22 Oct 2020
10 Devices to Smartify Your Home
With smart homes becoming more prevalent globally, smart home devices have become very desirable and functional in the modern home.
A smart appliance is one that you can connect via your smart device (mobile phone, tablet, laptop) and a Wi-Fi connection. This allows you to better control your appliances remotely, which can bring new levels of convenience, efficiency, safety, and peace of mind to your life.
This level of connectivity between devices is typically referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT), which is a broad term that encompasses the ways that devices connect to the internet, and collect data that helps them perform in smarter ways.
Now that smart home devices are becoming more affordable and easier to install than ever before, you might want to expand your own home’s collection of smarter technology. With this in mind, we’ve put together a sectional guide to home automation and recommend 10 smart home devices to help you make your life easier.
Google Nest Audio
To accommodate the wide variety of spaces, Google has opted for an aesthetically pleasing
yet undeniably neutral design. (Image credit: Store.google.com)
If you are the Google-everything type, then the Google Nest Audio is the ideal smart speaker for you. It can play literally any song you want it to, from the many audio streaming partners Google has lined up, including Spotify, YouTube Music and more. Straight out of the box, Google has made setting up this new smart speaker easy-peasy. Simply plug it in, launch the “Google Home” app (available for iOS and Android devices), and follow the on-screen instructions — it really is as simple as that.
Aside from playing music, the Nest Audio also has a host of smart features. This device includes access to the Google Assistant, which means you can ask it pretty much anything. Google Assistant can also now understand contextual queries well, like "how hot is it" and "how bad is the coronavirus". The Nest Audio also links up to devices from the likes of Philips Hue, TP-Link, and more, so you can control the heating or lightning, simply by asking.
Let the Move process its new surroundings for around 30 seconds, and it’ll re-calibrate
the audio performance accordingly. (Image credit: Sonos.com)
Looking to listen to your favourite tunes on a wireless speaker in your living room, in your kitchen, in your home office, on your balcony, and even at the park? While some people might do this with a variety of different speakers, we recommend using the Sonos Move in all of those places. Measuring in at 24cm (H) x 16cm (W) x 12.6cm (D), and weighing 3kg, it’s the first model from the company with a battery and support for Bluetooth audio, which means it’s the first Sonos speaker you can easily transport — or move, if you will — from place to place.
You can use it as a standard Sonos Wi-Fi speaker by connecting it to your Sonos account and having it show up in your “Sonos” app (available for iOS and Android devices). In Bluetooth mode, pair it just like you would any Bluetooth speaker, directly to the device from which you want to play your music. Switching between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth is done by a button on the back of the speaker. Press and hold the button down, and the Move will attempt to connect to the last device it was paired to regardless of the mode. It’s also a smart speaker with always-on microphones that you can connect to Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant, allowing you to bark commands at it to adjust the volume, skip tracks, or control other smart home gadgets, even while it plays music.
Kyla Smart IR Cube
The Aztech Kyla Smart IR Cube is great for anyone with infrared appliances at home.
(Image credit: Kyla.aztech.com)
Singapore-based electronics manufacturer Aztech has entered the Internet of Things (IoT) arena with the launch of the Aztech Kyla range, a series of user-friendly, pocket-friendly home automation products.
To welcome the Smart IR Cube into your home, all you need to do is simply download the “Kyla” app (available for iOS and Android devices), connect your appliances, and start managing your home via your smartphone. And with Kyla, it is not an "all or nothing" scenario. Products can be used independently as standalone appliances, or collectively as a cluster.
The app can also be linked to many traditional infrared (IR) controlled "dumb" devices, transforming them into smart ones. This means you can make the most of what you already own rather than gutting your home and starting from scratch.
Want to come home to an air-conditioned room without having to leave it on the entire day? With the Smart IR Cube, you can schedule and turn on your air conditioning right from your smartphone. Supporting over 8000 brands of IR appliances, whether it is for switching off the lights after leaving home, or monitoring the safety of your home, the Smart IR Cube is like the Jarvis you never had.
TP-Link Twin Pack Wi-Fi Smart Plug
A smart plug turns a "dumb" device, like a coffee maker, room fan, or table lamp, into a smart device.
(Image credit: Tp-link.com)
It may not be the sexiest bit of kit in your smart home, but the TP-Link Twin Pack Wi-Fi Smart Plug is a cost-effective way to get more control over your "dumb" devices. It acts as a power-point adapter between your power socket and the appliance you wish to plug in. At its most basic level, it simply turns things on and off. But, when connected to a smart home platform, it becomes a very nifty device.
It’s considered smart because it lets you control your appliances from an app on your phone from anywhere. With a tap on your smartphone, you can easily turn off the lights and other devices in the living room without getting out of bed, or conveniently schedule all lights to go off by midnight. Use the TP-Link with the “Kasa Smart” app (available for iOS and Android devices), and you can even set schedules so you can turn appliances on and off at set times, and on specific days. If you want to, you can link your smart plug in the app to Google Home or Amazon Alexa, allowing you to control it by voice.
Smart plugs like this one from TP-Link are the first easy step into home automation, and they will have you wondering how you ever got by without them.
LG True Steam TWIN Load Washing Machine
The TWINWash™'s innovative design is space-efficient and brings a whole new
laundry experience. (Image credit: LG.com)
Designed to transform the tedious chore of clothes washing into something that's at least a little more efficient, TWINWash™ allows you to run simultaneous cleaning cycles. The general idea is that you can stash your bulky items up top and smaller, delicate items below with less time wasted. And since they are technically standalone units, they have separate water hookups, so the water that's cleaning your bright red towels in the upper machine won't mix with the water that's cleaning your white t-shirts in the lower one.
The LG TWINWash™ washing machine connects to your home Wi-Fi network using its “LG THINQ” app (available for iOS and Android devices). You control it through an app on your phone and it lets you look at stats like how much energy your machine is using, stop and start cycles remotely, and troubleshoot any issues that might come up. The app will even tell you when it’s time to add softener to the Mini washer. Aside from all these amazing features, you can even name your device Mr. Wishy Washy just for laughs!
Samsung CycloneForce POWERbot™ Vacuum Cleaner
Control your POWERbot™ remotely using the smartphone app to schedule a cleanup
while you are away from home. (Image credit: Samsung.com)
The POWERbot's CycloneForce technology is the centrepiece: it generates a strong centrifugal force that circulates dust particles through the inner chamber and separates dirt from air to be sieved into the outer chamber. This keeps the filter clean for longer and helps prevent clogging — maintaining the optimum suction power and cleaning performance.
Get it out of the box, charge, connect to Wi-Fi, pair it with Samsung SmartThings app (available for iOS and Android devices) and it's good to go. Also in the box is a remote control, giving you the physical option to control the cleaner. If you own a Google Home or Bixby device, the POWERbot™ is compatible with both of these voice assistants.
There are a number of different cleaning modes including Auto Clean, Spot Clean, and Manual Clean mode. "Auto Clean" goes from room to room cleaning until the robot has either finished or run out of juice, when it will then return to its charger. "Spot Clean" cleans a smaller localised area (approximately 1.5m x 1.5m) intensively, so is great for cleaning up small spills or crumbs. "Manual Clean" can be carried out either using the remote or app, and allows you to direct the robot around, pushing it in the directions you want it to go.
Other notable functions include "Intelligent Power Control" that detects the type of surface and generates the optimum suction power required for effective cleaning.
Food & Drink
De'Longhi PrimaDonna S Evo Fully Automatic Coffee Machine
Connect this machine to its Coffee Link App, to create new beverages, and discover infinite
personalisation options. (Image credit: Delonghi.com)
Primadonna, indeed! The De'Longhi PrimaDonna S Evo Fully Automatic Coffee Machine is a bean-to-cup, stainless steel beauty. Everything is premium about the finish and quality of this coffee maker. Whether you want a long black or a flat white the S Evo coffee machine can sort you out, it even connects to your phone for an "infinite range" of flavour innovations via the “De’Longhi Coffee Link” app (available for iOS and Android devices).
After connecting your smartphone via Bluetooth through the app, you can select a standard coffee or create your own. From size to strength, aroma and milk, you can fully personalise your brew – even the temperature can be set for when you want a hotter coffee for your morning commute. You then name the combination and save it to your profile, so you can access your ideal cup whenever you want. If you find the blend needs to be tweaked, you can go back to the recipe and make the necessary adjustments.
Imagine how fun it would be creating a personalised drink, particularly when it can be ordered from the comfort of your bed! You can make and save up to six recipes which can be accessed both from your phone and on the machine itself.
Samsung Family Hub 550L Multi-Door Refrigerator
With cameras inside and an LCD touch screen on the door, this Samsung is unlike any fridge
you've seen before. (Image credit: Samsung.com)
The Samsung Family Hub lineup of refrigerators is aimed at being a central, connected point in the kitchen for you and your family. It helps to manage not only your food, but also your life via its ability to connect to smart devices.
One of the most unique features about this smart fridge is that it gives you the ability to see inside your fridge from anywhere. This comes in handy when you’re out grocery shopping and can’t recall what it was that you were supposed to be buying. If you can relate to this, you might really enjoy this benefit because you can pull up a live feed of your existing groceries on your smartphone, while shopping. Simply download the “Samsung Family Hub” app (available for iOS and Android devices) on your smartphone, and you have a window into your fridge!
You can also manage your home’s compatible smart devices such as washing machines, air conditioners, home cameras, motion sensors and smart lights via its massive intuitive 21.5” LCD touch screen — the "brain" of this smart refrigerator!
There are also tons of apps you can play around with. Pull up your calendar, to-do lists, memos, and sync your family members’ schedules and send notes, all from one place. The LCD touch screen is also a digital whiteboard for your kids or spouses to leave "I love You" messages anytime of the day… awww!
Arlo Pro 3 2K QHD 3 Camera
Watch a live feed of your home on a smartphone, and get immediate alerts of any unusual activity.
(Image credit: Arlo.com)
Home security cameras keep watch over your home from both inside and outside, acting as an extra pair of eyes and ears to monitor your property.
The Arlo Pro 3 is a wireless indoor/outdoor camera system that delivers sharp 2K video, and is packed with cool security features including an embedded siren, a motion-activated spotlight, smart notifications, and color night vision. It also supports lots of third-party integrations, as well as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands.
Through the “Arlo” app (available for iOS and Android devices) you can tweak camera settings, including brightness, low-light settings, and video quality. Navigating, reviewing, and sharing video clips from the library is also simple. A standard daily timeline view is ably assisted by filters that help you zoom in on the action from specific cameras, or review clips based on the type of alert triggered or object detected.
There’s also its rich notification feature, which adds a thumbnail to the smart notifications sent to your phone. When a person is detected, you’ll see a frame captured by your camera. A quick glance and you can check whether the camera’s detected a friend or foe.
Samsung Digital Lock
The Samsung Digital Lock is the right pick (no pun intended) if you're looking for an easy step towards a smarter, and secure home. (Image credit: Samsung.com)
Have you ever gotten locked out of your house because you forgot to bring your keys? With a digital lock, you will no longer be put in that sticky situation anymore. You can get access to your home just by a passcode or with your very own fingerprints.
The Samsung Digital Lock is one of the most versatile options available in Singapore. It has all the different access types that a digital lock has. You can unlock this digital lock through five convenient methods — fingerprint, app, PIN, card or key. The fingerprint scanner can store up to 100 different fingerprints which is useful, especially if you have a large extended family. With the "sHome Doorlock" app (available for iOS and Android devices), you can choose to receive notifications about your guests’ arrival, and choose to unlock the door. With this digital lock, you get both security and convenience without compromising one or the other.
Other great features found in this thing of beauty include an intrusion alarm with a fire detection sensor, as well as an anti-theft feature that kicks off an alarm in case the lock is operated from the inside.
The smart devices on this list, big and small, connect to voice assistants or apps and make everything you do in your home so much easier. Technology just keeps getting smarter and more interesting, and as a result, even the most basic things we use on a day-to-day basis have become pretty advanced.
So start building your smart home by bagging yourself some of these devices, and get closer to living like the Jetsons!