Boosting your home's tech skills sadly isn't quite as easy as sticking in some extra RAM or upgrading the firmware.
But thanks to 2017's best new smart home offerings, you don't need to knock down walls or embark on a rewiring disaster either.
Whether you're looking for a garden watchdog, some programmable buttons, or a fix for your home's infuriating internet blackspots, this year has produced the gadget goods - and we've still got another six months to go.
That's why we've taken a half-time stock check and come up with this - a rundown of our favourite gadget home improvements from 2017 so far...
Best impulse buy: Withings home
It might look like a tea light holder but the Home is rather fancy, with a 5MP wide-angle camera, 12x zoom with auto-enhancement and infrared night vision. Besides wide-angle recordings triggered by noise and motion, the Home packs a baby monitor mode, which comforts your little one with light and sound, alongside an air quality sensor and a two-way speaker, in case you need to warn your mates away from the beer fridge - or, you know, accost an intruder. Playback is seriously good fun with the 24hr time-lapse option, like watching your life in fast-forward, and it also monitors indoor air pollution. Apparently, we should all be looking out for volatile organic compounds. Who knew?
Best internet liberator: Google WiFi
Does your Wi-Fi coverage have more gaping holes than a block of Swiss cheese? Fill in those dead zones with Google’s next-gen router.
Google WiFi is a super-slick, mesh system, which means it’s a team of routers that work together to create a house-smothering internet blanket. It’s not just for mansions either – owners of small flats will see the benefits from just one WiFi point, thanks to its excellent network coverage and superb app.
And what power that app gives you, with the features like Family Wi-Fi pause for getting the kids off their tablets at dinnertime, and the option of prioritising traffic to your PS4. Yep, Google has gone and made a desirable router, which are two words we never thought we’d see together.
Best burglar botherer: Netgear Arlo Pro
Once you’ve set up a home security cam, it’s hard to imagine life without the satisfaction of ‘checking in’ to make sure everything’s in order.
Owners of gardens and sheds full of meticulously ordered power tools will want an all-seeing outdoor cam too, and the Arlo Pro is the best we’ve seen so far. It’s weatherproof and properly wireless, thanks to its rechargeable battery, and has night vision too for catching sneaky badgers or other nighttime visitors.
The only thing it doesn’t do is spray salad cream at intruders, but who knows what’s possible with its IFTTT connectivity.
Best for pretending you're in CSI: Nest Cam
This app-controlled security cam is the latest addition to Nest’s smart home ecosystem, which already has a thermostat that learns when you actually need your house heated, and smoke detectors that send alerts straight to your smartphone. With one of these, you’ll be able to see your toast burning in real-time.Even as a standalone smart-cam it can record all sound and motion – with sensitivity and accuracy enhanced if you subscribe to Nest Aware. The speaker allows you to talk to whoever is in your house – scare a burglar, get the dog off the sofa or (more likely) annoy your nearest and dearest.
Best for cleaning up behind you: iRobot Roomba 960
If your cleaner has a name, you are probably stuck in the dark ages of human history. It’s even worse if you are doing the cleaning by yourself, in which case you are little better than a neanderthal. Time to experience the wonders of the 21st century, where all our menial tasks are taken care of by advanced robots, like walking the dog for instance. Ok, I admit we are not quite there yet, but you can evade your cleaning duties with this nifty little gadget.
The iRobot Roomba 960 vacuuming robot helps keep your floors clean. It’s smart too! You can control it with an app and its intelligent navigation system will make sure it does not miss a spot. What’s more, it sucks harder than the previous generation cleaners (5x harder to be precise), and you won't have to deal with tangled hair and debris, due to its smart debris extractors.
Best for rediscovering real buttons: Logitech Pop
Voice assistants are handy when your hands are covered in cake mixture, but we're still always going to want the satisfaction of pressing real buttons.
Logitech's programmable Pops want to be those buttons, letting you control your smart home without having to say "Hey, Alexa" three times because the radio's on.
Because they're compatible with IFTTT and, recently, Apple HomeKit, you can get seriously creative with your recipes too – for example, creating a ‘Netflix’ button that sets the mood lighting and turns on your TV.
We’re fans of Flic's smaller buttons too, which are finally getting a hub from October 2017 that'll let you you control them without your phone being present. But if you don’t want to wait for that, the Pops are a satisfyingly squidgy addition to any smart home.
Best for ending charred toast: WHIRLPOOL DIGITAL POP-UP TOASTER
You make some toast and it’s a bit underdone, so you pop it back in for an extra minute. But you forget, because of the tea, and it burns. So, you start scraping it off into the sink, and now you’ve forgotten the teabag and it’s all stewed. You groan, and then you look at your stupid toaster and yell, “AT LEAST I KNOW WHERE I AM WITH CORN FLAKES!” This isn’t a stupid toaster. It’s a comparatively intelligent one, with eight browning levels so you can choose the ideal temperature for your morning toast. Then comes the climax, the motorised slots glide up like the doors to a Bond villain’s lair – a big step up from the spring loaded ones that occasionally launch a crumpet off your worktop and into the dog’s mouth. The digital display provides instant feedback and allows the user quick and easy programming. The digital countdown bar acts as a reminder to let you know that the toast will be ready soon, while you’re tempted to heat the bread for an extra 30 seconds. It may not be entirely catastrophe-proof but it might be just clever enough to keep you out of the arms of those damned corn flakes.