We’re really healthy in the age of the connected home—even if most of us still don’t want or need a Wi-Fi-enabled refrigerator, smart dishwasher, or robot server, we can clearly see the appeal of voice-activated speakers, video doorbells, and customizable lighting.
And those, by the way, are the three categories of smart home products we’re awarding Stuff Gadget Awards in 2022. These things are small, effective, affordable, and fit into your life so easily, that once they’re there you’ll wonder how you managed without them.
Smart Lighting Product of the Year: Nanoleaf Lines
This modular wall light collection consists of a series of bands and knots, allowing you to arrange them in the shape of your choice. The RGB-powered strips, which are lightweight enough to be installed on ceilings as well as walls, illuminate the negative space around them, with you always in control of color, brightness, and patterns via the Lines app. They can also be made to match the colors on your computer screen for an Ambilight-esque gaming setup, or pulse to the beat of any music playing.Read:Watch: Cristiano Ronaldo’s sweet gesture to young fan is winning the Internet
Highly recommended: Govee Immersion Kit
Speaking of Ambilight, our runner-up leverages Philips TV technology by letting you decorate the back of your screen with an LED strip and two light strips. Meanwhile, a cleverly placed camera captures what’s on screen, allowing the lights to shine with the same color and intensity. Really clever stuff.
Also shortlisted: Sengled Smart Health-Monitoring Light
A smart bulb with a neat sideline in heart rate, body temperature, and sleep tracking, this bright tech deserves a mention.
Best Smart Security Product of the Year: Nest Doorbell (Battery)
While it’s not the cheapest video doorbell, or blessed with the highest picture quality, the Nest can’t be beat when it comes to functionality. Assuming you have a Google account and use the company’s services, it (or should it be “Nestles”) gets into everything quite easily, sending you automated alerts and spotting people and packages in its field of view. The £5 monthly Nest Aware subscription is useful but not an absolute must, as the camera will store three hours of video without it.Read:Amazon just slashed the price of its 4K Fire TV Stick in half
Highly recommended: Eufy Video Doorbell 2K
The big plus points here? There’s no monthly fee to pay (just £175 upfront) and Sony’s high-quality 2560 x 1920 image sensor provides a sharper video feed than you’ll find in most video doorbells. What’s the downside? Since the Eufy Video Doorbell 2K doesn’t offer cloud uploads, it must be paired with a base station (thankfully included) to store local video. A viable alternative to Nest for subscription getaways.
Also shortlisted: Video Doorbell, Ring Intercom
We’re also impressed with how Ring Intercom is bringing the video doorbell experience to apartment dwellers, while Amazon’s other video doorbell brand Blink introduced an entry-level AA-battery-powered model.
Smart Speaker of the Year: Amazon Echo Show 15
The bloated display would have been an ugly white elephant for a device, but the gorgeous 15.6-inch touchscreen works brilliantly alongside Alexa voice control and a host of smart tools to offer something different from what we’ve seen in Amazon’s previous smart speakers. It’s perfect for the kitchen and family rooms, and it makes a cracking digital photo frame when not in use.Read:id Software consolidating Steam games to lessen confusion
High Tribute: Meta Portal Plus
A smart display that focuses more on video calls than the Echo Show 15, the Gateway works natively with Messenger, WhatsApp, and Zoom, and a 12-megapixel camera, 1440p 14-inch display, and four-microphone setup make calls and meetings technically impressive. The 30W speaker setup doesn’t sound bad either while having Alexa built in makes things hands-free a breeze.
Also shortlisted: Amazon Echo Dot
We’re also fans of Amazon’s Smart Ball Speaker, now in a 5The tenth Jill: It’s cheap, small, and surprisingly powerful in terms of sound quality.
About the Stuff Gadget Awards
The Stuff Gadget Awards is where we reward the best tech we’ve seen of the year with voices celebrating its place as the honor of the gadget crop. Read more about The Stuff Gadget Awards.