Like every year, Amazon is discounting a lot of its products for Prime Day, a moment a lot of people eagerly wait for, so they can snatch Echo or Kindle devices at a steal. This year, the retailer is selling its third-generation Echo Dot for just $19, which is $21 cheaper than its normal price tag.
But what if you prefer to use Google Assistant? Well, you're in for a treat, as the latest generation Nest Mini is also on sale, currently down to $30, representing a $20 markdown compared to its regular price. Sure, that's $11 more than the Echo Dot, but at least you're getting the newest model, instead of the outdated one.
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.
This story was originally published and last updated .
While smart speakers have rapidly become ubiquitous in many of our homes, there are practical things about them—like initiating a factory reset when you sell them—that just aren't intuitive without a bit of Googling. And since the Assistant (fortunately) won't abide your voice request to initiate one, that means this is one smart speaker and display feature that requires going hands-on. Fortunately, it's pretty easy in most cases for devices like Google Home, Nest Home, and Nest Hub.
Google Assistant has supported the Indonesian language on phones and TVs since March 2018, but since not all Assistant devices are created equal for languages and features, that meant smart speakers were left out of the loop. That's changing now.
For most of us, Google Homes are Assistant and cast speakers first: We either ask for music or audio to be played or we use them like a Chromecast target from our phones. But that's discounting two other ways they can be used: as Bluetooth speakers and as source to stream to other Bluetooth speakers. For more than a year now, that functionality has been broken and Google Homes haven't been able to maintain a Bluetooth link without disconnecting, but the Mountain View giant has finally acknowledged the issue.
Someone took apart a rotary phone, removed the call-making guts of it, and replaced them with a Google Home Mini. The best part about this mess of circuitry? The receiver acts as the smart speaker's output. Yes.
Guest mode is one of the Chromecast's relatively unknown but very handy features. It uses location proximity and WiFi availability to allow guests to cast content to your speakers or TVs without logging in to your WiFi network, provided they have the specific PIN code for that device. Whether you're throwing a party or have temporary visitors and you don't want to bother with sharing WiFi access, you can simply give them a 4-digit code and let them choose the media that gets played. The feature launched in December of 2014 on Chromecasts and carried over to Google Homes — because they're essentially cast targets.
What's better than an Echo Dot or Google Nest Mini smart speaker? How about a smart speaker that can charge all the things? Accell's new Power Dot Office does just that, and it's now available for $55.
Winter is here in the northern hemisphere and you might be looking for ways to cozy up your home. Smart lighting can certainly brighten things up, but the price to get started sometimes feels prohibitive. Luckily enough, you can grab a Google Smart Light Starter Kit, as well as an additional GE C-Life smart bulb, for just $29 ($39 off) at Kohls.
Back in November last year, Spotify was giving out free Google Home Minis to Premium for Family account holders, in order to encourage people to sign up to its plan. The company is renewing its offer this year but is now making it available to both Family and individual subscribers, regardless of whether they're new members or have already been using a paid subscription.