CNET: Give the gift of a smarter home

The Roost Detector is one of the best devices of its kind on the market. It features the design and features of pricier devices — with a reasonable $50 price tag. (Chris Monroe/CNET/TNS)
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The Roost Detector is one of the best devices of its kind on the market. It features the design and features of pricier devices — with a reasonable $50 price tag. (Chris Monroe/CNET/TNS)

The smart home sector is one area where you may still not be up to date on all the latest tech. Here are four of the best smart home devices we’ve seen over the last year.

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Roost Smart Water Leak and Freeze Detector

The good: The Roost Smart Water Leak and Freeze Detector boasts killer design, reliable performance, and a reasonable price.

The bad: The Roost isn’t waterproof, and it doesn’t include a probe range extender like some competitors. I’d also like to see more integrations in the future, to fit it in with larger smart-home setups.

The cost: $49.99

The bottom line: The Roost Detector is one of the best devices of its kind on the market. It features the design and features of pricier devices — with a reasonable $50 price tag.

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Ecobee4

Product Review: https://www.cnet.com/products/ecobee4-smart-thermostat/review/#ftag=CAD187281f

CNET rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 (Outstanding)

The good: Ecobee’s $249 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.

The cost: $199.00 to $249.00

The bottom line: There’s no comparison — the Ecobee4 is the best smart thermostat available today.

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Amazon Echo (2017)

Product Review: https://www.cnet.com/products/amazon-echo-2017/review/#ftag=CAD187281f

CNET rating: 4.0 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

The good: With a variety of new designs, the new Amazon Echo is better-looking than the original, just as smart and a lot less expensive. The addition of an aux-out jack lets you connect it with your existing audio setup. It’s also a slightly better listener than before.

The bad: Though fine for casual listening and strong enough to fill a room with music, 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

The bottom line: Alexa is still the most compelling voice control platform, and the new and improved Echo should only boost her momentum. It’s well worth $100.

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iDevices Wall Outlet

Product Review: https://www.cnet.com/products/idevices-wall-outlet/review/#ftag=CAD187281f

CNET rating: 4.0 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

The good: The iDevices Wall Outlet works well with both Siri and Alexa, letting you turn whatever’s plugged into each outlet on and off using your voice. Installation is straightforward, and you don’t need to connect it with a hub.

The bad: $100 per outlet is a lot to ask for integrated, plug-in smarts.

The cost: $99.95

The bottom line: This is the best smart outlet on the market right now, but unless you’re committed to splurging on a seamless smart home, you’re better off just going with a plug-in smart switch.

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The following CNET staff contributed to this story: Executive Editor Rich Brown, Senior Associate Editor Ry Crist, former CNET editor David Priest, Senior Associate Editor Megan Wollerton and Senior Editor Laura K. Cucullu. For more reviews of personal technology products, please visit www.cnet.com.