These smart home must-haves will make you feel like you're in a Bond movie.
These days nearly anything can be controlled by a smartphone. From feeding your dog to checking up on your house, and from opening the front door to controlling your fridge contents, is there nothing smart home tech can’t do? We’ve even got robots doing our housework and mowing the lawn.
It’s clear that home tech is smarter than ever – and genuinely useful. These are some of the best new smart home devices out there right now.
Tired of the constant deluge of snaps, selfies and social media on your mobile? Designed for tech-wary minimalists, the Light Phone features just the function for making and receiving calls, neatly stored in a credit card-sized package. It can go for 20 days without charging too. Your sleep patterns (and other half) will thank you.
DOGGY DAY CARE
Suspicious your mutt is mucking around while you’re out? It’s time to find out as the Furbo dog camera launches in the UK – just download the app, tune in and watch your pooch. You can even get it to toss out a treat!
Samsung found the answer to making TV’s easier on the eye with The Frame – it’s a unit that disguises itself as a piece of art. Now Dutch design duo Scholten & bangs have launched three artworks for the telly (to be downloaded from the Samsung Art Store), plus a blue bezel to make the Frame look even less like a TV. Read more.
Don’t be fooled by the cute and cuddly appearance of the Podspeaker MiniPod Bluetooth MKII. Its shapely body actually means it produces cleaner, higher-quality sound (we’re told a lack of flat parallel sides eliminates nasty resonances). Still care more about the aesthetics? Then personalise with wood or aluminium hoops and supporting spikes.
POINT OF VIEW
Home security gets a sleek, stylish update with the View camera from Hive by Swiss uber-designer Yves Behar. The lightweight model comes in Black & Brushed Copper or White & Champagne Gold. People-only detection settings will ensure no false alarms are triggered by the dog, while 130 degree field of view and live-streaming straight to your smartphone cover any security blind spots. Read more.
The Smarter FridgeCam is set to help people reduce food waste by sending users a snapshot of the contents of their fridge so they don’t buy things they already have. It’ll even keep an eye on expiry dates.
Leaving the radio on doesn’t cut it for making your home seem occupied while you’re on holiday; Hive’s Active Light colour-changing bulbs can be turned on and off via a smartphone for a convincing ‘we’re at home’ ploy. Or simply choose the perfect colour to suit your mood.
Forgo rummaging for your keys in the rain with the Nuki smart lock – attached to your existing door lock, it can be controlled via smartphone to automatically unlock as you get home. Use the Nuki Bridge to connect it to the internet and you can control access from afar, saving that Ocado delivery from going soggy on your doorstep.
BRING OUT THE BOTS
Can’t face vacuuming after work or ever? Not to worry – Ecovac’s Deebot Ozmo 610 can be controlled through an app, so it’ll embark on its Smart Cleaning Path before you’ve even set foot in the door. It acts as a mop too. Robots, eh?
Google’s Pixel Buds earphones really are the next step in life-changing tech. Just touch and hold the right earbud to activate Google Assistant on your Android phone for accessing music, setting birthday reminders or, for owners of Google’s Pixel phone, getting real-time translation for conversations in more than 40 languages – just the thing for those nosy moments on public transport.
FEEL THE FORCE
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, kids had just a stick of chalk and a pavement to play with. Not any more. Sure to get Star Wars super-fans going, the Droid Inventor Kit by LittleBits lets teens and tots build a custom R2-D2 from scratch using electronic blocks and a useful app. It can even be moved with just the wave of a hand. Shame it can’t be programmed to clean the whole house…
SNAP IT UP
Take an old-school Polaroid, inject it with all the filters of Instagram and the Polaroid Pop is born. Bringing a much-loved design into the digital world, it can connect to your smartphone to print your favourite snaps with the classic Polaroid border.
The Google Home Mini packs a lot into its doughnut frame. All wrapped up in a smooth fabric, the home assistance device offers surround sound and can even hear you over loud music, thanks to its powerful microphone. So you can quickly send a song request its way if you need to set swift change of mood…
THE RIGHT NOTE
BleepBleeps’ Benjamin Brushes are designed to get kids a little more excited about caring for their teeth. Stay with us. Thanks to an inbuilt, waterproof speaker at the base, tots can clean away to their favourite song (just download from the BleepBleeps app). Ta-da – that once torturous two minutes is now over in a flash.
CUT THE CORD
Big news on the home front: Dyson’s newest cord-free hoover is so efficient that the company will no longer be making its plug-in models. The streamlined Cyclone V10 boasts improved airflow, a 40 per cent larger bin and up to 60 minutes of run time. It can even adjust its performance to the altitude you’re hoovering at. Livingetc sampled it and can assure you it makes quick work of hoovering up a packet of Cheerios.
IN SAFE HANDS
Running at dusk or dawn this summer needn’t be a safety issue. Just strap SeniTurn indicator lights to your hands before you set off, raise an arm to let others know you’re turning and they’ll automatically start flashing. Simple, effective, safe.
Having the central heating on full whack can wreak havoc on your skin and fills the air with pollutants, making Falmec’s Bellaria purifier a must. With its E.ion system, the tabletop device mimics the air quality found by mountains. It doubles up as a rather chic LED lamp too.