Wield control over your home’s many connected products from a singular, centralized device.
For anyone who has filled their home with smart home devices, controlling, pairing and optimizing your usage of a coterie of connected gadgets can consist of constantly swiping through various smartphone apps.
But there is a better way.
Centralized smart home hubs give homeowners a singular location to control and merge their many intelligent instruments-and give a break to phones, fingers and the mental files required to remember how to use each gadget. Here are a few options below:
Google Nest Hub Max
A lot of picking a smart home hub-or any connected gadget, really-is about deciding what tech ecosystem you want to be a part of (if any) and Google, due to its outsized role in our everyday lives, certainly has a leg up in that regard.
The Google Nest Hub Max marries a 10-inch HD touch screen to a set of stereo smart speakers-and gives users instant access to all their home’s smart gadgets via a Home View dashboard, allowing owners to easily adjust lights, locks, thermostats and more in a seamless and user-friendly fashion. The Hub Max even has a dedicated Home Entertainment dashboard, where users can control home speakers, gaming devices and even channel surf or pick streaming selections on connected TVs.
And, because the Hub Max is a smart speaker, touching is optional-all home control commands can also be spoken directly to the device. And since the Hub Max exists within the Google ecosystem, the device can easily pull up all your other Google products, be it Gmail, Calendar, Messages, Meets or more, making it simple to stay up-to-date whenever you use the Hub. In fact, Hub Max’s Face Match software will automatically recognize who is using it (via the built-in camera) and present them with their specific, relevant Google-based notifications (latest Gmail emails, new calendar invites, et cetera) each time they activate the device.
The Google Nest Hub Max is available for $299.
This wall-installed panel from Brilliant is a hardware/software solution for easily exercising control over all your home’s connected devices. The panel, which can seamlessly replace the space occupied by a light switch, consists of a touchscreen display, a speaker/microphone, a camera and one-to-four finger grooves, which allow users to physically slide their fingers to activate the dim (or proportional change) function on any devices that have that option (like lights or speakers).
From the Brilliant control panel, owners can alter lighting, play music, lock doors, open garages, adjust the AC and more. The panels also act as point-to-point video intercoms, allowing users to check on the kids in the basement without ever leaving their third-floor office.
And if making it over to the wall is too far a journey for some, users can also speak to the Alexa-enabled device-or access all its functions via the accompanying Brilliant app.
Brilliant panels are available for $299 to $449, depending on how many “switches” (inset finger grooves) are embedded in the panel.
For those looking for a more portable hub option-and those with a fondness for the golden age of remote controls-consider the Neeo from Control4. This device from the smart home systems manufacturer resembles the size and shape of the TV remotes of yore but offers a high-tech update in form and function.
Combining a three-inch high-resolution, graphical glass touchscreen interface with tactile buttons, the Neeo can be used purely as a modern entertainment remote, controlling speakers, switching channels, navigating and selecting on streaming services.
The Neeo also can pair with your home’s other smart products, giving you control over your lights, locks, shades, thermostat and more from a single hand-held device. And Neeo makes it easy to pair product functions together-like, say, you want to draw the shades and dim the lights whenever you make a Netflix selection.
Contact Control4 at control4.com for pricing on the Smart Home OS3 installation and the Neeo remote.
This tablet-like hub, which can be hung anywhere in your home, gives you complete control over everything-and we mean everything- that is connected. Built to work with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Z-Wave, Zigbee, EnOcean, and even Infrared, Atmos will let you start coffee machines, stop washing machines, open garage doors, see who’s at the front door, dim the lights and blast your tunes.
As you might imagine, a touchscreen tablet allows users to tap their various commands, but the device’s built-in microphone also allows for voice control. Not a big talker? Atmos is also equipped with gesture control, meaning raising the temperature is as easy as waving your hand.
Atmos’ pre-order stage has ended and they are currently beta testing. Interested parties can sign up at atmoshome.com and receive a notification when production has begun and ordering is again available.