Improve Your Favorite Smart Gadgets With These Great Accessories
There’s been a lot of buzz in recent years about the rising popularity of smart home products, such as voice-activated speakers, responsive lighting systems , streaming video boxes, and more. These devices are often described as smart home accessories.
That’s probably the wrong term when you consider that devices like Amazon Echo Dot, Apple TV, and Philips Hue now have accessories to call their own. With these additions, you can make your smart home setup even more useful and practical, and yes, in some cases, smarter.
In this article, you learn more about some of the accessories available for many of the most popular home products on the market. These include speakers, controllers, mounts, and others.
Make Your Amazon Dot Even Better
In 2016, Amazon introduced the Amazon Echo Dot. Priced significantly lower than the larger Amazon Echo, the Amazon Echo Dot offers improved voice recognition, Echo Spatial Perception (ESP) (allowing Dots to work with one another), and more.
Despite its tiny size (just 32mm x 84mm x 84mm), the Amazon Echo Dot, like its big brother , isn’t battery powered and therefore must always be connected to an energy source.
Thanks to Bluetooth, you can connect your Amazon Echo Dot to external speakers. Even with these, however, you can’t move the voice-activated device. That is unless you’re using a Vaux.
The Vaux Speaker for Echo Dot addresses many of the limitations associated with Amazon’s smallest Echo. It’s a battery powered speaker designed to house the Amazon Echo Dot. Because of its portability, you can now take your Echo wherever you want to go. Better still, it provides enhanced audio quality in a beautiful design. The Vaux also has a built-in 3.5mm audio jack for use with your mobile device or tablet.
Charging your Vaux takes between 5-6 hours when not in use and 8-10 hours during operation. The battery run time is approximately six hours between charges.
Add Some Style
The Dot looks very nice on its own. Still, there are ways to make it look even better — and to keep it safe!
Amazon offers six cases for the Dot, available in nylon woven fabric and full-grain leather. The former comes in black, indigo, and sandstone, while the latter comes in tones named Saddle Tan, Merlot, and Midnight.
The cases are fitted precisely to the device, while maintaining access to the device’s ports and buttons. And they come relatively cheap at $14.99 for the nylon versions and $19.99 for the leather models.
What About Google Home?
Perhaps your first experience with voice recognition came from using Google Home ($129), introduced to the market in late 2016 . The voice-activated speaker, which looks like a two-toned air freshener, can play music, control smart home devices, and, when connected to a Chromecast, can act as an audio receiver for other devices.
There’s currently one accessory for Google Home, a lineup of six colorful bases made of fabric or metal. These are $20 for the fabric models (mango, marine, and violet) and $40 for the metal ones (carbon, copper, and snow).
Add Some Spark to Your Amazon Fire TV
The Amazon Fire TV is a digital media player first introduced in 2014 . Now in its second generation, the Fire TV allows you to stream audio and video content to a high-definition using a remote, mobile app, or optional game controller.
The Sideclick Universal Remote Control Attachment for Amazon Fire TV allows you to control your Fire TV alongside other devices, such as your television, Blu-ray player, sound bar, and DVD player. The Sideclick works with all versions of the Amazon Fire TV and uses Infrared (IR) learning technology to program eight buttons over multiple devices.
A successfully funded Kickstarter project, the Sidekick eliminates the need for multiple remotes, giving you more time to enjoy your entertainment. The $30 device is available to order on Amazon.
Amazon Fire TV Game Controller
Take gaming to a whole new level with the official Amazon Fire TV Game Controller. Ergonomically designed, the controller includes instance voice search and a stereo headphone jack, With intelligent power management, the controller offers up to 90 hours of gameplay on a single set of batteries.
Add Some Spark to Your Apple TV
First, there’s the Sideclick for Apple TV, which, like the Fire TV model, is $30. Available only for the fourth-generation Apple TV, the Sideclick starter kits come with the universal remote and adapter clip and attaches to the black Apple TV fourth-generation remote.
SteelSeries Nimbus Wireless Gaming Controller
The SteelSeries Nimbus launched alongside the fourth-generation Apple TV in 2015. It lets you play hundreds of your favorite controller-supported games on Apple TV or iOS devices.
Priced at $50, the SteelSeries Nimbus includes a built-in battery that’s chargeable with a Lightning connector. The controller lasts for 40 hours between charges.
Innovelis TotalMount for Apple Remote or Siri Remote
Do you regularly misplace your Apple TV controller? Consider the Innovelis TotalMount, which attaches to the back of your television for safe, convenient storage. Better still, it keeps your Apple TV remote charged automatically.
You can purchase an Innovelis TotalMount for $15 through Apple.
Control Your World Without a Smartphone
Typically, you need a smartphone to control smart home devices. While smartphones are great for making flexible changes on the go or setting up complex routines, it can be annoying to fumble with an app when all you want is for a single device to perform a simple function. Thankfully, you can now use accessories to control your devices with the push of a single button.
The Flic Single is a series of Bluetooth smart buttons that you can place around your home to control devices.
For example, you can use a Flic in your bedroom to turn off all of your lights, or put one in the living room to start playing your favorite music on your Sonos system . A Flic in your basement could control your heating system, while another could help monitor your security camera.
You can buy a pack of four Flic Singles for $99.
Looking for more? The Flic Hub launches in October 2017. It will allow you to setup and control all your Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or infrared devices with Flic devices. You can preorder one for as little as $109, which includes the Hub and three buttons. Additional buttons are $15 each, and you can add up to 50 buttons per Hub.
Another accessory that got its start on Indiegogo, the Nuimo, calls itself the world’s most magical controller. It is a simple push button design that allows you to control smart speakers, lights, and more using Bluetooth Low Energy.
Priced at $199 and available through Amazon, the Nuimo features a high-precision glass bead-blasted aluminum ring with a double-hardened acrylic touch surface. It’s available in black and white, so it can blend in with your home decor no matter where you decide to place it.
An Emerging Marketplace
The list of accessories for smart home products remains relatively small, although that could change in the coming years. Whether speakers for your voice-activated devices or small controllers that you can place around your home, these accessories help to enhance the smart home experience.
Have you purchased any accessories for your smart home devices? Let us know which ones in the space below.
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