A smart home holiday gift guide
This year, give your friends and family the gift of comfort, convenience and connectivity
Looking for last minute gift ideas? Suffering from shopping fatigue? Have a particularly tricky present recipient?
Never fear. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite high-tech smart home gadgets that should be a perfect fit for whoever is on your list.
Give the gift of a good morning. The latest in Amazon’s Echo line of smart home speakers/assistants, the Echo Spot, is, perhaps, the world’s smartest alarm clock. Featuring Amazon’s automated assistant, Alexa, and a 2.5-inch touchscreen, the semi-spherical Spot is overflowing with features. Users can control their other smart home devices from the Spot, make and receive video calls, hear the latest news and weather, listen to music—or make use of a continually expanding library of Alexa skills. Of course, the only danger of the Spot is that it is so capable, you may see no reason to get out of bed.
The Echo Spot ($129) will be released on Dec. 19, but is available now for pre-order.
Philips Hue LightStrip Plus
Looking for something for an artistic type—or thoroughly unimpressed teen? The Philips Hue LightStrip Plus offers creativity and flexibility to the more imaginative—and fickle—members of your family. Extendable up to 33 feet, this 0.6-inch-wide strip of smart bulbs, which can be shaped into nearly any form and attached (via adhesive tape) to nearly any surface, operates similarly to the entire Philips line of Hue smart lighting. Users have access to 16 million colors, can control the strip’s shade with the swipe of a finger, sync the output automatically with music, movies and gaming and schedule different lighting sequences for different times of day. Another huge advantage to Hue products is that they are compatibile with a vast array of products and apps, so if, for example, users want their LightStrip to flicker whenever their Instagram post gets a fav, that is easily accomplished.
The Philips Hue LightStrip Plus is available for $89, but requires a Philips Hue bridge ($59), unless your recipient already has one.
Smart Coffee Maker
Coffee is such a ubiquitously enjoyed elixir that you can never really go wrong with a java-centric present. But bean enthusiasts and brewing novices alike will be appreciative of the Smarter Coffee, 2nd Generation. This WiFi-enabled coffee maker can be controlled from anywhere in the world, via smartphone (or voice when paired with Alexa or Google Home), and comes with a grinder built in, giving the user exacting control over the coarseness of their beans, as well as volume and brew strength. Just imagine your gift recipient’s face light up when you explain that they can start making coffee from the comfort of their bed.
The Smarter Coffee, 2nd Generation is available for $199.78
New parents on your gift list? Give them peace of mind with Nanit. Elegant, unobtrusive and intelligent, the camera provides a bird’s eye view of your baby’s crib and streams HD video directly to your smart device of choice. The Nanit is also a gift that gives back. In addition to learning a child’s sleep patterns and providing daily progress reports, the Nanit makes it incredibly easy to share pictures and video with family and friends.
The Nanit is currently available for $299 to $449, depending on features and add-ons.
Instant Pot Ultra 10-in-1
Whether your gift recipient can’t boil water or serves a superior soufflé, they will appreciate the Instant Pot Ultra for its time-saving and multi-faceted abilities. The multi-use programmable pressure cooker is able to speed up the cooking process two- to six-times faster without sacrificing any nutrients, flavor or quality in the prepared dishes—and there’s just about nothing it can’t do. The Ultra offers nine distinct functions (Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice/Porridge Cooker, Cake Maker, Yogurt Maker, Sauté/Searing, Steamer, Warmer, Sterilizer) as well as the “Ultra” program, a custom program that combines pressure and non-pressure cooking techniques for optimal food preparation. The clever cooker, which remembers your custom cooking preferences, also comes with 16 smart programs allowing users to set-and-forget a variety of dishes from soup to eggs. Best of all, the Ultra has the added benefit of transforming your inept cousin into a capable cook.
The Instant Pot Ultra 10-in-1 is currently sold out of the Instant Pot online store but can be found on Amazon, ranging from $279 (used) to $348 (new).
By John Elliot. Originally published in Mansion Global.