The smart home market is still open. Unlike PCs or phones, which are mostly dominated by a few well-known names, smart home gadgets can come from anywhere and from any brand. As long as they perform functions that are not available to the big names, people continue to come to them.
You can stick to common options like Philips Hue lights or a Nest thermostat, and there's nothing wrong with that. The fun of building a smart home, however, is that after choosing an ecosystem (like Alexa, Google or Apple's HomeKit), you can combine a plethora of products. At CES 2019, diversity will only be expanded. Let's take a look at some of our favorites and why they stand out from the competition.
Other helpful doorbells
Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell
The French company Netatmo has introduced a smart video doorbell with two very useful features to set it a part. It's the first video doorbell that's compatible with Apple HomeKit, and it uses a microSD card to store videos so no subscription needs to be paid when saving and recording video.
Kasa Smart Video Doorbell
TP-Link has made a doorbell from Kasa that has a 2K HDR camera. This is a step above most doorbell cameras, which usually rise to 1080p. It uses facial recognition to distinguish the family from strangers. Unfortunately, it is a wired doorbell, so setting it up may be a bit more complicated. It is expected to ship sometime this year, and prices are not yet known.
Ring Door View Cam
This doorbell goes over the crack in your door, which was rare on smart doorbells. It opens Ring's product range for even more homeowners and tenants. The camera can also detect banging on the door and send you a notification. It costs the same as the previous flagship ring doorbells $ 199 and will be shipped sometime this year.
Maximus DualCam Video Doorbell
Maximus made one of the first dual camera doorbells. It shows a top and bottom view of visitors allegedly covering a blind spot that other doorbells might have. It also works with Google Assistant and Alexa because "customers want it," said Mark Honeycutt, CEO of Jiawei Technology, who makes the doorbell ring. It should be available later this year for around $ 179.
The most colorful intelligent light
Nanoleaf Hexagon Lights
These Nanoleaf hexagon lights change their colors (up to 16.7 million colors) and have different modes that react to or touch sound. Would I fill my bedroom with it? Probably not, but they look good on the wall behind a RGB gaming PC. Nanoleaf informed me that the pricing is still being worked on. However, we can assume that it resembles the company's canvas lights (15 tiles for about $ 400). They should be available by the end of this year and work with HomeKit.
The Smartest Lock with the Most Features
Lockly Secure Pro
The Lockly Secure Pro lock has five different types of unlocking options: fingerprint scanner, voice assistant, app, a physical button and a keypad. The big advantage is the keyboard, which can hide your passcode by pressing several numbers at the same time. (It's almost like T9 texting, where "5" stands for J, K and L). It is set up so that even if someone is next to you, your password probably can not be guessed. The lock supports Google Assistant and Alexa. It costs $ 299.99 and should be delivered in the next two months.
Beat Encode Wi-Fi Smart Lock
The Encode strike is notable because it is one of the only locks that are only suitable for Wi-Fi, the option not to rely on a smart home app. It supports Amazon Key. So if you use this lock for your front door, you can let couriers in via the key app. It is now available for pre-orders from Amazon for $ 249.99 and should be shipped in March.
Some of the coolest things that came to smart homes this year simply did not fit into a category or were the only ones in their category. Significantly, people who have chosen product names for these devices often call them "hubs" or another ambiguous term.
Whirlpool Connected Hub Wall Oven
Whirlpool has developed an intelligent oven concept that uses augmented reality to show you how to place your food while it bakes. Called the Whirlpool Connected Hub Wall Oven, it features a transparent 27-inch display that lets you recall recipes. Unfortunately, the screen could use improvements in terms of color and resolution. The oven is just a concept for now, so there are likely to be many more iterations before it goes on the market – if at all.
GE Kitchen Hub
GE put a 27-inch tablet over the oven and it actually sort of works. It can stream Netflix and Spotify and works with Google Assistant. You will probably survive your culinary art, but we have not tested GE's claims.
Amazon Key for Garage
First, Amazon wanted to give you permission for your drivers to unlock your front door via Amazon Key to make deliveries. It's now being extended to Key for Garage, which could be a way to get in packages, with less privacy. So far, Key for Garage is starting in big cities, which is a curious choice given that many city dwellers live in dwellings without garages.
Lenovo Smart Clock
The smart watch from Lenovo is the first to work with Google Assistant, so it seems like a competitor to the Amazon Echo Spot. Unlike Spot, it looks like a regular alarm clock, so it has just the thing. It also has no webcam. It will be shipped this spring and costs $ 79.99.
Kohler's Numi 2.0 Intelligent Toilet
Forget the foldable phones and the 8K TVs. This is probably the clear winner of the year at CES. Fun aside, this smart toilet is Alexa-capable and should open easily from a distance. On the side is a constantly changing smoky ombre light, so you can set the mood, while surround sound speakers play bird sounds to feel in the midst of nature while accepting the call of nature. Good reminder, that smart home products can really come from everywhere, with old and new companies, big and small, technical and not so technical people jostling around a table at the table. This sense of healthy competition, especially from old home businesses that have been experimenting with new ideas for a century, means the smart home space is constantly evolving. Many of these new products are not yet available and have shipping dates later in the year. But when and when they arrive, they offer much more variety for our home.
Photograph by Shannon Liao / The Verge