Gadgetwatch is a quarterly look at some of the newest gadgets available at Best Buy. 4 times a year, I round up some of the newest “cool” things out there and report them to you. In some cases, the Plug in Blog will already have reviewed them. In some cases, they’re new to us too, but are worth the mention.
There’s not much more to it, so let’s go!
What’s new in Smart Home: smanos
Perhaps this isn’t “What” so much as it is “Who is new” to Best Buy. smanos is a new player to Canada in the Smart Home security market and they feature perhaps the largest and most comprehensive Security systems out there. With numerous starter kits, including one that coordinates with a traditional telephone land line and another that works through standard WiFi (pictured above,) smanos is not just for security within the home but the outside perimeter too. You can set up inside the house with things like door sensors and IP cameras, but outside you get access to things like strobe sensors and even laser infrared technology that can hide behind places in the backyard or trip when someone hops the fence. What you see available on the smanos product page is just the beginning. With a smanos control centre’s ability to support up to 30 different devices and 10 different remotes, expert more innovation from them well into 2016.
What’s new in Smart Lighting and Switches: iHome iSP5 Wi-Fi SmartPlug
I’m a big fan of the current movement to make your “dumb” devices smarter some helper hardware. Simple plug-in devices like the iHome iSP5 Wi-Fi SmartPlug are making that a reality. With a simple connection to your WiFi network and controlled by app (which means no passing connection through a master hub,) the SmartPlug allows you to conveniently power on or power off small appliances that can’t otherwise be controlled by phone. What you choose, is up to you. Do you charge your phone by your bedside and want your coffee ready by the time you’re out of the morning shower? Perhaps you want the air conditioner running and rooms cooled as you arrive home from work? SmartPlug can control what you want it to as long as it plugs into a proper 120v outlet.
What’s new in Outdoor Wearables: 360fly
I guess this could also slot into the “What’s new in the unusual?” 360fly is a wearable camera unlike any other. It has a unique dome-like design and picks up a field of view unlike any other camera in its class. Thanks to a spherical, 8-element lens, you can capture video from all angles simultaneously no matter what you’re doing.
If you’ve ever been to a Disney theme park, it’s almost like being able to film your own personal version of one of their Circle Vision 360 movies. This is definitely one of the coolest cameras I’ve ever seen. To see the 360fly in action, check out its overview page. Scroll about halfway down and there are some interactive demo videos you can play with to see yourself what it is all about.
What’s new in Indoor Wearables: MonBaby Smart Button Baby Monitor
It’s a gentle reminder that every parent of a sleeping newborn needs once in a while: Your baby is sleeping just fine. Whether worried about breathing, skin temperature or rolling, the anxiety that new parents at times they should be getting rest is unmistakeable. Believe me, I was there less than 2 years ago. The MonBaby Smart Button Baby Monitor acts as your helping hand, giving a realtime look into a newborn baby’s sleep progress, including ensuring you know they are breathing properly, are sleeping on their back and have not rolled over and more. It clips onto any piece of clothing so it doesn’t matter what your baby sleeps in and is battery operated so you don’t have to worry about charging hubs or charge times (especially when you consider some newborns are sleeping upwards of 16-18 hours a day.) I recently had the opportunity to review the device and I think it’s a great introductory piece for new parents, especially those with bassinets or cribs directly in their room. However, the device does suffer from the fact that its signal is low emitting Bluetooth, which means that it has trouble maintaining communication to the app through simple obstructions like walls or closed doors.
What’s new in Smart Health: Kinsa Smart Thermometer
I’m going to call a technicality on this one and admit that Kinsa isn’t brand new. It’s been out there for a few months now. However, the product’s still relatively new and with cold and flu season in full swing now, this 21st century spin on an old classic is just what your household may need this time of year. It makes accurate readouts in just 10 seconds and powers through your smartphone, needing no batteries or charging in the process. In addition to this, the Kinsa app keeps track of previous data (including symptoms and medications) so you can draw back on how you thwarted previous viruses. Kinsa can be used in any of the traditional methods of delivery except through the ear. It is also FDA Approved, which means that it went through some pretty scrutinized testing and came out the other side ready to go.
What’s new in Green Home Technology: Securifi Peanut Wireless Smart Plug
Despite its odd name, the Peanut is quite the interesting piece of hardware. While it has many similarities to your normal line of smart switches, it also does something that the others don’t: Energy Management. Peanut keeps track of the devices in your home that eat up the most energy in an attempt to you help you bring your power consumption (and ergo, your hydro bills) down. The only catch with the Peanut is that it requires you to own a version of the Securifi Almond, a multi-faceted bridge device that can also serve as a router or wireless range extender. If this intrigues you and you’d like to learn more about Securifi’s products, please check out this handy review that Graham Williams did on Plug In very recently.
Have a safe and happy holiday season, and I’ll see you again around the start of the next quarter. If you have any category suggestions or would like something spotlighted in the next Gadgetwatch, please feel free to get in touch in the comments below.
By Matt Paligaru, Editor Emerging Technology
I’ve been an avid gamer and gadget enthusiast from the first time I picked up a Colecovision controller at a young age. I’ve written for XBox Addict, Vancity Buzz and Rebellion Media, covering everything from Gaming to Mixed Martial Arts. I am also co-host of the G3 Podcast. Follow me on Twitter “@paliontology” and I’ll be more than happy to talk shop with you.