1.28.21 – C/Net – Molly Price
While your smart home can keep you on task, it can also help you unwind and unplug.
Working from home, managing schoolwork and cooking rather than going out have all proved the smart home capable of helping us get things done.
The pressure to be productive at home can feel overwhelming, but the same devices that help you make the most of your work day can help you draw a definite line between work and play.
Get more out of your tech
Here are five ways your smart home can help you unwind and log off.
However, not many other bulbs will give you as much functionality for your dollar as the Wyze Bulb. At just $8, it’s affordable and packed with handy features. It’s not color-changing, but you can dim it and adjust the color temperature, perfect for a warm, cozy evening glow.
The Wyze Bulb works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa without needing a hub. While nearly any combination of smart speakers and smart lights can help adjust your home’s ambience, check for compatibility with your smart speaker before you buy. $8 AT WYZEUse your smart speaker as a sound machineHomePod Mini
Ah, the sounds of soft ocean surf. Smart speakers are great for setting timers, hearing the weather forecast and learning fun facts, but they can also double as a relaxing sound machine.
The $100 HomePod Mini is the best-sounding small smart speaker in our opinion, and Apple has an Ambient Sounds collection that includes rain, forest, ocean, white noise, night, fireplace or stream sounds. Just say, “Hey Siri, play forest sounds.” $100 AT BEST BUYTry some guided meditationAmazon Echo (4th gen)
If you’re interested in trying new calming techniques but aren’t sure where to start, Alexa is ready to help. Amazon Echoes have guided meditation built in, so you can ask “Alexa, open Guided Meditation” to get started. Those meditations change every day, so you won’t get stuck in a rut doing the same routine day after day.
The 4th-generation Echo costs $100 and boasts big volume to fill your room. It also includes a smart home hub built in for pairing with your choice of dozens of smart lights for the ultimate Zen experience.
In his review, our Amazon expert David Priest called the new Echo “one of the most forward-looking smart speakers released in years.”
Relaxing isn’t just an evening endeavor. Getting your morning routine started gently can set the mood for a great day. Most smart displays (and a whole category of interesting alarm clock lights) offer sunrise alarms with gentle lighting to help you wake up slowly.
The Nest Hub offers what Google calls “Sunrise Alarm.” This feature gradually increases the brightness of your screen for 30 minutes before your preferred alarm time. You can also adjust alarms for different days, as well as choose alarm tones. The Nest Hub lists for $90 (but can be found for less) and doesn’t have a camera, so you won’t need to feel weird about using it as a bedside device.$
Yep, I said it. Smart essential oil diffusers are a thing. With this model from Asakuki, you can power on the diffuser via Alexa or Google Assistant. There are plenty of settings for color, light brightness, mist intensity and schedules in the TuyaSmart app.
We named the Asakuki on our list of Best essential oil diffusers for aromatherapy. With an impressive 700-milliliter water reservoir and run time of up to 15 hours on the low-mist setting, you’ll be able to soak up relaxing scents during the workday and beyond.$40 AT AMAZON