These days, almost every device and appliance found at home can be connected to the internet and controlled remotely. Speakers, lights, doorbells, cameras, thermostats, even cooking utensils can now be managed through voice command with the help of smart assistants. When creating your smart home ecosystem, you should always start with the basics. Below, you’ll find the Amazon Echo Show 8, Arlo Pro 2, and Philips Hue White & Color Ambiance Starter Kit on sale starting at only $100. Get these smart home devices on the cheap today and slowly build your way to a truly automated home.
— $100, was $130
The Amazon Echo Show 8 is not too small like the Echo Show 5, nor too big like the second-generation Echo Show. Its 8-inch HD display is, in our opinion, just right, the perfect size for a bedside smart display. It functions exactly the same as the Echo Show 5 and Echo Show (2nd gen). You get smart home controls, including the ability to set up routines for your connected smart devices; the larger screen size is great as a digital photo album (you can link it to your Amazon Photos connection), and it’s compatible with baby monitor cams or security cams to see what’s happening in other areas of your home.
While asking Alexa to do anything Amazon-related is pretty easy (Prime Video is just a tap away, and commanding all smart home gadgets remotely that have been set up through the Alexa app is a breeze), playing a YouTube video is tough. The app isn’t on board and she’ll simply inform you that she can’t do it. You can, however, access the YouTube mobile site using a browser.
This smart display is outfitted with a camera and a microphone so you can call friends and family or connect to other Echo Shows in your house. For those concerned about privacy (and rightfully so since this device is being marketed for bedroom use), don’t fret. There’s a switch that will let you electronically shut down the camera and microphones, and you can take an extra step of shuttering the camera for more protection if you want. The Echo Show 8’s size makes it the ideal smart display for your bedroom. Get it for just $100 instead of $130 at Amazon today.
— $150, was $190
You simply cannot have a smart home without having one of the most basic devices there is: A smart light bulb. Having the ability to turn the lights on and off through voice command is not just convenient but also fun, and the best ones also allow you to adjust the brightness and color to create the perfect ambiance. You can even set up the timing to coincide with your daily routine which may help ward off burglars. One such smart light bulb is the Philips Hue White & Color Ambiance Starter Kit, and right now it’s on sale at Best Buy from $190 to $150.
With this starter kit you get three bulbs, a bridge, and a dimmer switch. The bulbs let you from 16 million colors or various shades of white to match any occasion, managed using the Hue mobile app or through any smart assistant you already have at home. The bridge acts as the command center of the Philips Hue lighting system, coordinating your smart lights and the phone app. It pairs with either Alexa, Apple HomeKit, or the Google Assistant and with it you can expand to up to 50 lights and add motion sensors for added peace of mind. Finally, the dimmer switch allows you to manually adjust each light’s output to match your mood — or you can just use the app or order the voice assistant to do it for you.
With voice-activated control, limitless lighting options, and state-of-the-art app experience, the Philips Hue White & Color Ambiance Starter Kit brings smart home lighting to the next level. Get it for $150 at Best Buy today.
— $249, was $480
Even though there has been a recent surge of dirt-cheap, stand-alone security cameras like the $20 Wyzecam, the Arlo Pro 2’s premium price tag is still worth the splurge. It’s simply the best smart home security camera system that money can buy. The Arlo Pro 2 has a lot going for it, including advanced scheduling and geofencing controls, seven days of free cloud storage, optional local backup via USB, and backward compatibility with the original Arlo Pro. If only its app interface were a little less convoluted, we would have given it a perfect five-star score. Right now, you can get the two-camera bundle of the Arlo Pro 2 for $249 instead of $480 at Amazon. Add-on cameras can be purchased individually.
Although the Arlo Pro 2 connects over Wi-Fi both via wire and wire-free, it comes with a base station that provides better management of the wireless communication and significantly increases its battery life. Depending on the level of activity, a camera can last as long as six months. The base station also features a 100-plus decibel siren that’s roughly as loud as a smoke alarm and offers two USB ports for connecting external hard drives for local backups. Security footage is maintained in the cloud and is free for the first seven days, after which you can opt for either the 30-day Premiere or 60-day Elite plan for $100 and $149 per year, respectively.
The camera itself has a rugged, weatherproof design so you can install it outdoors as well as indoors. Footage has a resolution of 1080p and there’s an 8x optical zoom. Aside from the usual set of security features (motion detection, sound detection, night vision, two-way audio), the Arlo Pro 2 boasts a wealth of advanced settings that set it apart from the rest of the competition. These include geofencing and scheduling, glare reduction, and voice assistant support (Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and If This Than That) so you can view the security footage on other smart home devices. Unfortunately, the Arlo app is a bit cluttered. It’s definitely going to take time for you to get the hang of it.
The Arlo Pro 2 may come at a much higher cost than its competitors, but if you want the best indoor/outdoor security cam system, this is what you should buy. Get the two-cam bundle for $250 at Amazon today.
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