In partnership with Airthings
Sometimes you need to venture off the beaten track to find a bargain. We're not saying you should always snub the big brands, but sometimes it pays to get a little experimental with your purchases.
Take our 'best of the rest' smart tech, for instance. Most folks wouldn't think to ask fabled vacuum maker Dyson for a lamp, or the productivity gurus over at Logitech for a universal smart remote. We know you aren't like most folks, though. You're a technological pioneer - and we're here to help you explore pastures new.
Dyson Lightcycle Morph (£500)
Our favourite lamp? Luxo Jr the Pixar mascot, obviously. But as far as non-anthropomorphic ones go, the Lightcycle Morph takes some beating. It can track natural daylight to adjust its brightness and colour temperature accordingly. As well as using less power, this reduces the amount of blue light you’re exposed to, so you wake up and wind down more gradually.
Or do you just want to stay focused for longer? There’s a study mode that intensifies the blue light in order to get your brain buzzing. Alternatively, relax mode emits an orange glow to keep the chill vibes going all day; this also works nicely for a touch of movie-night ambience.
As well as letting you redirect its radiance, the lamp’s arm can rotate 360°. So you can use it for everything from aiding your make-up application to dramatically spotlighting a bit of artwork.
Bold Smart Lock (€279)
Until we’ve fully tested this smart door lock we’re happy recommending Brisant’s brilliant Ultion Smart; but with two-factor authentication and end-to-encryption, an Android and iOS app that isn’t fussy about smart home platforms, and an SKG three-star award giving it the heaviest possible burglary rating, there’s plenty to like here.
Yale Indoor Wi-Fi Camera – Pan & Tilt (£60)
Like a sentry watching over your home while you’re away, this camera sends an alert if it senses anything suspicious. You can also view live footage and move it around to get a better view of the cat licking its bumhole. Yale is of course a big name in security, and its devices work well with Z-Wave and Zigbee systems.
Logitech Harmony Hub (£100)
Logitech’s universal remotes have been clevering up homes for years; now the Harmony Hub puts all that power in your phone. The hub itself communicates with all your infrared, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth gizmos, allowing you to control the lot via an app. You can also combine controls, so with just one tap you could lower the blinds, dim the lights and fire up the telly for movie night.
V-Home by Vodafone Safety Starter Kit (£99)
A bit like a ‘best of’ gift set, Vodafone’s home security bundle comprises kit from Samsung, SmartThings and Zipato. You get an HD camera with night vision, a sensor for detecting intruders and fire-risk temperature changes, a siren, and a hub so they talk nicely to each other... as well as to Alexa and Google Assistant.
TCP Smart (£13)
Nothing to do with mild antiseptic and everything to do with sensible smart home upgrades, TCP’s cheap and cheerful indoor security camera and video doorbell both have 720p resolution and night vision. There’s a supporting cast of motion sensors, Wi-Fi plugs and lightbulbs too, none of which need a hub. It all works with Siri, Google Assistant and Alexa.