5 hidden connected devices that don't shout "smart home" – CNET

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Dale Smith / CNET

Some smart home products are said to be conspicuous. You should stare at them 70-inch televisions Roku or the Second generation Echo Show10.5-inch HD display. A veranda pirate could catch a glimpse of you Arlo video doorbell and run away. These parts of the smart home are best suited for a direct view, while others fit better in the background.

WeMo recently showed an even smaller version of the Wemo Wifi Smart Plug and just announced August An intelligent lock that is 45% smaller than its other models. The best examples so far are in the Smart Outlet category. I recently tried out some smart-in-wall sockets and hope that other smart home categories will pick up on the trend.

Chris Monroe / CNET

The Kasa range of smart home products from TP-Link offers numerous options for intelligent power supply, including our preferred smart plug and an intelligent power strip. The latest addition is a wall outlet. If you want to do without bulky (and obvious) smart plugs, you can replace them with the option for the flush-mounted socket from Kasa Smart Wi-Fi.

At a price of $ 30 (around £ 25 or AUD 45), it's affordable and works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa for routines, app controls, and voice commands. It is no more expensive than buying two smart plugs and is definitely more aesthetic. You will not get HomeKit compatibility with this or any other TP-Link Kasa product. So if you're looking for Siri Smarts, you should check out other options like the ConnectSense outlet below.

It doesn't take too long to install the outlet and you don't have to be an electrician. Of course, you should turn off the power and check the outlet with a voltmeter before touching it. Instructions in the Kasa app explain the wiring. Before buying, however, you should know that neutral wiring is required. Check your home wiring (especially if it's older) just to be sure.

Once you've wired everything up, connect to your home's 2.4 GHz network and name each controllable jack. From there, you can connect to Google or Alexa to turn the sockets on or off with your voice, or to include them in a routine.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

If you want a power outlet but need HomeKit compatibility, the ConnectSense Smart In-Wall Outlet does the job. This ConnectSense outlet works with Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa for voice commands.

At $ 80, it is significantly more expensive than the Kasa model. You get energy monitoring with this model, but that's not enough for me to pay $ 80 if you're not interested in HomeKit compatibility.

Like the Kasa socket, each socket can be controlled individually. A ConnectSense app and installation instructions will guide you through the setup and setup of the outlet. There are versions with 20 amps and 15 amps that are tailored to the electrical situation of your home. The ConnectSense model does not offer a random mode like the Kasa branches, but scenes and schedules.

Chris Monroe / CNET

Like the ConnectSense outlet, this $ 90 wall outlet from iDevices works with all three major voice assistants. You can use your voice to switch the devices connected to each socket on and off. You can switch each of the two outputs on and off individually or plan them in the iDevices app.

In addition to voice commands and scheduling, the iDevices app also monitors the energy consumption of each socket so that you can keep an eye on the power consumption of every connected device. It is similar to the ConnectSense product. So much so that I can only see whether you already have iDevices or ConnectSense products in your home or not. If you do, I would stick to your current brand to keep your third-party apps to a minimum.

The undercover smart home

Smart outlets are the only devices that are intelligent without being noticeable. We saw them at CES this year Level lock, an intelligent lock for HomeKit houses, which is in your existing bolt and integrates without advertising that you have installed technology in your front door.

There are other products that approach invisibility. These inconspicuous products bring the smart home to a smoother future. I would like to see that it extends to other smart home categories.

Level lock

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Level Lock fits into your existing bar. There's not much to look at and that's the whole point. The Level Lock is hidden in your door and only replaces the internal components of your existing lock. It is powered by a small battery house in the lock of the castle.

Level Lock currently only works with HomeKit, but I'm still a fan. If you're in the HomeKit camp, this smart lock is a great option if you don't want to advertise how much technology is in your home by You attach a fancy keypad with an intelligent lock to the front door. The level lock is still in the pre-order phase for $ 199, but will increase to $ 249 when it hits stores later this year.

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Mui display

Mui Lab

The $ 1,000 Mui display offers an unusual approach to digitally displaying information. The wooden plate contains LEDs and works by touch. While it is active, LEDs light up under the wooden surface. If Mui is not used, all technical and digital information will disappear.

While not nearly as practical as a smart outlet (and not yet technically available), the Mui is an impressive example of what is possible when a company focuses on integrating the smart home into the design and interior.

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While the high-tech home's striking appeal certainly appeals to some (I enjoy the touchscreen keyboard on my front door), there is a case for a home that feels chic but looks traditional. These examples prove that it is possible to deliver smarts without filling our homes with touch screens.

I doubt we'll see Mui-like integrations of smart displays soon. However, GE & # 39; s Kitchen Hub is a good example of a screen that can turn off and disappear in the design of the device (a microwave door) because it is built into a device. I can also imagine a day when the apartments are equipped with integrated surround speakers that are equipped with a voice assistant. Until then, we will continue to rotate the latest intelligent speakers and displays on our worktops.