Going Smart: The Best Smart Devices for the Home

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Going Smart: The Best Smart Devices for the Home

In the technology world, “smart home” has ceased being a buzzword and is now big business for companies. Meanwhile, consumers are finding an increasing number of products are going “smart,” offering far more convenience than “dumb” products that can’t connect to each other or the internet. Smaller companies popularized the smart home, and now larger firms, including Apple and Amazon, have joined the space in hopes of expanding the industry with products such as the HomePod and Echo. Google is also in the mix, and as time goes on even more companies are expected to join. But for some folks, deciding which products—both new and upcoming—to try can be difficult. So, eWEEK has compiled the following smart-home guide to help them out.

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The New Amazon Dash Wand

Amazon’s Dash Wand is one of the newest entrants in the smart-home market. The device, which costs $20, enables users to scan barcodes to add products to their Amazon shopping carts. The Amazon Dash Wand also includes Alexa, the company’s virtual personal assistant.

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Go Visual With Amazon Echo Show

The Amazon Echo Show expands on the original Echo with a touch screen that, in addition to Amazon Alexa support, provides contextual information about the smart home. The device can be used to control the smart home and can even act as a video-conferencing tool for corporate users. It’ll cost $230 at its launch June 29.

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Apple’s Anticipated HomePod

Apple’s first hardware foray into the smart-home market will be the HomePod. The device is part speaker, part smart-home hub and is powered by Apple’s Siri. It is expected to work with smart-home devices that are compatible with Apple’s HomeKit platform. It will cost $349 when it launches in December.

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Google Home Gets Into the Mix

Google Home is one of the cheaper smart-home hubs on the market, at $129. The device is powered by Google Assistant, the search giant’s virtual personal assistant. It also supports Google services including YouTube Red and Google Play, and controls a range of smart-home devices.

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A Smart Thermostat From Nest

The Alphabet-owned Nest has offered a smart thermostat for years. And it’s widely considered one of the best on the market. The device acts as a standard thermostat, but also analyzes user behavior and adjusts the heating and cooling schedule accordingly. The Nest thermostat is available for $250.

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The Updated Ring Doorbell

Those interested in getting a little more security outside the home can opt for the Ring Doorbell 2. The $199 device is a doorbell with a built-in camera that streams full-HD video over the internet. There’s also a built-in microphone and speakers for two-way conversations with someone at the door.

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Another Smart Thermostat From Ecobee

Ecobee 4 is another smart thermostat that, in addition to learning user habits, comes with Amazon Alexa support, so users can tell the thermostat what settings they’d prefer. It also has a mobile sensor that monitors temperatures in critical areas around the house. The Ecobee 4 is available for $249.

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Chamberlain’s Smart Garage Door Opener

Garage door opener company Chamberlain makes a smart version called the MyQ. The device connects to the web over WiFi, so users can access the opener via a smartphone app and control the garage door opener anywhere there’s an internet connection. The MyQ garage door opener costs $268.

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Kwikset Keeps the Home Safe

Kwikset’s SmartCode 916 is a home-locking mechanism that wirelessly communicates with home security solutions via the ZigBee platform. The lock comes with a touch screen and supports Amazon Alexa for voice control. The Kwikset SmartCode 916 costs $249.

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A Smart Bed From SleepNumber

SleepNumber built its brand by enabling users to set their own desired mattress firmness. The company has added a smart feature called SleepIQ, which connects to a smartphone app that analyzes user sleep and optimizes the mattress’ settings to deliver the best rest. It’s a $200 option to SleepNumber mattresses.

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With HomePod, Apple Makes Belated Entry Into Smart Home Market

Apple is counting on the HomePod to be a hot seller when it's released in December in time for the holiday shopping season. But the Amazon Echo and Google Home have a long head start to define the smart home assistant market.
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