too bright. We get that the blue "power" symbol adds a little flair to an otherwise uninspiring design, but we question whether this is a case of form over function. The issue is that when attached to a monitor, the TS1910's bright blue light can be pretty distracting to the user, as you'll always see the blue light in the corner of your eye. It could easily be remedied with some duct tape or electrical tape place over the light, but that step just shouldn't be necessary. We think TrickleStar should revise its design to include perhaps just a very small indicator light, and might even consider placing it on the side of the device. One of the intended functions of the light is actually to flash at the user if it's about to trigger a sleep command, which would then remind the user to move if he or she is indeed hard at work. But again, a smaller light would do the job, and making the light large and bright is addressing one small problem while creating a bigger problem.
With all of this being said, we were more than pleased with the product. In most cases, it does exactly what the manufacturer claims it will do, and it ultimately makes much more sense than a pre-determined period of idle time triggering sleep. For example, you can have your PC sleep after 15 minutes, but what if you're sitting there watching a video, or listening to music, or maybe even just thinking about what you're going to type next? Your presence is a much better indicator to a PC of whether it should continue operating. That being said, there are some users, and specific uses, for which this device probably won't be that beneficial. For example, anyone who regularly crunches large datasets, processes high-definition video, downloads large files, or mines cryptocurrency, probably won't have much use for a device that sleeps their PC when they're not in front of it, as these types of uses typically occur specifically when the user is absent. But if you're one of these users, you probably already know this device isn't for you!
Overall, this product truly impressed us. It's simple, it's effective, and it just makes a lot of sense. In an age where so much of PC usage comes down to media consumption, we bet that a lot of PC users have shut off the sleep function on their PCs to prevent it from sleeping while watching or listening to content, and for these users, and just about everyone else, the TS1910 is the perfect PC companion.
The TrickleStar USB Motion Sensor is available for $39.99 shipped free from Amazon. We think it's a nearly indispensable product for any PC user, and that once you get one, you'll definitely wonder why someone didn't invent this earlier!