Nest Protect: Nest gave the humble thermostat a 21st century makeover when it released its Learning Thermostat two years ago. Now it’s looking to do the same with another often-overlooked household gadget. The Nest Protect is a wifi-enabled smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarm for your house. In addition to the traditional tech you’d expect to find in a smoke detector, the Protect also packs a motion sensor, which allows you to silence the alarm with a wave if you set it off accidentally with a burnt piece of toast or grilled steak. The Protect’s wifi also alerts you on your phone if the alarm goes off when you’re out of the house, giving you peace of mind when you’re away.
Kwikset Kevo: Fumbling for your keys at the door is never fun, particularly in frigid December weather. With the Kwikset Kevo, you can trade your keys in for a smartphone. Sync the lock to an iPhone and it senses when you get near, allowing you to open the door with a tap of your finger. The lock features multiple levels of encryption, and also comes with a traditional deadbolt lock in case your smart phone runs out of juice before you get home.
Philips Hue: LED bulbs have been gaining a lot of traction lately. These bulbs blend the best benefits of traditional incandescent bulbs with the energy savings of compact fluorescent lights. The Philips Hue takes the LED bulb one step further by offering up a bulb that you can control with your phone. Program the lights to come on when you get home, or to turn on slowly in the morning as a gentler version of an alarm clock. The bulbs are also capable of putting out any color of light that you desire. You can set a low blue light to watch a movie by, or a nice warm light that simulates a sunset to relax with.
Xbox One: So much more than a mere gaming machine, the Xbox One is looking to become the center of your living room. Unlike the previous Xbox, the One comes standard with the Kinect, a miraculous combination of cameras and sensors that allow you to ditch your remote and control your TV with voice commands. Run your cable box through the One and you can trade in your cable company’s clunky on-screen menus and channel guide for the Xbox’s voice controlled version. The Kinect’s camera also allows you to take a Skype call while you’re watching the game and then switch back seamlessly when you’re done.
Doorbot: If you’re sick of solicitors or strangers knocking on your door, check out the the Doorbot, which bills itself as a doorbell for smartphones. The door-mounted cameras links up with your phone, giving you a live feed of whoever is standing at the door, the perfect way to screen out unsavory characters that might come knocking. More than just a home safety system, the Doorbot also includes an intercom, which means you can let the delivery guy know the best place to leave a package if you miss him while you’re out of the house.
Qi Charging System: With today’s high-tech inventory at home, it can feel like keeping gadgets charged is a full time job. Help a loved one out with the Qi from Energizer, a wireless charging station that uses inductive power to fuel up your electronics. Attach the inductive sleeve to the back of your phone or tablet, and then simply place the gadget on the charging surface and it starts charging. Strategically position a few charging stations around the house — like on your bedside table or next to the couch — and you’ll never again have a problem keeping gadgets juiced.