Best gifts: Internet of (Things) you can't live without

Treat yourself or a loved one to some of the best Internet of Things gifts and gadgets this Christmas.
By Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer
1 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET

Sonos Play:1 compact wireless speaker

The Sonos Play:1 compact wireless speaker could make a great gift this holiday season, especially if recipients have music streaming subscription services such as Amazon Music, Pandora, Apple Music, and Spotify.

The stylish compact speaker can be hooked up to your Internet connection, synchronized with other speakers in the home, and can be controlled through the Amazon Echo and Alexa voice assistant.

Price: $199 (£180)

Via: Amazon US | UK

2 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET


No matter the size of where you live, sometimes, dead or weak Wi-Fi spots can be a real nuisance. Eero aims to eliminate this by extending the reach of your Wi-Fi through mesh networking.

As a gift, the Eero could be appreciated -- especially for those who spend time online working or streaming content and want the same speeds no matter where they are.

Price: $299

Via: Eero

3 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET

Nanoleaf Aurora

A gift for technology fans and the creatives among us, the Nanoleaf Aurora -- a modular lighting system for your wall -- is not the most functional of lighting products but is certainly a conversation starter.

You can choose the design and layout, bolt-on as many panels as you wish, and control each panel separately through an app to display a variety of colors.

See also: ZDNet review

Price: $229.99+ (£179.99+)

Via: Nanoleaf

4 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET

Google Home

Google Home, a rival to Amazon's Echo smart speaker, is the firm's answer to a smart home assistant. The IoT device allows you to tap into Google as a voice assistant, control your connected devices, tap into apps including Maps and translation and also acts as a standard speaker.

Price: $129 (£129)

Via: Google

5 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET

Nest learning thermostat

The Nest learning thermostat is a connected home device which can help save users on their energy bills. The device can monitor temperature and through an accompanying app, can be set up to control a home's heating and schedule.

Price: $246.89 (£219)

Via: Nest

6 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET

Canary Flex

Now that Canary has re-activated night vision for non-subscribers, the indoor and outdoor connected home security system is once again a worthwhile investment which could become a great gift for the security-conscious.

The Canary Flex is a weatherproof HD security camera which connects to an accompanying app and alerts users if motion or sound is detected, allowing viewers to tap into realtime footage and, if necessary, sound the alarm.

Price: $199 (£199)

Via: Canary

7 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET

Amazon Echo Plus

The Amazon Echo Plus is an upgrade on the original Echo which includes the Alexa voice assistant, search functions, and the ability to control smart home devices from vendors including Philips, Samsung, and Hive. For fans of connected homes, this could make a great gift this Christmas.

The pack also comes with a Philips Hue white lightbulb and so recipients can begin experimenting with voice and app-controlled smart lighting.

Price: $149.99 (£139.99)

Via: Amazon US | UK

8 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET


The Foobot is an interesting smart home gadget which may make a great gift this year for those who like to stay healthy and keep tabs on what is going on in their environment.

The device monitors the condition of your air, including humidity and PM levels, and can be set up to alert you should there be any cause for concern.

Price: $199 (£199)

Via: Foobot

9 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET

Philips Hue smart lighting

Smart lighting which can be controlled through a home hub such as Google Home or Amazon Echo, or via an app, is something which quickly becomes a convenient way to set up custom lighting in your home.

The Philips Hue is a great place to start. While not the cheapest on the market, the Hue range has the best ambient color range I've come across and is likely to be a hit this holiday season.

Price: $Varies

Via: Philips US | UK

10 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET

Ring video doorbell 2

A video-based doorbell may seem like little more than a novelty, but once you use one, you appreciate its worth. An interesting gift for those who like a little more security at home or are out and about and forever missing packages -- the Ring video doorbell 2 connects up to a smartphone or tablet, monitors your front for motion or sound, and alerts you when the bell is rung.

Price: $199 (£179)

Via: Amazon US | Ring

11 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET

Nest Protect

A product by Nest which could make an interesting IoT gift this Christmas -- especially if the recipient is known for failing to test or power up their own alarms -- is Nest Protect.

The smart device not only detects smoke and carbon monoxide, but can send alerts through an app if the owner is away. There's no more need for tea towels, either, during false alarms as the Protect can be turned off in the same way.

Price: $119 (£109)

Via: Nest

12 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET


Flic is an interesting connected home gadget which would make a great stocking filler this Christmas. The button can be placed on a wall or other surfaces and, once pressed, can be programmed for a variety of purposes.

One click, two, three, or hold -- each one can be selected to do anything from sending a text to someone, dim your smart lights, turn the music up, and more.

Price: $34.99 (£29.99)

Via: Flic (UK: Amazon)

13 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET

Amazon Echo Dot

If the full-sized Echo seems an extravagance or you want to just dip a toe into the world of home voice assistants, the Amazon Echo Dot could be a good option for Christmas.

The smaller version of the Echo comes with the same features for controlling smart devices, using the voice assistant and more, but has a smaller and less powerful speaker.

Price: $49.99 (£49.99)

Via: Amazon US | UK

14 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET

Amazon Echo Dot mount

If you've already picked up the Dot this Christmas, why not add a 3D-printed, stylish wall mount as well?

Price: £18 ($23)

Via: Shapeways

15 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET

Smarter iKettle

There's little better on a freezing cold morning than leaving your nest of warmth at the prospect of a freshly-boiled cup of tea. If your loved one reveres the same idea, a Smarter iKettle could make a great and novel gift this year.

The kettle, once paired with an accompanying app, can show water levels, be set to boil remotely, and the "Wake Up" mode can be initiated to brew just as you get up for work.

Price: £99.49

Via: Amazon UK | US alternative

16 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET

Samsung SmartThings

The Samsung SmartThings home monitoring kit is all someone needs to begin making their home smarter and more efficient. The full set includes Hub, two Samsung SmartThings Multipurpose Sensors, one Samsung SmartThings Motion Sensor, and one Samsung SmartThings Outlet.

The SmartThings range is compatible with products from Samsung, Amazon, Bose, Schlage, Yale, Cree, Honeywell, and more.

If the full kit is too much for now, you can also purchase elements separately -- start with the Hub and additionals can be added from there.

Price: $126.65 (£169.99)

Via: Amazon US | UK

17 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET

Smarter FridgeCam

A little ostentatious, perhaps, but the Smarter fridge cam could make an unusual gift for foodies this Christmas.

The wireless camera is installed in a fridge, where it allows users to view contents through an accompanying app remotely, and also uses object recognition technology to track food and send notifications when expiry dates are coming up. Users can also take advantage of an in-app shopping list.

Price: $131 (£99.99)

Via: Smarter.am

18 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET

Neato Botvac D3 robot vacuum

No modern IoT or connected home guide would be complete without a robot vacuum. As they are a relatively new concept, they don't come cheap -- such as the Neato Botvac D3 -- but they can make everyday life a little easier.

The D3 uses a laser navigation system to create a map of your home, zooming up dirt as it goes. You can also connect the vacuum to an accompanying iOS or Android app to set up cleaning schedules, start, and stop sessions.

Price: £449.99

Via: Neato

19 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET

Amazon Dash buttons

A small gift but one which could be useful -- or something of a gag product if the recipient is forever forgetting certain household items -- Amazon Dash buttons are one-click ordering devices which can be stuck around the home.

There is a huge range of products and brands available, including for ordering dishwasher tablets, fabric softener, beer, pet food, and cleaning products.

Price: $4.99 (£4.99)

Via: Amazon US | UK

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