Google Home received an overhaul last year that reduced its number of bottom tabs from four to two — only home control and a feed remain. The latter hasn't been populated by too much content, but a recent update to version 2.19 changes that, at least if you own Nest security devices. The feed now shows you Nest Cam events in the form of highlights and makes the whole history available for viewing. The update also gives smart outlets icons that better depict which devices they're controlling.
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.
While it's easy to appreciate the benefits of a fully connected smart home, setting one up can be a pretty daunting undertaking — not only do you face the same pressures as making any tech purchase (am I getting the right brand, does this have the features I'll need, am I paying too much) but you also face the increased stress from taking on a home-renovation project. What if you want to change something later? A new smart outlet from Swidget hopes to add some flexibility to that process, with support for modular hardware add-ons.
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 sells a plenty of smart home devices under its Kasa brand, like the power strip we recently reviewed, an outdoor camera, various outlets, and more. All of them connect to the internet over Wi-Fi, instead of a dedicated hub, and all of them can be managed from the Kasa app. TP-Link has now announced seven more smart home products, including a video doorbell, an in-wall power outlet, and even a light switch with a voice assistant.
Back in October, Amazon unveiled its very own smart plug. It's slightly more integrated with Alexa than other plugs, and doesn't require a smart home hub. The Smart Plug just dropped in price by $5, bringing the cost down to $19.99.
Ikea's Trådfri (I just discovered that my keyboard has this weird å character) line-up is one of the cheapest smart home lighting systems, costing only a few bucks per light bulb on average. It started out with limited bulb options, but has expanded to offer light panels, drivers for LED lights, and has just added smart outlets as well. These were announced a while back, but weren't available to buy until recently.
Internet-connected outlets are among the most common smart home devices, partially because they are typically cheap (~$30-50), and partially because they are so versatile. Do you constantly leave the TV or computer on after you leave home? Do you hate using Hue bulbs? Use a smart outlet.
The vast majority of smart plugs only have one outlet. If you need multiple internet-connected plugs in the same place, TP-Link has just the product for you. The new Kasa Power Strip has six individually-addressable smart outlets, complete with energy monitoring and scheduling features. Each plug can be controlled using the Kasa app, Google Assistant, or Alexa.
Even if you have a wide array of smart home products from different manufacturers, Google wants to make sure they all work seamlessly on Assistant (and thus, the Google Home). The company has gradually added more supported services since launch, and now Assistant works with Lowes Iris, Lutron Caseta, and Osram Lightify.