Do we need a smart home? Part Two - What we thought!

A couple of weeks ago you may remember I wrote this post on whether on not we needed a smart home. We are working in partnership with Maplin to test out some of their smart home products and see what effect they have on our life as a family.

As a little recap the products we received were :

Google Home
Ring Doorbell
TP link plugs 
Canary home security 
Yale alarm system 

As always whenever I do a review here on the blog (or anywhere else) it's always my honest opinion and as such there were items from this list we really LOVED and one we didn't get on with so much. Here's what we thought.

First up the Google Home. We really love this item and have found we use it every day for one reason or another. Generally we start the day by asking questions such a the weather or random answers to facts or actors names that are on the tip of our tongue. We use it to check opening hours or how far a particular place is away or when the next bus is arriving. All the types of things you usually Google on your phone but just ask the Google Home instead. 

We've also found we use it to listen to music or the radio and I love being able to say 'OK Google play such and such' when that particular tune comes into my head. 

Wilf loves Google Home for one reason and one reason only, he can ask it jokes! He actually stumbled across this by literally asking Google to tell him a joke, both Tom and I were about to say 'it can't do that sorry' when it suddenly came out with one. Since then he asks Google a joke on a daily basis and now has a pretty good repertoire for jokes.

Next up we have the Ring Doorbell. This was our second favourite item and has worked really well for our family. One of the highlights for us is that when someone rings our doorbell it automatically sets up a video notification on our phones. We can then decided whether to press to speak to the person at the door or not. We use this feature so be able tell couriers that we are not home right now (or I say five mins away) and to leave the parcel in the shed in our garden. It could also be really useful for when you're away on holiday and want to sound like you're at home you could use it to say, 'I can't come to the door right now' etc even though you're not home. 

For comedy value I like to see when I'm not home and Tom does something like run to the bins in his socks in the morning or see the kids off to school. In fact when I was away for a work trip for a couple of days Tom would get the kids to all wave and speak to me through the doorbell and to play tricks like holding the cat up at the camera to give me a surprise ha!

I've even accidentally videos myself vlogging as I leave the house which is quite funny

Third up is the Yale Alarm system. This is the only product we really didn't get on with, the reason for this is it just wasn't really compatible with our life. As it is sensor operated we had two sensor cameras installed in our living room and hallway. We quickly realised that our cats would trim this quite easily and so there was no real use to using them. We could still use the alarm for the front door trigger when we travel but again as we have cats our neighbour feeds them daily and we worry about her having to put in the code etc so it just wasn't the right fit for us. 

I can see that without cats though it would be a great security system and you could definitely leave your home with your mind at ease that any intruders would be quickly scared away with the deafening alarm! A plus point is as well as the on wall keypad everything can also be controlled by the app on your phone so you can disarm whilst away if something does accidentally trigger it.

We have however kept the Yale sign up on our walls to act as a deterrent which you can actually buy from Maplin without buying the whole system. Often this would be enough to put off any burglars anyway. 

Instead of the Yale Alarm the security system we really liked was the Canary.

On first impressions it is a really atheistically pleasing piece of kit, we loved that it was small and inconspicuous but also looked nice in our home. As you can see we've mixed it up with my collection of Matryoshka dolls in our living room cabinet. 

Again this device comes with an app that you can set to alert you on movement or you can set it to not go off in the day when you're home etc. It also comes with an alarm that you can turn off via the app too. I really liked using this when we were away and felt at ease that nothing was going on in our home whilst we were away. I did see a few videos of our cats though which was very funny.

Lastly we tried out two TP Link plugs on two lamps around our home. We can control this using the Google Home which makes for a fun little piece of kit. I think we'll also try out some of the bulbs we can screw into our main lights at some point in the future. 

So that was how we got on turning our home into a smart home! I have to say a couple of the items have been really useful and we get a lot of use out of them such as the Google Home and Ring Door bell. The Canary is definitely useful if you might be away a lot or out of the house a lot but as we work from home and are generally home we only really use it on trips away. I actually found the Ring Doorbell gave me most piece of mind when it came to security as if Tom was away I knew I would get an alert straight away if anyone came into our front garden. It would also record anyone breaking in (the back of our house is nearly impossible to access so we were really only concerned about the front.

I hope that this review has been useful, do let me know if you have any of these items or if reading about them would tempt you to check them out!

In association with Maplin


Hannah Latoya Bond said...

That doorbell sounds good. The video notification is a very good idea

Dannii said...

I think there is a balance when it comes to having smart tech in the house. These items all sound amazing and helpful in every day life too.

Lubka Henry said...

Its good to have some of these convenient items in the house.

Lubka Henry said...

Its good to have some of these convenient items in the house.

Jenni said...

These sound fab and anything that makes you feel safer when you are home on your own is a bonus!

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