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Are these the best smart home gadgets of 2018?

Tuesday, January 23rd 2018 by Pete Wise

The smart home device revolution finally seems to be taking place, over a decade after the product category came into existence. According to a report from Deloitte, 52% of Brits now own some sort of connected device, and 30% say they plan to buy one in 2018.

From air purifiers to smart speakers, electric toothbrushes to family fridges, these smart gadgets are changing just about every aspect of domestic life as we know it. We’ve scoured the net to find some of the best emerging devices on the market right now.

Samsung Family Hub 3.0

What’s the heart of a home? The dining table? The TV?

Judging by the Family Hub 3.0, it could well be the fridge. Samsung exec John Herrington described this remarkable new iteration of the world-leading smart-fridge as “the home’s digital command center to help manage food, family and fun”. It clearly caters for each of these three Fs exceptionally well.

On the culinary front, there’s the option to use the fridge-front touchscreen to order food with a couple of clicks. You can also see what’s inside the fridge remotely using the View Inside app.

No self-respecting smart-fridge would settle for simply offering digitally enhanced food storage, and indeed, the Family Hub 3.0 is bursting with additional life-enhancing features. You can use it to check your schedule, it’s preloaded with fun applications for kids and you can listen to music through its superb, in-built AKG speakers. The fridge links up to Samsung’s Bixby voice assistant, allowing for voice-command control that can differentiate between members of the household.

MATR Air Purifier

Air purifiers are already a hit with consumers in India, the United States, and perhaps especially in China, where a 100-meter purifier was recently erected to improve air quality in the smoggy city of Xian.

2018 looks set to be the year the UK starts catching up, with an increasing number of home air purifiers hitting the shelves. One of the most exciting of the lot is currently under development at the Central Research Laboratory in London – and it’s at the opposite end of the size spectrum to the Chinese tower we mentioned.

MATR is setting out to be the world’s most powerful small air purifier, capable of capturing dust, pollen, smoke and other undesirable particles, without taking up lots of precious space. It features smart air quality monitoring and an LCD display, and you’ll be able to move it around your home with ease thanks to its hand-crafted leather strap.

Fancy being one of the first people to breathe MATR-filtered air? Then sign up for early bird access to its Kickstarter.

If you can’t wait for the MATR, a great air purifier that’s out right now is the BlueAir Sense+, which is fitted with a high quality HEPA filter that removes smoke, allergen and dust particles from the air. It can be remote controlled via the BlueAir Friend smartphone app, which lets you monitor the air quality in your home and change the purifier’s settings.

GLAS Smart Thermostat

We enjoy nothing more than saving money on utilities here at Cable.co.uk – and that’s exactly why we’re drawn to the GLAS thermostat by Johnson Controls.

Available for pre-order from March 2018, this supremely stylish thermostat is set to break new ground in its sector. Aside from benefiting home energy efficiency through activity tracking and remote boiler control, the GLAS will also incorporate air quality tracking controls that alert the user to pollutants in their atmosphere.

You can sign up to receive a notification when the GLAS becomes available.

If you’re in a hurry to buy a smart thermostat and you also need a new boiler, you may be interested to hear that Boxt is offering a free Honeywell Lyric T6 smart thermometer with every new wall-mounted combi boiler.

Though not quite so advanced as the GLAS, the T6 is packed with excellent, energy-efficiency-boosting features, including “ring-fencing” that can automatically turn the heating off when you (and your smartphone) leave the house.

Kolibree Magik Electric Toothbrush

If you’re seeking proof that smart tech can do just about anything, look to the Kolibree Magik electric toothbrush: it can get kids to brush their teeth! This product caused a buzz at the CES 2018 tech event, and looks set to raise smiles galore when it comes out later this year.

The Magik links up to an app on the user’s phone to turn brushing into any of a selection of real-time, augmented-reality games, with colourful environments layered over the image from the smartphone camera. It’s not just brushing your teeth anymore – it’s fighting monsters or exploring under the sea!

We don’t have the release date for the Magik yet, but you ensure you are one of the first to know when it comes out by clicking the 'I want it' button on the Kolibree website. You can also check out Kolibree's great smart toothbrush for adults – the Ara, a winner at the CES Innovation Awards in 2017.

Apple HomePod

This one’s not quite on the market yet, but when it arrives it may well prove to be one of the most significant releases of the year.

The HomePod is set to be a marquee product for Apple, a direct competitor for the Google Home and Amazon Echo. It’s a smart speaker, equipped with Apple’s smart assistant Siri and a host of advanced audio features that look likely to set it apart from the crowd. Perhaps most notably, the HomePod will be spatially aware, and therefore able to adapt its sound to the dimensions of your home.

Other smart functionalities slated for inclusion on the HomePod include iMessage integration, event reminders, weather information, and smart home device control via HomeKit.

So when can you get one? The latest rumours we’ve heard suggest the HomePod will be out in the UK early this February – but take that with a pinch of salt. This gadget’s has had its release date moved back before, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the same thing happened again.

In the mean time, the latest generation Amazon Echo is available from, well, Amazon, for £89.99. The Google Home tends to cost a little more – it's currently £129 at both Argos and John Lewis.

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