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5 Easy-to-Install Gadgets to Upgrade Your Smart Home

No need to deal with wiring or complicated instruction manuals.


These days, everyone and their mother has a smart speaker. But a sophisticated smart home — one equipped with smart locks, smart blinds, smart security systems and the like — hasn’t quite made the jump from Christmas catalogs to real life. The main reason: installation. Who wants to deal with wiring or take off a door to test out a new gadget? Hence the attraction with wireless smart devices. Here, five no-nonsense examples that don’t take all afternoon to set up.

Arlo Ultra

The Arlo Ultra is the first home security camera that can capture and play back 4K video. Other security cameras, such as the Nest Cam IQ and Lighthouse (now defunct), have 4K sensors — which enable features like people tracking, auto-zoom capabilities and facial recognition — but only shoot in 1080p. Arlo’s Ultra cameras are different. They’re also battery powered, meaning you can place them anyplace around the house without worrying where the nearest wall outlet is. They’re weatherproof, too, so they work outdoors as long as they remain connected to your home’s Wi-Fi.

Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa

Buy Now: $400+

August View

The View is August’s newest video doorbell and it works very similar to its predecessor, the Doorbell Cam Pro ($200). The biggest difference, other than the fact that the August View actually looks like a doorbell, is that it’s battery-powered and completely wireless. There’s virtually no installation required, although you’ll have to recharge the battery every three to six months. The August View has pretty much all the features that come standard with smart video doorbells, including 24-hour video streaming, motion alerts, two-way talk and instant motion alerts. You can even zoom in on subjects or packages that are at your door.

Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa and Google Home (Apple HomeKit support is expected later this year)

Buy Now: $230

Ooma Smart Cam

The Ooma Smart Cam is a fully wireless home security camera that can work indoors or outdoors. It packs the usual smart security camera features, such as facial recognition, motion alerts, two-way talk and night vision. What’s different about the Ooma Smart Cam is that it has built-in memory and runs on a battery, and it continues to record 1080p videos without external power or a Wi-Fi connection; if the power goes out, your security camera will still work. Additionally, you get seven days of free cloud storage, which is a lot compared to its competitors, and a magnetic wall mount comes free with each purchase.

Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa and Google Home

Learn More: Here

Ring Door View Cam

The beauty of Ring’s new Door View Cam is that it’s specifically designed for apartments. There’s no drilling or intense installation involved. It doesn’t even need an existing doorbell to replace — it’s completely battery-powered. The other neat thing is that the Door View Cam uses your existing peephole so you can see who is standing outside your door. As for specs, it’s pretty standard: the video doorbell captures 1080p video, has two-way talk, and it will send you alerts if somebody rings the doorbell and you’re not home.

Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa

Buy Now: $200

Philips Hue Wireless Dimmer Switch

Philips Hue smart lights are hugely popular — partly because they work with Alexa, Google Home and Apple’s HomeKit. For anybody already in the Hue ecosystem, you want this simple dimmer switch. It’s a battery-powered remote that can be wall mounted or just used as a traditional remote control, and it can control up to 10 smart lights.

Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Home and Apple HomeKit

Buy Now: $25

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