2016 Holiday Gift Guide: For the Home

Gifts like these might not be the most romantic if you’re buying for your wife or girlfriend, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find cool stuff that will put a smile on their face. Products for the home can be just as desirable if you focus on items with great design or that make someone’s life a lot easier, and if you stick to those simple guidelines, you’ll make whoever is on the receiving end very happy.

Click the links within the write-ups to purchase each product online, and for more gift ideas, check out the other categories in our Holiday Gift Guide.

Logitech Harmony Elite Remote

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If your entertainment center is anything like ours, it’s overflowing with set-top boxes, streaming devices, gaming consoles and audio receivers… and with them, a small army of remote controls. So why aren’t there more options available for universal remotes like the Logitech Harmony Elite? Probably because nobody could make one as good as this. The latest addition to the Harmony family is the most powerful and intuitive remote yet, featuring a full-color touchscreen and the ability to manage up to 15 entertainment and smart home devices. It’s compatible with more than 270,000 products and can connect to Alexa for voice control, while the included Harmony Hub allows you to control devices in closed cabinets, even when you’re not home thanks to the free iOS/Android app. The best feature, however, is the option to create one-touch Activities like “Watch Apple TV,” “Play Xbox One” or “Dinner Party” that will automatically power on all the correct devices and switch them to the right settings. It takes a little patience to set up, but once it’s ready to go, you’ll be amazed how you went so long without having a Harmony remote in your life.

eero Home Wi-Fi System

Wi-Fi can be a fickle mistress; just when you need it most (e.g. it’s Sunday night and you’ve just settled down to watch “Game of Thrones” in your man cave downstairs), there’s either no signal or the connection is poor. Enter the eero Home Wi-Fi System, a set of small access points that are placed throughout the house (with each device typically covering 1,000 square feet) and automatically connect to create a single wireless mesh network, eliminating the need for a wireless router and range extenders. The sleek, minimalist design blends in with virtually any décor, and it’s incredibly easy to set up, although it works better in homes with a more open floorplan where the eeros can see one another. The accompanying iOS and Android app allows you to set up family profiles to help manage schedules for internet usage or pause internet access altogether, and you can even test internet speeds and provide temporary guest access right from your phone. Though the eero still has some growing pains to endure before it becomes a must-have gadget in every household (especially at its $500 price point), for early adopters desperate for a Wi-Fi solution, you’d be hard-pressed finding a better option.

eero

Logi Circle Home Security Camera

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The home security industry has really opened up with the rise of smart devices, particularly as far as video surveillance is concerned. Just about every major tech company has a security camera on the market, but we really like the Logi Circle from Logitech for its price, functionality and ease of use. The camera boasts a 135-degree wide angle lens with 1080p HD live streaming and ultra-clear night vision, as well as a built-in speaker and microphone for real-time communication. Setup is crazy fast – we spent more time looking for instructions (hint: there are none) than it took the Logi Circle to connect to our Wi-Fi network – and you can even remove the camera from its magnetic charging ring/mount to use in another room for up to 12 hours. Of course, a home security camera is only as good as its software, and the Logi Circle app has some pretty cool features, including Advanced Smart Filtering that identifies and records important motion for easy scanning; a Day Brief timelapse feature that provides a 30-second recap of the day; and mobile alerts for motion detection, low battery and network connection. Although you’ll have to pay a subscription fee for monthly cloud storage, unlike its competitors, Logi Circle grants its users free access to the past 24 hours.

  

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