A few years ago, I bought a Kenmore window unit air conditioner that touted being smart, app-controlled, and able to connect to Alexa and Google Home. After Kev had securely installed the AC in my office window, I powered it on only to find that the app and smart features were incompatible with my WiFi mesh system. :facepalm: Long story short, for the past three years, I’ve had an otherwise excellent window unit that’s never lived up to its potential. However, that all changed when I received a Cielo Breez Plus review unit; with it, my AC is finally smart!
Amazon is coming for literally everything in your home. Your books, home security, entertainment systems, car — even how you sleep — can all be connected, and Amazon wants to be that connection. The slew of new Amazon hardware and software features they announced this week shows they’re impressively close, and we are slightly overwhelmed just thinking about it all!
If you are using an Amazon Alexa smart speaker to control your home’s various connected features, adding an Alexa-enabled smart display to the mix seems like the obvious next step. Built with the user’s privacy in mind, the Amazon Echo Show 15 is a convergent device that functions not only as an elegant touchscreen smarthome hub but also as a convenient family communication center, a mesmerizing 15.6″ digital photo frame, a helpful cooking companion, a smart speaker, a movie and video entertainment center, a home security camera, and more!
Winter is almost over, and we are all looking forward to spending time outside again. Of course, some pests make our time outdoors less enjoyable, mosquitoes being the worst! That’s okay; the new Thermacell LIV system promises to repel them, and it will work with Alexa and Google Assistant!
In 2018, I reviewed a custom set of Lutron Serena Smart Shades for my office. I opted for a traditional roller shade style, and I’m happy to report that they are still operating as perfectly as they did when first installed. Serena Smart architectural honeycomb shades have just been announced, and they look very sleek and elegant. If you’ve been thinking about adding smart window treatments to your home, and you’re particularly interested in something that looks refined and timeless, these might just be the shades that you’ve been looking for!
Smart home technology is everywhere these days, and Moen is making it clear that they are the leaders in smart water technology. The Moen Smart Faucet with Motion Control has new touchless technology to control the water’s temperature and flow with simple hand motions or voice commands through Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. The Moen Smart Water Network is a whole-home ecosystem of products that, when working together, provide complete control over the water in one’s home.
You have LED string lights, bendable tubes with LED lights, and under-shelf mounted LED lights, but do you have Twinkly Dots? Twinkly Dots are pill-shaped, matte LED bulbs that can diffuse 16 million colors at 360º; you can wrap them around things or stick them to surfaces using the included adhesive pads, and they look fantastic.
Sure, your home is smart, but it can always be a little bit smarter. It’s the little things that make smart objects more useful, and Lenovo understands that smarter items need great design as well as intelligence to become integral to your everyday life. That’s why they’re rolling out the new Lenovo Smart Clock Essential with Amazon Alexa alongside some new ambient light docks for it.
The amazing thing about modern technology is that we literally have devices that we can ask to lock doors, turn off and on lights, look up recipes, and even change channels for us, all with a verbal command. The scary thing about modern technology is that we’ve also invited always-listening microphones into our homes to meet that convenience. Pozio aims to solve the privacy issue without taking away our digital butlers using listening blockers that double as cradles!
So many of the things in your home are smart, but wouldn’t it be cool if the exterior of your home was smart, too? Imagine if you could control your backyard landscaping lights, the lights you have hanging under your patio, your pond, holiday inflatables, up to 1000′ of holiday lights, or other outdoor items with Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple Homekit. With the new Lutron Caseta Outdoor Smart Plug, you can.
Some weeks ago, Jabra did something amazing. When they released the Jabra Elite 85T, they also released a firmware update that brought ANC to the Jabra Elite 75T. It was a small touch that showed the company’s commitment to its consumers. Now they’ve done it again with a Jabra Elite 85T firmware update that delivers one-touch access to Alexa.
Who doesn’t love walking into a freshly vacuumed room that they didn’t have to clean themselves? I’ve been enjoying that with the Eufy RoboVac G30 Hybrid. Not only can it handle the daily morning vacuuming of my approximately 10′ x 14′ office, but it can even mop it for me — when I want it to.
My old eero system, now in my in-laws’ home, was a terrific mesh router. If you have a mesh system and are happy with it, there’s probably no reason to upgrade, but the upgrades we see with the new eero 6 are significant. My three-pack review sample is enough to cover a home of up to 5,000 square feet in size.
The Lenovo Yoga 7i is a 15” 2 in 1 laptop that is big, powerful, and it has a starting price of under $950. I’ve been using it for the past few weeks and, despite being a Mac guy, I’ve been rather impressed. The 15” screen hits a sweet spot between screen space and portability at an accessible price.
Vizio currently offers several television lines; their OLED line starts at $1299.99, the P-Series starts at $1199.99 for a 65” television, and a 40″ M-Series starts at $399.99. By contrast, you can get a 40” V-Series television for just $229.99. The V705x-H1, which I was sent for review, has an MSRP of $659.99 and is currently available for $549.99.
Having a Smart Display in your living space makes for a great central hub where you and other family members can check schedules, play music or Youtube video, make video calls, control your Google or Alexa integrated home, and display favorite photos. Having that display also function as a family tablet when it’s not docked adds extra convenience and value. The Lenovo Smart Tab M8 and Smart Tab M10 are 2-in-1 devices that can serve as smart displays or as stand-alone tablets.
Even though Pumpkin Spice might be the best part of October for us adults, Halloween is still one of the best traditions for families and children alike. And who’s to say you can’t find a creative way to give a fright on the 31st in a creative way? Well, this year, you can with Philips Hue.
When Jess and I started setting up our daughter Skyler’s nursery, we knew that we would eventually need more smart lightbulbs. Even though I’d previously bought the basic white Philips Hue smart bulbs before, I want to try their ambient smart bulbs to see how they would work in a nursery setting. The Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Smart Bulb Starter Kit that I received not only works with Alexa but with Google Home and Apple’s HomeKit as well.
You can’t accuse Lenovo of slacking; they’re continually refining their products to improve already great devices into even better ones. Yoga devices are already impressive, but Lenovo isn’t content to leave them as is; they’ve added all-new updates in both hardware and software to make them even better!
If you absolutely love your Amazon Alexa digital assistant, but none of the Alexa-enabled speakers you’ve seen look elegant enough, powerful enough, or frankly — big enough to fill your living space, you’ll want to take a look at the Pantheone Audio Pantheone I.
There are so many smart home products on the market; tech companies or small startups make many, but who knows who you can trust? Lutron has been making quality lighting accessories since the 1950s, and they’ve become a highly-regarded name in the lighting industry. With the Caséta Wireless series, I’ve finally found a smart home brand I can trust.