Technology experts share that the technology trends for this year included smart home gadgets. Some of these upcoming devices could be great investments for 2018.
Wireless connectivity within a household continues to improve as manufacturers discover new technology and standards to boost its range. One of its caveats is that some older model house might require some modifications or upgrades in order to support these devices.
On the other hand, there are newer residences that were built with several connectivity options installed ahead of time.
Marshall Stanmore Wi-Fi Speaker
Users who want to upgrade from a smaller Bluetooth speaker with limited options can go for the $450 Stanmore speaker from Marshall. At first glance, it looks like one of those classic Guitar amps complete with physical knobs for volume adjustments and such.
Its retro appearance might fool most users, but it actually comes with a number of connectivity options. It can be connected to the internet via Wi-Fi and reportedly supports Google Cast, AirPlay, Spotify Connect, and Bluetooth as its wireless options.
Physical ports include a stereo RCA input and 3.5mm headset jack, which are hardly available on other mid-range to high-end speakers these days.
If improved wireless connectivity is what a Smart household needs, Google introduces its Wi-Fi device that uses its mesh network to boost the wireless signal. Up to 32 units can supposedly be connected together to cover a theoretically massive home area, although just two to three of these should be enough.
Unlike regular routers that require users to switch to another access point depending on their current location within the home, the Wi-Fi automatically switches to the nearest available unit in order to maintain the best signal with the connected device.
A single Google Wi-Fi router costs $129, while a special package of three units retail for $299.
August Smart Lock Pro
This Smart Home security gadget is intended to replace the house keys with a smartphone. It automatically unlocks the door if it detects the registered device nearby and does the opposite when it is no longer in range.
Owners can remotely toggle the locks via an app when it is connected to the internet and is compatible with Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri. The administrator can issue a temporary key to anyone via email or text, which can be canceled at any time.
The only downside seems to be the installation of the bulky device over the existing door locks and the hefty $249 price tag.
ecobee4 Smart Thermostat
It is always better to come home and find that the temperature has been adjusted according to the user's preference. That is where the ecobee4 Smart Thermostat comes in to control compatible air conditioners, ventilators, humidifier, and dehumidifiers.
Optional room sensors can wirelessly send data over the internet to the owner's smartphone. Adjustments can be made remotely to target irregular temperatures in some areas of the house.
The device has Amazon's Alexa built-in for voice control functions and remote connectivity. For $249, it offers the same functions as the Nest but is cheaper by $70.
This plug-in device is capable of turning any regular device requiring a power socket Smart Home compatible. The mobile phone app allows the user to remotely control the Smart plug and toggle it on or off.
Each plug costs $39.97 and works great with Google Home or Alexa-enabled devices. Owners can likewise create a schedule that automatically sets a timer for each unit.
Ecovacs Deebot N79
This particular robotic vacuum is supposedly cheaper and better than the entry-level Roomba model. Its $229 price tag reportedly makes it an attractive option than the well-known competition.
It is designed to clean hardwood floors and low-pile carpets with advanced anti-collision sensors and drop-prevention sensors. Its navigation program moves it around different areas around the house instead of a loop in the same location.
Owners can set a schedule to activate it automatically or manually initiate a cleaning via its smartphone app.
Currently, the Amazon-branded smart speaker boasts the most functions compared to its competitor, Google. The 2017 model costs $79.99 and now comes in different designs. The new model also includes an auxiliary 3.5mm output.
Its speaker output is apparently the same as its predecessor, which is considered by most users as decent enough for casual playback. However, other Bluetooth and Smart speakers reportedly sound better.
Amazon certainly did not mess around with their successful platform and the second-generation Echo continues to deliver everything its predecessor did, albeit at a lesser price.