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Digital Subscriptions > Stuff > March 2019 > POWER TO THE PEEPHOLE

POWER TO THE PEEPHOLE

The smart home is finally going from gimmicky to great in 2019, with genuinely ingenious and useful gadgets galore. You won’t find any Wi-Fi kettles, connected forks or Bluetooth plant pots here, only serious integrated kit that could make everyone’s home life better…

GATEWAY DRUGS

AMAZON ALEXA

The undisputed queen of the smart home, Alexa shows no sign of relinquishing her throne. Turn over for ways Alexaenabled devices could make your world run more smoothly.

GOOGLE ASSISTANT

So much more than a voice assistant for your phone, Google Assistant powers many of the latest devices. Its smart display and Wi-Fi mesh network are the connected cherry on top.

APPLE HOMEKIT

Apple keeps things simple by making your smart home work without you having to open countless apps, and keeps it safer with greater encryption. But the tech roster is still pretty small.

SHOW AND TELL

Smart displays make it easy to check the weather, turn off the heating and watch Netflix, all while you wash up

ECOSYSTEM AMAZON ALEXA

Alexa products don’t need to be Amazon-branded. Some have Alexa built in, so she’ll do all your bidding including controlling devices. Others carry a ‘Works with Amazon Alexa’ badge, merely meaning they can be controlled by voice. She can be built into everything – you don’t necessarily need a smart speaker. It’s easy to add new devices on your Wi-Fi network.

BEST FOR… The greatest depth of ‘Skills’ for controlling the products in your smart home

CLEAN SLATE

You can give this KitchenAid a rinse under the tap if it gets really gunked, but no, it’s not dishwasher-safe.

KITCHENAID SMART DISPLAY

With the launch of this 10in Google Assistant smart display, KitchenAid is hoping to take on the likes of the Lenovo Smart Display – with added features for the kitchen. This voice-controlled, call-making, YouTubewatching, hub-controlling screen is IPX5-rated so you don’t have to be precious about prodding it with sticky fingers. And it comes with Yummly, the Whirlpool-owned cooking assistant app (Whirlpool is KitchenAid’s parent company). It’s US-only for now, but we hope it arrives here soon. $250 (approx) / kitchenaid.co.uk

ECOSYSTEM GOOGLE ASSISTANT

Google Assistant works like Alexa in that devices don’t have to be Google-branded, and they’re split between those with Assistant built in and those simply controlled by it. It’s the default AI butler on Android phones, so already in plenty of pockets, and it’s on plenty of other devices. Assistant sits in the Google Home app for smart home controls and general information requests.

BEST FOR… Anyone using an Android phone or tablet, or operating within Google’s vast ecosphere.

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