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Smart Home Reviews

106

The best smart home devices you can buy right now (Spring 2020)

Millions of homes now contain a smart assistant speaker of some variety and sales of IoT products continue to grow as the market matures and prices come down across the sector. With so many options available, it's hard to know what to buy, and that's where we come in — this is a selection of our favorite smart home gadgets. Whether you want to just dip your toes in the water with a cheap Google Nest Mini or dive into the deep end with smart lights, cameras, thermostats, doorbells, and so on — we’ve got you covered.

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6

Roborock S6 robotic vacuum review: Super-fine controls for cleaning your smart home

Robotic vacuums used to be a luxury product, but they've trickled down into the mainstream. For lots of folks, the math just works out: It costs less than the value in saved time, and those extra moments can be spent more productively. So if you want a high-end model with more granular controls, room mapping and detection, and Assistant integration, then the Roborock S6 might be a good choice. That is, if you can stomach the $650 price tag and a few noteworthy drawbacks.

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21

Arlo Video Doorbell review: Nest and Ring should be worried about this nicely equipped, solid value

How are you going to call yourself a smart-home company, one with a huge focus on video, and not have a video doorbell? That's a question Arlo had no doubt been asking itself for some time, and while it launched its Audio Doorbell with matching wireless Chime back in 2018, that one was largely meant to be used with the company's existing video cameras. It took another year for the follow-up effort to arrive, but in late 2019 we finally got a proper Arlo Video Doorbell.

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32

Schlage Encode Smart WiFi Deadbolt review: A lock this good is 'key' to smartening up your home

Some smart home gadgets seem like solutions in search of a problem, shoehorning IoT connectivity into something that was working just fine without it — unless you're that one guy who really needs to talk to Alexa while playing the keyboard. But on the opposite end of the spectrum, you've got the smart lock, an early leader into the world of the connected home that managed to reinvent a "dumb" product with some genuinely useful new functionality.

There's no shortage of smart lock options out there, running the gamut from fully integrated replacements to add-ons that quickly attach to existing locks.

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17

Lenovo Smart Display 7 review: Not dethroning the Nest Hub any time soon

If you haven't already bought a smart display and you aren't skipping out over privacy concerns, you really should pick one up. They're a lot more than just a "digital photo frame," providing all the same utility as a smart speaker, plus piles of extra interaction from a touchscreen. But you might want to be careful about which smart display you buy. Lenovo's newest Smart Display 7 might have an attractive design, but it's got piles of little problems that might make the identically-priced (and often discounted) Nest Hub a better choice. Sadly, it doesn't quite live up to the high standards set by Lenovo's previous models, either.

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33

Firewalla review: A powerful all-in-one solution to monitor and protect your home network

Security and privacy are at the heart of our concerns with technology now. With every breach, hack, and vulnerability, we discover how frail this digital footprint we've created is. To protect ourselves, we make sure our devices are always updated with the latest security patches, we try to avoid suspicious sites and apps, we keep our eyes open for phishing attempts in our inbox, but that still isn't enough. If you have smart home gadgets or if you don't control every device in your household, you need network-level protection. Some Wi-Fi routers offer this, but the feature is usually tied in a monthly subscription.

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6

TP-Link Kasa Smart Light Strip review: Voice-controlled RGB lights for your furniture

Light strips are pretty great. They can brighten up dark corners of your home, like under kitchen cabinets or inside closets, or they can bring ambiance to your furniture. What could be better than a light strip, you might ask? How about a smart light strip?

TP-Link announced the Kasa Smart Multicolor Light Strip (KL430) all the way back at CES 2019, and it was finally released last month. It packs 16 individual color zones and 10 preset animated lighting effects. I've been not-so-patiently waiting for the Smart Light Strip to arrive, and I'm not disappointed — even if some of the promised functionality isn't live yet.

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68

Google Nest Wifi review: Effortless whole-home networking made even better

Modern-day networking has taken a lot of the sting out of getting your devices up and connected, but there can still be a lot of hoops to jump though, and the idea of running cables, placing antennas, and drowning in a sea of DHCP leases and DNS lookups is enough to give even seasoned techies a mild panic attack. Google's hoping to further reduce many of those headaches while still giving users a powerful home network with the introduction of its new Nest Wifi mesh system.

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6

Arlo Pro 3 review: Two steps forward, one step back

Wireless cameras have had a huge impact on how we're able to keep a watchful eye over our homes, possessions, and loved ones. Modern systems are as feature packed as they are easy to install, and the field is still new enough that we're seeing real improvements generation-to-generation. Earlier this year, Arlo launched a 4K option in the form of its Ultra cam, and now we're getting a fresh entry in its Pro series with the release of the Arlo Pro 3.

The Pro 2 was already a fantastic wireless camera, with a solid 1080p resolution, battery life extending into weeks, and free 7-day cloud storage for recorded clips.

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14

Wyze Plug review: Turning you on to quick and easy home automation

No one wants to go broke while upgrading their house to become a smart home, and that's a big part of what's made Wyze hardware so appealing: straightforward functionality at a just-can't-be-beat price. Following the launch of Wyze Sense security sensors and the Wyze Bulb earlier this year, the company's smart home offerings are now joined by a solution for controlling existing appliances: the Wyze Plug.

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