Best gifts for the first smart home setup


The smart home is a sprawling, sometimes dizzying, space that covers a wide range of things. For someone looking to gift a smart home gadget for the holidays, it can be difficult trying to figure out exactly what to buy, especially if it’s for someone who is just starting to build their smart home.

Don’t worry, though, because we’re here to point you to exactly the key areas to focus on. Better yet, we’ll mention not one or two solutions for each critical area, but three to cover all budgets. Whether it’s a gift for that person you truly adore, or just a friendly work acquaintance, you’ll find something for anyone on your list.

Smart speakers

John Velasco / Digital Trends

We’ll start with the most critical component of the smart home: smart speakers. They are the gateway to accessing not only your favorite virtual assistant, but also the many other gadgets that make up your smart home. And yes, they’re great for setting the mood by playing your favorite tunes.

However, smart speakers are handy in the sense that they allow us to do so much more, like turn lights on / off, run the robot vacuum to clean up messes, and even make reservations for your favorite restaurant. And all of this is done by nothing more than using your voice.

Google Nest Mini

You don’t have to spend a fortune to hook up a smart speaker – just look at the super affordable Google Nest Mini to see the proof. The puck shaped smart speaker is available in a variety of colors and can also be wall mounted if desired. It’s not really meant to fill large spaces with music – rather, it’s the kind of thing you can put anywhere in the house to access Google Assistant.

Apple HomePod Mini

Apple has made it even easier for consumers to bring Siri home with the release of the HomePod Mini. Don’t be fooled by its small size as it is incredibly powerful and more than capable of pleasing the ears by automatically adjusting its performance to suit its surroundings. Looking for a little more power? Then discover the stereo audio experience that two HomePods can offer.

Amazon Echo Studio

Make a lasting impression with someone on your gift list with Amazon Echo Studio. Seriously, this smart speaker is a beast in the audio department with its room-filling sound, thrilling bass, and Dolby Atmos technology. It claims to be a centerpiece in a home, so it is best to place it somewhere where it can be showcased. Amazon Alexa is also on board to help you access all of your smart home equipment.

Smart screens

Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd generation) on corner table.
John Velasco / Digital Trends

While smart speakers are widely seen as the gateway to the smart home, smart displays are said to be the next logical upgrades. In addition to offering the same set of voice interactions, the benefits of smart display add another level of interaction with the smart home. Whether it’s video calls with loved ones, checking to see if the baby is sleeping in the crib, and even glancing at your day planner at your desk, they help us stay connected.

Lenovo Smart Display 7

Sure, it’s almost a few years old at this point, but you won’t find more value in a smart display than with Lenovo’s Smart Display 7. It’s perfect as a desktop companion with its relatively compact size, but it still has a camera on it for you to video chat with a friend. Fortunately, it doesn’t cost a fortune.

Google Nest Hub (2nd generation)

Rooms are generally no-go areas for smart screens, as many of them have front cameras. The idea of ​​a camera in the bedroom is a snap for some people, but the Google Nest Hub (2nd gen) is a smart display suitable for the bedroom because it doesn’t have a camera. It stands out for its Soli technology which allows it to function as a sleep monitor.

Amazon Echo Show (3rd generation)

Few smart displays are as feature rich as the Amazon Echo Show (3rd gen). It is not only an incredibly powerful speaker perfect for audiophiles, but its rotating display comes with some cool features. For example, it rotates to make sure it’s always facing you when you’re on a video call. It can also double as a security camera as it can monitor movement when you are not at home.

Smart lights

Mother and daughter dancing in the living room with the Govee smart lights on.

Smart lighting is another essential part of the smart home. Smart bulbs have been around for a while now, so not only is there a lot to choose from, the prices have dropped significantly. There is just something special about telling your voice assistant to turn on the lights when you are half asleep and cannot find the switch on your own.

Govee RGBWW smart bulbs

There was a time when a single color-changing smart bulb sold for $ 50. Govee’s RGBWW smart bulbs come in a pack of four, can be set to just about any color of the rainbow, and best of all, connect directly to your home’s Wi-Fi network. . They are inexpensive and can quickly add an interesting vibe when the right color combinations are defined. Need a Christmas stocking? It even comes in one package!

GE Sync Bulbs

Choosing an unfamiliar brand can make some people uncomfortable, so if you prefer something with a bit more brand recognition, but not too out of reach at the same time, then take a look at smart bulbs. GE Sync. You still get the same color changing options, preset scene controls, direct Wi-Fi connectivity, and support for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

Philips Hue starter kit

In the world of smart lighting, Philips Hue remains king for its diverse range, excellent color temperature and impressive set of scene modes. While setting a schedule isn’t something new, Philips Hue lights can operate from your location thanks to its geofence, so its smart bulbs can automatically turn on / off. Yes, there is a bridge that needs to be connected to your router, but it helps with network congestion.

Indoor security cameras

When the lights go out, you never know what’s hiding in the dark. Security cameras help keep an eye open, providing the peace of mind that your home is safe. This is another essential tool for the first time setting up a smart home.

Indoor ring camera

Ring is a force in the home security arena, not only for its comprehensive application, but also for the wide range of cameras to choose from. You can keep an eye on what’s going on indoors with the Ring Indoor Cam, which is a relatively simple and affordable camera that can cover the basics: motion detection, two-way communication, and night vision for seeing in the dark.

Google Nest Cam (wired)

Most security cameras generally require users to purchase some subscription in order to record and save video to the cloud for later viewing. However, the Google Nest Cam (wired) offers out-of-the-box video history without the need for a subscription. Even though it’s limited to three hours of event history, it’s still great news for anyone who doesn’t want to be forced to pay for monthly service.

Arlo Pro 4

Topping the list of security cameras is none other than the Arlo Pro 4, which can work both indoors and outdoors. In terms of performance, features, and quality, it’s really hard to beat a camera that no longer requires a bridge to function properly. You’ll pay a bit more than the other options, but few security cameras offer 2K video recording, color night vision, and advanced detection.

Video doorbells

Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 on a brick wall.

Still considered a staple when it comes to setting up a smart home for the first time, video doorbells are probably last on the list, as the majority of gadgets are used indoors. Still, a video doorbell is handy because it lets you know who’s at the front door without you being there and keep an eye on what’s going on outside. Porch hackers are less likely to grab packages left in the front if you have a video doorbell.

Wyze video doorbell

Wyze is known for its affordable line of smart home gadgets, so you won’t be spending a fortune on any of them. The Wyze Video Doorbell is a simple video doorbell that is quite picturesque in size, but still comes with the basics like motion detection, night vision, and two-way audio. Best of all, it comes with an indoor doorbell chime.

Google Nest doorbell

Google’s Nest Doorbell is remarkable because. Unlike other video doorbells that require users to engage in a paid subscription service for cloud video storage, it comes with three hours of free video history out of the box. Beyond that, it’s a beautifully designed doorbell that adapts well to any front door – and is enhanced by giving users the option of using it wired or wireless.

Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2

Keeping an eye on packages is great, but wouldn’t it be interesting to know exactly where someone was in your garden? The Ring Video Doorbell Pro features radar technology that can show a bird’s eye view of where someone has been spotted in your yard. This is just one of the many amazing features that make the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 the best in its class.

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