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The best gadgets for a smart, connected home

A roundup of all the top Internet of Things, connected and smart gadgets out there to improve your home.

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1 of 16 ZDNet

Flic smart buttons

Recently launched, Flic is a portable wireless button which can be rigged up to perform different functions based on a single click, two clicks or after being held down. Fix it to your wall and program it to text your other half when you get back, control your Philips hue lighting or Sonos speakers, or act as an egg timer which pings your phone when they're cooked.

The capabilities are endless. The ecosystem is a small at present but the concept is likely to interest more app developers as time goes on -- and as a cheap way to dip a toe into the world of connected tech devices for your home flic is worth a look.

Flic buttons are available for $34 each. Check out ZDNet's review of flic here.

Flic

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2 of 16 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Response Electronics wireless burglar alarm, fake TV

IoT is an exciting concept, but you don't need more than a wireless connection to use technology to improve your home. When it comes to security, Response Electronic's mGuard wireless burglar alarm is a step-up from traditional security setups. The £149.95 LCD system can be rigged up easily to monitor through telephone dialling with a "listen in" feature and can be armed remotely through a free phone call, control panel and RFID tags.

If you want a simpler way to better protect your home through technology, you might also want to consider the £24.95 FakeTV, which uses LED lights to trick others into believing the house is occupied.

Response Electronics

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3 of 16 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Ring video doorbell

It might seem overboard, but if you want innovative technology both in and out of your home, the $199 Ring video doorbell is an interesting addition. The wireless bell acts as a traditional ringer, but sends notifications through to your phone instead. The bell's inbuilt camera and microphone system allows you to see and speak to visitors even if you're away. Built-in motion sensors also alert you if anyone is around your property.

A recent update is the inclusion of the Chime speaker, which returns the traditional ringing sound to your home if you prefer.

Ring

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4 of 16 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

PlayBulb

There are expensive IoT and connected home lighting sets on the market, but if you're simply intrigued by the idea of color changes in your home or want a budget-friendly way to add ambience, Mipow's Playbulbs could be a good option for you. The LED-based lights, controllable via smartphone in changing color and affects including rainbow lights and speed, range from garden lights and synthetic candles to full-on bulbs. Prices start from $39.99.

Playbulb

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5 of 16 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Philips Hue

If you've considered cheaper options but want a more advanced IoT lighting system which is also widely used by connected home hub ecosystems, the Philips hue range is the most well-known. Having seen them in action, I can say the lighting quality is excellent and can be easily controlled via an app to alter the ambience of your home.

Going further than cheaper options, hue can be configured to raise light levels to wake you up, turn on and off to fool others into believing someone is home -- or even for lighting to change when you receive an online message or email.

For a full setup, expect to pay just under $200.

Philips

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6 of 16 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Click & Grow

Green fingers but not much time? The Click & Grow smart growing system acts as your personal gardener in keeping plants hydrated and in top condition. Starting at $59.95, the system monitors your plants, releasing water and nutrients as and when required without your input. The only thing you need to do is make sure your plants have light.

Click and Grow

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7 of 16 ZDNet

Raumfeld multiroom speakers

A perfect addition to an audiophile's home, Raumfeld multiroom speakers not only provide excellent sound, but also have a wide range of connectivity options. Once hooked up to your Wi-Fi network, the speakers can be controlled via smartphone to increase sound, access online radio and stream directly, connect up to Spotify or to play USB media. Prices start from £199.

Raumfeld

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8 of 16 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Media streaming sticks

A smart home is not just about security or lighting -- it can also represent efficiency. If you often stream media on your mobile device, consider investing in a streaming dongle which will let you watch films, TV shows and YouTube videos on your television screen or monitor. There are many options available, with the most popular being the Google Chromecast ($35), Amazon Fire TV stick ($49.99) and Roku streaming devices ($49.99).

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9 of 16 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker with WeMo

Looking for ways to integrate technology into your cooking? Belkin's smart crock-pot, available for $129.99, is a slow cooker which can be controlled through your smartphone. Throw the ingredients, choose your cooking time and select your required temperature setting before getting on with your daily life. Once cooking is complete, the gadget automatically alters temperature to a warm setting to keep things ticking over until you're ready to eat.

Belkin

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10 of 16 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Feed and Go Smart Pet Feeder

A novelty item, but with some value if you're a pet lover on the move, is the Feed and Go Smart Pet Feeder. This $179 Wi-Fi based feeder allows you to login and see your pet and what they are up to -- or speak to them if you wish -- remotely, and timers can be used to issue both wet and dry food.

Amazon

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11 of 16 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Nest Thermostat

Google's Nest thermostat is a smart temperature control system for the connected home. Available for $198, the system learns about your temperature preferences and controls it while you're away to keep bills low. Once installed, you can select your preferred temperature settings and control the system via your smartphone, tablet or PC.

NestAmazon

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12 of 16 ZDNet

Manything

If you're interested in IoT but not enough to invest in the concept and happen to have a few old devices lying around, you could always download Manything. The free app allows you to rig these devices and set up a do-it-yourself digital security system which will keep an eye on your home while you are away and alert you if intruders have entered.

See also: Manything review

Manything

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13 of 16 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Amazon Echo

Amazon is one of the newest player to launch into the realm of the Internet of Things. The $179.99 Echo is a de-facto media center which can stream music from Amazon's Prime Music library, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and play local music collections via Bluetooth. The cylindrical speaker is voice-controlled -- allowing users to request a particular artist or album before finding the content online -- and comes with an accompanying app.

See also: ZDNet's Amazon Echo review

Amazon

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14 of 16 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

The QuickLock

Bring to mind hotel door locks, the QuickLock -- a recent Kickstarter campaign -- utilizes RFID technology to modernize the traditional home door lock. The device, connectable to both Android and iOS devices, can be opened using a key fob, card, ring or your smartphone depending on your preference. I'm no good at DIY but it didn't take me longer than 10 minutes to install with just a few screws, and the design is a sleek addition to the modern home.

If you constantyl forget to lock the door, you can choose to turn persistent lock on or off, which ensures Quicklock automatically locks after four seconds.

With an estimated delivery date of October, you can snag one as a boost to a man-cave or office for $149.95.

Quicklock

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15 of 16 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Mr. Coffee smart coffeemaker with WeMo

If you're like me and little more than a zombie in the morning, a coffee ready and steaming first thing without any effort sounds pretty great. If it sounds good enough to spend $149.99, Belkin's smart coffee maker, compatible with iOS and Android devices, can be set up with a brewing schedule in advance.

An accompanying app can be used to set up weeks of scheduling as well as alerts which let you know when your coffee is ready.

Belkin

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16 of 16 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Nixplay Seed digital frames

Available from $89.99, NixPlay's Seed digital photo frames are a fun accessory for a techy home. The digital photo frames use cloud technology to stream images based on your custom playlists, or can pull content from social media if you grant the service permission. The latest range include motion sensors which turn the frames on automatically if someone enters the room. The Seed range come in multiple sizes and color options.

Nixplay

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