Sentri is an all-in-one home automation hub you won’t mind hanging on your wall

The market for smart home hubs — devices that give you simple unified control over all your connected gizmos — is pretty crowded. Despite their convenient features, the overwhelming majority of them are gaudy plastic boxes with bright colors and blinking lights — not exactly the type of thing you’d want to hang on your wall.

Back when they launched on Kickstarter, we were excited to somebody finally create a device that performs all the requisite smart functions you’d expect from a hub without looking like something that fell out of the trunk of a UFO.  It’s called Sentri, and not only is it one of the most capable hubs we’ve ever seen (on paper, anyway), it’s also one of the best looking, too.

Aesthetically, it looks something like a blown-up 6th-generation iPod nano (you know, the little tile-shaped one?). It’s essentially a big square with rounded edges and an LED screen up front that displays information. The box also allows you to customize the icons and information that are displayed onscreen.

It’s definitely pretty snazzy on the outside, but Sentri’s beauty isn’t skin deep either; it looks like this thing has some serious muscle under the hood, too.

In addition to Wi-Fi radios that allow it to communicate with your mobile devices, Sentri’s got a microphone, speaker, motion detector, thermometer, air quality sensor, humidity sensor, accelerometer, and even an HD camera with night vision. We’ve seen some all-in-one solutions like this before (PiperCanary, Birdi, etc.), but with so many sensors, this one can perform a ton of functions.

The addition of a security camera, for example, allows the device to function as a security system. The microphone and embedded speakers, on the other hand, mean you could potentially use Sentri as an intercom system to communicate with your family/housemates. And because it can link up with other connected home devices, such as Philips Hue lights, Nest thermostat, and Belkin WeMo switches, all the environmental sensors can be used for advanced automation functions.

Want your lights to turn on when it gets dark, not just run on a schedule? What about having the AC kick on when the room rises above a certain temperature? Assuming this thing works like it’s creators claim it will, that kind of stuff will all be possible.

The Sentri is available for preorder now for $299. If you make your order between now and Black Friday, November, 27, 2015 (the same day Sentri will start shipping units), you’ll get free shipping. 

Sentri Amazon

Smart Home

Eight Sleep’s Pod bed keeps you cool (or warm) and tells you how you’re sleeping

Americans are chronically sleep deprived and startup Eight Sleep wants to change that. The company recently announced The Pod, a biometric-tracking, temperature-regulating smart mattress.

You could spend $1,000 on an iPhone, or buy one of these awesome laptops instead

Finding a decent laptop is easy, but finding one under $1,000 is a bit tricky. Luckily, we've taken some of the guesswork out of picking out a budget laptop. Here are some of our favorites, the best laptops under $1,000.

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for February 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for December 2018.

It’s time to check out the best Apple Watch deals for February 2019

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.

The best iRobot Roomba deals to make cleaning your home a breeze

Keep your home clean without lifting a finger using a robot vacuum cleaner. These nine iRobot Roomba deals not only help you keep your home tidy, but many also come with advanced features such as automatic scheduling and Wi-Fi connectivity.
Smart Home

Google Home Mini vs. Amazon Echo Dot: Which smart home speaker is better?

We put the two most popular smart home speakers -- the Google Home Mini and the 3rd generation Amazon Echo Dot -- together and tested them on appearance, audio, and abilities. So which should you buy? Find out how they did in our showdown.
Smart Home

With new blueprints, Amazon empowers anyone to create Alexa skills in minutes

Amazon launched new tools called Skills Blueprints last year to empower more users to create and publish Alexa Skills and is now fine-tuning the tools, adding more customization as well as live and recorded audio.
Smart Home

Lowe’s offers Presidents Day bargains on Samsung appliances, Nest, and Dyson

Anticipating the demand for DIY makeovers, Lowe's Presidents' Day sale has deals on popular products from Dyson, Nest, and Samsung. If you're shopping for a vacuum cleaner, a stainless steel fridge, or home security devices, head to Lowe's.

Google might release a smartwatch and multiple Pixel phones in 2019

Google seems to have a lot planned for 2019. According to a report, Google is planning on releasing multiple new Pixel phones, a smartwatch, a new Google Home, and a Nest Security camera this year.
Smart Home

Abode Systems taps HelloTech for professional security system installations

Abode Systems has been expanding into the smart home security market and will enhance its technology with a new partnership with tech support firm HelloTech, which will install its security systems for a fee.
Smart Home

Want to publish your own Alexa skill? Here's how to do it

Building new Alexa skills has never been easier! Thanks to Alexa Blueprints, you can pick a template and create any kind of Alexa skill you want. What new skill will you make first? Here's how to do it.
Smart Home

Let a robot do your chores! Here are the best robot vacuums for 2019

Robot vacuums are a convenient way to tidy up your home and minimize your weekly to-do list. From a top-of-the-line model to a handy budget option, here are the best robot vacuums you can buy right now.
Smart Home

Samsung washing machine recall results in $6.55M class-action settlement

Samsung settled a class action lawsuit involving more than 30 top-loading washing machine models for $6.55 million. The suit alleged the machine tops could detach and explode. Original owners may qualify for refunds and cash settlements.
Smart Home

At KBIS 2019, LG brings its biggest lineup of Amazon Dash-equipped appliances

LG announced ahead of KBIS 2019 that its entire line of dishwashers and laundry appliances will now come pre-integrated with Amazon Dash, the online retailer's popular automatic replenishment program.