Echo Plus with Built-in Hub
The original smart speaker and still the reigning champ of the category (in popularity at least). Alexa, the Echo’s tireless digital assistant, can do wonders for you: make your grocery list, play your favorite music on Spotify, or order more cashmere socks after a long night of mooning the paparazzi. Connect it to a fully functional hub and you can control your vast smart device kingdom with the sound of your voice.
Many days, all you really need to get out of bed is a great cup of coffee. But before you can even make coffee, you have to get out of bed. It’s one of life’s great conundrums. With a coffee machine like this, you can schedule it to have a great cup of joe ready for you as soon as you wake up. So all you have to do is drag your sorry carcass out of the sack and your day is ready to hit overdrive.
The Roku Streaming Stick may be the Roku Ultra’s little brother, but it definitely punches above its weight. It features all the same channels, a voice activated remote, and a sleek design that remains hidden out of sight so no one has to look at your dongle while they watch TV.
Everyone knows that if you leave your lawn health up to the weather, you might as well just light it on fire. I mean, you might as well invite a herd of bison to graze unfettered. I mean really. So you bought a sprinkler system, but the stupid thing will turn on in the middle of a monsoon. A smart sprinkler controller will fix that so you can have a decent lawn for once.
The Fire TV Stick is an ultra-portable, ultra-affordable alternative to the full Amazon Fire TV setup. It may not deliver 4k UHD and it might not handle all of the video games that the big kahuna does, but you get all of the same TV shows and movies in full 1080p HD, at a price that makes it hard to beat.
This versatile security camera is designed for indoor and outdoor use. Free 7-day cloud recordings let you go back up to a week in the past to see what kind of aliens abducted your dog. Also captures audio, so you can confirm your suspicion that raccoons talk to each other when no one’s looking.
It’s not the only streaming box on the market, but for die-hard Apple users it might as well be. Not only because it integrates with Siri and all of your other Apple devices, or because it’s the only streaming device that can play your iTunes collection right out of the box. That’s all true, but here’s the real reason: the one with the golden ticket houses the ghost of Steve Jobs.
What day does the milk expire? Who the hell knows the answer to a question like that off the top of their head? Actually, your refrigerator does, if you’ve got one of these. Interior cameras allow you to monitor food levels from your phone, and you can receive instant messages when the door is left open so you know which kid to beat. Just kidding. Don’t do that.
This is the centerpiece that ties all of your connected devices together. Automation is the name of the game with smart home equipment, and with a hub like the Samsung SmartThings you can get as sophisticated as you want. Use schedules and routines to make your smart home operation as hands off as you wish your relationship with your boss could be.