Android Police

Smart Home Reviews

28

The GE C-Life Multicolor smart bulb is perfect for your Google Home, no Wi-Fi necessary

Earlier this year, we reviewed the C by GE Smart Bulb the first light bulb that connects directly to your Google Home using a mesh Bluetooth network. It's great to have a smart home device that doesn't require yet another app or account, and not only did the bulb work flawlessly for its intended purpose, but it's still a great value (you can currently get a two-pack for $17).

GE announced at CES 2019 that it would release color versions of the Smart Bulb, and now it has done just that. The confusingly named "C by GE A19 Bluetooth Smart LED Light Bulb Multicolor" is just as good as its predecessor, making it one of the best smart lights you can get.

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16

The Arlo Ultra is a good security camera with a bad price

You've got numerous choices in connected some security cameras these days, but almost all of them require wires. Running a camera solely on batteries introduces a lot of uncertainty. Will it last long enough? Will it wake up reliably? Arlo, a former Netgear subsidiary, has released several battery-powered cameras that bested the competition, but the new Arlo Ultra is a tougher sell.

This 4K camera has a high upfront cost and higher monthly fees than other devices, but the performance is admittedly impressive. The video is incredible, and the addition of a spotlight is genuinely helpful. After some software updates, the Arlo Ultra is a good product with similar reliability to Arlo's past cameras.

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39

The Lenovo Smart Clock is a decent Assistant speaker at the wrong price

The first 'smart displays' running Google Assistant were released last year, including Google's own Home Nest Hub. They're all 7-10 inches across, with enhanced functionality over audio-only speakers. They can display video news briefings, place video Duo calls, show video news briefings, bring up security camera feeds, play YouTube videos, and more.

But what if you want something smaller? Amazon's Echo Spot was released in late 2017, and a five-inch Echo Show was just announced, but not everyone likes to use Alexa. Lenovo introduced an Assistant-powered smart clock at CES earlier this year, and now you can actually buy one...

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15

Synology's LiveCam app can turn old phones into security cameras, but I wish it worked better

Last year when Synology revealed its new LiveCam app, we knew we had to check it out. The potential convenience of turning an old phone into a remote, battery-augmented security camera was appealing, especially considering the existing power and flexibility of the company's Surveillance Station security camera management system. After months of testing, though, LiveCam makes a better stop-gap than a solution.

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46

Wyze Sense is an incredible home security value

We've covered various connected home security systems from the likes of Nest and Ring, but these systems can cost hundreds of dollars. That's just for a starter kit, too. You might get north of a grand before all your doors and windows are linked up. Enter Wyze, which has made a name selling ultra-cheap security cameras. The new Wyze Sense system costs a mere $20, and pairs with your existing Wyze cameras.

It would be unreasonable to expect the same performance from Wyze Sense that you'd get from something like Nest Secure, and indeed, it's not that powerful. However, you do get a surprising amount of functionality for chump change.

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0

Cielo Breez Eco and Plus smarten up your air conditioner at a fair price

If you like smart home gadgets and live somewhere with a ducted thermostat installation, you're lucky. Nest, Ecobee, Honeywell, and more great companies are vying for a spot on your wall and in your phone's app drawer. But if your house is equipped with a ductless system, like a split air conditioner, window AC, portable or floor standing unit, cassette type, or heat pump, the options are more limited and lesser known.

Over the past year, I've reviewed both the Cielo Breez and Sensibo Sky, two of the best solutions for transforming a regular AC into a connected one. Now Cielo has released two more models: Breez Plus ($109) and Breez Eco ($69).

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32

Nuki Smart Lock 2.0 is the best solution for European-style locks

I have tested dozens of smart home products in my time here on Android Police, yet few of them have been as reliable and as effortless to use as Nuki. This smart lock that I reviewed back in December of 2017 has stayed on our door, offering us quick access to our house without any keys. So when the company told me it had a second generation available, I quickly jumped on the opportunity to try it out.

Nuki 2.0 doesn't change a lot, but improves a few features. The lock is still made for Euro Style/Profile Double Cylinders. It is now also compatible with knob and oval cylinders, uses Bluetooth 5.0 for better range, works with Apple HomeKit, has a Zigbee radio (though it's not active yet), and more conveniently, comes with a little sensor that detects when the door is physically open or closed.

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25

My home never smelled nicer, but Moodo is still a luxury smart fragrance diffuser

Just like sound and light, your environment's scent is essential in making you feel relaxed, happy, or excited. That's why there are entire industries built around making your home smell nice. Sprays, candles, gels, battery-powered air fresheners, aromatherapy scent diffusers, you name it, there are thousands of choices for it. But smart, or to be more pedantic, connected fragrance diffusers are a new market altogether. Until recently, the options were limited — Aera, Marie by Elica — but other brands are coming into the picture now. Moodo is one of them. It promises to let you "DJ" the aroma, mixing various fragrances in any way and proportion you want.

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19

TP-Link's Smart Outdoor Plug is perfect for porches, not for yards

The smart home market is filled to the brim with half-functional products. By comparison, TP-Link's smart home devices check off nearly every box. They're usually inexpensive (and frequently go on sale), they work with both Google Assistant and Alexa, and the mobile app is well designed with plenty of options. I've bought several of their smart plugs, and I recently tried out the company's power strip.

TP-Link announced several new smart home devices at CES, including the 'Wi-Fi Outdoor Plug,' which is exactly what it sounds like. It's a smart plug with two outlets, designed for use outdoors. Even though it functionally works, it's not quite as versatile as I had hoped.

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36

Soma smart shades review: Retrofitting your blinds for Google Assistant requires many compromises

Automating the light in your home is easy if you only consider getting some smart bulbs or switches or plugs. But once it comes to natural light, the equation gets a bit more complicated. Smart shades/blinds/curtains aren't as ubiquitous, and the current solutions aren't ideal. You either have to replace your entire shades (Ikea, Lutron), the motor (Neo Smart Blinds), or if you're not feeling particularly adventurous, you can try to retrofit your existing window coverings.

The solution for that is both a little genius and ridiculous: there's a cord to control your shades, so how about adding a motor that just pulls on that cord instead of you?

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