What gift do you give that is hard to buy for a family member that has everything? How about this year’s trendy home automation to make their lives a little easier? Home automation is the buzzword again this holiday season. We’ve researched the most popular gadgets of 2018 and here are our top five picks:
Buy Now $299
Hands-free video calling has become mainstream in 2018. However, until now people had to sit directly in front of their devices to converse with the person on the other screen. That ends now. Facebook’s Portal + screen rotates around a speaker as it follows your movements within the room. Finally, you can multitask during a video call and the camera stays on you.
It’s worth noting that many skeptics have expressed concerns with Portal as Facebook has had some high-profile issues with privacy. While those concerns are very real, are we really under the false illusion that our lives are private in the digital age? Perhaps we should stop overthinking it and actually enjoy the technology as it makes it easier for us to communicate with our loved ones that live so far away. But if you are still worried about privacy with this product – just unplug it when not in use.
Buy Now $99
Amazon’s Echo Spot is designed to fit anywhere in your home and has numerous skills. While it may look like a simple alarm clock, Echo Spot connects to Alexa and can play music, read the news, listen to Audible audiobooks, create shopping lists, set alarms, and control other smart home products such as turning on lights, showing baby monitors, and exterior cameras. Echo Spot can even lock your front door. And it’s all hands-free – just ask.
Phillips Hue White Starter Kit
Buy Now $67
The Phillips Hue pairs easily with Nest for home automation or voice control with Amazon’s Alexa. Combining energy efficiency with intuitive controls, the Philips Hue changes the way you control and experience light at home. Enhance your home with soft white lighting controlled remotely. Set timers and light schedules; automating your lights to make it seem like someone is home even when you are away is an easy security measure. The Phillips Hue White Starter Kit is easy to set up and comes with two A19 LED smart bulbs, able to fit standard table lamps and the Philips Hue Bridge which can control up to 50 lights.
Apple TV 4K
Buy Now $179
Do you know someone who has upgraded their television to 4K Ultra High-Def? Then the Apple TV 4K streaming devices are the obvious pairing. Apple TV 4K lets you watch movies and shows in amazing 4K HDR – which results in a picture with 8.3 million pixels or four times as many pixels as standard HDTV. It streams your favorite sports, news, and TV channels live. It has great content from apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and ESPN. And thanks to Siri, you can control it all with just your voice.
B-Hyve Faucet Timer
Shop Now $99
This could very well be the most popular gift of 2018 if anyone knew it existed. While B-Hyve’s marketing may be lax, its products are the epitome of top-notch home automation. Real-time weather updates create the perfect watering schedule, taking into account rain in the forecast. The Orbit B-Hyve wi-fi faucet timer combines the easiest-to-program timers on the market with the remote capabilities of wi-fi. Users can control the timer with their android or iOS App, from their computer, or at the timer with the familiar, intuitive interface that millions of customers have come to know.