If you've been an early adopter of smart home technology, you've probably recognized just how cumbersome it all can be. As cool and futuristic as the devices themselves are, it gets old having to jump in and out of multiple apps in order to turn on your smart lights, lock your smart lock-equipped door, set your security system, manage your thermostat, etc. In fact, the average home has over 100 devices that can potentially connect to the Internet, as I learned when Panasonic told me about its Ora technology that looks to power the smart home of the future.
Now for something that is both usable and fun in our 2015 Holiday Gift Guide. Built for the realities of work and play, the Seek Reveal handheld thermal imager combines powerful thermal insight and a high-performance LED spotlight in one durable device. With a detectable range of -40° to 626° F, Reveal lets you pinpoint specific sources of heat—and heat loss—up to 500 feet away, all at just the touch of a button. It’s a fantastic tool to have in your home, allowing you to diagnose drain clogs, heat/cold leaks, locating your pet, checking tires for wear, or even playing an awesome game of hide and seek in the dark.
You can pick up the Seek Reveal now.
The Withings WS-50 Smart Body Analyzer reads your body's stats and also finds out how healthy your living environment is - perfect for the holidays as well as year round - and great for our 2015 Holiday Gift Guide. The scale automatically syncs your weight, fat composition, heart rate and environment data to your personalized online dashboard accessible on the free health mate app. The wireless connectivity of the scale makes setting up an effortless process. The scale interface is designed to help users center on the product to obtain accurate readings. Users who attempt to avoid accurate readings by rocking on their heels or toes will see values fluctuate. It's $149 and is available in either black or blue.
Look, emoji are here to stay. Rather than fighting with the nieces and nephews about how inappropriate they are for communication, accept it and make peace with one of Throwboy’s Emoji Pillows. We feature them in our 2015 Holiday Gift Guide as well as in the background of the Gear Live videos on our YouTube channel, and they add a great light-hearted mood to any room. Also fun for pillow fights.
You can pick up Throwboy Emoji Pillow now!
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Where I live, it’s a typical safe neighborhood. Nothing too crazy happens all that often (stolen UPS packages that are left on doorsteps not withstanding.) I do subscribe to Vivint though, a home security service that ties in home automation. Of course, that required a team to come out and install things all over the house—but what if that’s overkill for you? Maybe you live in an apartment or condo, or maybe you just don’t want the monthly bill.
That’s where Best Buy comes in. Rather than shelling out monthly for a monitored home security system, you can now take those matters into your own hands for what I’d consider to be a fair price. Best Buy sent over the Canary Home Security System for me to check out. If you’re unfamiliar, the Canary is an all-in-one unit that you put in a high-traffic area in your home. It’s a small package, but packs in the features.
If you wanna kick up your Halloween festivities, you may be able to do so with some of the smart home gadgets and consumer electronics that you already have in your posession. One example is using your Hue lights to simulate a thunderstorm or fire happening in your home, which I've been enjoying for the past few days. The ambiance can be enjoyed both from inside the house, as well as by people passing by (especially with a connected Bluetooth speaker chiming in with sound effects, pointed outside an open window!)
For more inspiration, Best Buy has compiled five videos that show how you can use different pieces of technology that you can use to put together you own scary holiday scenes. The one I liked most is the Haunted House Wicked Washroom, where you use Philips Hue lights, a Bluetooth speaker with ambient lighting, and Belkin WeMo smart plugs to allow you to turn on plugged in gadgets remotely. Head on over to Best Buy to check out all five video tutorials.
In this episode I give you a look at the Belkin WeMo LED Lighting Starter Set. The set includes two WeMo Smart light bulbs and the WeMo Link, which allows you to connect up to 50 WeMo Smart light bulbs and control them individually or as a group from a smartphone or tablet.
You can get the Belkin WeMo Starter Set now!
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The Anova Culinary Precision Immersion Circulator is one of the best kitchen deals we've seen on Amazon's Prime Day sale. This thing is easy-to-use, connects to your smartphone, and allows you to cook the perfect meal with the touch of a button. Sous vide perfect steaks, chicken, veggies, and more. It's usually $179, but for the next hour or so, can be had for $139!
We're not leaving the cool kitchen gadgets out of our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide, and as proof, we present the Joseph Joseph Nest 100. Joseph Joseph's nested set of 9 kitchen tools includes a large stainless steel mixing bowl with non-slip base, a small stainless steel mixing bowl with non-slip base, a fine mesh stainless steel strainer, a stainless steel colander, and a set of 5 black measuring cups--all engineered to fit together as compactly as possible. It's the perfect gift for the Top Chef wannabe in your life.
You can pick up the Joseph Joseph Nest 100 now from Amazon for $99.99.
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Now brighter, faster, and smarter than ever—choose from over 25 apps and launch a whole new world of mobile gameplay. Sphero, our next 2014 Holiday Gift Guide entry, turns your surroundings into a video game with augmented reality and an endless array of ways to play. Powered by induction charging and an internal smart robot, Sphero glows in millions of colors and is pet-proof, waterproof, and ready for any adventure. This is one of the gifts that can be seen as the height of coolness.
You can pick up the Orbotix Sphero 2.0 now from Amazon for $99.99.
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