If you asked anyone a few years ago if they would want connected lightbulbs that can be controlled from a phone for Christmas, you’d probably get a strong no, followed by an eye roll.
But times have changed, and in 2016 smart devices have become the rulers of the home. We have given them complete control of our homes— from lights and doorbells to garage door openers and thermostats.
The smart home lifestyle is accessible to virtually anyone with a smartphone now, making IoT devices the perfect gift for savvy homeowners this holiday season.
Philips recently released the third generation of its Hue smart lights with richer colors, brighter lights, and compatibility with Alexa and Siri. The Philips Hue Starter Kit makes a perfect gift for anyone thinking about a smarter home, providing easy control over color and light levels from a smartphone or tablet. Plus, it’s fun. [$199.99, AMAZON]
With Petcube’s next generation pet camera, the Petcube Play, anyone can see (in 1080p HD and night vision), talk and listen to, and play with their pets with a built-in laser pointer — no matter where in the world they may be. The Petcube Play can be controlled via smartphone and requires no monthly fees to use, although cloud video storage can be purchased. [
$199.99 $149.99, AMAZON]
The Amazon Echo is a hands-free smart hub and speaker that is controlled by voice with phrases like: “Alexa, find me a Chinese restaurant,” “Alexa, set a timer for 20 minutes,” “Alexa reorder paper towels,” “Alexa, get me an Uber,” or “Alexa, turn off the lights.” Alexa syncs with hundreds of smart devices including Philips Hue (smart lights), Nest (smart thermostat, smart camera), and Samsung SmartThings. The bestselling device has spawned several economical iterations, including the $49.99 [$39.99 at time of writing] Amazon Echo Dot and $129.99 [$89.99 at time of writing] Amazon Tap. [
$179.99 $139.99, AMAZON]
Belkin’s Wemo Insight Switch doubles as both added security and an energy saver. The Insight Switch plugs into lights and appliances, so they can be controlled remotely from a smartphone. Never worry about leaving a curling iron on or walking into a dark home again with scheduled on and off times, and remote access. When paired with Siri, Alexa, or Nest, the WeMo Insight Switch enjoys added voice control and “Away Mode,” which will randomly switch lights off and on to confuse intruders. [$49.99, AMAZON]
The BEDDI Smart Alarm Clock is dubbed a “personal concierge,” and helps with falling asleep and waking up refreshed. BEDDI, which was funded on Kickstarter, integrates with (and charges) smartphones, allowing it to play soothing white noise, wake up with Spotify playlists and simulated sunlight, receive weather and traffic reports, order an Uber, and communicate with other smart devices to adjust room temperature, brew coffee, and more. [
$99.99 $59.99, AMAZON]
The Grillbot Automatic Grill Cleaner is the perfect gift to introduce dad to the world of smart devices. With the Grillbot, barbecuers can enjoy simple hands-free cleaning with three different cleaning cycles and removable, dishwasher safe brushes. [
$129.95 $81.83, AMAZON]