The Internet of Things (IoT) has wagged further and further into the home over the past few years. It’s obvious in the years ahead that smart home devices will revolutionize the way we think and deal with our homes. Such machines are not only designed to make our home lives easier but also easier, safer and more comfortable. Get started with these best smart home devices to make your “dumb” home smart.
Echo Plus (2nd Gen) – Premium Sound with Built-in Smart Home Hub
At the heart of every smart home is a hub that links your devices together and operates multiple functions through an app or voice control. In the Echo Plus the ubiquitous smart home assistant is combined with a more sophisticated smart home system. This hub uses ZigBee technology to connect and control devices which are compatible. While some other smart home hubs are multitechnology compatible, the Echo Plus is more limited. Nevertheless, the good news is that there is no shortage of Amazon Echo- products and ZigBee technology is well supported by the smart light bulb product, door locks and more. The simpler interface is also more user-friendly if you’re new to smart home hubs and don’t want to invest a lot of time and energy in compatibility testing and configuration tuning.
As for what this smart home hub can do for your house, it covers all of Amazon Alexa’s anticipated features such as playing music, calling friends and family or having an instant weather report. Yet Echo Plus provides smart home hub capabilities such as turning off the lights, or locking the door (compatible devices needed). The 2nd generation Echo Plus may also trigger a sequence of automated tasks if a pre-set temperature is reached in the house.
Its reliance on Wi-Fi connectivity was a major weak point in smart home hubs — if the power goes out, the hub is rendered useless. The new Echo Plus, however, is equipped with ‘local voice controls’ which will allow you to continue controlling those devices even if the connection to Wi-Fi is lost. Notice that at this time the list of compatible devices is small but will grow as Amazon adds more local voice control features through potential technology updates — what the company has done well in the past.
Google Nest Hub Max
The Google Nest Hub Max is a bigger version of the Google Home Hub, a smart screen-speaker.
So why not call it the Max Home Hub? The Nest Hub Max also has a front-facing camera, and can plug into the Nest platform owned by Google to act as a smart home camera. The original Home Hub was also renamed by Google to bring it into the Nest family.
The Google Nest Hub Max aspect needs some work judging from our experience. But this would be a great smart speaker otherwise. It sounds good enough to serve as a mini Hi-Fi, Google Assistant feels sensitive and you can watch YouTube while you’re cooking on the big screen.
Although the launch of the Google Nest Hub Max had a few slight problems, it’s still not just a great smart display but a great smart speaker and a way to stay amused while waiting for your onions to run.
Google Nest Mini
In a few ways, Google’s new Nest Mini smart speaker is building on its predecessor, the Google Home Mini.
Google has improved the quality of the audio in the Nest Mini, giving more oomph to its bass performance. It also attached a notch to the underside of the wall mounting, if that is what you are in. An interesting new presence detection system that uses the speaker and microphone to decide your proximity to the Nest Mini helps activate LED indicators that will help you get a better sense of the otherwise blurred physical volume controls.
All right, but the thing that puts the Nest Mini over the edge is the machine learning chip installed within the tiny speaker. Google says the Nest Mini will learn with that chip what commands you send it the most frequently, and then start processing those commands locally, rather than on Google’s servers.
It’s worth anything that helps keep control of your smart home within your house. Even if the internet goes down, letting you still issue those voice commands and better response times are nice too. The machine learning chip puts the Google Nest Mini on par with the Amazon Echo Dot and its distinct audio-input jack for all of that.
Samsung GP-U999SJVLGDA 3rd Generation SmartThings Hub
You won’t find a smart home system which handles more than Samsung SmartThings for the breadth and depth of supported smart home products. At its core is a small box that connects to your router (third generation Hub provides wireless networking option, while Samsung’s Connect Home incorporates a mesh router with a SmartThings Hub). You then start connecting your different devices via the SmartThings mobile app through its easy but intuitive control system. These may be components that Samsung directly sells, or you can choose from a vast number of third-party items that boast compatibility with “Works with SmartThings.”
It seems that every major category is protected, including smart speakers from the Amazon Echo and Google Home, various smart lighting devices (including Philips and Sylvania gear), the Ring Video Doorbell, and smart door locks. Also, SmartThings will incorporate smart appliances into your Samsung. If there is a void in the coverage of SmartThings, it’s a lack of support for smart home devices from Nest and August; otherwise, it’s hard to find a market where SmartThings don’t paly in. As much as we like the third-generation Samsung SmartThings Platform, because of the inconvenience such a migration would inflict on the customer, we do not suggest an upgrade from the second-generation hub.
(source: techhive.com, cnet.com, techradar.com, and thespruce.com)