7 good house present concepts that transcend the same old Google/Amazon good audio system – .

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Building a smart home has never been easier. Via the same Google / Amazon / Apple / etc. voice-activated assistants you’ve probably seen in any gift guide for years, there’s a world of wonderful smart home products that can make your life happy, surprise, and maybe a little easier. The list below doesn’t include any of the usual suspects, and it features unique products that are perfect for anyone trying to make their home a little bit smarter. Or for you. Whatever works.

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brilliant

Credit: brilliant (opens in a new window)

The promise of the Brilliant Controls control panel is to provide a dedicated place to control your myriad of smart home devices while also adding some remotely controllable light switches to your walls. It has a built-in camera (with a physical privacy lock) that you can use for room-to-room video chatting or checking your home while you are away. Supported devices include Wemo Smart plugs, ring alarms, Sonos loudspeakers, Philips Hue and Lifx lights as well as Schlage, Yale and August locks. The number of integrations continues to grow and covers most of the major brands. However, if you rely on other systems this is not the controller for you. It has built-in Alexa support and also works with the Google Assistant.

Price: Starts at $ 299 on Amazon

Flair Smart Vent

Credit: flair

Smart thermostats are pretty ubiquitous these days, but depending on which one you’re using, you can get a lot more out of heating and cooling your home with relatively simple DIY upgrades. The Flair Smart Vent System is one such upgrade, and although it costs a little upfront to get started (each register costs $ 79, depending on its size – and you’ll need at least a control puck to function as a hub – around $ 100) Dollars to entry cost) No need to call an HVAC contractor or tear down walls to take advantage of the offer.

Price: Around $ 200 for a starter kit with a register and puck straight from Flair

Channel 2

Credit: Darrell Etherington

Many smart home devices focus on the convenience or automation of what are normally manual tasks. However, the Flume Smart Water Sensor offers a potentially much more important service: the ability to track water usage and alert you to possible leaks in your home’s plumbing. The company just released its second generation Flume Smart Home Water Monitor ($ 199). The device is easier to set up and smarter than ever.

Price: $ 199 on Amazon

Meural

Give away art this Christmas season with Netgear’s Meural. The connected screen is specially designed for displaying graphics. The company offers a subscription service that gives access to the best works of art in history and even packages the art so that nothing gets stale. Of course, the owner can also upload their own art to the display.

Price: Starting at $ 299 from Netgear

Sensibo

Sensibo

Credit: Sensibo

Think of the Sensibo as an intelligent thermostat for those who don’t have a central / heating cooling unit. If a person has a window air conditioner, a portable space heater or a modern heat pump – a device with a remote control – the Senisbo regulates the temperature. The latest version costs $ 149 (often on sale) and works great. If you have multiple heating and cooling devices, you can fully control some of these devices.

The company entered .’s Hardware Battlefield competition in 2015 and has since grown the product into a powerful platform capable of automating a person’s heating and cooling needs.

Price: Starts at $ 115 on Amazon

DIY smart display

Credit: Adafruit

There are tons of DIY smart home kits out there and Adafruit has a great collection. The company’s PyPortal is a great place to start as it gives the manufacturer a touchscreen display and a basic computing platform that enables all kinds of uses. With just this kit, a person can create a smart alarm, smart display, or Amazon Echo clone.

Price: $ 55 from Adafruit

Nanoleaf

Credit: Nanoleaf

Nanoleaf products work like interactive, programmable art displays … and for bonus points they look like something out of a science fiction movie. Once you’ve put the modular control panels together, you can embed them in HomeKit, Alexa, Google Home, or use services like IFTTT to programmatically recolor the lights depending on the weather, or flash whenever you want. I received an incoming message. The kits with everything you need to get started (controller, power plug, and a handful of panels) cost between $ 150 and $ 200, while expansion packs with more panels cost between $ 60 and $ 70 – so it’s not a cheap hobby , but you can start with just a few panels and build up over time if you tend to.

Price: Currently from $ 180 direct from Nanoleaf

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