If you've been waiting to upgrade your home with the latest gear, this weekend might be the time to do so. From robot vacuums to Instant Pots, there are a number of great sales for connected appliances and kitchen gadgets for Memorial Day this year. As you can imagine, there are quite a lot of them, so we've collected some of the best ones below. Anker's Eufy RoboVac 11S is one of our favorite budget robot vacuums thanks to its slim profile, smart features and affordable price. It doesn't have WiFi, but it does have a remote control.
One of the best places to start when building a smart home ecosystem is smart lights. Not only are they relatively affordable compared to other IoT gadgets, often costing between $10 and $50 a bulb, but they can also completely change the feel of your home. You can go from boring and analogue to colorful and automated within minutes, and there are endless possibilities when it comes to creating funky-colored light scenes, setting schedules and more. But like the rest of the smart home space over the last few years, there are now more players in smart lighting than ever before. We tested out some of the most popular smart lights on the market and found that most of them are quite good, but there are differences in compatibility, color quality and mobile app usability that are worth considering before deciding which system will be right for your home.
Google announced on Wednesday at its I/O 2022 convention that it plans to finally launch Matter, its new but delayed smart home industry standard later this year, and has explained how it will work in home ecosystems. Matter, developed in collaboration with Apple, Amazon, and the Zigbee Alliance among others, will let users connect all enabled devices to Google Home and control them both locally and remotely with the Google Home app, including smart home controls on Androids and Google Assistant. Matter controllers will include the original Google Home speaker, Google Mini, Nest Mini, Nest Hub, Nest Hub Max, Nest Audio and Nest Wifi. Devices will connect using Fast Pair and will feature multiple compatible voice control systems and networking protocols, including Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri, as well as Thread. While the Fast Pair feature has previously been used for headphones and audio gear, Google announced that it will soon be able to sync lightbulbs and smart plugs with Android and Nest devices. "With Matter, there's no need to build multiple versions of a smart home device to work across different ecosystems.
Google plans to finally launch its new smart home industry standard called Matter this fall. Devices will all connect quickly and easily using Fast Pair and the platform will support a variety of voice assistants and networking protocols. Those include Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri as well as WiFi, Thread and Bluetooth LE. While Fast Pair feature has been used for headphones and audio gear, the company is working to use it for more things, including syncing lightbulbs and smart plugs with Android and Nest devices. You'll be able to scan a code with your phone to get things rolling, which should be quicker and easier than the current method for adding new gear to your arsenal.
The smart home ecosystem is getting a little more integrated: Google just updated its Amazon Alexa Skill to work on its latest Nest cameras. So if you already own a variety of Nest and Alexa devices, they'll work together more seamlessly moving forward. Now, you can stream live feeds from your Nest cameras, doorbells and other devices to anything from your Amazon Fire TV to any Echo device. Amazon made a similar gesture to open up its own smart home ecosystem last month, when it announced that its doorbells and security cameras would work with Google Nest, Ring, Abode and other third-party devices. Amazon's Ring doorbell already works with Google Home and Apple Homekit.
You know what Alexa does. She turns on your lights. She answers your math questions. She's your canister of helpfulness wherever your voice can be heard in your house. She does everything you need, that you should be able to do yourself. And, as long as she doesn't wake up one morning, decide to take over the world, and murder us in our beds, she'll be a friend to us all. But Alexa is more than the Echo, that black Pringles Can of Doom we met back in November 2014. Since the Echo was introduced, Amazon has been fielding a plethora of Alexas, a veritable Alexapalooza of devices. Since Alexa answers "Sorry, I don't know that one," to "Alexa, which Alexa should I buy," we figured we'd help out.
In recent years, homeowners have adopted smart home technologies to improve their quality of life. Connected devices and appliances perform actions, tasks, and automated routines based on a homeowner's preferences. Smart technologies enable homeowners to save time, money, and energy. Major tech companies such as Apple, Google, and Amazon have driven the adoption of smart home technologies. From digital voice assistants to intelligent thermostats and everything in between, smart homes are the homes of the future.
If you missed the sale last month on the Nest Thermostat, you have another chance to grab the smart home gadget for even less now. Amazon has the snow colored WiFi thermostat for $93, or 29 percent off its normal price. This isn't an all-time low -- the device briefly dropped to $80 during Black Friday weekend last year -- but this is the best price we've seen since then. Google debuted the Nest Thermostat in 2020 as an affordable alternative to the Nest Learning Thermostat. You'll notice a big difference in the design of the two gadgets: the Nest Thermostat is slimmer than its Learning counterpart and has a mirrored display, along with a touch-sensitive bezel that you can use to manually adjust temperature settings.
Chances are, if you're reading this article, you have at least one smart home device in your household. After all, according to several studies on the topic, nearly half of U.S. households currently have at least one. From smart speakers and connected thermostats to light bulbs and video cameras, these gadgets have quickly moved from cutting edge to mainstream. If you have multiple smart devices in your home, you've likely discovered what's keeping much of the remaining half of U.S. households from buying their first one. It's hard to make them work together.
Let's face it: It's never easy to wake up in the morning. Whether you sleep through your alarm, snooze it an embarrassing number of times, or throw it across the room in agony, you might not always have a great relationship with your morning alarm. While most people nowadays use their smartphones for an alarm, an actual, physical alarm clock (with high-tech specs, of course) can help you fall asleep, stay asleep, and gradually wake you up, so you feel well-rested in the morning. We've rounded up the best alarm clocks on the market today with features like morning meditations, gentle lights that wake you up, voice assistant compatibilities, and much more. The Hatch Restore is a sound machine, sunrise alarm, smart light, meditation app, and alarm clock, all in one device.