It seems like we’ve finally reached the point where smart home gadgets are no longer excessive solutions in desperate search of a problem to solve. CES 2022 was a great example of that. Overwhelmingly, most of the smart home tech we saw this year was not only cool but actually made us scratch our chins about buying them for ourselves.
We’ve rounded up all the home gadgets, both connected and off the grid, that caught our eye at CES 2022 to help you get an idea of what’s worth bringing into your home this year.
Connected door tech evolves
Apple announced Home Key at WWDC 2021, but it’s taken a while for lock makers to catch up. This allows users to save an NFC key to their iPhone and Apple Watch for easier home access that maintains security. Schlage’s Encode Plus Wi-Fi deadbolt offers a keypad, traditional lock, and an NFC receiver for Home Key compatibility. It also builds in a Thread radio for better HomeKit integration and increases battery life from six months to a full year if you want to disable Wi-Fi while maintaining remote control.
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For those who plan on buying a new home this year, there’s a chance that house could come with Masonite’s new M-PWR door, which features built-in wiring to power an included Yale lock and Ring camera, plus a suite of motion sensors and lights. The lock and camera are both meant to be upgraded over time and are user-replaceable, meaning there’s a chance you can replace both with products from other brands. Currently, the M-PWR is only available for new construction by a professional, but Masonite does expect an aftermarket model for renovators to be available in a year or two.
Ring’s competitors play to win
Two doorbell cameras this year caught our eye and are worth looking at as alternatives to Ring and its police-friendly policies. Anker sub-brand Eufy’s newest camera, the Video Doorbell Dual, features two cameras as the name suggests. The first is a standard front-facing camera to see who is at the door, and the second faces downward to specifically keep an eye on packages. The app can notify you when packages are delivered with timestamps. Eufy hasn’t revealed smart home platform compatibility yet but promises more details closer to its February release.
For those of you in the HomeKit ecosystem, the Wemo Smart Video Doorbell is another compelling option. The selling point of this $250 doorbell is HomeKit Secure Video compatibility, which uses a HomePod or Apple TV to encrypt all live video feeds, and stores video in iCloud with end-to-end encryption. The camera itself features 178-degree field of view, HD video, and night vision. HomeKit Secure Video cameras are super appealing to the privacy minded by offloading all smarts to local hardware instead of reliance on cloud services.
Projectors are still sick
Two projectors from CES 2022 stood out to us.
Samsung’s Freestyle projector is basically a portable Samsung Smart TV. The selling point of the Freestyle is flexibility. You don’t just get a capable projector that can create a screen from 30 to 100 inches, but tons of smart features that help it project onto more surfaces as well. It can automatically straighten the image whenever it’s moved, and even recalibrate its color output when projecting to a non-white surface. The Freestyle can be powered off a standard portable battery, a wall outlet, and even an E26 light socket (with an added accessory).
If you have a bigger budget, Anker also has you covered with the Nebula Cosmos 4K laser projector. With built-in Android TV, a peak brightness of 2,400 ANSI lumens, and lasers for HDR projection, this will provide a more traditional high-end theater experience than the more casual uses the Freestyle is intended for. Anker is currently taking pre-orders on Kickstarter with some early bird discounts. The projector will sell for $2,199 when it hits shelves later this year.
Samsung’s immortal remote
Among Samsung’s TV announcements was a new Eco remote control that never needs to be plugged in. Why? It harvests the RF signals already bouncing around your house from your Wi-Fi router! This, in addition to the solar panel introduced on the 2021 Eco remote means that there’s really no reason you’d ever need to recharge this remote from a wall outlet. No word yet if the new Eco remote will be sold as an aftermarket accessory. While a seemingly small change, it’s the kind of genuine innovation that we hope to see others in the industry adopt in their future remote designs. *cough* Apple *cough*.
A savvy dishwasher
French company Daan Tech announced the June 2022 launch of the Bob tabletop dishwasher this year, with pre-orders opening now. Designed for smaller apartments, the Bob isn’t just compact, but super efficient as well, using less water for a full load than hand-washing. It starts at $399, or you can pay $499 for extra customization options and colors. This dishwasher doesn’t have smartphone control, but that’s not really an issue in our eyes. If you’re tired of dishes piling up in your sink from procrastination, this may be the appliance you’ve been waiting for.
TP-Link redefines “smart router”
Lots of routers promise to optimize your Wi-Fi network but few can show you how they do it. That’s the concept behind TP-Link’s Archer AXE200, a Wi-Fi 6E router with antennas that dynamically adjust their position. According to TP-Link, the router is constantly monitoring network conditions and device usage, and positions the antennas accordingly. So if you’re watching 4K YouTube videos on your laptop in one room and move to another, others near your router should see the antennas shift slightly to account for that. If your home is the right size for a single router instead of a mesh system, this may be the router to get when it launches later this year.
A breathing mattress
The race to sell you a mattress never ends, and home health products company Coway, known for air purifiers and bidets, has entered the fray. The Coway Smart Care Air Mattress features an array of sensors and air pockets that start working the instant you lie down in bed. The goal is to keep the mattress firm and supportive all night, but to provide each part of your body with equal support as needed. As someone whose foam mattress just isn’t cutting it for anymore, this is definitely a product I’ll be keeping my eyes out for this year.
Smart vacuums that self-clean
One of the first gadget categories ubiquitous with smart home tech is robot vacuums. The space is filled with competitors in a constant race to make owning one as hassle-free as possible. Ecovacs and Roborock may have taken the cake this year with the respective Deebot X1 Omni and S7 MaxV Ultra. While lots of robot vacuums can empty their own dust bins, and some can even mop your floor as needed, the X1 Omni and S7 are the first to actually clean their own mops. This means the only maintenance you should need to do on it is on the docking station by emptying the dust bins and dirty water tank, plus refilling the clean water tank as needed. If all goes well, you’ll never have to touch the robot itself. The Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni will be available in the U.S. this March, while Roborock is only promising to deliver the S7 MaxV Ultra some time later this year.
Smart bathroom appliances continue to be a thing
Kohler has made a bit of a name for itself in the “voice-controlled bathroom products” space. The company already built Alexa into its Numi Toilet, and now is launching a new valve and sensor system called “Perfect Fill” that can draw a bath with just a voice command. The remote for Perfect Fill can be installed anywhere in the house and allows you to set your preferred temperature and fill level. No word on which voice assistants exactly will work with the system or if it’s a custom voice assistant from Kohler. While Perfect Fill can be installed in any home tub for prices starting at $2,700, Kohler is also selling the “Stillness” spa tub for those who only accept the best with this same tech inside, starting at $8,000. There’s still no release date for either of these, but pricing has us hoping they’re just around the corner.
Display your NFTs in style
You know what’s better than loading up your NFTs on your TV to admire them? A picture frame that can always keep your luxury jpegs on display. While Netgear isn’t the brand that comes to mind for anything display-related, the company is jumping into the digital picture frame market with the Meural Canvas II with focus on displaying NFTs. While the Meural can display any image downloaded to your phone through the accompanying smartphone app, Netgear also made it functional with Async Art, special NFTs that actually change dynamically and are meant to be displayed on a digital canvas. For those not at all interested in the crypto world, the Meural II looks like a very high quality digital picture frame, with a bright, anti glare, IPS display that should be great for displaying regular photos, a step up from the cheaper digital frames out there.