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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 21, 2016 2 comments
There’s no dearth of smart outlets with Wi-Fi connectivity, but you might not know of their existence because they really don’t get much ink (or pixels) in the press. Fancy smart home hubs and biometric door locks are much more exciting to talk about than an electrical outlet that you can turn on and off via Wi-Fi using an app on your smartphone. I’ve fallen into the same “been there, written about that” trap myself. But a review sample of the Smart Outlet from ConnectSense showed up on my doorstep a few days after CES 2016 ended, and it is a Wi-Fi-enabled smart outlet that’s definitely worth spending some time talking about.
Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 19, 2016 8 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $499

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Auto-senses and adjusts output for vertical and horizontal orientations
Trueplay room EQ
Capacitance touch controls with audible feedback
Pure butt-kicking sound
Minus
Slight high-frequency edginess when used vertically
Tiny feet bumps are visible on sides of speaker

THE VERDICT
The Sonos PLAY:5 gets a radical makeover that adds $100 to the price but combines an amazing user experience with stunning audio performance.

Here’s the bad news: After six years, Sonos has stopped making the company’s first and, until now, best all-in-one wireless speaker system, the PLAY:5. Now for the good news: Sonos has a replacement for the PLAY:5 called…wait for it…the PLAY:5. (Confusing, I know.) At $499, though, the new PLAY:5 is $100 more than the original. For multiple reasons, the original PLAY:5 was my all-around favorite wireless speaker. Will its replacement prove worthy of its heritage—and the higher price?

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 11, 2016 3 comments
A look at the smart home category and why it didn’t have quite the sizzle at CES 2016 as it has had during past shows.
Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 09, 2016 2 comments
At first glance, I thought the folks at BeON Home must have a hole in their collective heads for promoting LED lights with holes in the middle of them. The BeON bulbs are smart bulbs, too, but with a difference. Can’t these guys do anything normal?
Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 09, 2016 2 comments
Synology makes network attached storage (NAS) servers. If your home entertainment life revolves solely around media you can stream—or you store you entire life in the cloud (on someone else’s remote server)—it’s unlikely you’ll have need of a NAS server. On the other hand, if you have thousands of digital images, movies, and songs in your collection, and you’d like to have easy access to them, a NAS server is one of the most essential digital storage components you can have. Fortunately for people with lots of files to store but not so much money, Synology introduced the DiskStation DS416j—a 4-bay NAS device the company has designed for home and small office use and budgets.
Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 08, 2016 2 comments
The world in which our smart cars drive us to and from our smart homes isn’t here just quite yet, but Control4 is already doing its part to make that smart home living dream come true.
Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 08, 2016 2 comments
I’ve used LOKSAK’s awesome waterproof phone and tablet bags for a couple of years now, and I’m a huge fan. That’s because LOKSAK’s resealable, see-through, storage bags create a hermetic, airtight seal that prevents water from getting inside—or letting whatever is inside out—even when submerged down to 60 meters (200 ft). In addition to protecting against water, LOKSAK’s also protect against microscopic particles like dust and sand. They’re reusable and recyclable. You can make and receive phone calls while your phone is in a sealed LOKSAK, but the best feature of all is that all touchscreens work—including capacitance touch screens—inside the bag. Now LOKSAK has a new series of bags that protect against something even smaller than water molecules and microbes: RF (radio frequency) and IR (infrared).
Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 07, 2016 Published: Jan 08, 2016 3 comments
Anyone who ever writes about consumer electronics—especially at shows like CES and CEDIA—runs the risk of praising a really cool product that, unfortunately, never sees the light of day. (It’s also the curse of anyone who covers Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns.) So I’ll begin this post with the following caveat: I have no idea whether or not the folks at Senic in Germany will be able to bring their Nuimo “Universal Control for Your Smart Home” to life as a real, honest-to-goodness product. But I sure as hell hope they do.
Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 08, 2016 2 comments
Cassia Networks demonstrated what the company is calling, “the world’s first Bluetooth router which uses a new enabling technology that redefines what’s possible with Bluetooth.” The word router isn’t one that’s normally heard in association with Bluetooth. Nor is the term “long-range”. (I’ve used another choice term or two when talking about Bluetooth, but we’ll leave those unspoken for the moment.)
Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 07, 2016 1 comments
There’s certainly no lack of interesting DIY home monitoring cameras at CES2016. The original Oco is here, still featuring self-learning sound and motion-detection algorithms, night vision capability, and two-way audio communication. But the diminutive 1280 x 720 (25 fps) camera isn’t alone at the company’s booth.

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