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The best smart home tech of CES 2021

Going virtual for a big show like CES 2021 was certainly an experience unlike any other, but for the smart home, the focus was on exactly what we expected — cleanliness, touchless experiences, keeping the home organized, and security. While CES 2021 didn’t have as many established smart home brands in attendance, there were still plenty of cool gadgets announced that aim to make the home more connected than ever. Our smart home team here at Digital Trends debated and subsequently voted on the best smart home tech at CES 2021, and here’s what we selected.

ces2021 samsung jetbot 90

Samsung Jetbot 90 AI+

Our pick for the best new robot vacuum of CES 2021 is the Samsung Jetbot 90 AI+. More than just your ordinary robot vacuum, it’s smarter when it comes to avoiding pesky clutter that can trip up other bots. It can also acts as a security watchdog when you’re out.

This tank-like robot vacuum not only has 30 watts of suction power courtesy of its Jet Cyclone system to ensure floors are clear of dirt and debris, but features an automatic disposal system that empties the contents of its dustbin into its Clean Station base. That means fewer physical disposals on your part.

Its built-in camera and A.I.-enhanced object-recognition technology allows the Samsung Jetbot 90 AI+ to detect objects in its cleaning path and avoid them. Cables, pet bowls, and other clutter won’t trip up this bot. Lastly, the integrated camera can be accessed remotely through a mobile app, giving users eyes on what’s happening at home if they’re away. For Samsung, it’s a tremendous effort given its previous robot vacuums.

Read more about the Samsung Jetbot 90 AI+

NordicTrack Vault

There have been several connected home gym fitness displays to come along over the past year, but the NordicTrack Vault is one to watch because of how much of a gym experience it packs into one piece of equipment. Introduced at CES 2021, the NordicTrack Vault may appear similar to the Mirror by Lululemon, but it distinguishes itself in that it tucks away all the dumbbells, kettlebells, and resistance bands to give you that complete gym workout at home.

With its mirrored finish, you’ll be able to look at yourself during workouts to make sure you have proper form — while also receiving instructions from the instructors on its 32-inch rotating smart HD touchscreen. The design discreetly stows away the handful of accessories that come with it, like the kettlebells and yoga blocks.

As more people jump on this trend of exercising from home, the Vault is a practical solution that will help keep them fit through strength and cardio workouts powered by iFit.

Read more about the NordicTrack Vault

Lockly Duo

Few new smart locks were announced at this year’s show, with many of them being previous models that received minor changes. One of the few that’s brand new is the Lockly Duo, a smart lock perfect for people who have two locks to unlock on their front door — the deadbolt and knob locks. The Lockly Duo is a 2-in-1 deadbolt and knob solution that can lock and unlock your door with one quick twist of the handle, while packing all the features we expect from a top-notch smart lock, including fingerprint unlock, PIN Genie tech, remote unlock via the app, and much more.

Read more about the Lockly Duo

ColdSnap rapid-freezing appliance

Do you enjoy frozen yogurt? Then you’ll love the ColdSnap, which takes the Keurig style of making coffee at home, but rather than dispensing coffee, serves up your favorite frosty desserts. It’s simple and easy to use, relying on disposable pods to whip up frozen yogurt, ice cream, smoothies, and much more — all in about two minutes!

Read more about the ColdSnap

 ces 2021 top tech petpuls collar

Petpuls A.I.-powered dog collar

Taking a page out of Pixar’s animated film Up, the Petpuls is a smart dog collared powered by artificial intelligence that aims to determine how your four-legged friend is feeling. Based on the pitch and tone of their barks, Petpuls utilizes voice-recognition technology to inform you if your dog is happy, anxious, angry, sad, or relaxed.

Read more about the Petpuls

Editors' Recommendations

The best outdoor smart plugs for 2023
Meross Smart Outdoor Plug

Have you experienced the thrill of connecting your favorite devices to a smart plug? Practically made for home essentials like lamps, security cameras, toasters, coffee makers, dehumidifiers, and more, these programmable outlets are amazing additions to any smart home. With a compatible app, you can even power the plugs on and off remotely and set schedules. This is all well and good for the devices inside our homes, but what about our outdoor gear? Fortunately, there are now durable and weather-resistant outdoor smart plugs that are just as good as their indoor brethren. 

Just imagine controlling your yard lights or seasonal decorations even when on vacation. You can do that and more right from your phone with these weather-resistant outdoor smart plugs. Many don’t even require a hub, being fully functional on their own, and others work with your current system.
Geeni Indoor/Outdoor Smart Plug

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Apple finally activates HomePod Mini’s hidden temperature/humidity sensor
Black HomePod mini on a side table, in front of an Apple TV

Apple recently revealed its second-gen HomePod, which is set to become the company’s flagship smart speaker in 2023. Featuring the S7 chipset, spatial audio, Matter compatibility, and tons of fancy room-sensing tech, the device is certain to be a hit when it launches in February. It’ll also feature a temperature and humidity sensor. Oddly enough, so does the existing HomePod Mini -- except Apple has only just activated the feature.

Apple has kept the temperature and humidity sensor deactivated for years, although now, with the launch of a new HomePod around the corner, the company has finally gone ahead and turned on the instrument in its existing Home Mini lineup. Once your HomePod Mini receives the update, you’ll be able to use it to track both the temperature and humidity in your home, then use that information to create various automations through Apple Home.

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Apple reportedly working on a new iPad-like smart home display
Someone holding the 12.9-inch version of the iPad Pro (2022).

Apple recently announced a new HomePod with support for Matter, but it seems the company might have bigger smart home plans for the rest of 2023. According to the latest report from Bloomberg, Apple is allegedly working on an iPad-like device that could directly compete with Amazon’s Echo Show and Google’s Nest Hub Max.

Details on the rumored product are scarce, but it seems the device would feature a touchscreen and function similar to an iPad. Magnets would allow it to be mounted to a wall, and HomeKit would give it access to all your smart home products. It’s unclear at this time if the device would feature a stand, allowing it to sit on your countertops like the Echo Show and Nest Hub. What is clear, however, is that Apple wants to gain a stronger foothold in the smart home market -- and this could serve as a great alternative to using the HomePod Mini as a HomeKit hub.

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