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These smart home devices actually learn about you

Alexa, Nest, Google and more make the smart home even smarter by getting to know you.


Andrew Gebhart

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1 of 15 Jon Garnham/CNET

Nest Learning Thermostat

We might call a device "smart" if it connects to Wi-Fi and has an app, but there are smart home devices that can learn and adapt based on your usage patterns. Nest popularized the concept with the Nest Learning Thermostat. The US-only $250 thermostat learns your temperature preferences based on your usage history and adjusts accordingly.

Here's a collection of other smart home devices that similarly learn from how you use them, hopefully becoming more helpful in the process.

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Nest Thermostat E

The $170 Nest Learning Thermostat E is the newest, most affordable member of Nest's thermostat family. It has a plastic shell, rather than the original's metal one, but Nest kept the smarts and learning capabilities intact. It can learn your preferences over time and adjust the temperature for you as you come and go, just like every other Nest Thermostat.

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Amazon Echo Plus

The Amazon Echo popularized the concept of the voice assistant-powered smart speaker. Amazon recently made its speakers even smarter as its digital assistant Alexa can now learn your voice. Train it to recognize your voice and Alexa can respond with a personalized news briefing, play one of your personal music playlists, or use your voice to authorize purchases. That voice recognition update applied to almost all of Amazon's smart speakers, including the pictured Amazon Echo Plus ($150).

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Amazon Echo Dot

Here's a how to if you want to set up Alexa with voice recognition. Every speaker in Amazon's Echo line up has this feature now, including the $50 Echo Dot.

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Amazon Echo Look

The $200 Amazon Echo Look goes one step further than the other Echo speakers and learns your fashion preferences as well as your voice. Take a couple of full body selfies if you're deciding between outfits, and the Look will use a combination of its own AI and compiled advice from stylists to help you pick what to wear.

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Google Home

Amazon popularized the smart speaker, but the $130 Google Home was the first to have voice recognition. You can train the assistant in Google Home (just called Google Assistant) to recognize up to six different voices.

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Google Home Mini

The $50 Google Home Mini recognizes voices as well. Both of Google's speakers can customize traffic info, playlists, calendar info and purchasing options based on who is speaking.

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Big Ass Fans Haiku ceiling fan

Haiku's ceiling fans can actually work with Nest thermostats or help customize the temperature of your place on their own based on your preferences and whether or not you're home. Expect to pay for these smarts, as the fancy fans can cost anywhere from $500 to more than $1,000.

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Like Google and Alexa, the robot assistant in Jibo can learn different voices, and it can even remember different faces. Jibo's an expensive bot at $900.

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BeOn Smart Bulb

BeOn's clever bulbs remember when you turn them on and off (starter packs cost $200). When you go on a trip, they can actually replicate your usage to make it look like you're home.

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Sleep Number It

Sleep Number's smart mattress learns about how you sleep and makes recommendations accordingly. The $1,100 mattress tracks how restless your sleep is, and shows you that data over time. If you connect it to your Fitbit or your Nest, you can learn about how temperature and exercise affect your sleep and the mattress will give you recommendations to help you find a more restful slumber.

Nest Hello timbre
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Nest Hello

Several smart cameras, such as the upcoming Nest Hello doorbell cam, can actually learn faces. You can customize alerts based on who the camera recognizes or if it sees strangers. Nest hasn't announced pricing info for the Nest Hello yet.

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Nest Cam IQ

The $300/£300 Nest Cam IQ brings facial recognition to a high powered 4K camera.

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Tend Secure Lynx

The Tend Secure Lynx also picks out faces for a lot less than Nest's smart cam. Tend's only $60.

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Netatmo Welcome

The $200 Netatmo Welcome was one of the first cams we tested with successful facial recognition.

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