At Allconnect, we work to present quality information with editorial integrity. While this post may contain offers from our partners, our opinions are our own. Here’s how we make money.
A smart home device is supposed to make our lives easier, right? When fully researched and understood, it can offer single-use perks — automated light switches, thermostats or doorbells — and even holistic household management. Overall, they’re meant to increase our efficiencies and enhance our quality of life.
But just like with any new gadget, understanding is key. Will the new device sync well with other gadgets you already have? Does it match the current aesthetics in your place? Are there any privacy concerns? Doing the research before you buy can save you headaches down the line. So before you hop on that next sale, here are a few things you need to know.
Compatibility is key
When considering a new smart home device, you want to make sure it plays well with others you already have. So, there are a couple of things to think about. A single-use device, such as a thermostat, is different from a full ecosystem hub, which is one place to help you control many different devices.
Google Home, for example, is a speaker. Inside, Google Assistant is the voice that, when prompted, honors requests like playing music, researching virtually anything, checking the weather, finding out sports scores and controlling your other smart home gadgets. Compatible brands for light switches, dishwashers, cameras, clocks and other items include Nest, Phillips, Netgear, GE and Lenovo, among others.
Alexa, which started in the Echo speaker, is popping up in a growing list of smart home devices now, too. For Apple loyalists, recent iPhones or iPads provide access to HomeKit and can control gadgets using Siri or the Apple Home app.
Dozens of global brands offer Siri compatibility, but you always want to check before you buy.
Design compatibility matters, too
Sure, when it comes to technology, it’s what’s inside that counts. But the exterior — color, aesthetic, finish — is another important factor to consider when buying a new smart home device. Are your other devices all white? If so, you might want to stay within the same main color scheme. Consider the finishes and colors you already use in your home and go with the looks that fit best.
And since we’re on the topic of aesthetics, let’s talk about cords. Long cords running across the countertop or dangling down a wall will ruin the appeal of any gadget, no matter how fancy. Google Home, for one, operates wirelessly through a network, but like any smartphone, it needs juice to keep working. Battery bases help solve this problem by charging the device, making it easily portable from room to room.
For peskier wire configurations, bundle them with cable management kits and sleeves to help streamline your space.
Consider your privacy
While Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant, among others, offer high potential for improving efficiencies in the household, they also could expose you to privacy risks. Think about it: These devices are programmed to be on alert, listening continually for a voice command. They then convey that information to a third party.
From functionality to privacy, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to buying a new smart home device. Do your research beforehand and you’ll set yourself up for a more efficient, well-integrated home.
- Featured5G is on the rise: Is this the tech that will change everything? Lisa Iscrupe — 6 min read
- Featured30% of Americans say their internet is too slow. Here’s how to fix it Joe Supan — 4 min read
- Featured10 of the best apps you need to download now for your smart TV or streaming device Joe Supan — 5 min read
Thursday, September 24, 2020Retro Tech Week: In the age of streaming, video stores offer an algorithm-free alternative
Joe Supan — 3 min read
Wednesday, September 23, 2020Retro Tech Week: Who still uses DVDs? Two million Netflix customers
Joe Supan — 4 min read
Tuesday, September 22, 2020Retro Tech Week: Americans feel nostalgic for old tech, but it may not be for the reasons you think
Ari Howard — 3 min read