Affordable Devices To Start Your Smart Home

Quality affordable smart devices are hard to come by. A quality 4K smart television will range anywhere from USD$1000 to $3000 dollars. If that didn’t make a big enough dent on your pocket, consider the price of a fully functional smart fridge is around USD$3000 to $6000! Thanks to the internet of things, there has been a steady rise in the number of smart home devices. Whether it’s bolstering your home security, simply purchasing cheap home automation or feeding your pet, there is an abundance of cool home gadgets that are not only affordable but functional as well. For the price-wary reader, not to worry, we will discuss the top five smart home solutions under USD$50.

Amazon Echo Dot

The Amazon Echo Dot is a smaller, powerful version of the Amazon Echo. The main difference between the two devices other than their pricing points is the absence of an internal speaker system. It makes up for it with an audio-out port and Bluetooth connectivity features. The dot is 1.3 inches tall and resembles a hockey puck. It is available in two color schemes, black and white. The Dot, similar to Echo, has a voice assistant called Alexa which listens to voice commands and executes tasks such as setting alarms, reading out ebooks and telling stories, ask the Dot to read the news, set a timer while you’re cooking or set today’s schedule.

The Pros

  • The Dot gives access to thousands of Alexa’s skills which come in handy when performing tasks such as looking up recipes, lowering volumes and so on.
  • The Amazon Dot is designed to blend into your home’s décor, thanks to its small size and puck design. With the Dot, you don’t need to worry about upsetting your home’s Feng Shui.
  • Priced at less than 50 dollars, this device is among the most affordable smart home solutions in the market.

The Cons

  • The Alexa feature has been described in numerous instances as being buggy.

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D-Link DCH-S220 Wi-Fi Siren

Smart home security systems are incredibly expensive. However, the DCH S220 is a device designed to keep your home more secure at a pocket friendlier price. It is a WiFi siren that sounds the alarm and sends notifications to your smart devices when specific occurrences happen. It is built to enable pairing with a variety of smart home devices such as smoke detectors, smart cameras, motion sensors and water sensors. It features a 70-decibel siren accompanied by blinking LED lights. Both measures are sufficient enough to deter unauthorized entry or bring to your attention to critical events.

The Pros

  • Compared to complex smart home security systems that require experts to install, the DCH S220 is easy to set up and run using an existing WiFi network.
  • This device is built to work in tandem with other smart devices such as motion sensors, cameras, and water sensors. This helps improve the security of your home while reducing the risk of prolonged leakages.
  • Using a mobile application, you can receive notifications and alerts on your phone while also toggling the siren sounds and their intensity.

The Cons

  • This device is designed only for indoor use.
  • The cables that accompany the D-Link DCH-S220 Wi-Fi Siren are inconveniently short.

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Elgato Eve Energy

Smart power switches are one of the biggest emerging cheap home automation trends. The smart device plugs into your wall socket and monitors or controls power consumed by your appliances or gadgets. It works alongside a mobile phone application that allows the user to remotely turn on or off specific appliances plugged into the Elgato Eve Energy device. The device connects to other home kit devices via Bluetooth; as opposed to WiFi. To reap the full benefits of power switch automation, the user requires purchasing accompanying compatible accessories.

The Pros

  • The device makes tracking power consumption possible. The mobile application offers separate views for total and current power usage. Current power usage is probably the most useful feature, providing hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly consumption graphs.
  • For small and medium-sized houses, the device’s Bluetooth connectivity allows fast response to commands and linking to other home kits
  • Setting up the device is easy and does not require specialized skills.

The Cons

  • The Bluetooth connectivity factor is only suitable for small or medium-sized houses. Additionally, most houses now have WIFI (the preferred choice for connection)
  • The device is designed for indoor use only. It is neither waterproof nor resistant to the elements.

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Belkin Songstream Bluetooth Audio Receiver

Chances are, you might not have the latest in audio equipment; the likes of a Bluetooth enabled home theater systems. But then, I could be wrong. If not, the Belkin SongStream Bluetooth Audio Receiver is just the device for you. The device is designed to make older stereo equipment compatible with the modern wireless devices which include smartphones and tablets. The Bluetooth receiver plugs into your home stereo or last generation standalone speaker via either an RCA or AUX cable. This allows you to wirelessly stream audio content from your phone, tablet or any other Bluetooth-enabled device with unprecedented ease. You may want to check out its NFC bother below

The Pros

  • This device allows you to link your smart mobile device to stereo equipment wirelessly. It removes the need for tools or cable lying around everywhere.
  • The Belkin SongStream Bluetooth Audio Receiver makes it possible to connect the entertainment in your home without necessarily having to buy new expensive equipment.
  • The device recalls up to 6 Bluetooth devices

The Cons

  • This device cancels out bass and has a poor audio reproduction. The quality of the sound stream is sometimes glitchy and unreliable.
  • Its Bluetooth so this product would suffer from range issues. The device playing the audio should be close enough for efficient data transfer. It would also be prone to interference.

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Amazon FireTv Stick

The Fire TV stick is the affordable competitor to Apple TV and Chromecast. It entails an oversized USB thumb drive look alike, with an HDMI connector on one end and a Micro-USB socket on the other. It works by plugging it directly into your TV or using the included HDMI extension cable in instances where it won’t fit. To power it on, the included Micro-USB cable is connected to one of your TV’s USB ports or wall outlet. Amazon Fire Tv is designed to revolutionize your television viewing experience. Amazon packs an assortment of high quality shows that are both premium and free.

The Pros

  • Fire TV stick has a new improved user interface that is an improvement over the 2014 version.
  • This model comes with a quad-core processor for improved performance.
  • Setting up the Fire TV stick is easy and doesn’t require specialized help.
  • The service boasts a rich array of shows and movies from different sources such as Hulu, Netflix, and Fire TV prime all in one convenient place.
  • The device has a voice control feature ( Alexa) which enhances and extends the traditional remote-controlled tv experience.

The Cons

  • The Fire TV still encourages the age-old habit of channel browsing. Most people today know exactly what they want to watch. ( Not a big deal though)

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By Karehka Ramey

Serious research has been undertaken to publish this content, so you're in the right place. I love technology, I believe embracing its potential for personal, business or educational advancement will pave the way forward for us all. We've all heard "knowledge is power", with this website I hope, to some degree, to empower you!

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