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... Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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). Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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? Read More
Most smart home products use one of four connectivity options — WiFi, Zigbee, Z-Wave, or Bluetooth Low Energy. Bluetooth products are a little less popular, because they can only be controlled locally via a smartphone, or remotely if the company makes its own Bluetooth to WiFi hub. General Electric's C-Life A19 bulbs use Bluetooth too, but they're special because they're one of the few products that can use a Google Home speaker as their hub.
The C-Life Smart Bulb has no separate account to manage, no additional hubs to plug into your router, and no Wi-Fi connections to deal with. All you need is a Google Home, the Home app, and you're set. Read More
In the Samsung-owned Harman audio empire, consisting of JBL, AKG, and others, Harman Kardon is the original brand and it still has a fairly decent reputation for making products with relative audiophile appeal. The group is no stranger to Google Assistant-equipped devices, but the Citation/Enchant range of speakers, subs, towers, and soundbars really caught our attention when it was announced last summer. This could be the versatile Sonos competitor we've been waiting for.
The range went on sale last month, and I've been able to test the cheapest speaker in the lineup, the Citation One. At $200, it's competing with the Sonos One (I wonder where it got the name from), as well as other Assistant speakers from Sony, LG, JBL, and many more. Read More