We are truly in the age of the connected home — while most of us still don’t want or need a WiFi-equipped fridge, smart dishwasher, or robotic butler, we can clearly see the appeal of voice-activated speakers, video doorbells, and customizable lighting.
And by the way, these are the three categories of smart home products that we are giving the Stuff Gadget Awards to in 2022. These things are small, effective, affordable, and very easy to incorporate into your life, and once they’re there you’ll wonder how you managed without them.
Smart Lighting Product of the Year: Nanoleaf Lines
This modular wall lighting set consists of a series of strips and nodes that allow you to arrange it in a shape of your choice. Light enough to be mounted on both ceilings and walls, the RGB-powered strips illuminate the negative space around them, with color, brightness and pattern always in control via the Lines app. They can even be set to match the colors on your PC screen for an Ambilight-style gaming setup, or pulsate to the rhythm of the music playing.
Highly recommend: Govee Immersion Kit
Speaking of Ambilight, our runner-up mimics Philips TV technology by allowing you to outfit the back of your screen with an LED strip and two light bars. Meanwhile, a cleverly positioned camera captures what’s on screen and lets the lights shine with the same colors and intensity. Clever stuff indeed.
Also shortlisted: Sengled Smart Health Monitoring Light
A smart lightbulb with a decent sideline when it comes to heart rate, body temperature, and sleep tracking, this bright piece of tech is worth a mention.
Smart Security Product of the Year: Nest Doorbell (Battery)
While it’s not the cheapest video doorbell or blessed with the sharpest image quality, the Nest can’t be beat for functionality. Assuming you have a Google account and are using the company’s services, it (or should that be “Nestles”) blends in with ease, sending you automatic notifications and recognizing people and packages in its field of view. A £5 monthly Nest Aware subscription is handy but not essential as the camera can store three hours of video without that subscription.
Highly recommended: Eufy Video Doorbell 2K
The big pluses here? There are no monthly fees (just £175 upfront) and a high-quality 2560 x 1920 Sony image sensor delivers a sharper video feed than most video doorbells. The disadvantage? Since the Eufy Video Doorbell 2K doesn’t offer cloud uploads, it needs to be paired with a base station (fortunately included) for local video storage. A viable alternative to the Nest for subscription swindlers.
Also shortlisted: Blink Video Doorbell, Ring Intercom
We’ve also been impressed with the way the Ring Intercom brings the video doorbell experience to apartment dwellers, while Amazon’s other video doorbell brand, Blink, launched a crisp entry-level model that runs on AA batteries.
Smart Speaker of the Year: Amazon Echo Show 15
The oversized show could have been an ugly white elephant of a gadget, but its awesome 15.6-inch touchscreen works smoothly in conjunction with Alexa voice control and a variety of widgets to offer something different than we’ve seen on the earlier ones smart speakers from Amazon. Perfect for kitchens and family rooms, it makes a great digital photo frame when not in use.
Highly recommended: Meta Portal Plus
The Portal is a smart display more focused on video calls than the Echo Show 15 and works natively with Messenger, WhatsApp and Zoom. Its 12-megapixel camera, 14-inch 1440p screen and four-mic setup make calls and meetings technically impressive. The 30W speaker setup doesn’t sound bad either, while Alexa integration makes hands-free calling easier.
Also shortlisted: Amazon Echo Dot
We’re also fans of Amazon’s spherical smart speaker, now on its 5th generationth Generation: It’s cheap, compact and surprisingly powerful in terms of sound quality.
About the Stuff Gadget Awards
At the Stuff Gadget Awards, we reward the best tech we’ve seen throughout the year with gongs that celebrate their status as the crème de la crème of gadgets. Read more about The Stuff Gadget Awards.