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11 Jan 2019

The smart home tech to look out for in 2019

Smart doorbells, alarm clocks, fridges and more at the Consumer Electronics Show - but is any of this tech worth taking home?

Mammoth televisions, cutting-edge technology and oddball gadgets - it can only be the good, the bad and the bizarre of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

This annual extravaganza in Las Vegas showcases the latest tech trends and innovations, including various products that will apparently revolutionise your home life.

Here's our rundown of the best smart home products that are coming in 2019.

Smart home gadgets- our reviews of smart home hubs, wireless speakers, smart thermostats and more.

Ring Door View Cam

Ring practically invented the smart doorbell market. These connected door security systems typically have a camera and a microphone, so you can see who has arrived at the door and decide whether or not they're a welcome visitor.

The company,now owned by Amazon, already has a wide range of smart doorbells, starting from around £90. Its latest Ring Door View Cam doesn't require full installation and instead replaces an existing peephole in your door.

As it uses batteries rather than being wired, there's no need to drill holes in your door. You can still use it as a peephole and the device detects someone knocking as well as ringing the bell.

The Ring Door View Cam will be released later in 2019. Pricing has not yet been confirmed.

Netatmo smart video doorbell

Netatmo, the French company behind wireless cameras and various smart home sensors, is now challenging Ring in the growing smart doorbell market. TheNetatamo Smart Video Doorbell does require wiring into your door, but its key advantage over other products is the free storage for videos captured on the doorbell camera. Many other smart home gadgets now charge a subscription for such a feature.

The doorbell has a micro-SD card slot to store the video clips, encrypted for user privacy. These can also be transferred to a cloud storage account, such as Dropbox. The doorbell works with a range of smart home platforms, including Apple's HomeKit system on iPhones and iPads.

The Netatamo Smart Video Doorbell will be released in the second half of 2019. Pricing has not yet been announced.

Philips Hue Outdoor sensor

The popular Philips Hue smart lighting range has expanded to include flood lights and wall-mounted lights, and now the company has announced a motion sensor to switch them on without touching a button.

TheHue Outdoor sensor is able to detect motion up to 11 metres away. The water-resistant gadget is battery powered, so can be set up where you want it. You can choose which lights it switches on when activated and it has a dawn-to-dusk sensor, meaning it won't turn the lights on when it's already bright outside.

The device will be available to buy in February 2019. We don't yet have the price in pounds, but Philips Hue has said it will cost u20ac49.95 in Europe.

Samsung Family Hub fridge

Samsung has offered 'Family Hub' smart fridges for a number of years now, such as theSamsungFamily Hub RS68N8941SL/EU we tested in 2018. They all have a large touchscreen device on one of the doors that can be used like a tablet. You can also control aspects of the fridge with your voice via Samsung's Bixby, a rival to Amazon Alexa.

As with previous models, you are able to view the inside of your fridge remotely using the app to see if you are low on milk or cheese (or beer). There's also a meal planner that brings together your meal preferences based on what's actually in the fridge.

New for 2019 is that the fridge will send you a message if you have left the door open. The fact that the fridge can't just shut the door itself possibly encapsulates the current limitations with the so-called smart home revolution.

The new Samsung Family Hub will be released soon. Pricing is not yet confirmed but previous models have cost well over £2,000.

Samsung did say, however, that it would be bringing Family Hub features to more fridge freezers this year to ensure there is a version that 'meets the needs of all consumers'. That could be corporate code for making a version that is a bit cheaper to buy.

Lenovo smart display

In recent years, CES has become a battleground of the voice assistants. Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant have been fighting it out to get on as many gadgets as possible, and so into as many homes as possible. Competition is usually a good thing for consumers, although greater dominance by the tech giants arguably is not.

Lenovo is on Team Google with its new Smart Clock. The gadget, a competitor to Amazon's Echo Spot, is essentially a smaller version of Lenovo's Smart Display. This compact, 4-inch screen device is designed to be placed on a bedside table.

Alongside an alarm to get you up in the morning, it can be used to set a Google Assistant routine at night that gets you ready for sleep by doing things such as dimming the lights (if you have smart lighting connected, that is).

When you're not drifting off, the device also has a speaker for listening to music, podcasts and internet radio shows. It also has a USB slot to connect your smartphone for charging.

The Lenovo Smart Clock will be released in spring 2019 and cost $79.99 in the US. UK pricing has not yet been announced.