As the holiday shopping season approaches, it’s time to start finalizing gift ideas for those around you. If you’re looking at grabbing the latest smart home innovations this holiday season, there’s no shortage of great new products to choose from.
Smart home devices have been steadily evolving, providing more advanced quality of life improvements over the years. The benefits these devices hold can help streamline everyday tasks and make controlling various appliances as easy as a voice command. Smart home devices are becoming more accessible and easier to use, which makes them a perfect gift this holiday season.
Here is our ‘MobileSyrup Smart Home Holiday Gift Guide’ for your consideration this Black Friday and Boxing Day:
Google Nest Hub (2021)
Kicking things off is the 2nd-gen Google Nest Hub. This central smart home device essentially serves as the beating heart of many smart homes nowadays thanks to Google Assistant. It’s compatible with Google’s entire suite of smart home devices as well as third-party apps and gadgets.
The Google Nest Hub features a 7-inch touchscreen capable of displaying the weather, calendar alerts, smart lights controls, Google Photos and more. You can even watch Netflix and YouTube videos on the display or utilize the full-range speakers for Spotify and YouTube Music. You can also make hands-free calls with Duo. All around, it’s a very capable hub for those building their smart home or simply upgrading to a new device.
Apple enters the fray with its own smart home speaker. The HomePod mini has an excellent 360-degree speaker capable of filling a room with audio and music. The HomePod mini works in tandem with the Apple and Siri ecosystem. Siri can update users on notifications and alerts. A series of HomePod minis can be used as an intercom within a household.
With an 8.5cm tall mesh fabric design, it’s a stylish speaker that can suit any room of the household. For those integrated into the Apple ecosystem, the HomePod mini is a great system to help build out their smart home. It is also compatible with many third-party apps and devices so the user can expand beyond Apple’s tools.
Amazon Echo (4th-gen)
There’s no downside to having too many options and Amazon is here with one of its own. The Amazon Echo is the titan’s very own smart home hub and speaker system. Using Alexa, the Echo is capable of playing music, controlling smart home devices, and giving updates on weather/news.
The Echo is very compact and small, so it can fit on many shelving units or desks. It can be paired with a Fire TV so your audio comes through on the crisp speaker, and the fourth-generation Echo is supported by Dolby Audio. Amazon Prime members can also place orders using Alexa and the Echo, providing some quality of life benefits throughout a hectic day.
Ecobee Smart Thermostat
As we look into more focused smart home devices, the Ecobee’s Smart Thermostat is a great option for anyone looking to upgrade their current thermostat. This smart home device is compatible with Google Assistant, Siri (HomePod mini required) and Alexa. Users can control and set the heat and AC within their home using voice or touch commands.
Ecobee claims that users can save up to 26 percent of their heating and cooling costs by using the Smart Thermostat. The device will also pause heating and cooling when it detects that a window or door is left open.
iRobot Roomba j7+
iRobot’s Roomba has become a staple in smart homes. The company’s line of vacuums has helped tidy up homes over the years. The latest j7+ model brings new quality of life features to the table and improves design elements at the same time.
The Roomba j7+ features automatic mapping technology that will outline your home, ensuring that it creates a reliable path for each cleaning. The camera is also now able to detect cords and solid pet waste and avoid them. The j7+ will empty itself in its Clean Base after each use. Plus, the Roomba can be controlled using voice commands. Thanks to the iRobot app, users can set a schedule and create zones for the Roomba to clean in, creating a personalized experience.
Philips Hue Lights
When it comes to smart home lighting, the Philips Hue line is typically a frontrunner and for good reason. When it comes to ease of use, set up, and customization options, Philips Hue smart lights have been a go-to for me. The Hue lights hook up to the user’s mobile phone via the Hue app or can be controlled via voice commands.
Philips Hue Lights provide light over a spectrum of warm and cool shades with a brightness of 800 lumens. On top of that, 16 million colour tones can be accessed and set to create a mood or aesthetic within the household. Philips Hue lights provide a lot of personalization options like automation, where they will turn on at a certain time of day.
Ring Video Doorbell
Amazon’s Ring has modernized the smart home doorbell, bringing new features to the security and monitoring device. The Ring Video doorbell provides 1080p HD video via a wired connection with Night vision for monitoring during the nighttime. Users will receive real-time notifications and audio alerts when paired with an Alexa device or the Ring Chime (sold separately).
With the motion detection, users will be notified when someone is at the front door, even before they ring the doorbell. Two-way talk is also enabled. Using an Echo device, users can ask Alexa to “Talk to the front door.” Ring also provides a protection plan (sold separately) to record and share videos for up to 60 days.
TP-Link Kasa Smart Plug
A smart plug can often turn a non-smart device into a smart home-enabled one. TP-Link’s Kasa Smart Plug offers all the necessary bells and whistles for a modest price. It has a simple setup process that enables voice commands through Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Once your device is connected, you can turn your electronics on and off remotely using the assistants mentioned above or using the Kasa app.
Personally, I use a smart plug with my Christmas tree lights each year. Setting a timer, they automatically turn on based on my schedule and they can be turned off as I leave my home. Thanks to the built-in Wi-Fi connection, these smart plugs integrate seamlessly into a smart home.
Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera
As we reach the end of our guide, the Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera is a good closer. This wire-free camera solution provides an extra layer of monitoring on your property. The Arlo 3 provides 2K HDR video with a wide-angle lens so it can cover a sizeable spread of your property, whether it’s a backyard or otherwise. Colour night vision and black and white video options are also available.
Using a smartphone or tablet, users can watch the video stream in real-time or review recorded video clips. Two-way audio can also be used via a smartphone. Users will also be notified when a person or vehicle is detected. The Arlo 3 camera is also paired with a floodlight. The brightness is said to be 2,000 Lumens, providing a considerable amount of light when enabled.
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