TODAY'S PAPER
71° Good Morning
71° Good Morning
BusinessTechnology

Intelligent ways to make your patio smart for the fall

Netgear's weather-resistant Orbi Outdoor Satellite, along with an

Netgear's weather-resistant Orbi Outdoor Satellite, along with an Orbi router, extends WiFi coverage for uninterrupted connectivity. Credit: CBS Interactive

As the temperatures cool and the days get shorter, patios shift to marshmallow roasts and gameday grilling. It's a great time to make your outdoor entertaining smarter and add convenience, security and fun while you're at it. Here are four gadgets that will bring your smart home outdoors.

Netgear Orbi Outdoor Satellite

CNET rating (out of 5)

4.5 stars (outstanding)

THE GOOD It has superb range and can live outside year-round to extend Wi-Fi to your yard, pool or garage. It even has a night light.

THE BAD It can only be used with an Orbi router and it costs more than most of its competitors. Despite security measures from Netgear, someone could steal or break it if you leave it outside.

THE COST $329.99

BOTTOM LINE The Orbi Outdoor Satellite will give you great coverage outdoors and speeds as fast as you get inside.

Cree Connected LED Bulb

CNET rating (out of 5)

4.5 stars (outstanding)

THE GOOD It boasts solid lighting specs, strong ease of use, a wide range of control options and a terrific price point.

THE BAD Unlike standard Cree LEDs, the new connected bulbs won’t dim very well on dimmer switches due to interference from the built-in Zigbee dimming smarts.

THE COST $14.97 to $24.99

BOTTOM LINE With tried-and-true hardware inside the bulb and smooth performance on multiple platforms, this smart bulb is a smart bet for connected lighting.

iDevices Outdoor Switch

CNET rating (out of 5)

4 stars (excellent)

THE GOOD This switch is convenient and fills a niche not many smart plugs have attempted to fill. The power tracking will help savvy holiday decorators save money.

THE BAD You can’t control the dual outlets individually, the price is steep and HomeKit user sharing can be a pain.

THE COST $45.99 to $79.95

BOTTOM LINE The Outdoor Switch lets you flip on your holiday lights from the comfort of your couch and schedule them to turn off after you’re asleep.

Ultimate Ears Blast

CNET rating (out of 5)

3.5 stars (very good)

THE GOOD This portable, fully waterproof Wi-Fi and Bluetooth speaker has Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant built in. It sounds very good for its compact size, is durable and offers strong battery life.

THE BAD It’s expensive; speakers can’t be linked; there’s no Alexa voice support for Spotify playback; USB charging port is a pain to access, making the optional charging base more of a must-have accessory for home use.

THE COST $199 to $249.99

BOTTOM LINE It’s the best-sounding portable Alexa-enabled speaker available.

The following CNET staff contributed to this story: executive editor David Carnoy, senior associate editor Ry Crist, former staff member Dan Dziedzic, associate editor Molly Price and senior editor Laura K. Cucullu. For more reviews of personal technology products, visit cnet.com

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

More news