Eco Button for PC – Product Review

The idea of the Eco Button is that by using it, that is to say pressing it when you are leaving your PC for a while and putting your PC into “standby mode” or “sleep mode” by using the Eco Button by simply pressing said button rather than having to go though the PC's system of putting the PC into said mode(s) thereby reducing power consumption and your carbon footprint.

I had heard about the Eco Button and read write-ups on it and even raving reviews but never actually used one ever before.

My Eco Button came as a give-away from one of the stands at the recent EcoBuild Exhibition at Earls Court ad simply because it is here and I have used it for a while I thought that a review would be in order.

I shall be entirely honest in this review and some may not completely agree with me nor like what I say.

As said in the introduction, the Eco Button basically does nothing more than by pushing it it puts the PC to which it is attached into standby or hibernation by using the functions that are built in to WINDOWS 2000/XP/Vista. This same function works over most, if not indeed all, multimedia keyboards with the “sleep” button. So, therefore, the Eco Button is, in fact, nothing but a gimmick and yet another bit of plastic and electronics that will end up in the landfills, where it should, however, not end up in.

The software that you are forced to download – the button does not work without it – tells you every time when you “wake up” the PC again after it had been put to sleep by means of the Eco Button how much carbon you have supposedly saved, etc. However, it also slows down the opening process of the PC down quite a bit and I do not think that I need that kind of time wasting.

In addition to the time-wasting part, each and every time the PC get powered up again in this way the power surges in the system actually cause a much higher current draw – unless things have changed since I studied the subject – and thereby probably nullifying the effect of any savings made to the environment in the first place. Much better just to turn off the screen, the monitor, by hand. It is also the monitors, even the FST ones, that draw several times more power than the PCs themselves.

I have also noticed that having the device plugged into the USB hubs slows down the PC quite a bit and the Eco Button program also itself does not help here.

The Eco Button, in my opinion, is nothing but a gimmick and I have uninstalled it again. Aside from the time wasting when I want to get back at the PC and I have to go through all the rigmarole that one has to when one does the same via the “sleep” button on a multimedia keyboard or via the “start” menu of a Windows PC, I can do without the loss of power while working.

Are there any really? In my opinion not, with the exception that, aside from the supposed environmental benefits you can “lock down” the PC with the press of a single rather big button.

Many, and first and foremost to anyone wanting to use it there is no Linux support which, with anything, in my view, already makes those that do not have such support less a good idea, as, in today's world, more and more people and business, etc. are migrating to Linux with its various distributions.

I rather turn the monitor, the greatest energy waster, off manually and then be able to get back to work on the PC as and when I need in a hurry without having to go through all the stages of bringing a PC back out of standby/sleep mode. I have no time to waste like that.

So, in the definite final conclusion: Even if you get an Eco Button free my advice is “do not even bother” as regards installing and using it. It is a waste of time and nothing but a gimmick.

As I said in the beginning, there will be people who will disagree with me as to the merits of the Eco Button but that is there prerogative.

To me, after now having had one for test, it is and remains a bit of a gimmick that may do absolutely nothing as to the carbon footprint.

© Michael Smith (Veshengro), February 2008