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Welcome to the Digital Trends smart apartment

Ready to get your hands dirty? Jump in as we install smart lights in part one!

Welcome to the Digital Trends smart apartment: Where I live, where I come to play with my toys.

The smart-home device market continues to grow, with connected, super-intelligent gadgets for plant lovers and pet fanatics, wine aficionados and beer buddies, jocks and those with juniors … well, you get the idea. We wanted a space to bring them all together. We chose an apartment for a couple of reasons: One, I live in a condo, and two, the products that are suited for homeowners are a different breed. Smart garage door openers and connected fridges don’t really have a place here. We’ll tackle those in a smart home series later this year. But for now, in the Digital Trends smart apartment, we’ll look at options that are more affordable and portable but still actually make life easier — instead of just being a novelty.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll take a look at smart-home devices that don’t necessarily require a whole house to function. In this series of articles, we’ll walk through the basics of a smart home: Smart lights, locks, hubs, security cameras, security sensors, smoke alarms, and so on, with time spent on the fun items that don’t necessarily live in any of these categories as well. We’ll test out these items individually but also take a look at the role they play in a larger ecosystem.

And rest assured, apartment dwellers: We won’t guide you to anything that’s overly difficult to install or that will risk your landlord’s wrath or your security deposit.

The space we’ll use is a two-bedroom (though in reality it’s used as a one-bedroom, one-office), one-bathroom, 840-square-foot condo in Seattle. It’s a house divided, with an iPhone owner and an Android user, so that will definitely factor into our choice of devices. We’ll examine how Apple’s HomeKit fits in and whether Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home is the best answer to all our voice-control problems. (The best choice — maybe neither? Just look what happened when we tried ‘em out side by side.) There’s also a cat who calls this place home, so we’ll see if we can find some smart tech for him, too.

We’re looking forward to diving deep on smart apartment tech and seeing how our lives improve (or grow increasingly frustrating) in the coming months. Here’s hoping we can help you smarten up as well.