5 Gadgets You Need for a Super-Smart Home
Adrian Grenier is doing it, and so is Sofía Vergara—embracing smart home technology, that is. "Connected homes are going from geek to mainstream because of new devices that make it super-easy to engage with your space," says Martin Despain, director of Intel's Smart Home project. "If you're just getting started, try one device first to evaluate your needs, then expand from there.”
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Here, our picks for the best new devices and services to make your home more functional than ever before.
Consider this your personal concierge. Place it in a common area and it'll answer voice commands to stream music, manage your calendar, respond to texts, and get an answer to virtually any question using Google Search. That means never having to grab your phone to decode Scandal lingo.
Google Home, $129; home.google.com.
Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator
Does this scene sound familiar? You're in the grocery store prepping for a 12-person brunch and can't remember whether you have enough eggs to pull off a quiche. The fancy fridge syncs with your smartphone so you can peer inside from virtually anywhere to take stock of what you need. Plus, the built-in touch screen transforms the door into an oversize tablet, letting you stream music, movies, or TV shows.
Samsung Family Hub, $3,798 (originally $5,599), stainless steel version; homedepot.com.
Nest Cam Outdoor
A cinch to install without the help of a professional, the newest from Nest lets you stream footage from anywhere on your property 24/7 and saves it for up to 30 days. You'll get a convenient smartphone notification anytime motion is detected, specifying whether the camera hears a noise from afar or senses a person on the premises. Perfect for peace of mind—but hey, we won't judge if you're using it just to peek in on your pooch.
Nest Cam Outdoor, $200; bestbuy.com.
Lyric T5 Wifi Thermostat
This Wi-Fi-enabled thermostat can be programmed based on your schedule or simply adapt to your daily needs as your plans change and evolve. A geofencing feature helps the thermostat know when you're home and when you're away, based on the location of your smartphone. The black version is simple to install yourself, but if you're having a contractor set it up in your home, a while version is available for professionals.
Lyric T5 Wifi Thermostat, $150; amazon.com.
These sleek art deco-inspired plug-ins are about to make routers retro. Place a pod in each room and Plume will help your Wi-Fi network adapt to real-time activity by sensing where the traffic is. The system redistributes the signal to the appropriate pod so you have a smooth connection as you move from room to room.
Plume Pods, $39 each; plumewifi.com.