The Amazon Echo and smarthome are a match made in heaven. Alone, both sets of products are fairly useless—but together, they are awesome.
If you want to make your home a little smarter, but aren’t sure where exactly to start, we’ve got you covered. Here are the best starter smarthome gadgets, and how to find ones that will work well together in your house (or apartment).
Your little one is growing up and finally ready to start driving. They may be allowed to drive on their own once they get their license, but you may still want to know they’re being safe. With an Automatic Pro OBD-II adapter and automation app Stringify, you can build a powerful system to keep an eye on your teen’s driving even when you’re not in the passenger seat.
Why manually dim the lights during movie time when your media server can do it for you? With a little tweaking, you can set Plex Media Server to automatically adjust your Hue smart bulbs with custom lighting schemes for movie time, intermission, and the end of the film.
When you tell your kids it’s time for bed, they’re going to push that limit as much as possible. But, why not let a bed time “bouncer” enforce your rules by automating your kids’ routine with Stringify and your smart lights?
When you have guests over who want to use your Wi-Fi, you want to give it to them…but you may not want them accessing the other devices on your network. Google WiFi makes it really simple to create a “guest network” that gives them access to the internet, but blocks them from accessing your local network files or other networked devices.
Every night when I go to bed, I want to turn all of my lights off…except the bedroom light. I wan to turn that light on at bedtime. Using Stringify, I can finally create a single voice command that turns some lights off, and others on.
If you’ve ever wished you could create advanced, automated interactions between all the smart devices in your house, Stringify is your new best friend. With it, you can have multiple devices turn on or perform actions when certain conditions are met.
Now that voice assistants are becoming extremely popular, many users who want to outfit their living spaces with smarthome products are probably wanting these products to be compatible with their voice assistant, whether it’s Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant (and Google Home). Here’s how to find out whether or not a smarthome device works with these platforms.
Three of the biggest names in the smarthome hub world are SmartThings, Wink, and Insteon, all of which offer a consumer-friendly hub that allows users to connect all sorts of smarthome devices together and manage them in one place. But which one should you buy? Here are some things to know about the two hubs and which one might be best for you.
Renovating a living space can get real expensive real quick, especially if you’re remodeling an entire kitchen or bathroom. However, there are a ton of low-cost home improvement projects that you can tackle yourself and that make a huge difference.
Philips Hue lights are one of the simplest ways to add smart lights to your home. In a recent update, Philips added a new Labs section, where you can try out experimental new features. Here’s how to access the Labs, and the best new features to try out.
Upgrading to a smart home used to be exclusively the realm of homeowners. If you couldn’t run cables, replace switch boxes, or install expensive wall units, you had to live with dumb lights. With newer smart home gadgets, however, you can upgrade parts of your apartment—even without your landlord’s approval in some cases.
Philips Hue lights are great when they’re working properly, but sometimes it’s not all sunshine and roses. Here are some common issues that you might be coming across and how to fix them.
The Wink smarthome hub lets you automate all sorts of different tasks around the house by setting up Wink “Robots”. But strangely, when it comes to scheduling your smart lights, that feature is set up differently.
The Wink Hub is a great all-around smarthome hub that allows you to connect hundreds of different devices to it from handfuls of manufacturers. Not only that, but it lets you automate devices so they can work together to make your day-to-day life easier.
If you have smart lights like Philips Hue, you can turn them off automatically when you leave to save power. However, if you also have a Nest thermostat, it’s handier (and more effective) to turn off your lights whenever your thermostat enters Away mode.
Many smarthome apps don’t make it quick and easy to control a device, but with Wink Shortcuts, you can create a single button that can perform a number of tasks all at once.
Why would you want to spend extra money on color-changing smart lights instead of regular, cheap LED bulbs? So you can use them to throw a killer party, that’s why. Here’s how to use your Philips Hue lights to turn your boring living room into club-style lighting.
Before you head out the door, it would be handy to know whether you need a coat, or if you can skip it. To give you a quick indicator, you can set one of your Hue light bulbs to change colors when it’s too hot or too cold outside. Here’s how to set it up.
It happens to the best of us: you leave the house, drive away, and realize you left the lights on. With Hue, you don’t need to worry about that anymore: you can set your lights to turn off automatically whenever you leave the house (and turn them on automatically when you return home).
Google Wi-Fi is similar to other mesh Wi-Fi systems, but one big feature separates it from the pack: Google On.Here.
Alexa’s hands-free timers are one of the best reasons to own an Echo (or an Amazon Tap), but it would be nice if those timers gave you a visual indicator as well. Here’s how to set your Philips Hue lights to blink when your timer goes off.
As the sun sets over the horizon and your living room grows dim, it sure would be nice if your smart lights knew to turn themselves on. With a little magic, you can make your lights turn on as soon as the sun goes down.
The Wink Hub is yet another smarthome hub that aims to compete with the likes of SmartThings and Insteon in order to create a central device that all of your other smarthome devices can connect to. Here’s how to set it up.