Many of us have legitimate fears of being made redundant in the workplace by automation or AI. But I bet most of us are all for robots taking over our household chores, and giving us more time to relax and chill. We aren't quite there yet, though there are plenty of smart devices that can help. It just takes some effort to get everything set up, and working in tandem. For starters, a robot vacuum can reduce the amount of cleaning you'll need to do. But even simple smart devices, like motion sensors for lights and smart power plugs can be helpful. Here are five gadgets to consider when building a smart home
Apple HomePod mini
Have plenty of Apple devices, and thinking of building a smart home? Try the latest Apple HomePod speakers. Both the larger version and the mini (S$139) are now available in Singapore. If you're not so particular about the sound quality, the mini works just as well as the larger one for home automation and voice commands. And if you're planning to place a smart speaker in each room, it's much cheaper with the mini.
Google Nest Hub (2nd gen)
If you're more of a Google user, then it's better to build your smart home around the Google Nest Hub (around S$100). This smart display not only lets you control compatible smart home devices, but it can also track your sleep when placed next to your bed. It also works as a smart speaker with built-in Google Assistant, and can show your photos (and even play Netflix and YouTube videos) on its 7-inch screen.
Wiz E27 Smart Color Bulb
One of the basic building blocks of a smart home is smart lighting. And a relatively inexpensive way to start your smart home is to change your bulbs to a smart Wi-Fi connected version like the Wiz E27 Smart Color Bulb. It doesn't require a hub, and the app experience is great. The Wiz is also reasonably priced (S$32), and a more affordable alternative to Philips Hue bulbs.
TP-Link Tapo RV30 Plus
Many household chores can't be automated yet. But cleaning your floors is now easier than ever with robot vacuums. The TP-Link Tapo RV30 Plus, which supports Amazon Alexa or the Google Assistant, offers good value at S$509. It comes with a water tank and mop, as well as an auto empty dock (with 4L capacity). More importantly, it runs fairly quiet at the standard setting.
Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera
The Arlo Pro 4 offers a polished, premium experience that justifies its pricing (around S$300 for one unit). Built for the outdoors, this weather-resistant 2K camera has a built-in siren and spotlight. It's easy to set up and the app is excellent. It also works well with the major smart home platforms. But many of its features, such as 30-day cloud storage for videos recordings, require an Arlo Smart subscription.
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