Gift ideas for smart-home lovers


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It might not be a traditional holiday gift, but for what they lack in entertainment, smart home security devices make up for in their usefulness, and the potential to keep homes and families safe. And with more of us working from home these days, it is better to be safe than sorry. Therefore, we have compiled a list of smart devices which can make good gifts this holiday season.

Products in this category include primarily video doorbells and cameras for indoors and out, and sensors to detect movement, unauthorized entry and threats like carbon monoxide.


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Here we have rounded up some of our favorite and most-recommended smart home security devices to consider as gifts this holiday season.

Security Cameras

New Google Nest Cam Indoor Wired 2nd Gen

Nest is a smart-home company owned by Google parent Alphabet. Its products include smart speakers and displays, thermostats, smoke sensors and security cameras, among others. Their new camera is, as the name suggests, meant for indoor use and is wired.

This means it isn’t weatherproof, but instead is designed to be plugged into a wall outlet and positioned to keep an eye on the doors and windows of your property, or for checking up on your pets while away from home.

The camera records in 1080P Full HD and has a microphone, speaker, 135 field-of-view and 3 hours of free event video history which allows you to go back and see what you missed. The indoor Nest Cam also comes with the intelligence alerts which allows it to tell the difference between a person, pet, and vehicle, and alerts you about the things that matter to you. It costs $99.99 and available at Best Buy, Walmart, The Home Depot and Google Store.

Read GearBrain’s review here on New Google Nest Cam Indoor Wired Security Camera (2nd Generation).

Blink Outdoor Camera

If you are looking for a reliable wireless outdoor security camera that is compatible with Amazon Alexa smart displays and has excellent battery life, look no further than Blink Outdoor Camera. This smart battery powered security camera comes with two-year battery life, day and night 1080p HD vision, two-way talk and motion detection. It works with Alexa and is easy to setup. The Blink Outdoor Camera costs $99.99 but for the holiday season, you can get a 2 Camera Kit for the same price, $99.99. This is a 44% savings ($80 off). And if you buy a bundle of two Blink Outdoor Cameras and new Echo Show 5 (2021), this bundle is only $154.98, 41% off (or $110) the retail price of $264.98. All are available on Amazon.

Nest Cam Indoor/Outdoor Security Camera

Google Nest Cam works either inside or outside your smart home

The new Google Nest Cam is a battery powered outdoor and indoor security camera. If you are using Nest Cams or have a DIY home security system with Google Assistant acting as the hub, you must consider getting this new 1080p HD security camera. It can tell if a viewable object is a person, animal or vehicle. It works on a Wi-Fi connection and has two-way talk, 130-degree field of view, easy to install and costs $179.99. It’s a great addition to any DIY smart home security system.

Abode Cam 2

Abode Cam 2 is a weatherproof compact versatile smart home security camera. It works on a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi connection and comes with two-way communications, full color low-light night vision, 121-degree field of view (FOV), 1080p Full HD and 24/7 recorded video capabilities. It’s the perfect addition to your Abode DIY smart home system or a good first security device to start building your own smart home security system. The price, $34.99 and its flexible mounting options make this one of our best choices for the person looking for a good reliable smart home security camera.  

Read the GearBrain review of the Adobe Cam 2 here.

Wyze Cam v3

Chicago-based Wyze offers a cheap option for smart-home security. The company’s latest indoor Wyze Cam v3 is priced at just $20, yet records in 1080p Full HD and integrates with the Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT smart home system. There’s also 8x digital zoom, two-way audio, night vision, weatherproofing, and the camera can listen out for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, too. Video clips are saved online for free for 14 days, so you can view and download them if they’re needed as evidence. 

Wyze Sense

Wyze also sells a sensor kit called Sense. Priced at $20, this includes a motion sensor, a pair of sensors that alert you when the door or window they are fitted to is opened, and a hub that attaches to the Wyze Cam and is used to control the Sense kit.

Excellently priced, the sensor alerts you via the smartphone app and each has a 12-month battery life. They can also be set to control other Wyze devices; for example, when a door sensor is opened a Wyze bulb can be set to switch on. Additional sensors can be added to your system.

Read the GearBrain review here.

SimpliSafe Outdoor Security Camera

If the person you are buying a smart home security gift has a smart home powered by SimpliSafe, you should consider their new outdoor security camera. It is a wireless security camera with 1080P HD video resolution, 140-degree ultra-wide field of view (FOV), with digital zoom and full color night vision. It has a built-in spotlight with HDR to help you see clearly 24/7 and has a rechargeable battery which can last up to three to six months before it needs to charge. And when you need to charge it, you can easily remove it and recharge it in less than five hours. But the magnetic mount is what makes this security camera because it can hold the camera in place through all kinds of weather and provides the optimal viewing angles for you. It costs $169.99 and available on the company’s site as well as at Best Buy or Amazon.  See GearBrain review here.

Smart Video Doorbells

Ring Video Doorbell 4

Another good smart home gift to consider this year is Ring Video Doorbell 4, especially if they are using Amazon Alexa enabled devices. Reason: Ring is owned by Amazon and Ring devices work seamlessly with smart displays and speakers with Amazon Alexa voice platform. Ring Video Doorbell 4 is resourceful smart Wi-Fi video doorbell packed with the latest technology and security features to protect your smart home. It features a 1080p HD camera, 160-degree field-of-view (FOV), two-way communication with noise cancellation, a Live View of your doorbell in the free Ring app, color night vision and customizable motion controls. It also works on either a 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz Wi-Fi connection and setup is quick and easy. If you you have an existing wired doorbell or not, this doorbell is a breeze to install. It costs $199.99 and is available on the company websiteAmazon, Best Buy, The Home Depot and other consumer electronics stores.

Read the GearBrain review here.

Google Nest Doorbell

If the person you are buy a smart home gift is using Google Assistant enabled devices as the hub in their home, you have to consider the new Google Nest Doorbell. The Google Nest Doorbell is a battery powered smart video doorbell with all the expected features you need to secure your front or backdoor. It’s easy to install and comes with a 1.3-megapixel color sensor, PIR (Passive Infrared) motion sensor, 6x digital zoom capabilities, a 145-degree field of view (FOV) and 3:4 aspect ratio. The 3:4 ratio is unique and provides a full glimpse at the person at your door. This means you will be able to see the visitor from head to toe on a smartphone or smart display screen. It costs $179.99 and it comes in four colors (Ash, Ivy, Linen and Snow). This doorbell is available on Best BuyWalmartABT Electronics and other electronic outlets. 

Smart Locks

Level Bolt

Designed by a group of former Apple engineers, the Level Bolt is a smart door lock that hides all of its components inside the door itself. This means the Level Bolt is far smaller and more subtle than most rivals, like those from August, while boasting the same amount of intelligence. 

This year, the company announced a partnership with Rocky Mountain Hardware, a manufacturer of elegantly designed door handles. Thanks to this partnership, people can preserve the design of their door without trading design for the convince.

Level Bolt automatically opens and locks as you approach and depart, and it has Apple HomeKit compatibility for extra smart home integration. (If you have a Ring Video Doorbell Pro, the Level Bolt is compatible with this smart lock too.) The lock is battery powered, and if that runs out it can be operated using your original key. Not the cheapest smart lock around ($199 on Amazon), but certainly one of the most attractive. Read the GearBrain review here.

Level Lock – Touch Edition

Also from Level Home is the HomeKit-friendly Level Lock – Touch Edition, a smart door lock that is just as subtle as the Lock shown above, but includes touch sensitivity as one way of locking and unlocking it. (Note: Level Lock – Touch Edition is also compatible with Ring Video Doorbell Pro.)

With Level Lock – Touch Edition, the technology is thoughtfully hidden, offering smart homeconveniences in an elegant and timeless lock design. With Touch Edition, keys are optional – you can enter and exit in any way that is most convenient for you, with the touch of a finger, using your voice or even an included programmable keycard. All of this while maintaining the highest level of residential security of any smart lock to date.  Read the GearBrain review here.

Schlage Encode Smart Deadbolt Lock

If looking to give a smart lock as a gift this holiday season, take a look at Schlage Encode Wi-Fi Smart Deadbolt Door Lock. It’s a smart lock with Wi-Fi built-in and has voice control capabilities using either Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa enabled devices. You can get in a variety of designs and finishes and costs start around $249.99. What makes this smart lock special is its compatibility with other smart home devices. It’s the only smart lock that works with all Ring video doorbells. If you are using Amazon Key, Yonomi or Schlage Home, this smart lock is compatible. And recently the company announced a new integration with Leviton which allows you to pair your smart lighting with your Schlage door lock. This smart lock will make a good gift for the smart home security minded friend or family member who needs a good reliable smart lock.  Read the GearBrain Review here.

For more ideas on how to find the right smart home security gift for your friend or family member, don’t forget to use The GearBrain, our smart home compatibility find engine. It’s free and easy to use. And it will assist you in finding not only compatible products that work with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa enabled devices. but any smart device that is compatible with the devices you already own or plan to buy for your smart home.

This article originally appeared on GearBrain and was syndicated by

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Tech gifts even Boomers will love

Tech gifts even Boomers will love

Parents and grandparents are typically the ones doing the gifting in their lives, making sure their children, and even friends, are getting that perfect present. This year, why not come up with new gifts to celebrate them during the holiday season?

Yes, parents spend a majority of their time focused on creating a great home for everyone, but they still have their playful side, too. In our holiday tech gift guide for parents and grandparents this year, we put together this list of gifts that are sure to please parents you know, whether they have a very young baby at home (or are helping you take care of one!), want to curl up with some Netflix in the evening or are hoping to create a perfectlyy cozy space for them and their family.


Aura is a brand of digital frames that not only stores digital images you upload yourself, but allows others to send photographs to the device from wherever they may be. And considering the social distancing almost everyone is facing today, we think digital frames make a wonderful addition to anyone’s life, particularly parents.

However, this year, besides images being beautifully lit, Aura photo frames will support video and sound. Their new smart photo frame, Mason Luxe, comes with the company’s highest resolution display. It supports video and sound, has a craftsman-inspired frame design and free unlimited storage for photos and videos, making sharing memories effortless. Mason Luxe frames are priced at $249, but you can still get other Aura Frames, like Aura by Carver which are also clean and well-designed. All Aura Frames are worth considering as a holiday gift if for no other reason than to help make people feel a little bit closer to each other today.

Miku Pro Smart Baby Monitor is a smart baby monitor that tracks a baby’s sleep pattern and breathing, as well as the room temperature. Miku uses a technology it calls SensorFusion, which follows and then analyzes an infant’s breathing and sleep patterns in real time — and without the use of a wearable. This smart baby monitor allows you to easily monitor and talk with your child from your smartphone or tablet. 

The camera has exceptional video resolution and night vision, and the device has a number of sounds and lullabies for you to choose. This smart baby monitor kit costs $399 and is available on Amazon and the company website. This might sound like a lot, but keep in mind you don’t pay any monthly fees to store your videos, and no wearable on your baby is required to track your infant.


For the parents who get a lot of home deliveries, we have the perfect holiday gift. It’s the Yale Smart Delivery Box, a locked cabinet that your deliveries can be placed in and locked while you are away from your home. 

This smart connected delivery box comes with a Yale lock, Yale Smart Keypad and Yale Connect Wi-Fi Bridge, which you use with the Yale Access App (iOS and Android) for remote access. It’s easy to assemble and can be stored on your porch or wherever your home deliveries are made. The Yale Smart Delivery Box is available in Manor Gray or Carbon Brown and costs $229.99 ($279.99 with Wi-Fi and Smart Keypad). 

See our full review here.


Amazon updated their Alexa-enabled Echo smart speaker this year with a cool new design, plus an added bonus: a Zigbee hub inside. For any parents on your list who are busy building a smart home, this extra perk is a great one, opening up the number of smart products they can add into their living space. Of course, the new Echo is also an exciting update with a great look, solid sound and all the regular features you can expect, including the ability mute the microphone when you just want some privacy.


The Meural Canvas II, which starts at $399.99, is one of those connected devices that’s a joy to have. It does one thing — send images, mostly art, into your home — and it does that very well. It’s pretty simple to set up, it’s easy to use, and it evolves: You can get new art frequently and change up what you see.

You can choose between four different kinds of frames, including wood. Images play to really any viewer, from those that are more into colorful graphics or nature, both of which are perfect for a child’s bedroom, to playlists designed for fans, like the curated set focused on HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” There are also images from National Geographic, The New York Public Library and even Magnum Photos, which represents famous photographers.

Robot vacuums are time-saving friends; they are able to clean your floors and rungs while you tackle other things in your home. The Deebot Ozmo T8 AIVI is one of the latest from Ecovacs, a sleek-looking robot that is a champ at vacuuming but has one significant hidden feature that really makes this a standout: a hidden camera that can watch your home from an app. That’s a security feature parents may really appreciate.

One of the features touted by Ecovacs is also the ability of the $799.99 T8 AIVI to remove bacteria through mopping and vacuuming. During GearBrain’s testing, the vacuum worked extremely well, could be scheduled to clean and could even avoid obstacles in its path, like cables. It’s a splurgy gift, but one parents, who are constantly working to keep a home clean, will likely adore.


Snoo Smart Sleeper Bassinet is exactly what it sounds like: a responsive connected baby bassinet that helps your baby sleep. It gently rocks as white noise plays to soothe a baby who is swaddled in a sleeper attached to the bassinet. 

Created by Dr. Harvey Karp, the $1,295 Snoo was designed to recreate the calming sensations a baby experiences while in their mother’s womb. The primary feature, however, is its ability to sooth an upset baby without waking parents. The sleeper does this by responding gradually to a baby’s cry with increasingly more motion and sound from inside the bassinet. For brand new parents, or those about to become parents, this may be one of the most indulgent gifts you can imagine giving them this year.


The new HomePod mini speaker is two years in the making, and the radical updated design belies that effort. A speaker with sound on its mind, the new HomePod Mini has a full range dynamic driver, a pair of passive radiators for optimum bass and an acoustic wave guide for 360-degree sound experience. There’s also a three-microphone array inside, plus a fourth that faces inward to help it better detect speakers talking to Siri even while music is playing.

There’s also a new Apple S5 chip inside, which allows the device to tap into something that the company calls computational audio. This allows the HomePod Mini to analyze audio and then tune the drivers and radiators in real time. The speaker comes in space gray and white, just as the original HomePod, and will be priced competitively at $99, placing it right up against the Nest Audio and the Amazon Echo (4th Gen), both priced at $99 each.


The $230 Philips Hue Sync Box can treat parents to a fun and impressive addition to their home by syncing the lights around this device to whatever is playing on their TV. You can adjust the brightness, pick from three modes (video, music and game), and select one of four intensity levels, ranging from subtle to extreme.

Plus, for smart home families, the device can be controlled by speaking to Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant, and it works with anything plugged into a TV using an HDMI cable. That means video game consoles, streaming sticks, satellite boxes, Blu-ray players and other media devices. And yes, it’s great for gamers, too.

If your are a Google Home or Google Assistant house, you have to consider the new Nest Hub (2nd gen). This is Google’s latest smart display, and it has many unique features. If familiar with the Nest display, you already know this deice can be used as a communication device, controller for your smart devices and even as an alarm clock.

 The Nest Hub 2nd Gen is a solid, well designed smart display with robust voice assistant capabilities. When linked to your other Google accounts from email to calendars, and also Google Home app, turns this display in to a very efficient personal and home manager. Mom and Dad will really like this new versatile smart home controller.

The Coway Airmega 250 is the largest air purifier made by Coway. We tested this device and found it to be efficient, especially for large rooms. It’s solid and kicks into gear on its own, and it even increase the intensity if it senses that’s needed. It’s easy to setup and comes with child safety lock. It costs $399.99 and works with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant enabled devices. 

Coway Airmega

Stadia is a blast. Let’s start there. Once you’re set up, having the ability to play anywhere you want is pretty great. The games are fun, well-rendered, hook you quickly, and we had really good experiences in terms of resolution on our TV … and frankly our Chrome browser, too. The entire set up for Google Stadia is $99 — and that includes one month free access to games, which is $9.99 a month after that. This is a fun option for families particularly as a budget entertainment option at home — and a great treat for the holidays.

The Lenovo Smart Clock Gen 2 is a follow-up to Lenovo’s popular Google Assistant powered smart clock, Lenovo Smart Clock Essential. This Gen 2 version still has the stripped-down retro look but comes with a wireless charging dock instead of charging ports. This makes it easy for your grandparents to easily charge their smartphones at night. 

The Lenovo Smart Clock 2 also has icons that are easy to read and features you’d expect in a bedside clock like setting an alarm. But this new version does have extra features like voice commands using Google Assistant, better speakers, 4-inch touch display with ambient light sensors and powerful microphone which you can muted for privacy. It retails for $89.99 when bundled with the docking station. It’s available on Lenovo website for only $69.99. You can also buy it on Best Buy ($89.99) or on Walmart for $89.


Another great gift for your parents or grandparents is a smart baby monitor, but it must be easy to setup and use. One smart baby monitor we would recommend for your grandparents epecially is Cubo AI Plus Smart Baby Monitor. It’s a smart baby monitor with artificial intelligence (AI), which helps track the baby’s sleep and activities during the night. 

Cubo AI includes a security camera, a free app, a mobile and floor stand, cables, a crib stabilizer and a temperature and humidity dongle. But the AI in this smart baby monitor is perfect for grandma or grandpa because they can be alerted when the baby’s face is covered or has rolled over. It even can notify them when their grandchild is crying. Cubo AI costs only $199 for the wall mount set, or you can get Cubo AI monitor and three-stand set for $299.


Muse S is one of favorite devices we’ve reviewed this year. It’s a way to make meditation almost a game. The soft band is easy to put on, the app easy to install and, together, they can help train your mind to relax and quickly move to a state of calm. You’re actually taught to try and get birds to sing — the more they sing, the more your mind is calmed. The device is $350, plus you’ll spend about another $95 to subscribe to the app. But we think anyone, especially your grandparents, will find Muse a wonderful gift and a way to step away from any stress this year has brought.

If your grandparents are using Google Assistant enabled devices in their home, the perfect smart video doorbell to get this year is the new Google Nest Doorbell. The Google Nest Doorbell is a battery powered smart video doorbell with all the expected features you need to secure your front or backdoor. It’s easy to install and comes with a 1.3-megapixel color sensor, PIR (Passive Infrared) motion sensor, 6x digital zoom capabilities, a 145-degree field of view (FOV) and 3:4 aspect ratio. 

The 3:4 ratio is perfect for your grandparents since they don’t have to tilt their smartphone to get a full glimpse at the person at your door. They will be able to see the visitor from head to toe on their screen. It costs $179.99 and comes in four colors (Ash, Ivy, Linen and Snow). This doorbell is available on Best Buy, Walmart, ABT Electronics and other electronic outlets.

Another good video doorbell to consider this holiday season for grandma and grandpa is Ring Video Doorbell 4, especially if they are using Amazon Alexa enabled devices. The reason: Ring is owned by Amazon, and Ring devices work seamlessly with smart displays and speakers with Amazon Alexa voice platform. 

Ring Video Doorbell 4 is resourceful smart Wi-Fi video doorbell packed with the latest technology and security features to protect your smart home. It features a 1080p HD camera, 160-degree field-of-view (FOV), two-way communication with noise cancellation, a Live View of your doorbell in the free Ring app, color night vision, and customizable motion controls. It also works on a Wi-Fi connection using either a 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz setting. And setup is quick and easy whether you have an existing wired doorbell or not. This smart video doorbell by Ring costs $199.99 and is available on the company website, Amazon, Best Buy, The Home Depot and other consumer electronics stores.


Robot vacuums make great gifts since they are easy to setup and can do one thing well: clean your floors. Some of these smart robot vacuums can vacuum, while others just mop. And if you can afford it, there are robot vacuums that can vacuum, mop and self-empty the robot. These are called 3-in-1 systems and normally run $600 and up. 

But we found one that is affordable and less than $500. It’s the Yeedi Vac Station. This device is a self-emptying vacuum and mop cleaner that can intelligently identify the type of floor to clean and choose the right cleaning method. It has powerful suction (3000Pa), smart mapping and navigation features as well as works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant enabled devices. It costs only $499.99 and is available on Amazon.


A smart button is a fun little add-on that lets you add a switch anywhere in your home, even on a piano. With the Philips Hue Smart Button, you just click, and your lights turn on and off. You don’t need to add wiring, and you don’t need to call in an electrician. 

And the entire device costs just $20. You do need to be using Philips Hue smart lights (which you could spring for if they don’t already have any), but after that, your grandparents or parents have an easy way to just turn off the lights before they go to sleep or turn them on before they get out of bed and never stumble around a dark room again.


This is the TV of all TVs. The Samsung Terrace, which is designed for outdoor use, making it perfect for any parents or grandparents who live in climates where their backyard is like a second living room. The TV starts at a 65-inch size and goes up, and each screen has Ultra HD 4K resolution, even outside. Of course, it’s weatherproofed, and it also connects to Wi-Fi so you (or your grandparents) can stream Netflix, Apple TV and more. The TV starts at $5,000, so this may be one of those gifts where everyone in the family (hello, second cousins) may want to chip in for this big (very big) gift.


Nest Audio is a good upgrade from the original Google Home, a speaker that first introduced people to the idea of having a smart assistant in their space. It’s got a great design and solid sound quality; music sounds full, round, and, when put in a location where sound is directed forward, it sounds quite clean and bright. For grandparents who have adopted Google Assistant, whether they’re Android users or Google Home fans, the new Nest Audio, at $99, is a fun gift this year.


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