2020 was remarkable for good reasons and bad. It gave many of us time to reflect on various aspects of our lives and gave us time to bring the changes we had been avoiding for way longer than necessary. Since 2020 also involved staying at home and connecting more with our immediate surroundings, it’s no surprise some required changes and additions to our homes became glaringly evident. If you, too, realized that maybe you need a smarter home system, welcome to the list. As the year progresses, so does the technology, and thanks to modern innovation and the marvels of engineering, there are more unique options than ever before. Gone are the days when your home system was limited to asking Alexa to play the best summer hits of 2017. Now, it’s almost straight out of a science fiction novel, and you’ll be amazed by how all-encompassing the new devices are. Whether it’s turning off the lights in a different room or vacuuming the floors, the range has grown wider. Home devices are now primarily about your convenience and making your life less stressful with minor tasks. Whether it’s about contacting a friend or re-checking your security. The technology is fun, but it’s also immensely helpful.
In case you aren’t certain about the difference between smart devices and smart systems, here’s a short explanation. Alexa or Google Assistant are popular smart systems. That is, they’re the command center you speak to. On the other hand, Amazon Echo is an individual smart device, which reports to the system you just spoke to. You’re wise if you’ve decided to get a smart home system and wiser if you’re reading reviews before making the decision. Being updated on technology is not just about trends. It’s about knowing if you’re paying for something worthy of your money. It’s also about making your life easier so you can focus on other vital issues. Here are the amazing smart home systems and devices of 2020.
The list had to start with Alexa. It’s also probably the first name that popped in your head. Alexa has more than 20,000 third-party integrations, making it one of the best among today’s market’s comprehensive home ecosystems. A perk of being updated on modern technology is that you’ll frequently have the opportunity to be amazed at how things have evolved. Alexa is no longer limited to telling you whether it’s cloudy today. There is a wide range of smart products Alexa has been built into, like TVs and thermostats. With Alexa, you have unprecedented ease when it comes to access.
You get to control different aspects of your home like never before, with doing next to nothing. Alexa will turn off the light for you, will play the new Dua Lipa hit, and will assist you with most of the products in your house. Thanks to its gigantic name and popularity in the industry, you can use Alexa for integrating with other products. For example, Samsung, Philips, and Nest. It’s undoubtedly one of the best choices out there, and its wide-ranging functions and integrations are incredible. From locking doors to set the temperature just right, Alexa is the perfect one to go.
This was the most likely option after Alexa. Google Assistant is well-deserving of this position. Quite interestingly, depending on your priorities and tastes, the two may even compete for the same spot. While Alexa has more third-party integrations than Google assistant, the latter can achieve specific tasks Alexa cannot. Undoubtedly, the credit majorly goes to the enormous search engine space ownership Google has. In terms of the accuracy of answers, Google Assistant performs better than Alexa. Another arena where Assistant outperforms Alexa is in understanding how people speak. It gets their natural speech better than Alexa does.
You may even feel that Google Assistant ‘gets you’ –whether it’s skipping to another song or another less literal command. Alexa, on the other hand, can be less helpful when it comes to such subtle commands. You always have to be explicitly clear and literal with Alexa, something you don’t need to do with Google Assistant. As for the integrations, as mentioned previously, Google Assistant falls short compared to Alexa in this field –but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t integrate with major products and brands you’ll need. Nest, Philips, Belkin –Assistant integrates with all of these, and even with the apps, you’re most likely to use, like Uber and Spotify.
The next smart system on the list is the Samsung SmartThings Hub. There has been a significant interest in this system among users over recent times. It’s favored for uniting a wide variety of smart devices from different brands. From thermostats to Wi-Fi routers and from security devices to light bulbs – the Samsung SmartThings Hub joins different aspects of your home, offering you the ease and convenience of managing things. With the smart system, you also get a SmartThings Hub wall mount. Through this, you have the opportunity to complete access to all the smart devices that have been connected to it through the SmartThings IOS and android app.
There’s also an option of integrating with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, but you can also directly give commands to the SmartThings wall hub or app. Through the Hub, actions like turning the compatible devices on or off become amazingly convenient. Recent additions to the Hub’s line include the SmartThing Wi-Fi plug, the SmartThings Cam, and the SmartThings Lightbulb. With the Samsung SmartThings Hub and its expanding list, you can do various tasks without stressing about doing them yourselves. This will save you a significant amount of time, and organizing your life will become more fun and interesting.
Coordinating a smart home with all the smart products may be challenging without a smart home system. Wink, the first smart home hub ‘designed for the mainstream consumer’ –as it is known –is an excellent addition to this list. What sets apart Wink from other more popular smart home systems like Alexa and Assistant is the opportunity and freedom you get to select products from various brands and see them all merge flawlessly with the Wink. The Wink Hub 2 has been well received by the mainstream consumer thanks to the way it supports smart home protocols like Kiddie, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and ClearConnect, among various others. It’s stylish and blends well into the aesthetic of your house without standing out.
For a fully integrated smart home, the Wink Hub 2 is an excellent option, and you’ll love the way the appliances sync. After downloading the Wink Hub app, you can effortlessly control commands. It will assist you perfectly in various things, from your phone calls to light switches to shutting the garage door and doing stuff in the kitchen. The app itself is straightforward, and you’ll notice and appreciate the sheer simplicity offered by this system. It’s a strongly recommended choice, but you’ll need to check the device support and make your decision.
These were the best options for the smart home systems of 2020, with their unique technology and the convenience they offer to make your life better. But since 2020 has made us come closer to more precise evaluations of what changes we need in our smart homes, this list shall also explore some of the best smart home devices for the year.
Google Nest Mini
This new speaker from Google is an improvement on the older Google Home Mini, and it’s quickly taking a top spot as the best speaker. With exceptionally superior audio quality, the smart speaker transforms the experience into an unbelievably fantastic time. The tiny speaker has been embedded with a machine learning chip, and through it, the Nest Mini has a way of learning the most frequent command you give it. That means it’ll soon start processing the order locally instead of using Google’s servers. The cool part is the new detection method, which aims to determine your proximity to let you make sense of the volume controls.
Amazon Echo (2nd Generation)
Talk about affordability and ease of going together. Amazon Echo fills in both the shoes perfectly. It is offered at a low price and caters to all that you require. Are you in the mood of listening to some music that reminds you of high school? Taken care of the speaker connects to Alexa for this and more. From melodious tunes to making phone calls and messaging, from answering your questions to set alarms for you, the Amazon Echo is a great device to have in your house. It uses noise cancellation technology and connects to other smart products, and you get to do so much without moving from your couch, peacefully binge-watching your favorite series.
The title of the best smart thermostat goes to Ecobee4 for its uniqueness. With voice commands, you get to control the air temperature, thanks to Ecobee4. To top it all, this thermostat works as an Amazon speaker for itself. Most other smart thermostats would work with an Amazon speaker. That means it’s an incredible addition since this puts it at a similar footing to the other top-notch parts of a smart home like Alexa and Assistant. A thermostat that plays music and also controls other devices? Smooth. As far as integration with the rest of the apps and home ecosystems is considered, Ecobee4 does it impeccably.
The next device to make it to the list is the Arlo Pro 3. It does a fantastic job as a smart home camera. The price, however, is not anywhere near pocket-friendly. However, this is not unreasonable, since its performance more than compensates for it. It’s an investment into a versatile set-up, one of the best that the market offers today. It’s battery-powered, and the design is weatherproof, making it suitable for wherever you want. It has an easy-to-install magnetic base, and the positioning of the camera has unbelievable flexibility. The video also has a far higher resolution, and there is a siren built into the camera.
Though not exhaustive, the list ends with perhaps the dream-come-true savior for any struggling baker. With limited ingredients and no idea about what to bake, this smart device comes to your rescue by generating recipes perfect for your situation. Just input the food you have, and get the magic recipe. There’s also the option of auto-scaling the recipe according to the number of ingredients available. The smart bowl is no less than a blessing either, measuring your ingredients and telling you it’s OK to stop pouring in the chocolate chips. The coolest part is that you can also use this smart device for generating shopping lists from the recipes of your choice. Ah, the true wonders of technology shall never cease surprising the average smart homeowner. With this information at your fingertips, you can go ahead and add more charms to your house!