Alexa Guard Plus Listens for Intruders (And Barks At Them)

By default, all Echo smart speakers include a feature called Alexa Guard, which can alert you to the sound of broken glass or smoke alarms. But the free Alexa Guard feels quite small now that Amazon is rolling out Alexa Guard Plus, a premium security service that gives you intruder alerts, hands-free access to emergency services, and barking sounds to scare off burglars.

Look, Don’t Touch: Debuts the First Touchless Video Doorbell

Delivery drivers touch our doorbells every day, but we rarely (if ever) take the time to clean the buggers. And while CDC guidelines state that COVID-19 spread through contaminated surfaces is “uncommon,” picking up the virus from a doorbell is within the realm of possibility. aims to remedy the problem with its Touchless Video Doorbell, which chimes when a visitor enters its piercing gaze.

The Best Outdoor Smart Plugs

Old-fashioned outlet timers allow you to run outdoor lights, pool filtration system, and Christmas decorations on a schedule. But why stick with old-fashioned? New outdoor smart plugs allow you to control lights and other outdoor electronics through voice commands, an app, or a complex weekly schedule.

Alexa Now Guesses What You Need Before You Ask for It

Talking to a smart assistant feels unnatural, especially when simple tasks require multiple commands. But a new Alexa update allows the smart assistant to “infer” what skills you need to use based on the context of your requests. Amazon says the new feature should make Alexa feel more conversational and reduce the time it takes to use skills.

Google’s Chromecast and Nest Audio Products May Soon Work with Home Theater

Chromecast and Nest gadgets are cheap and ubiquitous ways to expand your home network. But the positive reviews of the surprisingly hi-fi Nest Audio may have spurred Google to spy even more integration, this time as an ad-hoc home theater. According to The Wall Street Journal, a Google representative says that Nest Audio speakers will work with more conventional setups.

Lenovo Smart Clock Essential Review: Wait for a Sale on the Original

I was extremely excited when Lenovo first showed off the Smart Clock Essential. As a simpler, cheaper version of the Smart Clock, one of our favorite smart home gadgets, it seemed like an easy winner. Alas, that’s not the case: a combination of poor user interface choices and flaky, undependable software makes the Smart Clock Essential a dud at best.
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