Must-have tech gadgets for the home

Gino Montalvo
Gino Montalvo
Published on April 8, 2019

Last week I came across an article about the latest tech gadgets for the home. There is some pretty cool stuff out there, some of it new and some that has been around for a few years. If you’re in the market for home tech to help make life easier, read on.

Alexa

How can any homeowner get along without Alexa? Once she moves in, you’ll be saying her name more than anyone else’s.

I recently attended a family get together and, when I got home, I realized I’d left my phone behind. I had no way to call them to determine if, indeed, it was sitting on their kitchen counter.

So, I asked Alexa. “Hey, Alexa, can you make phone calls?” She then promptly asked who in my contact list I wished to call and within seconds I was speaking with my uncle over my Echo device.

Echo, for the uninitiated, is a device that has a built-in voice assistant. This assistant is Alexa and she can perform a variety of tasks from singing you to sleep, or playing music and telling jokes to locking the doors at home or turning on the thermostat (if they are enabled to work with Alexa).

In fact, Alexa has more than 7,000 skills, with more added frequently. I turn to Alexa multiple times during the day to remind me of things I need to do, to ask when it will stop raining and to answer questions that I’m too lazy to “Google” for an answer.

If you have no other tech gadget in your home, get an Echo. To learn more about Alexa, visit digitaltrends.com and to see current prices of the Echo device, visit Amazon.com.

 

The food sniffer

Ok, so it’s not life changing, like Alexa, but it may be life-saving. The Food Sniffer has been around for a couple of years, helping you avoid throwing away perfectly good leftovers or, prompting you to throw away those that are spoiled.

The Peres Company describes the Food Sniffer as an “electronic nose.” Run it over the food in question and it “sniffs out the gasses” (such as ammonia) that decomposing meat and fish release.

It isn’t able to sniff out bacteria, however.

A small device, it works via an app that’s available for both iOS and Android devices. It sells for about $130 and you can learn more about it at MyFoodSniffer.com.

 

Tile Pro

Who doesn’t misplace their keys occasionally? Or their phone?

The size of a keychain, Tile Pro attaches to anything you frequently misplace. When you need it, you can locate the item via the TileMate app.

Since it’s the phone we tend to misplace most often, Tile Mate still finds the item for you without having to consult the app — “by remotely making the Tile vibrate, flash, or ring.”

We look forward to if and when this device is compatible with Alexa. Then, she can tell us where it is.

The Tile Mate is a step down from Tile Pro, with a shorter range and less volume. Both are available at Amazon.com, Best Buy and Target.

 

Neato Botvac

Robot vacuums are nothing new, but pair one with smart tech and your housecleaning regime gets a whole lot easier. In fact, the Cnet.com review team calls it “the best-performing robot vacuum we’ve ever tested.”

Best of all? You can control it with Alexa.

Neato Botvac Connected pairs its Wi-Fi with an app for both iOS or Android devices, making it completely controllable via your smartphone. Start it, stop it, schedule it and “even steer it, right from your phone,” claims Ry Crist at Cnet.com.

Watch it in action at YouTube.com.

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