Smart Home Devices: Hubs and Compatible Devices

by William Gray

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Smart Home Devices

Smart Home Devices are the rising stars of the tech world, bringing us one step closer to being able to control our lives with the help of a wifi connection and a smart home hub. With the ability to control our lights, door locks, appliances, blinds, and more, these devices bring a new level of convenience to our lives. The companies that are making these devices are continuously devising new tools to make our daily lives more convenient, here are a few of the tools they have come up with.

Home Hubs

There are a few major players in the market of Smart Home devices with the big three being (unsurprisingly) Google, Amazon, and Apple. Each of these companies has a line of smart hubs that keep all of your home automation in one, easy to use, place.

Google Home

Google’s contribution is in the form of Google Home. Featuring the Google Assistant this device is the hub for the Google-based home automation system. Featuring three different hub options to seamlessly integrate it into any room in your house. The Google Home Mini is perfect for rooms that you want integration in, but that you don’t plan on doing too much with, like your bedroom to control the lights and check your schedule in the morning. The Google Home, the base model, is a larger device that includes a better speaker for listening to music and/or projecting into larger rooms, perfect for a living room or entertainment room. The third, and newest, is the Google Home Max which functions as a large speaker making it the best sound of the three, great for an entertainment room, den, or backyard.

Image of Google Home

Amazon Echo

Amazon is currently the front-runner in terms of options for your hub. Currently boasting six different options for your hub, all featuring their assistant Alexa. The Echo Dot is the small out of the way device, comparable to the Home Mini, and the Echo is their flagship hub, comparable to the Home, but that is where the similarities end. The third in the Echo line is the Echo plus, a slightly larger version of the Echo that includes a built-in hub to connect to many other products that typically require a bridge, most notably the Philips Hue lights. The next additions Amazon brought along included a video screen to increase functionality. The Echo Spot includes a small screen, boasting the ability to view to-do lists, show lyrics as you listen to music, and make video calls, among other options with the screen. The larger alternative, the Echo Show, has all the same features as the Spot but boasts a larger screen and more powerful speakers.  The last, and newest, addition to the Echo family is the Echo Look. The Look is designed specifically with style in mind, using a handsfree camera built into the Look it can take pictures of your outfit and even give you a second opinion. The Look is currently available “exclusively by invitation”.

Image of the Echo Show

Amazon Echo Show

Apple HomeKit

Apple HomeKit seems to have gone in a different direction. With only one hub, the HomePod, which is marketed as a speaker that just happens to also have a connection to Siri, Apple has gone with the idea that your smartphone is your hub. The HomePod boasts great speakers and spatial awareness so it can direct the sound for best effect in any room. The speakers are able to connect to each other in order to play the same music in every room or be used independently to play different music.

image of Apple HomPod

Apple HomePod

Smart Lighting

One of the best-known functions of the Smart Home devices is their ability to control your lights. This feature extends past the basic on and off functions, the smart lights also allow you to control brightness, intensity, and even color depending on which lights you purchase. These lights are all LED so they typically last for longer than traditional lights and boast a low energy usage.  All of the companies that make smart lights have similar types of lights but each has a few differences, the two most popular are discussed below.

Philips Hue

Philips is a huge name in lighting and they did not miss a beat introducing the Philips Hue line of smart lights. Covering all of the basic lights they also introduced a portable light as well as string lights that can be attached to the wall. Using their app you can create premade light settings that can be activated by saying whatever you named the setting. For instance, one of the premade light settings sets your colored lights to imitate the sunrise. This line needs a bridge in order to connect to your home hub unless you’re using the Amazon Echo Plus, but this comes with any of their multiple starter kits.


LifX is a slightly more expensive alternative than the Philips Hue but does not need a bridge to connect to your home hub. It seamlessly connects to any of the hubs without any additional hardware. The standout product here is the LifX Tile, which is exactly what it sounds like, a tile-shaped light that can be stuck on any wall to create lighted designs. The kit for the Tile includes 5 tiles and the power supply, so you can plug it in and get started as soon as you open the box.

Other Gadgets

Many home security devices are available to link to your home hub allowing you to feel just a little more secure. The biggest products here are smart locks, that let you lock and unlock your doors using your home hub, video doorbells, which are able to display on the Amazon Echo devices that have a screen, and even smart baby monitors. There are also alarm systems that can be activated and deactivated using the hub and garage door openers. The Nest Thermostat is the big name that comes to mind when you talk about temperature control. The device will learn your habits and adjust but can also be linked to a home hub in order to verbally set your home to whatever temperature you want. Nest also puts out a smoke and carbon monoxide detector that will save you the headache of trying to figure out which one is going off by telling you the specific device. You can also prevent issues before they happen by monitoring the battery life on your phone, and even feel secure while away by checking the status from anywhere.

by William Gray

by William Gray

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

William Gray is a freelance writer with a vast array of experiences to pull from. Having worked in a variety of fields over the years and never quite managing to put his degree in English to work for him, he has decided the time is ripe to begin putting this to work.


Buy Smart Home Devices & Accessories

InkoTimes Bamboo Charging Station - Fast USB Charging Station for Multiple Devices - Perfect for Smart Phone Phone X Pad Tablets Home Family Office or Gift Giving (5 Pack Cables Included)

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

by InkoTimes
Why InkoTimes DETACHABLE Bamboo Multi Charging Station Dock? Want to find a way to charge your devices in neat and orderly manner? Hate the mess of tangling cables on your desktop or counter? InkoTimes 5-Port Bamboo USB Charging Station is a smart solution for you! Organize and charge your smart phones, tablets or other devices simultaneously! Perfect solution for your family's charging needs and would also be excellent on a busy professional's desk, employee break rooms, and etc. Unique Features: The frame of the multi charging station is made of 100% natural bamboo material with beautiful, durable construction design; Crafted from bamboo also for fresh looking and Eco-friendly trend; Unique and patented design; Not only a charging station, but also an elegant art, perfect choice for own use and gift for loved one or friend. Believe nobody will reject it!!! This is the comb of charging station (already with internal PCB & USB ports) and organizer, not like most of various bamboo charging organizers in the market, so no need to buy the internal USB charger separately, so with the HIGHEST cost-performance. Specification: Material: 100% Natural Bamboo frame + internal PCB & USB ports Input: 100-240V Output: USB*5--5V Rate: Max. 30W Output Current: 6.0A Total Size: 5.98(L)×5.51(W)×3.38(H) inch Net Weight: 0.88lb Compatibility: Universally compatible with iOS & Android cell phones and tablets. Package Included: 1 x bamboo charging station 3 x 8" lighting cable 1 x 8" micro USB cable 1 x 8" type c cable 1 x power cord 1 x user's manual Warranty: 30-Day money back guarantee 12-Month worry-free warranty 24H easy-to-reach customer

$41.99 on

❤ HITRENDS Surge Protector Power Strip 6 Outlets with 6 USB Charging Ports, USB Extension Cord, 1625W/13A Multiplug for Multiple Devices Smartphone Tablet Laptop Computer (6ft, white)

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

HITRENDS Power Strip Surge Protector with 6 USB Charging Ports with Power Socket 1625W/13A 6 Outlets Surge Protector: Hitrends 6-Outlet Home/Office surge protector with 6 USB charging ports features a modern design and a right angle plug that fits easily into tight spaces. The 12 surge-protected outlets provide powerful protection for a wide range of devices. Such as cell phones, tablets, laptops, PC bluetooth speakers, printers,audio or video sets,video gaming systems,etc... 6 USB Charging Ports : The power strip has 6 USB ports including 2*2.4A smart USB ports and 4*1A ports, which will detect the device automatically to deliver the proper electrical current. It works as a charging station for iPhone 6/6 Plus, 6S/6S Plus, iPad Air/Mini, Samsung Galaxy Note 4/Note 3/Note 2/S6/S6 Edge/S5/Google Nexus and other Smartphones. Product Specification: 1.AC Output Rated: 13A, 125V, 1625W; 2.USB Output Voltage: 5V; 3.6 USB Outputs: 5V/1A*4, 5V/2.4A*2; 4.Sockets: 6 US standard AC outlets + 6 USB Ports; 5.Material: Fire-resistance PC shell and 100% copper wire; 6.Cord length: 1.8 meters/6 feet; 7.Features: Surge protector, over-load protection and short-circuit protection. Package Contents: 1* 6-Outlet Power Strip with 6 USB Charging Ports 1* Instruction Manual Warranty: 1.Certified by FCC, RoHS, made of fire-resistance PC shell and 100% copper wire, the performance is guaranteed by Hitrends. 2.Hitrends Power Strip with USB offer 24-MONTH warranty & 30-DAY money back guarantee.

$23.99 on

Fastest Charging Station, ESOLOM Universal 6-Port Charger Station Dock with QC 3.0 Quick Charge, 6 USB Cables&iWatch Holder, Smart Charger Station Dock&Organizer for Multiple Devices,Phones,Tablets

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

ESOLOM 6-Port USB Charging Station- A Must-have Tools for Charging ESOLOM 6 USB Ports Charging Station keep your smartphones, tablets and other devices organized and fully-charged on your desktop. It also added iWatch charging compared with other charging dock station without this function. Perfect for home, office, school, hotels, bar, travel, etc. Specification: Input: AC100-240V/ 50-60HZ Output: USB DC5V/9A QC3.0:DC 3.6-6.5V/3A 6.5-9V/2A 9-12V/1.5A Size: 6.3*4.8*2.8inch/16*12.2*7cm Weight: 12oz/340g(Include holder) One QC3.0 ports support QC3.0/FCP/TypeC/PE+2.0/BC 1.2/Apple/Samsung Compatible Devices: ✔18W Quick Charge 3.0 Port (Max 3A Output): ✔Samsung Galaxy S9/S8/S7/S6/Edge /Edge Plus, Note 5/Note 4 /Edge ✔Google Nexus 6 ✔Motorola Droid Turbo, Moto X 2014 ✔Sony Xperia Z4 /Z4 Tablet, Z3 / Z3 Compact /Z3 Tablet Compact ✔LG G4, LG G Flex2, LG V10 ✔HTC One A9 /M9/M8 HTC Desire Eye, HTC One remix Xiaomi Mi3/4 Mi Note ✔Asus Zenfone 2 ✔ZTE Axon Pro ✔Yota Phone 2 ✔Samsung Fast Charge Qi Wireless Charging Pad ✔HUAWEI MATE 8/9 P9 HONOR V8/9 ✔12W USB Port (Max 2.4A Output): ✔For all iOS, Apple iPhone X, 8, 7, 7 Plus, 6/6s, 6/6s, iPhone 5/5S/SE/5C, and more, Andriod or Windows ✔Smartphones/Tablets, Like iPhone, iPad, Samsung, Nokia, Sony, Blackberry, LG, HTC/Power Banks/Bluetooth Speaker & Headsets and More. Warm Tips: 🔺1. Please check if the supply voltage is between 100-240V before use. 🔺2. This product can not work under high temperature and humidity environment. 🔺3. Do not arbitrarily replace parts. 🔺4. Please keep away from children. Package Included: 1 x 6-Port USB Charging Docking Station 1 x AC Power Cord 6 x Short USB Charge Cords 7 x Detachable Plastic Dividers(Baffles) 1 x iWatch Holder Stand 1 x User Guide

$29.99 on

Tech WTF is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to