posted in Products
Here it is, that time of year when everyone is putting new things on their Amazon wish lists so early-gift-buying relatives don’t waste their money on something you won’t like or won’t need. If making your home function more smoothly and easily is something you’re planning for this year, these 7 cool futuristic devices can help.
1. Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation
You’ve been considering one of these for years, right? Maybe now’s the time. After about a week, the Nest learns your schedule and turns down air conditioning or heat when you’re not at home to save you money. This version has a brighter display and a technology called Farsight — if the thermostat sees you walking towards it, it lights up to display the time or temperature. If you have Alexa, the Nest’s functionality is even cooler: “Alexa: turn the temperature up two degrees!”
2. Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart Lighting Dimmer Switch
Seize control of your lights — you’re no longer a slave to the little plastic flicky thing on the wall, and you don’t have to go into a dark and creepy house with a bunch of scared kids, either. The Caseta Wireless kit comes with everything you need to control your lights with your smart phone, with Lutron’s Pico remote (which comes with the Caseta), or by voice — you can use Alexa or Siri to dim the lights for your just-about-to-fall-asleep toddler, or turn the lights off at bedtime to let your dawdling tween know it’s really, truly time to go to sleep.
3. iRobot Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum
Oh, you don’t think you need a robot vacuum. That’s because you’ve never left the house and returned to find your floors swept squeaky-clean. Let me paint a picture for you: Your inquisitive toddler breaks into the rice. You hear the telltale shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh sound of a million pieces of rice going everywhere from the other room. As you carry your now-sobbing toddler off for the nap she so richly deserves, you bark to Alexa or Google assistant to start up the Roomba. When you return, your floors are tidy once more. You can also program the Roomba to make its rounds whenever you like (every other day?) to keep dust or pet hair under control.
4. Hestan Cue Smart Cooking System
We live in the future, my friends! This astonishing system is like a culinary class in a box. It comes with a smart induction burner (that you plug in) and a pan; you download the app, and your phone guides you through recipes, as the burner turns itself up and down automatically while you’re cooking (no need to keep an eye on it!) and cooking times count down. You’ll be turning out restaurant-quality dishes in no time.
5. ChefSteps Joule Sous Vide
If you haven’t tried sous vide (pronounced sue veed) cooking yet, you’re in for some cheffy fun. This gadget, which is roughly the size of an immersion blender, goes inside pots and heats water up to whatever temperature you specify. Your food, cooked in vaccuum-packed plastic in the water, will cook to the perfect temperature hands-off — no need to poke it with a probe, or carefully time the cooking, or even do much of anything besides turning the Joule on. You do that by using an app on your phone — or, even better, with Alexa, which allows you to hands-free command the Joule to do stuff like “Cook the steak like last time” or “Alert me when the chicken is done.”
6. Ring Video Doorbell 2
Ding dong, someone’s at the door. And you’re pinned under a baby. Is it worth potentially waking the baby up to see who’s there? Wouldn’t it be nice to reach out for that phone at your elbow, find out who it is, talk to them (“Do you have my package?”), and let them in, right from where you are? Oh, you’re not home? And one of your kids forgot their keys? And they’re locked out on the doorstep? Button press, button press, button press. Now they’re not.
Buy it: $199
7. Ooma Telo Free Home Phone Service
Ready to break your landline? Connect the Ooma Telo to your high-speed Internet and activate online. BOOM. You’re making static-free phone calls for free, and the only bill you’ll get from the phone company is a teeny tiny one for the taxes and fees required by law. You’ll be able to make local calls, nationwide calls, international calls (for low additional rates) call 911, and use voicemail, call waiting, and caller ID. Even cooler, if you’re an Amazon Echo user, you can use Alexa to yell out a contact name or number to dial hands-free.
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