There’s no denying that connected smart home accessories are on the rise. Apple’s HomeKit is slowly making an entrance into this space, but for the moment there are a wide variety of accessories available that can make your house a lot cooler. Today we’re taking a look at some of the essential options that have been around for a little while, but are definitely must-haves if you’re into the smart home scene. These devices may not be necessary, but they make things around the house more convenient…
First up we’re taking a look at Withings Home. This is one of the easiest ways to keep an eye on the house while away. Withings Home is a connected security camera that even has Apple Watch integration. Withings Home features a 5MP sensor, wide angle lens, shoots 1080p video, and actually has night vision. You can check in on the camera at any time, anywhere in the world, using its app. As mentioned, you can even pull up a live video feed on Apple Watch. There’s also motion detection, an air quality sensor, and 2-way communication using its microphone and speaker. Withings Home is available for $199.
Next up: Philips Hue. This is one of my favorite smart home accessories, but it is a bit overpriced. That being said, you’re paying for the quality of product. If you’re not familiar with it, Philips Hue is a system of connected color changing LED bulbs that can be controlled with your smartphone. Philips backs up their bulbs with a two year warranty. I’ve actually had a bulb replaced with Philips and the process was simple. There’s also a good amount of third party integration with Philips Hue such as IFTTT. The Philips Hue starter kit is available for $199 and if you’d like to find out more, check out the video.
Watch our smart home tech video below:
Next up, we’re taking a look at Pronto. This thing will actually turn your smartphone into a universal remote. Pronto is a single unit that’s powered by four AA batteries (which last up to a year) and connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth. This little device has the ability to control virtually any device with an IR receiver such as TVs, set-top boxes, Blu-Ray players, and others. Just set it on a shelf with line of sight to your A/V equipment or use the included IR extension cable to tuck it away.
Pronto works with the free Peel Smart Remote app and will provide customized TV listings, a full guide, and access to multiple remotes within the app. Pronto connects via Bluetooth, but it will allow multiple device connections so everyone in your house can have their own remote with personalized suggestions and favorites. Pronto is available for around $50 and I highly recommend it.
Nest Learning Thermostat
Nest has been around for quite some time now. I’ve had my Nest 2.0 for about 2 years and it has been working flawlessly. With Nest you gain remote smartphone access to the temperature in your house, customized schedules, energy reports, and more. It’s certainly a classic piece of smart home tech in my book. This thermostat will learn your schedule and temperature preferences and automatically come up with an energy efficient schedule to help save you money on electricity. Nest also has an “away mode” which it will kick into when its sensor detects a lack of motion in the house and set the temperature to a customized range. Nest is available for $250, but it will definitely pay for itself over time.
August Smart Lock and Ring Video Doorbell
The last items in this list are August Smart Lock and Ring Video Doorbell. I’ve decided to combine these two because their combination is very useful. Simply having any video doorbell and a smart lock can be handy. We detailed August Smart Lock and Ring Video Doorbell in separate reviews if you’d like to find out more. First off, August integrates with Nest, so when I leave the house, August’s app will suggest setting the A/C to away mode.
Having a smart lock and a video doorbell will easily allow you to identify the person at the door and unlock it to let them in without taking a step. When someone rings the doorbell, a notification will pop up on your smartphone and allow you to see/communicate with the person on the other end. Once identified, you can launch the August app and unlock the door if necessary. Currently, you can pickup the August Smart Lock for $250, while Ring Video Doorbell is available for $199 (or $10 off).
Smart home tech may not be the most affordable accessories, but they are super convenient and some of them will even save you time and money. Check out the video above for a closer look at all of these devices. What kind of smart home tech do you have in your house?