If you’re smart, your home’s getting smarter. That’s a good thing. Resisting the web-centric, seamless assistance enabled by
our new machine learning overlords technologies is futile silly. Everyone should have a staple of smart devices in their homes by now. If you’re still lagging behind, start with these as a foundation.
Get a smart assistant.
You know what this is but in case you need me to put it simply: Whether you go with Google Assistant (really, Google Home-verse) or Amazon Alexa (really, Amazon Echo-verse), a smart assistant will change your life.
Google Home, $100 at Best Buy / Google Home Mini, $40 at Best Buy: My apartment is a Google household. Our Google Home and two Google Home Minis play our morning routine of podcasts and then tell us about the Brooklyn and Manhattan weather, followed by just how long we can expect our commutes to be. They all connect to each other and play at the same time so as we stroll through the house getting ready for the day, the news comes with us. Otherwise, our Home companions routinely wake us up, keep multiples timers on our cooking food, answer our trivial questions, (“Hey Google, who’s the prettiest person in this house?”), control our TV and music devices, and turn on, dim, and turn off the lights. I haven’t made my way to bed in the dark in months. You don’t need to, either.
Amazon Echo, $100 on Amazon. Amazon Echo Dot, $40 on Amazon: Similar in many respects but admittedly better aesthetically designed, in my opinion, the Amazon Echo family is vast and growing. It can handle the same demands and commands as the Google Home, more or less, and definitely operates more seamlessly with your Amazon Prime shopping and account at large. For the frequent shopper, it’s likely the obvious choice between the two but I’ve never found I needed an Alexa to shop often on Amazon. If you use a Fire TV stick, Amazon’s answer to Roku and other streaming devices, that’s another great reason to lean toward the Echo.
Get smart devices.
There is a slew of smart devices that run the gamut from life-elevating to less fundamental and more fun. Almost all of them work better when you already have a smart assistant but your phone should be enough to get you going and headed toward living a smarter life.
Philips Hue Go Portable Light, $80 on Amazon: The Philips Hue Go is both a lamp and not a lamp at the same time. It’s a portable, dimmable, programmable bowl-shaped LED smart light that integrates into the Philips Hue ecosystem and can be used basically anywhere.
MEATER+ Digital Thermometer, $100 on Amazon: MEATER+ is a thermometer that you put into your food while it’s in the oven and it transmits real-time data to your phone.
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean, $260 on Amazon: After syncing with the Philips Sonicare app on your phone — which takes about 20 seconds — your phone follows your brushing around your mouth, a progress bar tracing a representation of your teeth like a train on a track.
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