Best smart home devices not made by Amazon or Google – CNET

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Amazon and Google dominate the smart home market. Beyond Amazon’s ever-expanding product range Echo smart speakersThe tech giant also has startups for home security ring and flash – – and Brand for WiFi routers Eero. Intelligent thermostat manufacturer Ecobee receives Funding from Amazon. Google owns Nest and brought the company further under its control this year, renamed most of its related equipment from “Google Home” to “Google Nest” like that Google Nest Mini and the Google Nest Hub.

Our current list of best smart home devices has 12 products; Seven of them are devices from Amazon or Google – or devices from companies that are owned by (or financed by) Amazon or Google. It is not necessarily a bad thing. They are all solid devices and we heartily recommend them. As much as Google and Amazon (especially the latter) deserve to bring an urgently needed organization into the smart home category via their popular voice assistants, it’s easy to forget that Clever The domestic industry is bigger than these two companies.

The 8 dollar lamp from Wyze is an excellent LED with white light.

Chris Monroe / CNET

This is part of the purpose of this post – to look at the smart home in a different way and see what else is there if you remove some of the most obvious players. Still, Alexa and Google Assistant are compatible with … pretty much every smart home gadget at this point. For better or for worse, this would be an exceptionally short list if we stick to devices that are completely independent of compatibility with Google Assistant and Alexa. It would be even shorter if we skipped products that like backend support Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud.

The deeper you are in Amazon and Google’s ubiquity in our lives, the bigger questions about market consolidation and data responsibility arise. There is also the question of privacy. Amazon and Google make headlines for Misuse of user information and Collecting health data without informing people. Amazon’s home security company, Ring, was the subject of numerous CNET reports for his Partnership with over 725 law enforcement agencies in the United States.

I had to draw a line somewhere for this story, so for the purposes of this product summary Amazon, Ring, Blink, Eero, Ecobee, Google and Nest equipment are made.

Of course, the brands I list here are also not immune to data breaches. Apple, which I nominate for the best smart speaker and smart display display below, had one iPhone vulnerability This allowed hackers to collect personal information from websites. A problem with the FaceTime app from Apple made it possible to listen to a person who received a call, even if they did not answer the call.

However, this is a particularly good list if you have concerns about the privacy of Amazon and Google products.

After all of this is no longer possible, let’s look at this list of the 10 best smart home devices that weren’t made by Amazon or Google.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Apple’s smart speaker – the HomePod – hit stores in early 2018. It offers excellent sound quality and solid, albeit limited, third-party Siri voice integrations to control smart home devices. Pair two HomePods to create a stereo pair, or set up multiple HomePods throughout your home for multi-room audio.

In the two years since the HomePod was launched, Apple has lowered its price from $ 349 to $ 299 and added new features to keep it competitive.

Continue reading: The best intelligent speakers The best wireless speakers

Nevertheless, the HomePod – similar to Apple’s smart home platform, HomeKit – lags behind Amazon and Google’s ever-growing range of branded smart speakers and partnerships with other companies that offer so many integrations with a simple “Alexa” or ” Hey “enable google” command.

HomeKit and the slow growth of third-party HomePods offer a potential advantage: improved security.

Again, this doesn’t mean that Apple is immune to data breaches, but its smart home has remained relatively untouched considering Amazon and Google headlines. This makes the HomePod a decent option for someone who is a bit suspicious of smart speakers, especially when it comes to user privacy.

We also keep an eye on crowdfunded smart speakers like the Mycroft Mark II, which claims to “give you the power of voice while maintaining privacy and data independence.” Interesting.

Read our Apple HomePod review.

Ry Crist / CNET

Netgear has taken a significant price hike from the first Orbi it launched in 2016 with this new Orbi Mesh Wi-Fi system. We liked the original model, but it was a whopping $ 400. Three years later, Netgear is back with a brand new Orbi, this time for just $ 150.

For your money, you get a two-pack orbi system that is up to 3,000 square meters in size and works with voice commands from Alexa and Google Assistant. 3,000 square feet isn’t enough to provide Wi-Fi to the large CNET smart home, but Netgear offers three- and four-pack kits for $ 230 and $ 300 if you need to cover more floor.

Continue reading: The best mesh WiFi systems

At close range, the Orbi clocked the fastest top speeds during our tests and impressed us with its signal strength and overall ability to keep up with the more expensive Nest Wi-Fi and Eero systems.

The Netgear app could be redesigned, but the Orbi Mesh WiFi system offers an excellent overall value and is worth considering if you’re not ready to switch to WiFi 6 (but want a solid WiFi connection throughout the house).

Read our Netgear Orbi review.

Chris Monroe / CNET

If you’ve overlooked the low-smart plug so far, you should think again. Controlling everyday household appliances is incredibly easy with the $ 30 TP-Link Kasa Smart Plug Mini, available on Amazon for less (at the time of writing, it’s only $ 15).

Plug your smart plug into a wall outlet, then connect a table fan, lamp, or other small electronic device to enable it to turn on and off directly from your phone – or with a voice command from Alexa or Google Assistant. In addition to the reliable performance of the Kasa Smart Plug Mini, I really like that this special Smart Plug doesn’t block any other sockets – something that strangely isn’t always the case (not even with the Kasa Smart Wi-Fi plug from TP-Link with energy monitoring) .

Continue reading: The best intelligent connectors

The Kasa Smart Plug Mini can also be set to automatically control a device according to a schedule. For example, if you want your entrance lamp to come on at 6 p.m. and start at 10pm, just go to the app and plan it. As long as your Wi-Fi connection is solid, your TP-Link Kasa Smart Plug Mini will control your devices for you, so you can focus on more important things.

Read our TP-Link Kasa Smart Plug Mini Test.

Chris Monroe / CNET

The Wyze lightbulb is an inconspicuous choice for the best lightbulb. It only costs $ 8, a fraction of what Philips or Lifx ask for – and yet it got top marks in our tests. All the more impressive is the incredible value.

The intelligent light bulb from Wyze is a dimmable white light LED with a planning function and an adjustable color temperature.

Download the Wyze app, screw in the Wyze lamp, and follow the simple setup steps – and you’re only minutes away from app-controlled lighting. Wyze Bulbs also work with Alexa and Google Assistant if you want to customize them using a voice command.

Continue reading: The best intelligent light bulbs

Although the app is easy to use and the settings for dimming, scheduling and color temperature work well, I wish the app had a sunrise / sunset setting that would automatically adjust the schedule to the season. I have three Wyze lamps in covered outdoor lights and occasionally have to adjust my schedule to accommodate the changing seasons.

Nevertheless, they are excellent light bulbs at an affordable price. We highly recommend them.

Note: Wyze lamps are technically indoor lights. Therefore, follow Wyze guidelines when installing them yourself.

Read our Wyze Bulb Test.

Chris Monroe / CNET

The Honeywell Home T9 for $ 200 is a good-looking intelligent thermostat at a reasonable price – mostly because it has a remote sensor that detects temperature, humidity, and motion. The remote control sensor, called the “Smart Room Sensor”, is powered by two AAA batteries and is said to have a range of 200 feet. Additional sensors cost $ 40 each (steep, I know) and you can add up to 20.

If you’re not interested in buying the T9 with a smart room sensor, the thermostat alone will cost $ 170.

Continue reading: The best intelligent thermostats

The Honeywell Home T9 Smart Thermostat is easy to install and the app provides simple step-by-step instructions to connect it to your Wi-Fi and pair it with the app. As always, contact an electrician if you have any questions about how this thermostat works with your particular home setup.

If you want to branch off from the app, the T9 thermostat also works with voice commands from Alexa and Google Assistant.

Read our Honeywell Home T9 Smart Thermostat review.

Chris Monroe / CNET

First, let’s get the annoying stuff out of the way. At $ 500 for a package with two cameras, the Arlo Pro 3 is expensive (currently reduced to $ 450 in the Arlo online shop). This $ 500 kit also includes a required hub that you need to connect to your router. Arlo claims that the hub helps expand the Wi-Fi range of its Pro 3 cameras and improve the battery life of each camera’s rechargeable battery, but is different from any other non-hub Wi-Fi surveillance camera , feels superfluous.

Continue reading: The best home security cameras

Still, the Arlo Pro 3 is my favorite home camera. It’s weatherproof and can be used anywhere as long as your Wi-Fi network reaches it. It has easy-to-remove rechargeable batteries that can last for months on a single charge (battery life depends on usage). And the camera itself has a built-in headlight and siren to scare potential intruders.

With an Arlo Smart subscription starting at $ 3 a month, you get custom motion notifications that indicate whether a person, a car, an animal, or a package is displayed. You also get 30 days of access to recorded motion clips. Arlo cameras are compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant.

Read our Arlo Pro 3 review.

Chris Monroe / CNET

Simplisafe closes the gap between professional security systems like Vivint or ADT and independent home security devices like the Arlo Pro 3 camera. It is a complete, scalable home security system that you install yourself. The $ 229 “Foundation” security kit includes basics like a hub, keyboard, door / window sensor, and motion sensor. Add additional sensors and other devices as needed.

Continue reading: The best home security systems

For $ 25 a month, you can get professional security monitoring from a remote call center and access to the Simplisafe app, which you can also check yourself. Unlike professional security companies, Simplisafe has no early termination fee – or you are otherwise bound by a contract. If you choose to cancel or move, you can either move your system to your new home or cancel it at no additional cost.

The Simplisafe security system has also recently been redesigned, making it much easier on the eyes than the last version. Overall, it is an ideal system for someone who longs for the options of an ADT without a contract.

Read our SimpliSafe Home Security test.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Unlike the expensive (but fantastic) Arlo Pro 3, the Arlo video doorbell is priced at $ 150 for an intelligent doorbell. The Arlo Video Doorbell offers all the basics, including HD live streaming, motion alarms, night vision and two-way audio. It also has a wide 180-degree field of view in an aspect ratio of 1: 1 (which means that it is easier to see parcels on the porch than a conventional landscape view).

Continue reading: The best video doorbells

When the doorbell detects motion or someone rings, a motion alarm is sent to your phone so you can see who is there – and speak to them. The doorbell also contains recorded messages if you don’t want to speak to them directly.

This hardwired doorbell has a built-in siren like the Arlo Pro 3 camera and offers the same optional Arlo Smart Cloud subscription starting at $ 3 a month. With Arlo Smart you save 30 days Custom Video clips that indicate whether the movement is a person, a car, an animal, or a package that is being delivered.

Read our Arlo video doorbell test.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

The $ 229 August Smart Lock Pro is a Bluetooth enabled Smart Lock. It comes with a plug-in connect Wi-Fi module that allows you to also control your lock out of the Bluetooth range using the August app. Like other August locks, owned by the same company as Yale, this model retrofits most existing bolts and is easy to install.

Continue reading: The best intelligent locks

In addition to the lock and the Connect module, the Smart Lock Pro kit contains a door sensor and an associated function called “Door Sense”. With this function you can confirm directly from your phone whether your door is open or closed, locked or unlocked. The app is easy to use, from the step-by-step instructions for installing your lock, checking whether your door is open or closed, and adjusting the function of your lock in the settings menu. The August Smart Lock Pro supports the voice commands Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri.

Read our August Smart Lock Pro test.

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