These days, it seems as if everyone needs a laptop. Between school, work, and the obvious demands of the pandemic, laptops are needed more than ever. Unfortunately, these devices aren’t cheap, and it can be hard to find one that is inexpensive but still gets the job done. As such, here’s a look at the best laptops to buy if you are on a tight budget.

Acer Chromebook: Chromebooks have become very popular in this pandemic, as they provide speedy internet access without some of the more expensive bells and whistles that are available with other products. You can buy one new or refurbished for around $450. This Chromebook is usually small, with a screen that is typically around 14 inches. It’s processing power will allow for basic operations, usually clocking in at 2.20 GHz and utilizing some variation of the Pentium i3 chip. 

Acer Chromebook

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex: The Flex type of computers are an amalgamation of a tablet and laptop. The devices flex, meaning that they can be used either way, but just snapping the keyboard on or off. As such, these devices typically run a bit more expensive than a Chromebook, usually starting at around $560. However, for kids who attend school or adults who are working from home and need a portable device, these can be a dream. They have a 14-inch screen that is great for viewing documents or accessing the internet and often come with a pen or stylus that makes drawing or editing documents a breeze. Like Chromebooks, the processing power is enough to get the job done, and they typically come with an i3 chip. 

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex

Microsoft Surface: The Surface is also a hybrid tablet/laptop, and that helps to drive its price down to a starting point of a mere $400. However, since it’s from Microsoft, this deal comes with a variety of potential upgrades that will drive up this price but dramatically increase its functionality, including the ability to bundle in Microsoft Office packages. For a student or someone who is now working from home, this has the potential to be a big deal at a reasonably affordable price.

Microsoft Surface

Lenovo Chromebook: You want a cheap laptop? Here it is – this is one of the most affordable laptops on the market, with a price point that starts at a mere $229. Indeed, this is as inexpensive as you can possibly get for a new laptop. The features on this one are reflective of the price, and it is essentially just an internet device, with processing power that will get you logged on, but not much else. Its screen is small, too, just 11 inches. On the plus side, it is very light and portable, allowing you quick and easy access to the internet in a flash.

Lenovo Chromebook

At the end of the day, laptops can be purchased that are relatively inexpensive – you just have to take the time to look for them. These four laptops are great starting points, but you can always take the time to do more research and find the best fit for you.

These days, conserving energy and energy-efficiency is all the rage, and with good reason, as limiting your energy use can be good for both your wallet and the environment. Thankfully, whole industries have popped up that can help you achieve this noble goal. Here is a look at how you can conserve energy at home. 

Conduct a Home Energy Audit

Conducting one of these audits can be a great way of finding where you need to make major changes to your energy consumption behavior. These can help you identify major energy wasters, list new appliances to get, find areas of major or minor heat loss, and more. You can absolutely conduct one of these on your own, but for a more advanced audit, you can hire a professional to come in and give you their expert advice. 

Replace Your Light Bulbs

Old lightbulbs won’t do it anymore, and there are newer ones that can provide you with the same high-quality light while also saving you money. In particular, replace your current light bulbs with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) or compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). According to some estimates, this can save you as much as 80% of the electrical use as traditional light bulbs while also lasting even longer than the old light that is currently plugged into your lamp.

Replace Old Power Strips with Smart Power Strips

All of us have those power stripes that enable us to turn one electrical outlet into several. These are very convenient, but can also be huge power wasters because electricity is constantly flowing into these devices. Thankfully, there are smart power strips that you can purchase. These operate by shutting off power when an appliance is not in use. As the name implies, these are smart devices, so you don’t have to worry about turning them on or off again. They can be slightly more expensive than the current version of these strips, but it goes without saying that you will recoup your costs – and more – in the long run. 

Buy Energy Efficient Appliances

Huge chunks of the energy output in your home come from the use of your major appliances, including your dishwasher, refrigerator, and washer and drier units. Thankfully, virtually every major appliance can now be purchased in an energy-efficient form. As such, when making any of these major purchases, make sure that you are buying the energy-efficient version. Furthermore, when operating these devices, try to use them at off-peak hours. Doing so will help to save you money by using electricity and water at cheaper time periods.

Saving money on electrical supplies may require an initial investment in time and money. However, these costs can be recouped and are usually well worth it in the end. 

Ever think about creating your own home theatre but don’t know where to start? If so, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re going to give you tips that you can use to create an amazing home theatre experience. Keep in mind, these are only tips and you don’t have to use them all. Just use the ones that pertain to your situation. With that said, let’s get started.

Find a Secluded Room

One of the biggest parts of creating a home theatre is to find a secluded room. The last thing you want is to try and watch a movie you’ve been anticipating, only to realize that too much noise comes through. If possible, try and find a room that your family members don’t usually go into or turn an existing room into a home theatre. Due to needing seclusion, most people choose to put their theatre in a finished basement because less sound and distractions come through.

Ultimate Comfort

Another big consideration when making an awesome theatre experience is providing the ultimate level of comfort. This will differ from person to person because everyone has different needs, but there are a few things you should include. For starters, try and find the comfiest furniture possible, such as reclining sofas or fluffy recliners. You can also provide things like warm blankets and comfortable pillows. You don’t want to go overboard, but it’s important to include everything you need to make things the most comfortable.

Ambient Light Control

Ambient sound is the noise that comes from any area outside of your home theatre, such as your kids, sounds from other rooms, and sounds from outside of your home. This can be aggravating when you’re trying to watch a movie and it’s essential to try and block these sounds out as much as possible. To help with this, try and soundproof the room. You can also replace any hollow doors with ones that are solid and put thick sound-deafening curtains on any windows in the room.

Projector Suspension

Not only will suspending the projector keep it in good working condition for longer, but many people find that they get better picture quality. The good news is that most big retailers will sell some kind of suspension kit with all hardware included. In addition, many of these kits have an included lock and key, which can minimize the chances of theft. Make sure you check out the strength of your ceiling and get a kit that won’t be too heavy. If you aren’t sure how to check your ceiling, you might need to call in a professional.

Use Dark Paint

Using dark paint on the walls and ceilings will give the feeling of a real theatre and minimize any types of reflections. If possible, try and paint the walls black and paint the ceiling a grey or other neutral color. If you don’t want to go with these particular colors, you can do a quick online search to see what others are using. You could even reach out to any friends that have a home theatre and see what they recommend. Remember, it’s completely fine to repaint if you find the chosen colors don’t give you the desired results.

Bar/Snack Area

If you’re like most people, you wouldn’t mind having a drink or snack while watching the movie. To meet this want, you can build a bar or snack area where people can choose what they want. It’s also a good idea to add drinks that are suitable for children or those that don’t usually drink. It’s also important to consider any allergies or sensitivities and ensure you have safe options for those that deal with them. If you aren’t sure, ask the people you plan on inviting to see if they have any special dietary requests.

Large Television/Screen

Since the television or screen is one of the main parts of the home theatre, it’s important to get one that’s as big as possible. Many people will choose to get one that’s as big as the wall it’ll be mounted on, while others will get one that’s a little bit smaller so they can mount speakers around the edges. The size you need will depend on the size of the wall and room. It’s also important to try and get a high-quality product because you want it to last for years to come.

High-Quality Receiver

The receiver is another important aspect of your home theatre system. Not only do you want to get one that’s high-quality, but you also want to make sure it has the features you’re looking for. Some will be basic, while others can support 3D movies and cutting edge surround sound. There are receivers at all different price points, so there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll find something within your budget. Remember, the product you choose doesn’t have to be pretty, as long as it gets the job done.

Surround Sound

Having a high-quality surround sound system will make you feel like you’re actually in the movie. For those looking for an authentic theatre experience, this type of system is essential. Just like the receiver, there are many price points and products to choose from. The good thing is that you can create your own surround sound system with simple speakers as long as you put them in the right location. If you don’t want to deal with all of that, you can purchase a kit that comes with everything.

Adequate Space

Finally, it’s extremely important to make sure you have adequate space for the people you’ll be having over. It’s a good idea to overestimate and have too many pieces of furniture to ensure you have plenty of space. You’ll want to make sure you figure out the dimensions of the room and account for any other accessories, but you’ll be able to find the furniture you need once you have this information.

By using some or all of these tips, you should have an easier time creating the home theatre you’ve always dreamed of. It’s important to remember that you should take your time when designing your home theatre and look at products from multiple retailers to get the best deal. If you don’t think you can create your vision on your own, don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional!

Picture this-a good friend or a family member has just bought a new house and you want to get them a nice gift, but aren’t sure where to start. Not only do you want to get them something that’s with the times, but you also want to make sure you get something they’ll actually use. To help you have an easier time buying a gift, we’ve put together a list of 10 high tech gift ideas for new homeowners. Let’s dive in and get started!

Ring Doorbell

For a new homeowner, a Ring doorbell can give them peace of mind and make them feel safe. Once installed, they can connect their phone to the doorbell and have updates in real-time. When someone pushes the bell, not only will the phone start emitting a notification sound, but the person can be seen through the camera. It also has two-way talk, which means they’ll be able to talk to the person outside without ever getting close to them. There’s also the added benefit of the doorbell going off when it senses motion, which can be very helpful if there’s someone creeping around the house.

Smart Speaker

Another great gift for new homeowners is a smart speaker. These types of speakers can be controlled by voice and come pre-loaded with a virtual assistant. The homeowner can use voice commands to get various pieces of information, such as the weather, a to-do list, and any important events for the day. In addition, the homeowner can connect the speaker to other smart devices in their home and control everything at once. Since there are so many options available, make sure you do your research and choose the one that would fit the needs of the homeowner the best.

Smart Thermostat

A smart thermostat can be used with a smart speaker or smartphone and can be set up quite easily. Different smart thermostats will have different features, but there are a few that are the same with all of them. Once the homeowner connects their phone or speaker to the thermostat, they can change the temperature from anywhere. This is especially helpful for those that live in areas with unpredictable weather. They can set their thermostat to the desired temperature and come home to a cozy and comfortable atmosphere.

Smart Lights

Another great high tech gift for homeowners are smart lights. There are a few different options with these products. The first are the ones that come with a separate remote that can be used within a certain amount of feet. Another option is one that hooks up to your phone. These make it so you can turn your lights on or off regardless of where you are. The final type can be hooked up to a smart speaker. All the homeowner needs to do is say the hot words to turn the lights off or on!

Smart Locks

While they are just starting to gain traction and popularity, smart locks make great gifts for new homeowners. These locks are usually quite safe and have safety measures in place to decrease the chances of hacking or breaking in. The homeowner will sync the locks to their smartphone or smart speaker and setup account details. Once everything is up and running, they can go into the app or say the hot words to lock or unlock the doors. This is great for those that arrive home with a lot of stuff and can’t really get to their keys.

Tile Key Fob

Getting a Tile Key Fob for a new homeowner can not only help them find stuff, but it can also help them keep their sanity. You can choose to gift just 1 key fob or you can gift multiple. Basically, the homeowner will put the fob on things that get lost easily, such as keys, wallets, or phones. After placing the fob, the user can make an alarm go off anytime they lose one of these items. The alarm is loud and keeps going until the item is found.

Smart Pet Feeder

If the new homeowner you’re buying for has pets, then this is a fantastic gift. This is especially true if the person is away for most of the day. These types of feeders are completely programmable, which means the pet owner can limit the amount of food their pets get and ensure that they don’t run out while they are gone. Some of these have awesome features, like personal messages to your pet or built-in water bottles. You can either set the feeder to release on a timer or you can go into the app and manually release the feeder.

Bluetooth Grill Thermometer

This gift is great for those that love grilling out. Many people will just cook the meat until it’s done, but others want to ensure it’s at a certain temperature. With a Bluetooth grill thermometer, the user can hook up the product to their phone and get a temperature reading in seconds. There are many different brands, colors, and sizes, so make sure you know the preferences of the new homeowner before purchasing anything.

LawnBott

While this gift is more expensive than most of the items on this list, it’s a purchase that should last for years. With this electronic, the user will be able to set the days and times they want their lawn mowed. There’ll be a designated charging area, so you need to make sure the homeowner will have an area where the LawnBott can enter the yard. In addition, the user can set the pattern or route the bot takes, which means they’ll have the lawn they want with minimal effort.

Charging Station

One final piece of technology that would make a great gift for a new homeowner is a charging station. These usually plug into the wall and you can charge multiple electronics at one time. Some of these are basic, while others have a lot of customization features, like automatically disconnecting electronics when they are done charging. You’ll want to consider the homeowner’s needs and get the charging station that will benefit them the most. Take into consideration how many electronics they need to charge and how often they charge them.

Even if you don’t purchase any of the items on this list, it should give you a good idea of some of the things you can buy. It’s important to get something that goes with the new homeowner’s style, as well as finding a product they’ll regularly use. If you still aren’t sure where to start, reach out to the homeowner and see what kinds of things they would like. Once you have that information, you can shop and find the best gift you can.

Here is a simple question—how much do you value convenience? If you have an HVAC at home, you are not a stranger as to how you can operate it. Traditionally, you have to have a remote, a bunch of buttons on a controller, or a friendly screen to control and monitor your HVAC. But imagine being able to do all these things through your smartphone? Imagine knowing more controls and information for monitoring? These are only snippets of the powers of smart Wi-Fi thermostats. Here are a few more questions to help you determine whether they’re right for you.

Do you want to save money?

Smart Wi-Fi Thermostats are capable of controlling and monitoring temperature remotely as well as determine user behavior. This allows the thermostats to adjust settings accordingly. The end result is a more efficient system that ensures your HVAC doesn’t run when you don’t need it to. In fact, according to statistics, this could save you a total of 25% in utility bills.

Do you want advanced climate control?

Smart Wi-Fi thermostats have advanced climate control features that automatically change the climate within the room according to the desired temperature and environment. It measures existing weather conditions such as the temperature inside and outside of the room as well as humidity. Ultimately, these types of thermostats can control air quality on their own through automation technology.

Here are some of the factors you might want to look for when choosing smart Wi-Fi thermostats:

  • Thermostat power
  • Staged heating and cooling
  • Programmable vs non-programmable
  • Screen and intuitive controls
  • Filter-change reminder

Here are a few more things to consider: you do need Wi-Fi. In fact, you need Wi-Fi to make use of the features of a smart WIFI thermostat because it connects the thermostat to your mobile phone and other devices. In addition, you need a reliable application installed. In fact, the ability to control the thermostat through the mobile application is its best feature.

It’s also good to make sure that the smart Wi-Fi thermostat you get is compatible with your current smart home system since it will have to integrate into it. Fortunately, you have a variety of options that are readily compatible with existing smart home systems.

You might also consider hiring a professional electrician to install your smart Wi-Fi thermostat unless you know a lot about wiring, too.

These new thermostats include a whole bunch of features such as movement sensors, which detect when people are up and moving. Ultimately, this helps the thermostat with scheduling because motion detection helps it determine when there are people in the room.

With long-term learning features, these thermostats are able to monitor and predict when people are active, when to turn the cooler or when to turn it off. Aside from monitoring and predicting activity within the room, smart Wi-Fi thermostats are also equipped with energy tracking tools, better temperature visibility, and controls as well as voice commands.

The conclusion is that smart Wi-Fi thermostats are innovative pieces of technology to integrate into your home not only to make it modern but also to improve its environment and gain next-level comfort.

Are you tired of people breaking into your home and stealing your valuables? Do you suspect that someone has been watching your home with ill motives? If you do, take control of the situation today by purchasing electronic devices and gadgets that will boost the security of your home.

Thanks to technology, you can use different types of security gadgets to scare uninvited intruders and burglars away. Most burglars will likely break into your home when you are not round. These devices will not only scare away the burglars but also alert you if there is any suspicious movement within your home or in the compound.

They include:

Web security cameras

They are very small and not easily detected. They are smart security tools that you can install at strategic points in your home. The best thing about web security cameras is that they have face recognition technology. The best place to set them is near the doorway so that they can scan the face of the intruders. These devices also have sensors that you can connect to your smart phone. The sensors will alert you when anyone opens the doors, windows, or gate of your home when you are not around.

Wireless blind spots cameras

These gadgets are the best because you place them outdoors. Most burglars will break into your home through blind spots. This means that they will most likely not use the front door or the gate. The wireless blind spots cameras will monitor the areas of your home and compound that are overlooked. They use batteries that can last up to six months.

What’s more, they have good resolution and will shoot quality pictures even at night due to their infrared night vision. The cameras also have motion detectors that will sense any funny movements.

Ring lights

These gadgets are unique because though they may not record any video, they detect motion and turn on the lights, thus scaring the burglars away. Most burglars will run off when they see that the lights are on. When the doorbell rings, the ring lights will automatically switch the lights on, giving the impression that you are home. The ring lights can also detect motion near your home and turn the lights on. The burglars will assume that you have done so, and run away.

The ring lights also learn your lighting schedules and will switch on the lights at the specific time, even when you are not around. This will give the impression that you are home.

Deadbolt

This device has a built in alarm that will scare away burglars when it goes off. You can fix it next to the door and set a unique key or code, which you will enter each time the door opens. You must memorize the code because if you forget it and try to gain access to your home, the alarm will go off and the security company will respond to it as they would if it was triggered by a burglar.

Fake security cameras

This may shock you but using fake security cameras may still be effective in scaring away thieves. The best part is that they are cheaper than most security gadgets are. The fake security cameras will appear as though they are recording movement in your compound and intimidate any person with ill motives.

Barking dog alarm

This creative security gadget will instantly scare thieves away when triggered. All you need to do is install it at strategic points in the compound. When its motion detectors detect any movement, the bark alarm will go off. Burglars will run away thinking an actual dog has spotted them.

What are some factors that you need to consider when buying electronic security gadgets.

Resolution

Ensure the security gadget you purchase has high resolution. This will enable you to record the face of any intruder clearly and make it possible for you to run facial recognition. After all, of what use is a security camera if it will not show you who the thief is clearly? Go for the gadget with the best resolution.

Infrared vision

Majority of break-ins occur during the night. Choose security devices that have infrared vision that will record and detect any movement in the darkness. In fact, most homeowners fear intruders who come late into the night, not during the day. As such, get a security device that will keep watch in the dark as well as it does in the day.

Storage

Check the storage capacity of the security device before purchasing. The higher the storage capacity, the better. Note that the devices record hours of footage and will need constant updates in order to keep running efficiently.

Human beings naturally dislike darkness. As a result, homeowners and property owners always invest in efficient lighting systems to ensure their buildings have enough lighting. The advancement of technology has also enabled the development of smart lighting systems that allow people to control the lights in their homes remotely.

If you are planning to integrate smart lighting into your home, here are some of the things you need to consider:

The platform

Before you buy the smart lights, identify which platform best suits your needs.

Some smart lights will allow you to control them using their mobile apps to schedule when they will turn on and off while others allow you to use voice assistants like Google Assistant, Alexa, or Siri.

You can also consider integrating the smart lights with other smart home devices, such as the security system, thermostats, and cameras.

The hub

Smart lights send and receive signals using various wireless transmissions. Some have Wi-Fi radios built inside them for transmission. They will allow you to control them from anywhere as long as they remain connected to your router.

Other smart light devices may use Bluetooth radios to provide direct connection to your phone when you are at home. A Wi-Fi hub will enable you to control these smart lights containing Bluetooth radios remotely.

The price

Contrary to what some people believe, most smart light bulbs and switches are affordable and will serve you for a long time.

Here are some persuading reasons why you need to install an automated lighting system in your home:

Control of the lights

Have you ever had that moment at work or school when you could not figure out if you switched off the lights at home?

With smart lights, you do not need to worry about the electricity bill. You can control your lights remotely through your phone or laptop, implying that you can switch them off from wherever you are.

Depending on how you integrate the smart lights with your smart home devices, the lights might turn off automatically when they detect the GPS of your car moving further away from home and turn on when your car is approaching the house.

Scheduling

Sometimes, physically turning the lights on and off can be tedious, especially if you have a busy work schedule, house chores to perform, and children who need your attention.

To cut your workload, you can schedule the smart lights switches to automatically turn on and off at specific times daily.

Detection of motion

You can integrate your smart lights with motion sensors that will activate and turn the lights on automatically when they sense motion around the house.

This system can also work as a security system for your home because most thieves assume that when the lights are off, no one is home. When they approach your house with ill motives, the motion sensors will detect the footsteps and immediately turn on the lights. The thieves will think that there is someone inside the house and run away.

When shopping for a Bluetooth speaker, it is imperative to pick those that come with extra features. Whether you are looking for a small hand held Bluetooth speaker or a rooftop speaker for your backyard party, however, it is easy to get lost in the vast amount of information available online.

Bluetooth speakers can be categorized according to their size, portability, and purpose. To get yourself one of the best Bluetooth speakers, therefore, consider the following factors:

1. The intended use

This is among the three most important factors to consider when choosing a Bluetooth speaker. This is because the intended use will determine the size, the color, the features, and the amenities you will need. The market is full of good quality varieties; hence always have the settings and the conditions within which the speaker will be used in mind. When looking for a party speaker, high volume output will be a determining factor.

2. Size, weight, and design

When Bluetooth speakers are said to be portable, it can mean that they can fit the palm of your hand or they can require two or more people to carry. This means that portability does not always guarantee the ease of carrying. For this reason, when you’re looking for a speaker to use while camping, the speaker’s lightweight nature and flexibility will be important to you. On the other hand, when you plan to use the speaker for a backyard party, the weight and the size might not matter.

3. Music playback time, sound quality, and recharge time

Recharge time refers to the hours or minutes the speaker takes before a full charge is achieved while playback time is the hours or minutes that a speaker can be used before it powers off. For most Bluetooth speakers, the recharge time is higher than the music playback time since the later is affected by volume, boosted bass, multi-use, and other supplementary features. If you’re looking for a travel Bluetooth speaker, then the music playback time will be a key factor to consider.

4. Manufacturer, construction, and material

In case you do not know the specs of a particular speaker or cannot interpret their usefulness to you, pick your speaker from a trusted manufacturer. This is because manufacturers who have produced previous good quality brands will often want to maintain the same brand quality.

Construction refers to the general outlook. It differs from design because design focuses on outlook while construction focuses on how each part of the speaker is pieced together. High quality materials such as steel, aluminum, and leather are more tolerant and durable.

5. Waterproofing and ruggedness

As opposed to indoor speakers, portable Bluetooth speakers are mostly designed for use outside the home setting. This means that they are more exposed to harsh weather and potential hazards. Although most of them are engineered to withstand such hazards, the degree (in which they can withstand harsh conditions) varies. Another important feature is a speaker’s water resistance rating. It is commonly denoted as IP/IPX rating.

6. Price and extra amenities

All portable Bluetooth speakers, offer an on the go means of listening to music. However, some speakers offer supplementary features such as integrated microphones, USB charging ports, hands free playback controls and built in LED lights. Portable Bluetooth speakers vary hugely in price. They range from the reasonably cheap speakers to the ridiculously pricey models. It is important to note that quality is directly proportional to prices.

Types of Bluetooth speakers

1. Mini Bluetooth speakers

Compared to the usual Bluetooth speakers, mini Bluetooth speakers are smaller. They are ideal for an enclosed surrounding such as an office parlor room or the small working space at home. They have a playback time of about 6 to 8 hours in a single charge. Some of the extra features include an auxiliary wire connecting port and a USB port.

Examples of mini Bluetooth speakers

  • Anker Sound core mini
  • Bose Sound link micro
  • Etekcity Roverbeats T3
  • Kunodi wireless

Companies that deal in mini Bluetooth speakers

  • Bose
  • Skull Candy
  • BoAt

2. Pocket Bluetooth speakers

They are designed to fit the size of your palm. They can also be the size of an earpiece with a hook to attach on to your key holder or key chain. They come in various shapes, colors, and are equipped with a high battery backup. Pocket Bluetooth speakers are ideal for travelers or people who love adventure.

Examples of pocket Bluetooth speakers

  • Bose Sound Link Revolve Portable Bluetooth 360 Speaker.
  • Ultimate Ears Boom 3 Portable Bluetooth Wireless Speakers.
  • JBL Charge 4 Waterproof Wireless Bluetooth Speakers.
  • JBL Flip 4 Bluetooth Portable Stereo Speakers

Companies that deal in pocket Bluetooth speakers

  • JBL
  • Anker

3. Trolley Bluetooth speaker

As the name suggests, these medium sized speakers have a trolley attached to them, which makes them easy to drag along. They are designed for parties and street concerts. Their high sound output makes them an ideal choice for large crowds.

Examples of trolley Bluetooth speakers

  • Wonder boom 2
  • Bose Sound link micro
  • JBL
  • Bose portable home speaker

4. Shower Bluetooth speaker

This is the ideal speaker for all the shower dancers and bathroom singers. Shower speakers are made waterproof and come equipped with a carabineer clip, which make it easy for you to hang them on the bathroom hooks. They also come in various shapes, colors, and material, making them more appealing for pool parties.

Examples of shower Bluetooth speakers

  • Sony SRS-XB21 Portable Wireless Waterproof Speaker
  • Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM Bluetooth Speaker Waterproof
  • TaoTronics Shower Speaker

Cleaning the house can be a tedious activity. With a busy schedule, it is easy to find the cleanup process of your home too demanding. Without regular cleanup, however, the house might soon be full of dust, pet hairs, and other types of dirt.

Thanks to technology, you can clean up your home without lifting a finger. Robot vacuums can help you out with this issue. All you have to do is turn the robot on and relax as it eliminates all the dirt from your apartment.

Before you run off to buy this incredible device, however, there are few factors to consider. They include:

The floor type

What kind of floor does your apartment have? Is it hardwood or carpet? This consideration is important because different vacuums might only be suitable for different floors. Moreover, the vacuums do not perform the same way. Some are excellent at sucking dirt and pet hair from carpets while others perform better on hardwood or vinyl.

The price

Buying a robot vacuum requires you to find one that falls within your budget. More importantly, find one that is worth the money you spend on it.

Do they have app control?

Some vacuum brands come with customized apps that control them. This means that you do not have to get up at all to clean your house. You can turn on the vacuum and control it with the app from the comfort of your couch or bed.

Battery life

The size of your home will determine the battery size of the robot vacuum. If you have a large home, pick one with a long battery life.

There are several robot vacuum brands that you can pick from when purchasing these smart cleaners. Some of the best brands include:

Ecovacs

These robot vacuums are the best in avoiding obstacles during cleaning. They have a powerful cleaning system and their suction power is mighty.

They use the Alexa voice command tool and an app that controls their functions. This allows you to relax or work on other things as the robot gets rid of all the dirt from your home.

Ecovacs cleaner robots have a long battery life, implying that it will give you a lengthy service. They also have in-built cameras that will enable you to control them remotely.

The downside of these robots is that they have Finicky Wi-Fi setup and may experience minor navigation issues because of their moderate learning curve.

iRobot

The iRobot vacuum robots are incredible in providing deep hands off cleaning. They connect with your home Wi-Fi easily to allow you to control them using the app. They are also compatible with Alexa and Google assistant voice commands.

The great thing with an iRobot vacuum is that you can schedule it to clean the house at a specific time. When it is time, it will do so on its own even if you are not around the house.

These robots adjust automatically to the different floor surfaces. If your home has a carpet in the living room while the rest of the floors are bare, the robot will easily adjust when it starts cleaning the carpeted floor of the house.

The robots will also detect and focus on the areas that need more cleaning in order to deliver satisfactory cleaning.

Besides its self-emptying dustbin and its ultra-powerful suction, this kind of robot also has smart navigation and will avoid running into objects.

Their battery life, however, is not very satisfying because it is short. They are also loud when cleaning and likely to disturb your peace of mind. Additionally, an iRobot will not always return to its base station after cleaning.

Similarities between Ecovacs and iRobot vacuum robots.

  • They both allow app control
  • They use Alexa voice commands as well as Google assistant- This will save you time and energy.

Differences between Ecovacs and iRobot

  • The Ecovacs brand has a built in camera that allows the robot to detect and avoid obstacles. Although the iRobot has smart navigation, it does not have an inbuilt camera. As such, it might not be as effective as Ecovacs at avoiding obstacles.
  • The iRobot’s design allows it to adjust to different floor surfaces automatically. Ecovacs has no such design and may not perform well on certain floors.
  • Unlike iRobot models, Ecovacs does not make a loud noise when cleaning. The iRobot models produce loud noise when cleaning that might distract you.

Unique features of smart speakers

Routine commands for multiple tasks

This feature is in both Amazon echo and Google home. It is designed to carry out multiple tasks using a single voice command. For example, when it is bedtime, you can create a routine that switches off all electronic gadgets, the lights, and reads the weather. To trigger a Google routine, you need to input the command, the time, and the conditions within which the tasks will be implemented. It is also possible to activate routines on speaker group.

Commands/links smart home devices

When you have a compatible smart home system, all your smart gadgets are interconnected. This way, a smart speaker acts as a central control point. With a smart speaker connected to other devices, you can ask who is ringing your doorbell, control your lights, and adjust the thermostats with a single command.

For example, you can ask whether the dining room lights are switched off while you are in the bedroom.

Talk to people in other rooms

When you have smart speakers in various rooms, you can use the drop in feature or the broadcast feature in Amazon echo and Google respectively to call other devices. It works more or less like a phone call only that you can call other rooms from the house. This means that you can send a message to a single speaker. When you want to announce that dinner is ready or call your spouse from the study room, this feature comes in handy. This feature can also allow you to send a message from your phone to all speakers even when you are away from home.

Check your calendar on a smart display

You’ve often heard your smart speaker rattle off everything on your to do list, well that’s annoying. A smart display allows you to see order of events and all your reminders at a glance. The Google home hub does this automatically; you do not even have to ask. For Amazon echo and other accounts, however, you will need to set it up manually.

Control your TV without a remote

The Google home speaker offers you the option to cast what you’re watching to the TV, thus allowing you to control the cable boxes and the blue ray players.

Features of popular smart speakers

Amazon echo

This is a hands-free smart speaker that you can control with your voice. It connects to Alexa voice service, thus allowing you to ask questions, play music, send and receive messages, and make calls, among other services. Amazon echo is available in various versions with the latest being the Amazon echo fourth generation.

The fourth generation Amazon echo

It is sphere-shaped and designed to look like the home pod mini smart speaker. It measures 5.2 by 5.7 inches. The light ring located at the bottom of the speaker lights blue when you say, “Alexa wake up.” The panel at the top has a volume up button, volume down, mic mute, and Alexa. The base has a power adapter port and an audio output of up to 3.5 mm.

All-new Echo (4th Gen) | With premium sound, smart home hub, and Alexa | Charcoal

The fourth generation echo supports Dolby audio via a 3-inch woofer and two 0.8-inch front firing tweeters. Unlike the third generation echo, which has one-size drivers, the fourth generation has two-size drivers and a built in smart home hub. The home hub supports Bluetooth low energy and Amazons’ sidewalk, thus accommodating a wider range of low bandwidth devices.

Pros

  • Provides access to Amazon Alexa voice assistant
  • It has a neural edge chip designed for machine learning to give it a more responsive speech and voice recognition. This makes it easier to speak naturally and casually.
  • Although smaller compared to Google Nest Audio, it has a well rounded bass that is not too loud nor too low

Cons

  • Google Alexa may be awkward to talk to, especially when using unfamiliar terms


Google Nest Mini

This is an updated version of the existing Google home mini; it offers a similar experience but has a handful of new improvements and features. The design is similar to its predecessors so you will have the same feel updating from Google home to Google nest. It is available in four colors: teal, charcoal, sky, and chalk.

Google Nest Mini Gen2

The outer cover has a muting switch with a DC power jack in place of the predecessors’ USB port. This means that the cables cannot be used interchangeably. The fabric is eco friendly and made from recycled audio transparent materials. The speaker is equipped with a wall mount and can be attached anywhere like a clock.

Features

  • Three microphones for voice recognition and far field detection
  • Equipped with ultra sound sensing which uses nearby object to notify the speaker if someone is near.
  • Two led lights equipped with a sensor that illuminates when you hover your hand above the Google nest mini speaker
  • Has a machine learning chip which decodes common commands and acts on them. This means that if you play a particular song every day at 12,the speaker will learn this action and carry it out without you having to repeat the command
  • The ambient computing feature reduces the need to keep repeating routine commands
  • The Google nest mini ambient computing reduces background noise when you’re listening to podcasts or news items

Apple home pod

Unlike Google Nest Mini and Amazon Echo that work with Google assistant and Alexa respectively, Apple Home pod uses Apple’s virtual assistant, Siri. Compared to its competitors, it is neither versatile nor affordable since it is only compatible with Apple devices. Although it has the basic features of a smart speaker, future versions could be more promising. This is because the multi room feature was updated months after the release of the Apple home pod.

Apple HomePod

Like many other smart speakers, the Apple Home pod can listen to an internet radio station and interact with smart home devices.

Pros

  • Instant and effortless setup
  • High-quality audio
  • The Home Pod can work as a hub for Home kit
  • Siri is accurate and seamless ­­- you do not have to shout even when the music is loud

Cons

  • It is restricted to Apple products
  • It is more inclined to Apple music
  • It can damage wood furniture
  • It does not support multiple accounts