Last Minute Holiday Shopping Ideas for Smart Home Beginners
We've all put off holiday shopping before. There's no shame in it and these days, it's easier than ever to get things done at the last minute, anyway. While you probably don't have time to order any custom gifts, what you can do is grab some smart home tech to get your friends or family started on kitting out a more intelligent, more convenient, and ultimately cooler home.
A next-gen wireless mesh
When it comes to supporting a smart home, a good wireless network is arguably the most important foundation. Google Nest Wifi, the latest iteration of Google Wifi, provides that and more. Stylish, attractive, and powerful, Nest Wifi is easy to configure and install, and although it's pricy, you get what you pay for. As an added bonus, Nest Wifi's network extenders double as smart speakers.
No hub required
Philips Hue remains one of the most popular smart lighting brands on the market, and with the company's recent announcement that it added Bluetooth compatibility to all its bulbs, you don't even need a Hue Bridge anymore to get started. Just pick the lights up, plug them in, download the app, and you're good to go. The bulbs are also fully-compatible with Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and Apple HomeKit.
See who comes knocking
'Tis the season for stolen packages and presents. The Ring Pro might not stop package thieves outright, but it can' help you keep an eye on your porch and track down ne'erdowells. It also doubles as a doorbell and draws power from your home's wiring.
Ring for renters
For those friends who live in an apartment complex or a property where they aren't allowed to make big changes to their property, you can pick up the Ring Peephole Cam. A smart video doorbell with a minimal footprint, it can be installed in minutes and includes two-way talk and voice controls. It also features adjustable motion detection and full theft protection courtesy of Ring.
Smarter power starts here
You might not expect there to be a lot to a smart plug but in the case of Belkin, you'd be wrong. The Wemo Insight Switch is pretty much the best of its kind, with an app that's easy to use and includes energy monitoring and scheduling functionality. It's also compatible with Apple HomeKit, Google Home, and Amazon Alexa.
Assistant on display
The Nest Hub is one of our favorite products of the year, and one of the best smart displays on the market. It's compact, attractive, and is a smart speaker in addition to its other functionality. This includes acting as an alarm clock, playing YouTube videos, and controlling the rest of your connected home with its high-quality touch display.
Automation on lock
A smart lock is a great gift for your security-minded friends, and the August Smart Lock is one of the best you can get. It can automatically lock the door behind you when you leave and unlock it when you return. For multi-user homes, it also keeps track of who unlocks the door and when, allowing you to give out temporary access. Plus, with the Connect Wi-Fi bridge, the lock can be configured with voice control via Google Home or Amazon Alexa.
Hot and cold
A lower heating bill is the gift that keeps on giving. Nest's Learning Thermostat monitors your temperature preferences and automatically builds out a heating (and cooling) schedule that's personalized for your habits. It can turn off the heat when you leave the house, and kick it right back on when you get back — or stay in Eco Mode for the most efficient usage.
All-in-one for beginners
If you'd prefer to take a kitchen sink approach to your smart home focused gift giving, Samsung's got you covered with the Home Monitoring Kit. Compatible with a huge range of smart home appliances and devices, the kit includes a hub, two multipurpose sensors, a motion sensor, and a smart outlet. These components can also each be purchased individually.
'Tis the season for cool tech
Not everybody will have a need for every product on this list, but most people can enjoy at least one of them, and they all amount to a more connected home. We'd recommend starting with the Google Nest Wifi Router so there's a strong foundation for adding more smart tech.
If that's not quite your cup of tea, Philips Hue's smart lights are always an awesome choice. They add a ton of cool flair to any room they're installed in, and are great for parties, especially paired with a smart speaker or smart display like the Google Nest Hub. Finally, if your aim is to give some smart home functionality on the cheap, the Belkin Wemo Insight Light Switch is the way to go.
At the end of the day, we're sure your loved ones will enjoy whatever you buy them. If they don't, that just means more tech for you.
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