Happy holiday gift guide: Part Three

It’s that time of year again. The holiday season is approaching quickly, and gift buying is probably taking over your mind. If you’re stumped on what to buy and need some inspiration, take a look at Part Three of our holiday gift guide, focusing on goodies for the smart home.

Blink Video Doorbell

Granted, this is not the sexiest of gifts, but certainly a great idea. Priced at C$49.99 and available from Best Buy, it features a 1080p HD video with two-way audio, motion, and chime app alerts, and last, but not least, compatibility with Alexa. Of note is that, according to the product fact sheet, it is easy to install, be it wired or wire-free. It allows you to check on your home any time, receive real time alerts when someone is near your door and listen and speak to visitors from your phone or tablet.

The Blink comes equipped with a pair of non-rechargeable AA batteries as well as a mounting kit that includes corner mount screws and anchors.

Google Nest Audio Smart Speaker with Google Assistant

The holidays should include a good bit of chill time and there is no better way than to sit back, relax and put this handy device to work. The Nest Audio is all about sound – just say, ‘Hey Google, play me some tunes.’ In addition, it is also programmed to control a smart home, whether that means turning on lights or turning a high-definition television on or off.

Available in a selection of colours from Canada Computers & Electronics, it lists for C$69.99, which is C$60 cheaper than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP).

In addition, according to the manufacturer, the device is 75 per cent louder than the original Google Home smart speaker, and has 50 per cent stronger bass.

Google Nest Learning Thermostat

Make it a double – gift – if you will, with the third generation Nest Learning Thermostat, also available from Canada Computers & Electronics and retailing for C$329. Google says, “most homes are not the same temperature in every room. With the Nest Temperature Sensor, you can let your Nest Learning Thermostat know which room should be a certain temperature at a certain time of day. Just put it on a wall or shelf in a room that matters most, like the living room or baby’s room. And get the right temperature, right where you want”.

All necessary parts for installation come with the device and most people, again according to Google, “install it in 60 minutes or less.”

meross Smart Outdoor Plug

Available from Amazon Canada and costing C$35.99, this handy plug is not only ideal for outdoor use such as the backyard or on the deck, but also for indoor-use electrical appliances such as a washing machine or dryer.

Compatible with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and SmartThings, Remote Control, Timer, FCC and ETL Certified, a key feature is remote and voice control where each of the two sockets can be controlled individually from anywhere and anytime. Schedule and timer settings can turn it on or off automatically, which provides an added benefit of saving energy, the Amazon Canada product fact sheet states, when plugged-in appliances are not needed or are left on by accident.

PANASONIC KXHNB600 Base Unit (Hub) for the Panasonic Home Monitoring System

According to Panasonic, this smart electronic device, called The Hub, is the brains behind the Panasonic Home Monitoring System. All devices connect directly to the Hub via DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Technology). This standard, which originated in Europe, allows for a “range of up to 50 meters indoors and 300 meters outdoors between additional devices and the Hub. Connect and control up to four cameras plus up to 50 additional devices from one Hub.”

Available online from Canada Computer & Electronics, and priced at C$74.88, it syncs with system handsets, cameras, sensors, and smart plugs, and also sends system alerts to a smart phone or tablet.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Paul Barker
Paul Barker
Paul Barker is the founder of PBC Communications, an independent writing firm that specializes in freelance journalism. His work has appeared in a number of technology magazines and online with the subject matter ranging from cybersecurity issues and the evolving world of edge computing to information management and artificial intelligence advances.

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