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smart home

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Moni professional monitoring for Nest Secure is available today

The Nest Secure home security system plugs into the Nest app to let you know if something is going down in your house. However, it has optional support for professional monitoring if you want a bit more peace of mind. Nest noted during its announcement that Moni security monitoring would come to Next Secure later, and apparently that means today. You can register your Next Secure with Moni right now, but it comes with a monthly cost.

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Nanoleaf Aurora review: The coolest and most extravagant smart lights you can own

Some of you may have already heard about the Nanoleaf Aurora. These modular triangular light panels can be formed in any shape you like and are WiFi-enabled, allowing you to control them via your phone or Google Home and Alexa. But those of you who haven't will probably scroll down to see the high price tag and scoff in disbelief. $229.99 for a set of 9 light panels and a music module is a rather extravagant price to pay. But that's exactly what the Nanoleaf are: extravagant. They go a step beyond smart lights like Hue and LiFX and straight into "cool art deco" territory.

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[Deal Alert] Google Home Mini and Wemo plug bundle on sale for $43.99 at Target ($40 off)

'Tis the season for things to go on sale, and sometimes more than one sale. The Google Home Mini is already discounted $20 for the holiday season, and Target will also knock $20 more off if you also pick up a Wemo smart plug. It's quite a festive deal.

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[Deal Alert] Wink Lookout Kit, Relay, and sensors are 15-50% off

If you're interested in a new security kit for your home or a way to get started setting up a smart home, Wink has a nice offering that's pretty much foolproof for newbies. I reviewed the hub a while ago, and though I moved to SmartThings for its more advanced features, I can still recommend Wink because it makes the basics a lot easier than SmartThings. And Wink's new Lookout takes that one step further by providing sensors and a siren that are pre-paired with the included hub, requiring even less setup. The system may not be as sturdy as other home security offerings from Nest and SmartThings + ADT, but it costs much less and requires no monthly fees.

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TicHome Mini review: A worthy portable Google Home Mini alternative, as long as you don’t mind paying double

Google introduced the Assistant SDK back in April, making it possible for third parties to build the digital companion into their devices. Sure enough, at IFA 2017 in Berlin back in August, the first Google Assistant-enabled speakers were announced, due to hit the market this fall. There are now several different options from a range of manufacturers, and they cover various use cases and price points.

Other Google Home alternatives with better speakers have also been announced by the likes of Sony and Panasonic. For those on a tighter budget there’s also the Zolo Mojo from Anker. And before that has even gone on sale, Google itself launched the Google Home Mini.

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[Update: Details on lock codes] SmartThings app adds Scenes, fingerprint authentication, visitor lock codes, and more

One of the most requested features in the SmartThings app has been scene support. I'm new to the system, so I'm sure there were some enterprising solutions to the lack of scenes, but there wasn't any native and easy way to do it. That changes with the latest update to version 2.10 of the SmartThings app.

Scenes reside inside the My Home tab, next to Things and Rooms, and allow you to change multiple lights, switches, and devices to different presets to suit a certain mood. So if you're working, you can have the lights go all the way up but if you're watching a movie, they can be dimmed down.

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[Deal Alert] The Wink Hub 2 is $69 ($30 off)

If you're looking for an easy way to get into home automation, then this deal alert may interest you. The Wink Hub 2 is currently on sale, dropping down to $69.17 on a few websites. That's about $30 off of the MSRP, which is pretty decent.

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Google adds Nest Thermostat E, Secure Alarm System, Connect, and Cam IQ outdoor to the Google Store

When Google recently decided to sell only company-made hardware in the Google Store, Nest products were kept in stock. That's not exactly a surprise, given that it's a subsidiary of Alphabet, just like Google. Now the lineup of Nest security cameras, thermostats, and other smart home security accessories sold in the Google Store is expanding.

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[Deal Alert] Ecobee4 smart thermostat on sale for $199.99 ($50 off)

One of the easiest ways to add some smarts to your home is to replace your standard thermostat with a fancy new one from a company like Ecobee or Nest. These devices can be pretty spendy, but the Ecobee4 is on sale at various retailers today for $199.99. That's $50 less than the standard price.

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Ecobee smart thermostat gets Assistant integration

Getting up to change the temperature on your thermostat is an arduous and unpleasant task, but smart thermostats have freed us from this drudgery. Okay... but now you have to open an app and tap stuff to change the thermostat? That still seems like a lot of work, right? Google Assistant offers the ultimate in convenience (until such time as we have brain-thermostat interfaces), but not all smart thermostats support it. You can add the Ecobee to the list today, though.

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