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5 Surprising Things These Gadgets Can Do Around Your Home

Keep track of your schedule, save electricity, watch your weight and more with these home tech solutions

A child in bed looking at the Clocky alarm clock on a wooden bedside table

Forget “there’s an app for that”—turns out, there’s a high-tech gadget for just about everything. Whether you’re looking to save energy, binge-watch your latest TV obsession or even find a virtual personal assistant, there’s an inexpensive device that can help. Here are five of our favourites.

If you want to… run your life, try Google Home

Compatible with both Android and iOS, this voice-activated PA can help you check the weather, stay on top of appointments, flag an unexpectedly busy commute and play music from Spotify or Google Music, not to mention control compatible devices such as Nest thermostats. Just start your request by saying, “OK, Google,” and this stylish speaker will take it from there.

White Google Home on a countertop 

$180, bestbuy.ca

If you want to… save energy, try the Philips Hue White A19 Starter Kit

Philips’s new “personal lighting system” wirelessly connects special light bulbs to your smartphone, tablet or other devices (like Google Home, for example). This handy kit comes with two compatible LED light bulbs and the Hue bridge, an unobtrusive hub that acts as a link between up to 50 bulbs and your device. Easily turn off lights you don’t need—or add an extra layer of security by making it look like you’re home, even if you’re on vacation.

Product shot of the Philips Hue White A19 starter kit including two light bulbs and hub 

$70, amazon.ca

If you want to… make streaming better, try Roku Premiere+

Thinking of streaming TV? The Roku Premiere+ is a solid option. Though it’s the company’s highest-end offering, it’s not as expensive as some of its competitors (ahem, Apple TV). Plus, it comes with a remote; allows you access to Netflix, Google Play and YouTube, among other channels; can be used to play games and even includes a headphone jack for solo TV viewing.

Product shot of the Roku Premiere+ and remote 

$90, bestbuy.ca

If you want to… be woken up by a real-life Wall-E, try Clocky

This adorable alarm clock brings to mind the animated robot—until it literally hops down from night tables up to three feet high and wheels its way through your room while beeping, forcing you out of bed to stop the noise. Then, it’s just a very effective alarm clock.

Clocky, an adorable alarm clock on wheels 

$40 US, nandahome.com

If you want to… focus on your health, try the Nokia Body Cardio

This sleek device looks like a space-age scale—and it does track your weight, including muscle and bone mass—but it also goes much further. Think: measuring your heart rate, connecting to more than 100 health and fitness apps via Wi-Fi, and keeping records for each member of the family.

The Nokia Body Cardio scale on a hardwood floor 

$180 US, nokia.com

Looking to keep your home safe while you’re away?

Check out our top suggestions for high-tech tools that monitor your house while you’re travelling. And don’t forget to keep your abode covered with CAA Home Insurance.

For some low-tech improvements, read our tips on getting clean air at home.