Easy Smart Home Upgrades For A Lazy Weekend
Cody: All right, turning your home into a smart home doesn’t take a technical degree. In fact, it can all be done in one weekend.
Courtney: Like the sound of that. Julissa is standing by with our favorite nerd with more.
Julissa: Yes, our favorite nerd. First, he is keeping us safe, right, with our phone and now some upgrades for our home. Easy ones.
Ryan: We also call this segment “How to Drive your Wife Crazy on Sunday Morning.” You can put all of this stuff in and she’s like, “How do I open the garage? This is ridiculous.”
Julissa: I love it, okay.
Ryan: So we’ll start with the myQ. This is a garage door opener WiFi hub. What this allows you to do is, most of us go to… When we come and go from our house, we’re going through the garage, or we have little ones that get their bikes out and then they go wandering around the neighborhood. And you never know if it’s open or closed. And you’re like, “Did I open…?” So you can just do it by your phone now. Close your garage door, you can set timers to close automatically at sundown.
Julissa: Oh, okay.
Ryan: All kinds of cool stuff, right?
Julissa: Uh-huh, okay. I like that.
Ryan: And it’s only 80 bucks but it’s on sale right now for 50 bucks. You go to myq.com.
Julissa: Okay, sounds good.
Ryan: And you can pick up something like that.
Ryan: This is called the Nest Protect.
Ryan: This is the best smoke detector you can get.
Julissa: There’s different devices, but this is the protect.
Ryan: Yes, the protect. It’s not only a smoke detector, but also a carbon monoxide detector so you have two different devices. Put this in your house, it will tell you where the alert is coming from, so it will say, “Hey, there’s smoke in the kitchen,” or, “There’s smoke in the kid’s room,” or, “Carbon monoxide levels are high in the bathroom,” or whatever. So, if you put this… It’s about 119 bucks. You can put multiple in your house, network them all together, you can get alerts on your phone when things are going on. And no more phantom beeping in the middle of the night. Who’s…? Where? How? I don’t know.
Julissa: That is so annoying. It’s so annoying.
Ryan: It will tell you when its battery is low or whatever, you can just connect it to electricity. Next is the Harmony Remote. This is $350. I know it sounds like a lot, but it will save your marriage. So this is the best part. This little hub right here will allow you to put not only a remote control on your phone, but you can also use just a standard remote control. And this will automatically scan all of your devices.
Julissa: You mean when we lose this?
Ryan: Just take a picture of the device, like the back of the device and it will automatically program everything for you. So that way you can literally hook this up to Alexa and say, “Hey, Alexa, turn on the Xbox.”
Julissa: Alexa, turn on the Xbox.
Ryan: Or you can set up little different scenes. Like, hey, it’s movie time. It will turn on the device you want to watch the movie on, turn the volume exactly where you want, turn the lights down, all kinds of cool stuff. This is the most amazing thing. The reason why it’s going to save your life is because while the husband steals this remote control, and hides it, and won’t let you change the channel, you can just pull out your remote control from your phone, you can watch whatever you want.
Julissa: I love it. That’s fantastic.
Ryan: Pretty cool. No more sports on the weekends if you don’t want. Last, but not least is the Ring. This is the Ring Doorbell 2. We got this from Verizon. This right now is $169 through 5/11, so through May 11th. But otherwise, it’s normally 300 bucks.
Julissa: Oh, wow.
Ryan: If you want to pick it up, do it now.
Ryan: The best part about this is it’s 1080p camera, you can change the face plates for black or silver, and obviously you can answer your door from your phone. So you can kind of like, “Hey, what’s going on?”
Julissa: So what’s different about this version, the Doorbell 2?
Ryan: It basically, because it’s got the the 1080p.
Julissa: Okay, got it.
Ryan: The other one has 720p. Otherwise, roughly the same, it’s just better quality. You can hook this up directly to your actual doorbell so that way you can hear it throughout the house. But the best part is it just rings your phone, you can look at it, and say, “Hey, there’s a person on my porch,” or, “There’s a delivery,” or whatever.
Julissa: Okay, fantastic.
Ryan: Then you can open the garage and let them in.
Julissa: Okay. Look at that. He is helping us upgrade our house and save our marriage. I mean, I’m telling you. I mean he is just fantastic.
Courtney: Super helpful.
Julissa: We love having you.
Ryan: Hey, thanks.
Julissa: Okay, back over to you.
Courtney: Thanks, you two. Well…
Smart home upgrades are kind of a big deal these days. There’s just so many ways to add a dash of convenience and coolness to your home life, it can be tricky to know where to begin. There are, after all, many roads to your own private smart home nerdvana.
So, let’s start simple! In this article, we’re going to give you a quick rundown on some of the easiest smart home tech upgrades on the market. Each of these smart technologies can be installed and ready to go in the space of a weekend — giving you more time to pursue the noble art of doing nothing.
MyQ Smart Garage Door Opener – Normally $80, on Sale for $50
The garage is frequently the most technologically neglected part of a house. Sure, most homes have a standard garage opener, but those things have been around for decades. And this technological vacuum in the garage is kind of a shame, given that close to nine in ten homeowners report relying on their garage to enter their home on a regular basis.
The MyQ smart garage door opener is the perfect way to add lots of convenience to your home life. This simple-to-install device allows you to control your garage door using an app from anywhere. Halfway to work and not sure if you shut the garage? Just flick open the app and check! If you forgot, a simple tap of a button will shut your door and you’re good to get on with your day.
The great thing about this tech is that it’s simple. So long as you own a 1993 or later garage opener, there’s a good chance this tech is compatible and easy to get up and running. Adding to the simplicity, their site has a clear installation page, which links out to some step-by-step installation videos.
Follow the steps and you’ll likely be done in less than an hour. Bam! You’re done and ready to relax.
Nest Protect Fire/CO2 Detector – $120
Here’s a slightly unsettling factoid for you: In the 1970s, it’d take about 30 minutes for a fire to overcome an average room. Today, a similar sized room can be engulfed in less than 5 minutes. Our cheaper, lighter, more efficient building materials happen to also be far more flammable. Which is why it’s straight up essential to have good fire protection.
The Nest Protect fire and carbon monoxide detector takes the standard concept of a smoke detector and fire alarm and improves on it.
First, it constantly checks on its status. A disturbing number of old school smoke alarms simply don’t work, either due to old age or flat batteries. The Nest Protect system will maintain constant tabs (we’re talking over 400 self checks in a single day!) on its functionality. You’ll know the moment there’s something you need to address.
Another great feature of this device is that you can control it from your smartphone. This means if you get a bit over-enthusiastic in the kitchen and smoke your house out, you can instantly deactivate your alarm without scrambling for a ladder or broom handle. Much more elegant!
The cool thing about this tech from an installation standpoint is that the app pretty much guides you through the whole installation process, including a video you can follow every step of the way.
Logitech Harmony Elite Remote – $350
One of the biggest frustrations of home entertainment gadgetry is that you can easily end up with an entire coffee table’s worth of remote control units. Not only does this make it that much harder to find a convenient location for movie night nachos, you’re also often lumbered with a complicated set of button presses across multiple devices when you want to fire up your next entertainment option of choice.
The Logitech Harmony Elite Remote Control gives you a double whammy of simplicity goodness. Not only is this device pretty simple to set up, it’s going to keep simplifying your life from the moment you snap in the batteries and fire it up.
All you need to do is download the Harmony app, auto scan for devices and then create whatever custom activities you want. For example, let’s say you have an Xbox. Instead of using a few remotes to get your HDMI channel, volume and console all set up to your liking, the Harmony remote can do all that for you with the press of one button.
The best thing? You can install the whole shebang from your couch.
Ring Video Doorbell 2 – $169 + $3/Mo for Video Storage
This list would be incomplete without a good quality video doorbell. The Ring Video Doorbell 2 is great because it has all the features of a camera enabled doorbell, but with none of the wiring installation hassle.
Let’s start with the feature set. This camera has 1080 HD video, night vision, motion sensing technology and two way talk. Essentially, it gives you the option of receiving notifications whenever someone is at your door, day or night. This tech doesn’t just deliver great peace of mind for home security, it also acts as one of the most effective porch theft deterrents you can buy.
Now, the installation side of things is where the Ring Video Doorbell really stands apart. You can perform a hardwire installation for this device if you wish. It’ll work with most existing wired doorbell connections. However, if you want to shortcut this whole process, you can simply have it work via battery power and a WiFi connection.
Just install it straight into your door or wall and follow the app’s installation instructions. It’s beautifully basic.
If you have a few hours to spare in a weekend near you, why not enhance your home with one of these cool smart home technology devices. Then you can get back to seriously enjoying that lazy couch time.
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