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Best Smart Home and IoT Products of 2021 in India

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Best Smart Home and IoT Products of 2021 in India


The best smart home and IoT products of 2021 comprise of various products we’ve reviewed across diverse product segments. We’ve reviewed many smart speakers, robot vacuum cleaners and unique products such as personal tracking devices and air purifiers in 2021, and our list comprises of the best products we’ve tested this year across all of these categories. What is common among all of these Internet-of-Things (IoT) products is the ability to connect to the Internet or another device in some way that offers unique features and capabilities.

The smart home and IoT categories have expanded considerably in 2021, and now include entertainment, health, home cleaning, and personal device security and tracking. Read on for our list of the top smart home and IoT gadgets of 2021.

Best premium smart display and speaker: Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen)

With an interesting 10-inch screen that can follow your gaze, and a loud speaker system, the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) is the most impressive smart display and speaker we’ve seen this year. Powered by the ever-improving Alexa, the Echo Show 10 can do a lot using voice commands, including play video and music from supported streaming services, control your IoT devices, and even work as a digital photo frame and display general information when idle.

The Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) is expensive, and sound quality didn’t quite match up to expectations at this price. However, the excellent camera and microphone capabilities, the many Alexa-based features that come with it, and the unique motion-tracking feature which can track your face as you move around the room, make this a smart home device like no other.

 

Best affordable smart speaker: Lenovo Smart Clock Essential

While the Lenovo Smart Clock Essential is sort of a smart display, the screen is only used to show the time and some other basic information such as the weather. However, what makes it unique is that it’s a full-fledged smart speaker, with access to Google Assistant and the ability to play music through voice commands. Interestingly, it also has a small but very useful night light, making this the ideal device for your bedside table.

Sound and microphone quality aren’t very good, and this is a device best used from up close, but you can use it to play soft music or other audio content by your bedside, or even control your IoT devices through voice commands. It’s reasonably priced and looks good too, making this our top pick among affordable smart speakers in 2021.

 

Best robot vacuum cleaner: 360 S7

Although not launched in 2021, we did review this excellent robot vacuum cleaner this year. Among all of the devices we’ve reviewed, the 360 S7 stands out as the best for a number of reasons. With good cleaning capabilities, a stable and very useful app, quick and accurate navigation, and decent battery life, this device outperforms its rivals in the segment priced at under Rs. 30,000.

Although it was priced higher when we reviewed the 360 S7, it’s now a bit more affordable and much better value for money. Like all robot vacuum cleaners, it requires frequent maintenance, and the mop reservoir is small and doesn’t hold too much water. However, on the whole, it’s a reliable robot vacuum cleaner that truly puts its app and connectivity features to good use.

Buy: 360 S7

Best smart air purifier: Dyson Purifier Cool

Increasing pollution levels in urban areas across India has made air purifiers a popular home gadget, and many of the mainstream options today are connected devices that can be controlled using an app. Our top pick in this category for 2021 is the Dyson Purifier Cool, which looks great, and offers impressive air purification and fan-based cooling. Thanks to the Dyson Link app, you can control the air purifier and view air quality statistics from anywhere, once your purifier is connected to your home Wi-Fi.

Although expensive, the Dyson Purifier Cool is among the most impressive premium air purifiers you can buy in India right now, and its connected functionality works well on its own or with supported voice assistants such as Google Assistant and Alexa. At low fan speeds, it runs quietly, making this air purifier ideal for your home.

Buy: Dyson Purifier Cool

Best crossover smart home device: Amazon Fire TV Cube (2nd Gen)

The Amazon Fire TV Cube (2nd Gen) is primarily a streaming device, but the thing that makes it special enough to include in this list is that it’s also a smart speaker of sorts. With hands-free Alexa capabilities and a small speaker system that lets Alexa give you spoken responses, you can use the Fire TV Cube as a hands-free smart home controller. Of course, you can also use Alexa to fetch specific content on the streaming device through voice commands.

This isn’t a smart speaker in the complete sense, since the in-built speaker can’t be used to stream audio content. However, it will play music on the connected television or home-theatre system. That said, the ability to have two key functions in a single, compact form factor makes the Amazon Fire TV Cube (2nd Gen) our favourite crossover smart home device of 2021.

Buy: Amazon Fire TV Cube (2nd Gen)

Best personal tracking device: Apple AirTag

The Apple AirTag is small, needs an iOS device to setup and work with and is really meant to do absolutely nothing once you’ve set it up and have attached it to a personal item. However, this is what makes it so interesting, since it helps you keep track of and find personal items such as a wallet, keys, or backpack. It runs on the widely available CR2032 battery which is user replaceable, and works with the Find My app on iOS.

It’s expensive and functionality is limited to the Apple ecosystem, but the AirTag is a useful tool to have if you tend to misplace your personal belongings often. Unlike most IoT products that work with Wi-Fi, the AirTag uses Bluetooth to communicate with other devices, but can interestingly use any connected iOS device to help broadcast its location with reasonable accuracy, earning its place on our list.

Buy: Apple AirTag


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Wakefit Brings Temperature-Control Mattress, Contactless Sleep Tracker

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Wakefit Brings Temperature-Control Mattress, Contactless Sleep Tracker


Wakefit unveiled its AI-powered sleep solution suite dubbed Wakefit Zense on Wednesday. The Zense range features Regul8, a temperature-adjustable mattress, and Track8, an artificial intelligence (AI) contactless sleep-tracking device. With these, the company said it aims to integrate technology into the sleep environment to help users optimise sleep quality and improve sleep health. Both devices come with dual-zone sensors to create a custom sleep environment on each side of the bed. The Wakefit Zense range of sleep solutions is currently available for pre-booking.

Wakefit Zense Regul8, Track8 price and availability

Regul8, under the Wakefit Zense range, can be purchased at the price of Rs. 44,999. The mattress is available in Queen (78×60 inch) and King (78×72 inch) sizes. Track8, the sleep tracking sheet, is priced at Rs. 10,499. Both devices can currently be pre-booked on the official website for Rs. 499 each, or Rs. 899 combined.

Wakefit Zense Regul8 features

According to the company, the Regul8 mattress features a water-based system to control the temperature of the mattress surface. The mattress’ temperature can be set between 15-degree and 40-degree Celsius using the companion app. Regul8 has a dual-zone temperature controller, which allows the user to set different temperatures for each side of the bed.

Regul8 also comes with integrated temperature sensors that can monitor the temperature of the mattress surface and make real-time adjustments to keep it consistent throughout the night. It also features five different presets — Neutral, Cold, Warm, Ice, and Fire — to easily set the desired temperature. Wakefit claims that the Regul8 mattress consumes 60 percent less energy than a 1.5-ton AC.

Wakefit Zense Tack8 features

Track8 is a sleep solution under the Wakefit Zense range, which can track users’ sleeping patterns and other metrics without any contact. The device, which is a thin rectangular sheet of fabric with two sheet sensors, is placed under the mattress. It has dual-zone sensors, one for each side of the bed, and can track two users at the same time. The device directly sends the collected data to the companion app, which then processes the information to present a detailed sleep report.

The company claims the device uses AI and machine learning algorithms to capture data around sleep stages, respiratory rate, movement, sleep and wake up time, on and off bed time, and snoring. Once analysed, it also offers an aggregated sleep score.



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Apple’s tvOS 18 Gets InSight, Automatic Subtitles and Other New Features

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Apple’s tvOS 18 Gets InSight, Automatic Subtitles and Other New Features


Apple announced several new features for tvOS 18 – the latest operating system for Apple TV devices, at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2024 on Monday. One of the key highlights is a new feature known as InSight, which provides the user with information about the content that is currently being played. In addition to InSight, Apple announced improvements to existing Apple TV features such as a smarter Enhanced Dialogue, automatic subtitles and support for a new aspect ratio. Apple said that new screensavers will also be available to users soon.

tvOS 18 Updates

At its developer conference, Apple announced InSight – a feature which displays real-time information about the currently playing content, such as the characters, cast and the music playing. To get further information, users can select a specific actor and bring up their background and filmography page, the iPhone maker revealed.

Moreover, tvOS 18 is also said to offer the ability to add the currently playing music to the user’s Apple Music library. The Cupertino-based tech giant also announced that the InSight information can now be accessed on the iPhone while using it as an Apple TV remote.

Stan Ng, Vice President of Apple Watch, Audio, Health, and Home Product Marketing, said, “This fall, tvOS 18 and our services take entertainment in the home to the next level by bringing timely information to fans about their favourite characters and scenes.”

With tvOS, the Enhanced Dialogue feature is claimed to have become smarter, leveraging machine learning (ML) and computational audio to provide better vocal clarity. This feature can now be taken advantage of when playing supported content through the TV’s in-built speakers, Bluetooth-connected audio devices and AirPods, Apple said.

Subtitles are also said to receive improvements, with Apple claiming they now automatically appear in places where the audio does not match the device language. In addition to new screensavers such as films, TV shows, portraits and even Snoopy, Apple is also introducing support for a wider 21:9 aspect ratio for video playback on projectors.

Apple also announced updates to the Home interface, with users now able to share control when playing music through HomePod and HomePod mini using SharePlay and Apple Music. Furthermore, Live Captions will be coming to the US and Canada to read what others say during FaceTime calls when using the iPhone as a Continuity Camera on Apple TV.

The iPhone maker claims to have also introduced a new look for the Apple Fitness+ app to “help users make the most of its robust library, stay motivated, and keep consistent with their fitness routine.”


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Siri May Soon Be Able to Control Robot Vacuum Cleaners for You

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Siri May Soon Be Able to Control Robot Vacuum Cleaners for You


Apple Home will gain support for robot vacuum cleaners with the upcoming iOS 18 update, the company announced at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2024 keynote on Monday. The app enables users to control their smart home accessories such as lights and security devices, using a HomePod or Apple TV as a smart hub. When the iOS 18 update arrives, the Cupertino-based tech giant will also introduce a new a guest access feature, granting users temporary access to smart home devices located in a household.

Apple Home App Updates

At WWDC 2024, Apple announced that it will soon allow users to control their robot vacuum cleaners via the Home app. After the functionality is rolled out later this year, commands may be relayed to the vacuum cleaners via Siri. These include commands to clean floors, change cleaning modes, or check the battery status.

The core functionality of robot vacuum cleaners will be supported via the Apple Home app, according to the company. These include managing power controls, setting the cleaning mode, and performing vacuum and mop cleaning, and checking charge status.”

Guest Access on Apple Home

Device owners will be also able to provide guest access to smart home devices to those people who don’t visit their homes too often. In addition to that, they can also set schedules for when guests can access their homes with smart home keys utilising the ultra wide-band (UWB) technology, it further added.

This functionality will be rolled out when iOS 18 is released to the public, which Apple says will happen in the Fall. As per the previous trends, this might coincide with the launch of the upcoming iPhone 16 series in September.

iOS 18 Eligible Devices

While iOS 18 is bringing upgrades to existing features in addition to new ones, not all iPhones will be eligible. As per the company, only the iPhone XR and newer models up to the iPhone 15 Pro Max (as of now) will receive the update. This means the iPhone models that received the iOS 17 update last year will also be updated to iOS 18.

However, the newly announced features powered by Apple Intelligence (or artificial intelligence) will only be available on handsets running on the A17 Pro SoC, which means the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, according to the company.


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