I have an office with two windows on our house’s south side; these windows take in brutal amounts of Texas sun and heat during the spring and summer. Lutron Serena Shades are custom-made window shades that can be controlled by a remote, by your smartphone, or with an AI assistant. What you end up with are smarthome-worthy window coverings.
In the modern world, smart appliances fill homes to the brim. Artificial intelligence is a part of nearly every device now, making the average suburb almost sound futuristic. With everything else getting the science fiction treatment, from your refrigerator turning into a TV to your car self-parking into the driveway, safety devices can become smarter, too.
We’ve made no secret of our fondness of Jabra’s audio products. They sound fantastic and, with each iteration, get better and better. The Jabra Elite 65t and Jabra Elite Active 65t are no different. They are comfortable, hold a Bluetooth connection well, get good battery life, and sound amazing. Priced at $169.99 and $189.99, they even work with Amazon Alexa!
We recently reviewed the iHome iAV2. It’s a speaker dock that not only gives an Amazon Echo Dot much-improved sound but also doubles as a bedside clock. iHome also offers the iAV5B. It too greatly improves the sound from an Echo Dot but, while it lacks a clock, it adds something rather fun. Its lights make your music a visual treat.
Smart speakers are only increasing in popularity and number, and one of the benefits of this explosion is that companies are adding more features and better sound quality to what was once a novelty item. Huawei is aiming to add all sorts of value with their new Huawei AI Cube powered by Alexa.
We have a number of Amazon Echo Dots in our home. They are a great way to inexpensively get into the Amazon Echo ecosystem, and the 2nd generation Dots work incredibly well. Still, the anemic speaker and lack of a display are far from ideal. Enter the $69 iHome iAV2. I describe it as a “clock dock for your Dot.”
My office is a room that was built on the back of our house. The only issue that we ran into when adding it was that there was no affordable way to tie that room into our central heat and air. An effective and convenient solution for situations like mine is the RolliBot RolliCool Cool 100H Portable AC with Heater.
After two years of living here, we finally got our lawn looking close to what we have hoped for. The challenge is, of course, the fact that the summer heat is only going to get stronger over the next two months. Thankfully, B-hyve offers their B-hyve Hose Faucet Timer. It is smart, convenient and it even works with Alexa!
If you are building out your smarthome you will want to check out the $69.99 Amped Wireless Smartplug AWP138W. While it is a bit on the expensive side, it is an easy way to turn a standard home electrical product into something fitting for your Amazon Alexa-enabled abode. Setup is simple and using it is as easy as speaking.
One of the best fitness and sleep trackers I’ve ever reviewed, the Motiv Ring, has just become even better. Starting today, Motiv adds integration with Alexa, you can buy it on Amazon, and there’s even good news about Android beta testing!
Toyota has introduced a revamped RAV4 model at the New York International Auto Show. The all-new 2019 Toyota RAV4 is focused on offering premium tech to the popular small sport utility vehicle. Toyota has also introduced an all-new Sporty Hybrid Grade model, the XSE Hybrid.
I’ve had a couple Amazon Echo Dots for about a year now. I thought they were great. Then this past Christmas, I picked up a couple Google Home Minis just because I wanted to check them out. Now Amazon’s Echo Dot has been pushed to a backup system as I think the Google Home system is so much better.
If you’ve become disheartened by current laptop prices, you’ll be happy to know that there are some great options coming from Lenovo that are not only feature-rich, but they’re also reasonably priced. Case in point, the 13″ and 15″ Lenovo Yoga 730 and the 14″ Flex 14. Each will cost under $1000, but you’d never guess it from looking at them.
For the first time, Ford is bringing their EcoSport to the U.S. In addition to this being an enticing SUV for those who are environmentally conscious, the car’s integration with Waze makes this an ideal vehicle for Uber and Lyft drivers – and pretty much everyone who uses Waze on a regular basis.
It’s a natural progression for the smart speaker market to go from speakers alone to adding screens. Mobile assistants are becoming an everyday part of our workflow, and being able to move from query to visual aid quickly, or from voice request to tv show, adds a whole new level of value.
Like most of the companies showing off their smart home products at CES, Lutron was busy showing off their continued support for Amazon Alexa. Specifically, the company announced that Lutron smart lighting and shade systems now have support for groups and routines.
When I reviewed the Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST a few weeks ago, I noted that Ultimate Ears is one of those rare companies who promise device updates and actually deliver! Well, they just proved my point by delivering voice control for Pandora. I already loved the MEGABLAST and I truly love knowing UE will keep making it better.
Our home is all-in with Alexa-enabled smart devices. I considered getting an Amazon Echo Spot and using it as a bedside clock, but I didn’t see much advantage to that. Then I saw the upcoming Sandman Doppler from Palo Alto Innovation. It may look like a bedside alarm clock, but it is a complete information hub powered by Alexa.
If you’ve been burdened with Amazon’s Echo ruining your home Decor, it’s time for you to upgrade to the Harman Kardon Allure Portable Digital Assistant Speaker.
There are very few laptop brands that non-tech geeks recognize. They’re aware that Samsung, HP, and Dell make PCs, but the one laptop that evokes an “Oh yeah, those are supposed to be great, right?” is the ThinkPad.
Both Greg and I love the Jabra Elite Sport Buds. They are comfortable, sound amazing and offer a ton of features. Now Jabra has announced three new Elite Series headsets– the Jabra Elite 65t, Elite Active 65t and Elite 45e that have Amazon Alexa integration baked in. I, for one, am pretty darn excited to try out them out.