With the holidays quick approaching, we’ve seen yet another year of innovative and creative gadgets come our way. I’m a not so closeted gadget fanatic. I’ve got my fair share of everything laying around the house, from home automation devices, to even things like automatic can openers and choppers in the kitchen. My wife usually finds something obscure that I’ll appreciate every year too, and I look forward to what she finds this year.
She won’t have to groan when I ask for an iPhone 6 this year. I ended up picking one of those up back in September when it came out and have been taking full advantage of the enhancements I couldn’t get with my 4S.
For you, here are a few of those gadgets your household guru might appreciate this holiday season.
Making your home “Smarter”
If you had the chance to read my Smart Home 101, one of the first things I outlined was the fact that having a smart home doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, some smart home gadgets (like Belkin’s WeMo Light Switch) start in the $40-50 neighborhood. Making my home “smarter” has been a bit of a project for me in 2014, ending with (for now) a thermostat that finally works on my old 2 wire furnace: The Honeywell Lyric. I’m thinking it’s going to be a cold winter, and having a thermostat that I have a little bit more control over than just walking up to it and manually turning it on and off is something I’m looking forward to.
Home Automation devices can range from something as simple as that light switch, to something much more advanced like the Weiser Kevo Bluetooth Home Entry system, which can let you into the home by simply touching the deadbolt through a software based authentication (note: It’s only for iOS devices right now. Android users will have to buy a manual fob or use the regular key.) It’s so easy to install that I hooked it up without a problem (this comes from the guy who took an hour to add a magnet latch to a cabinet, and still installed it backwards.) If the thought of these devices interest you, feel free to browse the entire selection of Smart Home products at BestBuy.ca
Perhaps the best gadget this year might be one that keeps the home safe – The iSmartAlarm. I really liked this one when I reviewed it recently, and it’s a fantastic addition to the home, and especially one where you can’t normally place your own alarm system (like a rental suite or dorm room.) With just your smartphone and a hookup to your wireless router, you’ll have a functioning alarm system without the use of any tools.
Spruce up the Living Room
Depending on what your budget is, perhaps a new TV might be in the mix? The LG 55” OLED Curved TV comes with a whack of amazing features, including amazing picture quality, Smart Share allowing you to share media from your mobile devices to your TV, and even Dual Play, which is a great feature for gamers out there. Wearing a pair of glasses, gamers can enjoy the idea of split screen on a single view without giving their position away. There is a limited number of titles supported by this, however, and the feature hasn’t been perfected, so you might see some resolution stretching on some titles.
You might want to toss in some sound support too. You can build from the ground up starting with something like this Onkyo Home Theatre Receiver, or you can go for the more simplified approach in a Sound Bar of some sort. For a more traditional music experience, Bose has a lot of different options for you, including the sound rich, portable and easy to use SoundTouch 30.
This year, most of my growth in the living room has actually been my video game library. We have a fairly new TV at home already, and with a baby now in the house, I actually gave away our surround sound system which I’ll probably replace in a few years once she can start watching movies at home with me (Crossing my fingers that Frozen isn’t a daily ritual when she’s older, but it might be a losing battle.)
After the gadgets are installed, relax and have a drink…
I can’t forget to mention The Bar10der – This was one of my absolute favourite things last year when I got the chance to review it, and I’m definitely going to put it on a list again this year. I appreciate all neat gadgets, not just of the electronic variety. One Christmas, my wife got me a fancy garlic de-skinning gadget of all things, and we rarely chop garlic in the house. The Bar10der is just a really cool device for your home bar -It’s 10 different devices in one, with everything from knives to zesters to measuring cups. I’ve got one and in the rare occasions that I do mix up a drink, it definitely gets used.
Did I forget anything? Let me know what you’ll be getting the Gadget Guru on your list this year.