Recent product launches from smart home products stay top of mind this holiday season. Whether you're looking to gift someone an Alexa or a Google Assistant-powered smart speaker, or you want to introduce a friend or a loved one to the world of connected LED bulbs and smart plugs ($25 at Amazon), we have the gift guide for you.and will ensure that
The gallery above has just under 25 different products on it. Here you'll find a few of the highlights emphasizing the basics (with one exception).
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Amazon Echo Dot third-gen
Amazon's latest Echo Dot still costs $50, but it has an improved design and sound. This third-generation model can also work as a stereo pair, so snag two Dots and use them together for even better audio. The new Echo Dot comes in black and medium and light gray finishes, which look good, but you don't get the same range of color options as thecharcoal, aqua, chalk and coral finishes. This affordable device is still a great entry-point into voice control and smart speakers.
Make sure whoever you gift this to already owns an Amazon Echo speaker, because you'll need that to get the most out of this microwave that you can control with Alexa. If that idea sounds silly, you're not wrong, but saying, "Alexa, reheat my lunch," it also feels like a totally natural way to interact with a microwave. It's also a low risk gift for someone who needs a small, 700-watt microwave. It only costs $60, which is about the same amount you'd spend on a non-Alexa compatible model.
If you know (and really like) someone who is already deeply invested in the Apple Music ecosystem, the $350 Apple HomePod is a fantastic way to let them enjoy their music collection. The sound quality is top-notch for its price tag, and using Siri voice commands to play your music or control Apple HomeKit smart home devices works great. It won't work with other online music services, so we'd recommend aif you're looking to spend a lot on someone who uses Pandora, Spotify or Google Play Music.
Belkin WeMo Mini WiFi Smart Plug
Belkin's WeMo Mini Wi-Fi Smart Plug is well priced at $35 a pop. It also has a smaller design than other smart plugs that won't block other outlets. It connects over Wi-Fi and it's compatible with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit and Siri, Google Assistant and IFTTT. The one thing it can't do that other smart plugs can is track the energy consumption at the outlet -- if you want that in a Belkin product, you'll need to spend $50 for a.
Google Home Hub
Google's Home Hub is a $149. It has a smaller screen than competitors such as the $230 , the $250 and the $200 . It also doesn't have a built-in camera. Instead, it's equipped with an ambient light sensor that auto-adjusts the screen's brightness and warmth to suit the room. The Home Hub is a great option if you want a more affordable display without a camera.
Google Home Mini
If we had to pick a voice assistant to recommend to someone (aka, "do our job"), Google Assistant would get the nod today. Alexa is no slouch, but Google Assistant is better at carrying on complex conversations, particularly with multistep processes like going through a recipe and remembering where you left off. The Google Home Mini isn't the cheapest way into the Google Assistant ecosystem (that would be the $25), but it's the most fully featured, since Google has saved the ability to make phone calls for its own hardware. It normally sells for $50, buy you should be able to find it for $25-$30 with various holiday deals.
June Intelligent Oven
In a way, this oven is sad, because of its apparent target customer. Imagine someone who works crazy hours, lives alone and never has time to make a decent meal for herself. If that describes someone you know and love (a lot), you might consider spending $599 on the June Intelligent Oven. What makes this oven "intelligent" is its ability to automatically identify the food you put into it and cook it to your desired settings. It can recognize up to 50 types of food automatically, and it has a longer list of automated cooking programs you can choose from manually. It's like having a Popcorn, but for 100 different kinds of food. Both the program list and the list of food it can recognize will grow over time via software updates.
And did we mention that it can take video of your food while it's cooking and upload it to Instagram? It can.
Naked Labs Body Scanner
The $1,395 Naked Labs Body Scanner is more than a smart scale. It's a scarily detailed smart scale that captures a 3D image of your entire body. From there it gives you stats -- various measurements from your weight to your body mass and much more. Several of us tried out the naked Labs scanner for this review and had mixed feelings. Its level of detail is jarring if you aren't expecting it and left some of us feeling...exposed. But, if you really want to kick your fitness routine into high gear and track slight changes over time, this device could be worth it.
Philips Hue White LED Starter Kit
The $70 Philips Hue White LED Starter Kit is a solid choice if you want basic smart LEDs that don't change color. They work with Amazon's Alexa, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT and the Nest Learning Thermostat. For your 70 bucks, you get two white light LEDs and a Philips Hue ZigBee hub. You can turn them on and off, dim them and more from the app -- or use voice commands. Philips is a staple in smart lighting and this entry-level kit is a decent place to start.
Wyze Cam Pan
This Wyze camera costs just $30. That's a ridiculously low price considering it has 1080p HD live streaming, free 14-day cloud storage and optional local storage. It works with Alexa and IFTTT and has motion detection zones, too. The Wyze Cam Pan can also listen for smoke and CO alarms and send you related alerts. You can't do much better than this camera if you're looking for a super affordable smart indoor security camera with a lot of features typically reserved for more expensive models.