Whether you’re on the hunt for a last-minute Christmas present, or looking for a bargain in the January sales, here is our pick of smart home tech that will keep you, your pets and your property safe, secure and entertained this winter.
Netgear Arlo Q Security Camera
While a home surveillance camera might not seem like the most exciting of gifts, this HD 1080p wireless security camera is one nifty and stylish piece of kit. It alerts you straight away if motion or sound is detected inside your property, has a built-in microphone and speaker for two-way audio, plus night vision capability. It also offers seven days of free rolling cloud storage – this means that Netgear saves your recordings on its cloud for seven days and then deletes them. You can also subscribe for more storage time if needed.
Tractive GPS Pet Tracker
If you’re looking for a gift to buy a pet owner, then this Tractive pet tracker could be just the ticket. It’s a waterproof GPS device that you attach to your dog or cat’s collar, which then links directly to your smartphone. This means you can keep track of your pet’s movements, and by setting up a virtual fence, you get an instant notification the moment your pet leaves a defined area, like a back garden.
Sonos Play 1 Home Speaker
OK, so this doesn’t have much to do with home security or smart homes, but it’s one of the most wished-for pieces of tech this Christmas, so we thought it would be rude not to highlight it. This mini speaker streams over WiFi rather than Bluetooth and offers a completely rich sound experience. You can move it from room to room, use it as a home cinema rear speaker by connecting it to your TV, or you can pair it with Amazon’s Echo or Dot.
Nuki Smart Lock
A great gift idea for security conscious parents, this smart lock can be attached to an existing door, automatically unlocking it when you arrive and locking it when you leave. Using Bluetooth, it recognises your smartphone without you even having to touch it, and lets you decide who can have individual access permissions to your front door when you’re not home. It also keeps an activity log so you can see who has been in and out of your property.
It may have been around for a while now, but sales of Amazon’s Echo range go from strength to strength. Echo connects you to Amazon’s cloud-based voice-recognition service Alexa, who you can ask to carry out a range of commands – such as checking the weather, playing your music, managing your to-do and shopping lists, and even making voice calls and sending messages to anyone who also has an Echo device or Alexa app. It can also connect to other smart home devices, like thermostats, lighting and switches. This second generation Echo speaker has improved speakers and voice recognition capabilities.
HP Sprocket Mobile Photo Printer
The rise of smartphone cameras means that very few people print out their pics for the family album anymore, but now you can with this handy mobile printer. It allows you to connect your social media accounts to the HP Sprocket app, then choose from a range of filters, frames and effects, before instantly printing your pics out in full colour. An ideal gadget for a family gathering or festive party.
Philips Hue White Wireless Bulbs Starter Kit
To create the right mood in your home, it’s all about creating the perfect lighting. This LED bulb starter kit is WiFi controllable, meaning you can control your lighting from an app on your smartphone or tablet. You can control up to 50 lights at once from the app, and even set automated programs to turn the lights on and off at times to suit you. This is ideal for coming home to a well-lit house in the winter or as burglary deterrent if you’re away over the holidays.