9to5Toys Gift Guide: Blair’s next-level smart home upgrades

Smart home tech has proven to be a great way to refresh your space with some ambient lighting or provide a more immersive home theater experience. Today, we’re rounding up some of our favorite accessories that would make great gifts this holiday season. Perfect for the people on your list who already pick up the latest and greatest tech for themselves, these next-level smart home upgrades are sure to excite once unwrapped at the end of the month. Head below for all of our top picks in this year’s smart home gift guide.

Top picks from this year’s smart home gift guide

Nanoleaf delivers unique smart home decor

Starting things off, one of the easiest recommendations to make for refreshing your space with smart home tech falls to Nanoleaf and the brand’s lineup of multicolor lighting panels. We’ve featured Nanoleaf time and time again in the past, but its current stable of products are some of the most compelling yet. Namely, the Shapes devices.

As the latest addition to its stable of Alexa, Assistant, and Siri accessories, the Nanoleaf Shapes lights are upgrades over the previous models in nearly every sense. That translates to a great way to add some flair into your setup. The modular lights can be reconfigured into a variety of designs, really living up to the Shapes branding. Each panel can produce a variety of colors and interlock together to form something of a high tech piece of home decor.

The Nanoleaf Shapes Triangles and Hexagons both go for $200 for a starter kit. After having installed both of the kits this year, I can easily recommend either one for someone on your list. But if you’re looking for a more affordable option for getting the smart home enthusiast in your life into the Nanoleaf game, the Mini Triangles are an easy recommendation at $120. You’re looking at essentially the same feature set across the board, but with different designs.

Best of all, you’ll have another week to lock in your order to ensure it arrives ahead of the big day at the end of December. 

Gift an immersive Philips Hue home theater upgrade

Another staple of any smart home is Philips Hue gear, and this year, we’re highlighting two of its more recent additions that are geared towards the home theater. With movie watching being relegated to the TVs at home now, the Philips Hue Sync Box and Gradient Lightstrip look to create an even more immersive experience.

There’s still the same smart home integration that you’d expect from Philips Hue, including Alexa, Assistant, and Siri integration. But these two accessories pair together in order to offer adaptive lighting that syncs with whatever is on the TV. At the center of the experience is the $230 Sync Box that pairs with the rest of someone’s Hue setup and lets all of their lights react to movies, video games, and more.

Then there’s the Gradient Lightstrip, which can work on its own with a Hue setup or be paired with the Sync Box to achieve some ambient lighting behind a TV. As the first lightstrip from Philips Hue that can illuminate multiple colors at a time, it’s an easy recommendation to really upgrade the home theater, especially if the person on your list is really missing the in-theater experience.

AmpliFi Alien elevates smart home Wi-Fi

Now if the person you’re shopping for has complained about Wi-Fi performance at home, turning your attention towards a new router might be just the solution for solving their smart home woes. Especially if they’ve been building out a smart home more recently, putting something like the AmpliFi Alien Router under the tree is an easy recommendation.

As our preferred Wi-Fi router for tech enthusiasts and smart home owners alike, the AmpliFi Alien quickly stole the show for us back when it was unveiled with Wi-Fi 6 support, a built-in display, and overall Ubiquiti polish. And now to close out 2020, it’s an easy gift to recommend. Other notable features here include up to 7685 Mb/s speeds, four Gigabit Ethernet ports, and an overall unique design.

At $379, it’s on the pricier side, but if the person you’re looking to find the perfect gift for is already one to grab the latest smart home tech, this is sure to deliver a performance upgrade that’ll be hard not to notice.

Aqara’s G2H camera is a smart home gift guide highlight

Our last piece of smart home tech to recommend in this year’s gift guide falls to the Aqara G2H Camera. Smart cameras have become increasingly popular for monitoring everything from package deliveries to just keeping an eye on the kids in another room. And with spending more time at home, having some extra security might go a long way for the person on your list.

This year has seen quite a few new options land at compelling price points, especially for those in the HomeKit ecosystem. But above everything else, Aqara’s G2H Camera stands out as a favorite with its 1080p feeds, motion detection, and HomeKit Secure Video setup.

The compact $70 smart camera has a magnetic base that allows you to mount it practically anywhere. It works natively within the Apple Home app, which will be a big perk for the HomeKit enthusiasts in your life. And standing out from other options on the market, it also doubles as a hub for the rest of Aqara’s smart home accessories. Giving them the option to upgrade down the line with various sensors and more.

Stocking Stuffers and tech under $50

Now if you’re just looking for some more affordable ways to upgrade the smart home setup of someone on your list, we’ve still got some recommendations to deliver. For those in the HomeKit ecosystem, the Eve Button is a great add-on to bring some physical controls back into the mix. This $42 accessory can be pressed to trigger favorite scenes and more, providing quick access to mood lighting, scenes for falling asleep at night, and more.

Another easy recommendation falls to the iHome HomeKit Smart Plug at $22. No matter how far along someone is on their smart home journey, there’s also another lamp or appliance that could be automated, and this smart plug will do the trick without having to spend much cash.

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