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CNET reviews: Best smart home devices

The August Smart Lock is easy to install

The August Smart Lock is easy to install and integrates with Apple's HomeKit and the Works with Nest platform. Credit: CBS Interactive

Smart home technology promises to make your living space more comfortable, more convenient and more secure — and they seem to be getting smarter all the time. These four devices are our top picks to keep you comfortable, safe and entertained.

The following CNET staff contributed to this story: senior associate editors Ry Crist and Megan Wollerton and senior editor Laura K. Cucullu. For more reviews of personal technology products, visit


CNET rating (out of 5) 4.5 stars (outstanding)

THE GOOD The Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat has a responsive display, a remote sensor and tons of smart integrations, including a built-in Amazon Alexa speaker.

THE BAD The price is high, particularly if you don’t care about the Alexa speaker or the Ecobee4’s other smart capabilities.


BOTTOM LINE There’s no comparison — the Ecobee4 is the best smart thermostat available today.

August Smart Lock

CNET rating (out of 5) 4.5 stars (outstanding)

THE GOOD From its improved design and easy installation to its simple software interface and top-notch performance, the second-generation August Smart Lock has it all. It integrates with Siri via Apple’s HomeKit software, as well as the Works with Nest platform.

THE BAD The lock isn’t compatible with every deadbolt, the HomeKit can be challenging to get up and running, and the Siri integration won’t matter to August’s non-Apple users.

THE COST $139.99 to $199.99

BOTTOM LINE Awesome — even if you don’t have an iPhone.

Amazon Echo

CNET rating (out of 5) 4 stars (excellent)

THE GOOD With a variety of new designs, the new Echo is better-looking than the original, just as smart and less expensive. The addition of an aux-out jack lets you connect it with your existing audio setup.

THE BAD The Echo still doesn’t sound as good as premium, high-fidelity speakers. The volume ring of the original is gone, replaced with the cheaper volume buttons of the Echo Dot.

THE COST $99.99

BOTTOM LINE Alexa is still the most compelling voice-control platform.

Amazon Cloud Cam

CNET rating (out of 5) 4 stars (excellent)

THE GOOD The crisp 1080p HD live feed, prompt motion notifications and free 24-hour clip storage set a new value standard for indoor home security cameras.

THE BAD Only Amazon cloud subscribers can set motion zones and receive person alerts. Continuous recording is not available (even for subscribers), and there’s no local microSD card storage.

THE COST $119.99

BOTTOM LINE It’s affordable, reliable and easy to use, but it’s the free storage that ultimately makes it more appealing than other home security competitors.


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