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The best smart home speaker

These five smart home gadgets are well worth the cost, installation and inevitable security risk of being connected to coque iphone 5c tigrou the Internet. (Photo illustration: Courtney Kan)

Before you buy any “smart” gadgets, make sure they’re not dumb.

This holiday season, a third of Americans plan to buy a smart home device, according to the Consumer Technology Association. And nearly half of Americans use digital coque iphone m&m’s voice assistants, according to the créer coque iphone 5 Pew Research Center.

But just hooking coque iphone 6s plus swag up the Internet to a door lock, kettle or dog bowl (yes, that’s a thing) doesn’t make it smart. The trick is figuring out which ones are worth the coque kenzo blanche iphone 6 cost, trouble and inevitable security risks.

[How to make a smart home]

I’ve been in those weeds. After reviewing dozens of smart home products, I’ve learned to be skeptical of coque iphone 5 silicone amazon any gadget that feels like a Star Trek prop and a little paranoid about things that are listening, watching or collecting data. Any gadget you install in your house should work with software from multiple tech giants. And it should be made by a company with years of experience in homes, or at least with top notch coque cavs iphone 6 customer support.

The good news is some of these connected gadgets are now actually awesome. I picked five smart home devices that are genuinely useful enough that I’ve given them as a gift including to myself.

The Ring Video Doorbell 2 gives your front door eyes and ears. (Photo: Ring)

1) Ring Video Doorbell 2, $200

Why it’s useful: Who’s at your door The Ring is a doorbell that doubles as a Wi fi security camera, so you can watch, hear and talk to whoever’s there through an app even if you’re not at home. It alerts your phone with a live feed coque iphone hema when somebody presses the bell, or any time somebody comes near. No rewiring required. The Ring at my house caught package thieves and vandals, and produced video evidence I gave to the cops.

The downsides: To review, share and store video clips for 60 days requires a $30 per year subscription. If your existing doorbell isn’t swarovski coque iphone 5s powered, you’ll have to charge the Ring’s battery every 6 to 12 months.

Why it’s the best: There are lots of video doorbells, but Ring has solid customer service, delivers on its promises and works with other home devices including Amazon’s Echo Show. (“Alexa, show me who’s at the front door.”) The Ring app also lets you share clips and alerts about criminal activity with neighbors who also own a Ring.

How it handles security: Ring encrypts your video. In 2016, researchers discovered a flaw in the first generation Ring doorbell that could have let hackers access a home’s Wi fi network. Ring issued a patch, and says it updates doorbell software automatically.

The Lutron Caseta remote, dimmer, hub and app give your lights superpowers. (Photo: coque iphone 6 en velour Lutron)

2) Lutron Caseta Light Switches, $80 for starter kit

Why it’s useful: Okay, switches aren’t exactly an exciting present. But these Lutron Caseta ones only look like regular dimmers they’ve actually got superpowers to turn on and off on via app, remote or voice command. That’s useful for safety: You can program your porch light to come on coque iphone 5 marbre after sunset, or set lights to random when you’re on vacation. They’re also a convenience like when your bed is just too warm coque iphone burberry and comfy to leave, so you just say “good night” to Siri and watch the whole house coque iphone 5 les plus belle coque iphone 6 super maman turn off at once. I’ve programmed mine to wake me by slowly making woop coque iphone the room brighter.

The downsides: I needed to hire an electrician to install my coque iphone 6 fenerbahce Caseta switches, though it’s certainly possible to do it yourself. Caseta also requires a coque iphone 7 rouge apple hub (included in its starter kit) attached to your home router.

Why it’s the best: The Lutron switches require more effort up front than stand alone connected bulbs like Philips Hue. But Lutron’s tech is rock solid reliable and allows you to still turn off lights the old fashioned way, with a light switch. It also plays well with Apple HomeKit, Alexa, Nest, IFTTT and more.

How it handles security: If your home’s Internet goes out, Caseta switches still work. Lutron does penetration testing for hackers and automatically pushes updates to your hub, but it wouldn’t say whether its systems have ever been breached.

An Eero mesh router might just save your home from Wi fi woes. (Photo: Eero)

3) Eero 2nd generation mesh Wi fi router, $300 for two hub pack

Why it’s useful: Eero solves the No. 1 home tech problem: Bad Wi fi. The reason your Netflix stutters is there are corners in your house that one poor, overworked router just can’t reach. Eero uses multiple hubs to create a “mesh” that spreads Internet all over. That’s a lifesaver in big houses or coque iphone 6 cannabis ones (like mine) with walls filled with metal, plaster and and other materials that act like Kryptonite for radio waves.

The downsides: Eero is pricier than stand alone routers and also mesh systems like Google Wi fi and Netgear Orbi. If you want Eero’s hubs to work well, you also can’t hide them under a stack of old People magazines they need to be out in the open. (Fortunately, they’re pretty.)

Why it’s the best: Eero is the simplest home gadget I’ve ever tested. Other routers may be a coque iphone 5s qui s’allume little faster or have more features, but Eero is reliable and offers solid customer service. It also now offers a coque iphone se gucci security service, called Eero Plus (for $100 per year), to detect and stop hackers, and help you manage passwords, combat malware and access a VPN when coque iphone 6 3d silicone you’re on the go.

How it handles security: Eero uses the cloud to give griffin coque iphone 5s you remote control over your network and to ensure performance, but it doesn’t log or store where people go on the Internet. And the cloud lets Eero quickly update your hardware when security problems come to light, like this fall’s scary coque iphone 5 pas cher amazon KRACK vulnerability.

The Ecobee 4 thermostat works with sensors you put in other rooms to make sure you’re getting heating or cooling where it matters. (Photo: Ecobee)

4) Ecobee 4 Thermostat, $250

Why it’s useful: Baby, it’s cold outside and in that room at the back of your house. Thermostats measure the temperature one place (usually the hallway), but who hangs out there The Ecobee 4 thermostat uses sensors to keep track of which room you’re in and what the temperature is there and then makes adjustments accordingly. It’s smart enough to proactively compensate for a cold snap, and it should also be site de vente de coque iphone more energy efficient than an old fashioned thermostat, though your savings may vary.

The downsides: You get one room sensor in the box, but extras cost $80. Your installation experience may vary: to make the Ecobee 4 work with my extremely ancient heating system, I had to buy a $15 external AC transformer…

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