In this day and age, anything is possible. We’re talking hoverboards, self-driving cars, and virtual reality video games. Why shouldn’t your home keep up? Many homes in Charlottesville are equipped with smart home technology, and some of these products can go a long way towards making your life easier.
Nest Learning Thermostat ~$245.00
If you live in Charlottesville, you’re no stranger to the mid-Atlantic temperature flux. After a long day at work, the first few moments you spend in your home will often set the tone for the rest of your evening. It’s nice to walk into a house that’s exactly as warm or cool as you want it, and the Nest Learning Thermostat is quick to pick up on your habits. After an easy installation, you can start controlling the temperature remotely via Wi-Fi and a free app (which is available on multiple devices). The cool thing about this device is that over time, it becomes accustomed to your preferences without manual input. If you like it at 68 during the daytime and a little warmer at night, it’ll pick up on that. Eventually it becomes sensitive to the hours when the house is empty, and will adjust temperature to save power. It can differentiate between weekday and weekend preferences with just as much ease. It even takes your home’s heating system into account. If, for example, your forced-air radiant system takes 30 minutes to reach your desired temperature, it’ll start 30 minutes before you get home, but if it takes 10 minutes to get your furnace going, it’ll start 10 minutes before. Sometimes we think it knows us better than we know ourselves.
iRobot Roomba 980 ~$899.99
The Roomba has been around for a while; it’s the little vacuum cleaner that could. If it has to take a break to charge its batteries (which it does automatically), it’ll pick up exactly where it left off. The AeroForce Cling System with Carpet Boost uses 10 times the power on carpets and rugs to get a really deep clean. It also features tangle-free extensions to prevent clogging from hair and debris. The iAdapt Response Navigation system imbues the Roomba with an almost eerie sense of self-awareness, helping it avoid (but not climb) stairs. Like many of these smart home products, it comes with an app that allows you to program a schedule, so you can get your vacuuming done when no one’s home, at night, or on the way home (but will you beat your in-laws there?) The 980 literally creates a virtual map of the area as it goes, and refers back to it. It’s also cordless and bagless, so it really can go anywhere…except stairs. They haven’t gotten there yet.
tattletale Security Device Model #CU Kit 2 ~$558.00
Okay, if you’re reading this, you probably live in Charlottesville, or are thinking about buying a home in the Charlottesville area. Crime is everywhere today. And it only takes one incident to change your life completely, so there is absolutely no harm in being prepared. Enter the tattletale, possibly the most thorough smart home security system on the market today. This completely wireless, portable alarm system comes with three sensors (though you can add an additional 47). Its 20-hour backup battery will keep you safe even in the midst of a power outage. The military-grade plastics make this system tamper proof. Each sensor has a built-in motion sensor that scans 90 degrees around and up to 300 ft. away. The pet mode lets your pets wander and roam without triggering the alarm. If something does trip the system, it emits sirens and strobe lights to let you know; often, those features alone are enough to frighten potential intruders. The emergency response is activated in 6/10ths of a second, and unlike most systems, it’s not reliant on a phone line, so you’ll be assured that help is on the way. Add all this to a touchscreen and intuitive user interface, and the tattletale definitely ranks as one of the finest home security systems on the market.
Sonos Play: 5 ~$499.99
Awesome, high-quality tunes in every room? This is every music lover’s perfect gadget. We’re fully willing to admit that you can see great local, regional, and nationally touring acts live in Charlottesville every weekend, but sometimes you want crisp, clear, high-fidelity sounds right in your living room (or kitchen, or bathroom, or laundry room). Enter the Sonos Play: 5, one of the company’s most sophisticated systems yet. You control the music completely through the phone, tablet, or device of your choosing, so once the speakers are installed, they stay there, and you can add as many Sonos speakers as you want. The material is humidity resistant, so you can finally sing along to your favorite songs in the shower. Sonos’ technology is perfect for a house divided, and let’s face it…there’s a good chance that your kids hate your music. Eventually they’ll come to realize how great Johnny Cash is, but until they do, each speaker has the capability to play something different. If everyone’s on the same page, the system can play the same music throughout the house; it’s completely up to you. The software updates automatically, and with six synchronized drivers, you’re not compromising quality for convenience. The music sounds as good as it does anywhere else, and with zero audible distortion, you can crank it up LOUD!
Toto MS982CUMG-12 Neorest 550H ~$3,520.99
We’ve arrived at our final smart home product. We know you’re excited to see what could compare to robots that take care of the vacuuming or thermostats that predict your temperature preferences. Well you better be sitting down for this one…because it’s a toilet. Not just any toilet. This porcelain throne comes with a ton of features to optimize the Sacred Ritual. The cyclone siphon jet flushing system is incredibly energy efficient. The surfaces are coated in SanaGloss ceramic glaze, which prevents mold and debris from sticking, keeping your toilet clean with fewer chemicals and less water. It’s also essentially hands-free, with auto-flush technology and motion sensors that open and close the lid for you. In true Japanese style, it’s got washlet cleansing features. It also comes with a remote control and dock, and the heated seat is adjustable, so you can cultivate the perfect experience. The built-in air purifier actually kind of works, and the nightlight makes it helpful during the potty-training period.
And with that we wrap up the five best smart gadgets that we’ve seen!