Jason A’s Top Smart Home Tech Picks for This Year [2018 Holiday Gift Guide]

2018 has been a year. Though I’ve fallen some behind on my smart home series (I have a few posts I need to still make in that arena), I believe that this is the year my smart home has matured in its use and how I navigate my home with technology. Many of it is due in part to the list of items I’d recommend you pick up this year for those of you who have friends and family who want to make their homes smart as well. A lot of the tech I’ve dealt with this year has involved the home and when it comes to home improvements, I’m all about that tech! Now this won’t be a long list, but some of the things I firmly think you should pick up, in no particular order.


The Ring Spotlight Cam

From some of my earlier posts about building a smart home, Ring has always been a major player in this. Ring is front and center (and around when you think about it ha) of my home’s exterior. I genuinely do love Ring’s line of or products and the Spotlight Cam is perfect as you try to build a “ring” of awareness around your home. I find the Spotlight cam works best in those little nooks around your house where either you need a little light but a floodlight cam might be too big. Or in spots were you need a little extra coverage your regular cameras can’t pick up or if you have a gap somewhere. Being small and compact, the Spotlight work well in a variety of locations. and if you do pick up the battery version, I would definitely suggests picking up the optional solar panel as well. The battery version has space for two batteries, so you don’t have to swap too much, but with the solar panel well positioned it will charge up one battery just fine. One minor negative is of course this doesn’t shine the same amount of light as the floodlight cam, so if you are looking for that, this is only going to illuminate a relatively small amount of space. Otherwise this is a wonderful product to have for the home!

Website: https://www.ring.com
Price: Battery Version $199.00 / Solar $229.00



The Google Home Hub

Coming out in the tail end of the year, Google released their first product in the Home line with screen. I was present during the Made By Google launch event and already knew this device was going to make me reconsider my Google Home strategy. I already have a Google Home or Home Mini in the majority of the rooms of the house, but the Google Home Hub was bound to replace a few spots. I ultimately chose (for now at least) to have the Google Home Hub in the bedrooms as it seem to fit perfectly in these locations. Being able to use the Google Home Hub as a nice display clock and rotating digital picture frame in addition to all the other Google Assistant functions is excellent. And with a price of $149 (but be sure to look out for that $99 at a few location on Black Friday), made this buy a no brainer!

Website: https://store.google.com
Price: $149


The SmartThings V3 Sensors

If you have read any part of our building a smart home series, you know SmartThings is at the center. The SmartThings hub and it’s sensors have been the brain to the house for the last couple of years. Each version of their sensors keep getting better and better and this year, their v3 have been great. I’m especially fond of their v3 Motion sensor. The v3 Motion sensor has a magnetic base and the sensor can be rotated around that base to get that perfect angle. If you’ve ever set up a motion sensor to say turn on the lights in your home and then have it go off when you weren’t in that room yet, you could understand my love for this new sensor. When you take that and combine it with this version is slight cheaper not more than the earlier version, and you can be sure this would make a good stocking stuffer for someone who is building out their smart home as well!

Website: https://www.smartthings.com
Price: $24.99


The Nest Hello Doorbell

Now this might be the only item on my list that I haven’t actually reviewed this year, but it the one I want the most. Why you might ask? Well the Nest brand by itself is definitely a major player in the smart home game and if you were building out your own, you wouldn’t be in bad company with Nest products. Then you have the fact that the Nest Hello Door looks great with its design and as Nest is own by Google, there is great integration there. But the main reason I think I want this is because of seeing how it can work with another item on my list for this year, the Google Home Hub. If you have both items in your home when someone rings your Hello Doorbell, you’ll be able to see and interact with them on the Google Home Hub. Being able to answer your doorbell from your phone is great, but if you don’t have to always reach for your phone and able to use something that is in your kitchen or bedroom, that is great! The Nest Hello Doorbell is something I have on my eye for possibly using coming in 2019 and I’d recommend you taking a look at well. However I will say this, if your home doesn’t already have wiring for a hardwired doorbell using the Nest Hello Door will be a challenge.

Website: https://www.nest.com
Price: $229.99