The modern bedroom is filled with technologies, especially in a smart home. I spent this month trying out some of the best connected smart home gadgets and gear to find out how well it all works.
Some of the innovations below do have their issues, but overall they do what they say and help optimize your sleep, entertainment, and relaxation while in the bedroom.
Eight Sleep Tracker Mattress Cover (Eightsleep.com)
The Eight Sleep Tracker is a smart mattress cover that promises to help you sleep better by collecting data on how long you’re sleeping, how often you toss and turn, and even automating the bed warmer.
Eight is IFTTT compatible so you can time lights to come on, coffee to brew, and other fun recipes based off you waking up and getting out of bed.
If you’re looking for an entirely new mattress, Eight does make those too, but this mattress cover can be placed over any existing mattress to convert it into a smart mattress. Starting at $349, the Eight Sleep Tracker is a bit pricey, but it’s worthwhile for the automated and timed bed warming alone.
Zeeq Smart Pillow (Rem-fit.com)
If an entire mattress is too much, there’s always the Zeeq Smart Pillow. Releasing January 2017, this Kickstarter project by Rem-Fit is a connected pillow that puts speakers and a battery directly next to your head while you sleep.
Whether or not this causes brain cancer is yet to be determined, but the Zeeq pillow does work as a sleep tracker and has the ability to play peaceful music to help you sleep better.
Originally priced at $99 during pre-orders, Zeeq is now listed at $299 on Kickstarter, making it $50 cheaper than the Eight mattress cover to replace bed warming with music by your head.
Oregon Scientific CP100 Travel Smart Clock (OregonScientific.com)
We use our smartphones for everything, but they’re not always the easiest way to wake up. The tiny speakers of any modern smartphone aren’t enough to push powerful sound that’ll wake up deep sleepers (especially after a late night of drinking).
Oregon Scientific’s CP100 clock is still small but adds more oomph to your alarm’s sound. It can also be used wirelessly from anywhere in the room and you can bring it with you everywhere you go.
With bluetooth music streaming and a monochrome digital clock, Oregon Scientific keeps things simple and classic while providing modern technology.
C by GE Bulbs (CbyGE.com)
We’ve been working through a ton of connected light bulbs this winter. Each have ups an downs, and I’ll get into that a bit more later. One of my favorite bedroom light bulbs is C by GE.
These smart LED bulbs require no hub, instead using bluetooth and the C by GE app to control. The bulbs also sync to your circadian rhythms, and the sleep bulbs are designed to be used in your bedroom.
Although these bulbs won’t produce the color spectrum of Lifx and Hue lights, they’re still capable of producing different shades of white and yellow to help adjust to your natural sleep cycles.
The air we breathe plays a major part of our health. Babies and children especially need to be protected from in-air debris and contaminants like carbon monoxide, methane, ammonia, etc., although adults can benefit from cleaner air as well.
AirSense is an intuitive and easy to use air quality monitor that also functions as a two-way speaker and alarm. The lighted inner ring can be changed to a variety of colors, so if specific impurities are discovered in the air, it’s easy to tell at a glance.
Controlled through the iBaby Care app on either iOS or Android, AirSense is $150 well spent for those seeking piece of mind about the air quality around them.
Cassia Hub (Cassianetworks.com)
Smart homes get complicated quick, especially with so many WiFi hubs to figure out. This makes life difficult for you while making it easier for hackers and other malicious parties to access your smarthome. Don’t even get me started on the Mirai virus taking over IoT devices.
Cassia Networks created a great solution for this problem with the Cassia Hub. Using it, you can automate bluetooth speakers, light bulbs, and outlets just like WiFi and Zigbee.
Using the Cassia hub makes it easier to blend the myriad of bluetooth-connected devices we have and create a DIY smarthome that’s nearly as powerful as anything WiFi, except there’s still no IFTTT access, so you can’t control much outside the home.
Harman Kardon Onyx Mini (HarmanKardon.com)
Bluetooth speakers are typically shaped like sausages, making them easily portable at the cost of some sound clarity. Harman Kardon bucks that trend with the Onyx Mini, a portable bluetooth speaker shaped like a traditional speaker.
The lithium ion battery works for up to 10 hours and although it doesn’t have the booming bass you’d get from a dedicated subwoofer, Onyx Mini is a loud speaker for its size with an acceptable low-end.
Audiophiles who want decent sound without taking up a lot of space (especially in smaller rooms) will love Onyx Mini, which I’ve been using myself to listen to music for the past few weeks.
Amazon Echo Dot (Amazon.com)
In case you’ve been living under a rock in a cave on Mars the past few years, Echo Dot is a mini speaker to access Alexa, Amazon’s popular voice assistant. Alexa allows you to shop at Amazon, control connected appliances and devices, play games, and more using just your voice.
With an Echo Dot in your room, you can use an alarm clock, ask Alexa for a news briefing, discover the weather, and get your house up and running from the comfort of your bed.
Generation two Echo Dots are smaller, lighter, and maintain the same functionality of the first version. They’re available in white and black and are the perfect gift for the tech-minded person on your holiday list.