Homes today are smarter than ever. Clocks, speakers, lights, and even vacuums can be talked to or controlled via apps nowadays, leaving lots of room for customization and automation. CGM has worked with plenty of brands in so many “smart” markets and have come up with a list of our favourites.
Here are CGMs nominees for Best Smart Device 2021/22:
Lenovo Smart Clock 2 with Wireless Charging
Writer: Dayna Eileen
Before the Lenovo Smart Clock 2, my phone sat on its side, charging, being used as my alarm and my clock overnight. Those days are gone. This clock does everything I need it to do in my room and on my desk. The display is clear, and not too bright, making it great for bedtime. It features a light ring around the base of the clock that acts as a nightlight, if needed, and even comes with a wireless charging pad to place my phone on at night—no more cords!
Once set up, the clock looks nice. It’s an excellent desk piece. I use it in the office for the time, to listen to music, and to charge my phone. At home, it’s my alarm clock, charger, and helps me control my smart devices like lights and the TV. The Lenovo Smart Clock 2’s multi-functionality is great, and not having to plug my phone in every time I settle in is a bonus.
The price point for the Lenovo Smart Clock 2 with Wireless Charging is a little high for what it offers, but weighing that against its aesthetic and the parts that function flawlessly leaves me conflicted. I love the device on its own, but could do without the charger altogether.
iRobot Roomba j7+
Writer: Dayna Eileen
Unboxing the Roomba j7+, it wasn’t in a million pieces, just the back base, power cord and the Roomba itself. A couple of extra parts came with it, a filter and sweeper. I was surprised with how little instructions came with it. It essentially tells you to plug it in, and download the app. The iRobot app does most of the work from there on out. It guided me through the process, naming our Roomba, connecting it to the Wi-Fi, and getting it started to begin mapping out our home.
I really didn’t think a Roomba was right for us, with the clutter and lack of open space in our home, I just didn’t believe it could work. After trying the iRobot Roomba j7+, however, I’m hooked. It saves me time, it keeps the floors tidy, the kids think it’s the coolest thing in the world, when the base isn’t preparing for takeoff. I have no intention of going back to life without it now. The iRobot Roomba j7+ is a part of our Alexa family now.
The iRobot Roomba j7+ has found its place in our home. Though it doesn’t replace the deep clean of a regular vacuum, it certainly makes the day to day easier, and you can’t put a price on that long term.
Ring Doorbell Pro 2
Writer: Steven Green
The Ring Doorbell Pro 2 is the smart doorbell company’s newest innovation of their original design, with more features and incredible user experiences than ever before. Between the better-quality video, Alexa integration, and top-of-the-line form factor and usage, the Ring Doorbell Pro 2 is easily the most useful smart doorbell on the market.
From the start, installation is a breeze for anyone who is used to using some tools here and there. While this model requires wiring into your original doorbell hardware and sometimes has issues with your current in-home chime, it’s still incredibly simple to set up and has in-depth directions to help anyone who isn’t used to performing this sort of installation.
Ring continues to improve its line of state-of-the-art smart security doorbells with the Doorbell Pro 2.
Google Nest Hub (Second-Gen)
Writer: Brendan Frye
Refinements have been made to the Nest Hub 2021 though, most notably the screen. It now no longer has any lip, making it feel like a much more seamless experience overall when interacting with the Nest Hub. Considering Google only made minor adjustments to the new Nest Mini, it is to be expected that the Nest Hub would be similar, and thankfully it was a design that worked well. The Nest Hub 2021 also comes in a variety of colours; consumers can choose between: Chalk, Charcoal, Sand and Mist; so there should be something that fits most people’s taste, even if they’re not fans of Google’s very pastel palette.
Perhaps the biggest upgrade this time around is in the Soli radar chip that is now included in this year’s Nest Hub. Much like with the Nest Hub Max, the Nest Hub will now be able to pick up Quick Gesture, but unlike the Nest Hub Max, it does not use a camera for it. This gives a much less intrusive way to utilize gestures, making it feel far less creepy to have it sitting on a night stand. What this also does is allow the Nest Hub to have Sleep Sensing sleep tracking.
Even with all the features not feeling fully realized, the second generation Nest Hub feels like a great follow-up, and one of the best smart displays you can buy for under $200.
Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) (Winner, Best Smart Device 2021)
Writer: Brendan Frye
If you have not been following the news surrounding the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen), the big show-stopping feature is the fact the Echo now moves to follow you. A 10-inch screen is fixed to a round base that can move and follow you as you talk to it. If that were not enough, Amazon, and the Echo team have managed to pack every feature a smart home buyer could hope for from a speaker; and somehow made it all feel wondrous—something I did not expect to say about a smart speaker when entering 2021.
With such a wealth of sensors, the new ability to rotate, and with the new 13 megapixel front camera, it is no wonder Amazon is pushing the security potential of the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen). If you dive into the settings and turn on Alexa Guard, this smart display will listen for smoke and carbon monoxide sirens, as well as the sound of glass breaking when it’s set to away mode.
Amazon has delivered the perfect evolution of the Echo brand and the best Smart Speaker currently on the market with the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen).