The Beginner's Guide To Smart Home Devices

Posted by Brad Pauly on Wednesday, May 31st, 2017 at 2:18pm.

smart home

A home is a worthy investment that gives you not only a place to live, but also a place for your family to grow and for you to celebrate your milestones in life. Why not improve it as much as you can by using the latest in technology?

Smart home devices have recently become a must-have addition for homeowners who are looking to improve their lives. Thankfully, that is possible now more than ever as a result of a variety of companies who have come up with imaginative ways to improve our lives by using our voice or our smartphones. There are few reasons why you shouldn't already have a smart home system thanks to the multitude of benefits that they provide to homeowners.

Here are but a few of the many devices available on the market and some of the advantages that they provide homeowners:

Smart Assistants | Smart Security Cameras | Smart Lighting Bulbs | Smart Thermostats

The Centerpiece of Any Smart Home - The Smart Assistant

Controlling your home with only your voice is something that we grew up seeing in cartoons and futuristic TV series, and yet, that is already a possibility today. Several devices can be used on their own, but it's much easier to simply control everything from one place. Smart assistants are essential if you wish to do this, and thankfully there are several options on the market.

Amazon Echo

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The Amazon Echo is a fairly straightforward device which comes in two colors: black and white. A speaker grille is located at the bottom with the upper half of the device having a series of tactile buttons. These buttons activate Amazon's voice assistant Alexa while also allowing users to easily switch off the microphone and activate actions. The Amazon Echo retails for around $179, however, there's an inexpensive version called the Echo Dot.

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It's a slimmed down version of the Echo with a lower quality speaker (you can easily hook up an external speaker), and retails for a low $50. The Echo is also a favorite of those who enjoy shopping since it ties into your Amazon account and allows for the ability to buy stuff with a single voice command.

Google Home

google home

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Google Home in comparison to the Echo is around half as tall coming in at 5.6 inches, making it ideal for those who don't have much space to spare. It only comes in white but it has a variety of swappable bases to customize it to your liking. Google Home is also an essential part of any music lover's home thanks in part to the well rounded speakers it has. The sound is much better than the Amazon Echo, making it a must for those who enjoy pumping out tunes each day. The main draw of the Google Home is the more natural sounding Google Assistant which has a more information focused approach. In fact, you can actually have a conversation with your Home which allows for a more natural way to control your house and the smart devices in it.


Add in an extra layer of security with Smart Security Cameras

Security cameras have long been thought of as a luxury, but thankfully that has changed today. There are a variety of affordable models available which provide a multitude of options and benefits.

Nest Cam

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For those who are looking for indoor security, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better option than the Nest Cam. Featuring a 1080p video output, night vision, motion and sound alerts, as well as two-way talk, it's packed full of features for those looking to keep an eye on their home. It's not a true security cam though, mainly due to it only being able to send one notification every 30 minutes. So you could trigger the motion alert before you leave and if someone enters your home immediately after there will be no alarm. Still, it's hard to beat the price and the quality of the video provided.

Netgear Arlo

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While Netgear might be known for their routers, they also have a highly rated security camera system called Arlo. The system is wire-free, weatherproof, rechargeable, and has 2-way audio. You can also easily see a live stream of the camera from your smartphone, enable a 100+ decibel siren, and more. The camera might not be as clear as the Nest Cam, but the features alone are worth the price of admission.


Bring in the light with Smart Light Bulbs

Have you ever wanted to arrive home and have all of the lights turn on with only the press of a button? With smart light bulbs you can easily do that and more.

Philips Hue

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The most popular choice today for smart bulbs is the Philips Hue. LED light bulbs are a great way to save energy while also having full control of the lighting in your home. With a tap of the button in your smartphone, you can easily turn the lights on and off wherever you are. There is also an added bonus where you can easily change the color of the light with a simple command, and even dim the lights with a simple gesture. While you do need to use the Hue Bridge in order to use them all, it's worth the price of admission to use the system and enjoy the benefits of these advanced light bulbs.

GE C-Life

ge c-life lightbulb

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Do you have a strict budget and can't invest in the Hue? The GE C-Life could be a worthy replacement. Priced at around $13 per bulb, this option is a great way to enter the smart lighting scene without breaking the bank. They connect via bluetooth, meaning that you can only control them around the house. However, for the cheap price it could be a worthy investment for those looking to control their lights easily while on a budget.


Control Temperature with Smart Thermostats

Controlling your home's temperature at a touch of the button is practical and useful. Thankfully, there are a variety of options to choose from.

Nest Thermostat

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Nest makes a second appearance on the list with their popular Nest Thermostat. This device has been on the market since 2011 and provides ease of use in a convenient and stylish package. Also included is Nest's learning algorithm which can adjust the temperature automatically based on your schedule. The integration with Alexa or Google Assistant also provides a great opportunity for you to control the temperature without getting up.

Honeywell Lyric T-5

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The Honeywell Lyric does everything that a smart thermostat does at a lower cost. You're giving up the learning algorithm but in return you get a smart home at a budget which is great for those who have just bought their first home.


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Maybe you like the convenience of an Amazon Alexa but don't want to spend too much, the Ecobee has you covered. It's basically a smart thermostat and a smart speaker which means that you are saving money on both while getting all of the benefits. It's a bit more expensive but the convenience of having both devices in one is sure to be an alluring factor for homeowners.


A smart home is a reality

Buying your new home opens up a world of possibilities to enjoy technology today. From having the convenience of a smart light bulb to sporting an entire smart system, all you need to build your dream home is patience. Want to get started but are you still looking for your dream home? Pauly Presley Realty has a team of agents that are ready to help you find the house that's perfect for you. Browse our listings in Austin or contact us today to get started!

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