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.

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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.

Product Review

Ring Video Doorbell 2 is the simplest entry into a smarter doorway

The Ring Video Doorbell 2 may lack the style and sophistication of premium door-dingers, but few can match its simplicity and versatility. The device, available in both wired and wireless configurations, is easy to set up and adds instant…
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From tables to porches, Ring's Stick Up Cam watches wherever you want

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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.
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Have Siri control your home with the best devices that work with Apple HomeKit

Though they've been slow to trickle out, the list of HomeKit smart home products continues to grow and will only continue to do so now that the HomePod is available. Here's a list of the best Apple HomeKit-compatible devices.
Smart Home

Google Home and Amazon Alexa are asking smart home device makers for user info

Google and Amazon want to establish a "continuous flow" of information between their servers and your smart home devices, but companies like Logitech have begun to speak out for user privacy.
Smart Home

Language barrier? Psh. Here's how to make your Google Home an ace translator

You can now use interpreter mode on your Google Home devices. This means, you can use your Google Home device to translate conversations in real-time. Here's how to use interpreter mode.
Smart Home

Ring adds color night vision to wired security devices and HDR to wireless ones

Ring rolled out color night vision to its wired security products with cameras such as the Spotlight Cam Wired. At the same time, Ring added HDR control to its battery-powered security devices including the Video Doorbell 2.

These 13 gadgets walk a fine line between ingenious and insane

The annual avalanche of devices and gadgets is astounding, but how many will succeed? A few are destined to spark new trends, while the majority fade deservedly into obscurity. We look at some gadgets on the border of brilliant and bonkers.
Smart Home

Check out the largest pools in the world - and how you can get there

From Egypt to Singapore to California, here's a pictorial breakdown of some of the biggest and largest pools in the world. Many of these pools are so big that you can even kayak and windsurf on them.
Smart Home

Consumer groups call out retailers in a bid for better IoT security

Consumer groups posted a "Dear retailer" letter on February 12 that called out Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon, and Target, shaming the companies for selling insecure smart home devices.

The best Presidents’ Day sales 2019: Amazon, Walmart, Dell, and more

Presidents' Day sales are a great chance to score electronics, clothing, home and office stuff, and other goodies at a discount. We’ve smoked out a large handful of the best of these Presidents' Day deals, from tech to bedding, to help…

Walmart drops a killer Instant Pot deal for Presidents’ Day weekend

With the Walmart Presidents' Day sale going on right now, you can actually pick up the Instant Pot Lux60 6-quart programmable pressure cooker for just $69 -- $30 off its normal price.
Smart Home

Walmart slashes prices on Google Home during its Presidents’ Day sale

Walmart slashes prices on Google Home during its Presidents' Day sale. Whether you're taking your first step in configuring a smart home or expanding to every room, Walmart has excellent sale prices for all the key components.

Walmart Presidents’ Day sale: Instant Pot, Google Home, and 4K TV deals

Presidents' Day weekend is one of the best times of the year to find deep discounts on 4K TVs, laptops, Instant Pots, clothes, mattresses, and furniture. And Walmart is offering deals on all of those things and more.