Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Pickr 2019 Holiday Gift Guide: At Home

If you’re buying for someone who loves their home, consider these gadget renovations sure not to be regifted.

Australians love renovation shows, and that might be because we love fixing the home and making it better. A splash of paint, a new room in the house, or making the home just feel better.

Technology can help with that, too. You can add technology to the front and the inside of the home to make it more internet connected, watching over the space and basically transforming it from a regular every day home into a smart home.

And these can be great gift ideas, as well, particularly helpful if you know someone who wants to add a bit of security or just stay connected without needing to turn to their phone.

Securing the home

Buying for the home owner starts with the front door, because there are things you can do to make the front door that much more tech-centric.

You can add a digital doorbell and link it up with either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, or you can even shift the lock to something that plays nicely with your phone. You might even choose to add some lighting, to bring attention to someone who might not be a welcome visitor.

If you’re keen to bring a friend or family member into the 21st century, you might want to start with gadgets made for the front door.

Ring Video Doorbell

Price: from $149

Starting with the front door should start with the door itself, and pressing the door bell. Old door bells are so passé, but if you want to make things modern, consider looking to a Ring Doorbell.

One of the more useful integrations you can find, Ring’s Doorbell adds a video camera and motion sensor to the doorbell, and it doesn’t even have to be drilled into place and setup by an electrician. You can mount it to the door frame or wall with 3M tape if you so choose, and once connected you’ll get an alert every time someone walks in the line of sight or presses that doorbell. You can even talk to the people through the door.

Read our review…

Nuki Smart Lock

Nuki Smart Lock

Price: $549

From the outside of the front door to the inside, the Nuki Smart Lock is an interesting take on the lock mechanism. Essentially, it’s a gadget that you cover your lock with, and it uses the mechanism to open the door when an app or smart assistant tells it to.

You can open the Nuki Smart Lock (and in turn, the front door) with your phone, and you can even call out to a connected smart assistant like Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or Apple’s Siri to open it for you, as well.

And just in case that’s too much work, there’s also an extra key fob you can buy that will open the door without you reaching for your phone.

Read more about this…

Arlo Pro 3

Price: $949

We’re a few years into the life of Arlo, a security camera company originally kicked off by Netgear that has now spun off into its own company, and the latest tech is even better.

Arlo can be found in numerous options, but if you’re looking to capture what goes on outside your home, it’s hard to argue with what’s on offer here. There’s support for 2K video (just a little better than Full HD), a wide viewing angle, and an integrated spotlight, so you don’t need to bring a light for your home. Add to this the weather resistance and magnetic mount, plus an app that works a treat, and you have one of the better security setups a home can have.

Inside the home

You can add some of those smarts to the inside of the home, as well, thanks to speakers, displays, and other smart appliances. THe question becomes what sort of smarts do you want to give as a gift, because there’s quite a bit out there.

Philips Hue smart lights

Price: from $20

A solid start to the whole smart lighting thing, Philips Hue light bulbs are beginning to be pretty common, and depending on the variant, can be controlled from colour or just level of white that comes in.

While light bulb colour is a handy part of the package, remotely controlling light is another nifty feature, adding a bit of security with light automation on schedules while you’re away, and then using lights as alarms, handy as a way to wake you up.

There are lots of different ways smart lights can be used, and with one of the largest ranges, the Philips Hue light bulbs are worth checking out and compatible with almost every Australian light fitting. You can even find some for the smaller IKEA light styles.

Read more about this…

LiFX Day & Dusk

Price: from $45

Australia’s LiFX also plays in the smart lighting space, and this year offered an interesting take on smart lighting: lights that can change the colour based on the schedule of the outside.

This means as the sun changes its position around you, the lighting from LiFX’s bulbs can change to match the light output, gradually adjusting your eyes to the evening, and possibly helping your sleep when you don’t realise it.

While not compatible with the Philips Hue lightbulbs (the app is different), they can still be controlled by a smart assistant even when in the same house as other incompatible smart lights, so if you have one of those or even a phone, you should be fine.

And speaking of smart assistants…

Amazon Echo Dot with Clock

Amazon Echo Dot (2019)

Price: $69

A solid entry into the world of the smart home, Amazon’s Echo Dot with Clock isn’t quite an alarm clock in the way other smart displays have tried to take over that position. Rather, it’s a smart speaker that is voice activated, and yet still shows a clock in an old school LED-kinda way.

If a smart display is just a little too obtrusive on a nightstand, this is an approach that will be a little simpler and clearer to handle.

Read more about this…

Google Nest Hub Max

The 10 inch Google Nest Hub Max, announced at Google IO 2019


Ideal for the kitchen or any large space, the Nest Hub Max sits on the other side of the smart home approach, using Google instead of Amazon’s Alexa.

Folks already in the Android ecosystem will already likely have a voice profile for this, and their photos can be synchronised to the Nest Hub Max, too, alongside their calendars, making it easy to for the Nest Hub Max camera to work out who to serve the right information to.

In the Pickr kitchen, it’s an ideal spot to look up recipes while cooking, and to check out the family photos whenever we’re awake.

Read more about this…

A smart home with smarter appliances

Finally we come to some of the bits and bobs inside the home, with gadgets to make living a little easier, or at the very least, a little more web connected.

Anova Precision Cooker Nano

Price: $149

The idea of “sous vide” cooking may not be familiar to all, but if you’re looking for a way to perfect that protein and cook to a level of done-ness you prefer, this could be the way. What’s more, it can be web-connected.

The Anova Precision Cooker Nano is a temperature controller for a bath of water, but you bring the bath. That means you can bring the pot or container to heat the water in, and you don’t need to buy a specialty gadget made just for it.

While sous vide appliances can cost a pretty penny, Anova keeps the price down with the Precision Nano, and can talk to your phone to control the temperature, too.

Price: from $389

A slightly different take on fans, Dyson’s Pure Cool Link builds on the success of air multiplying fans by doing the job of those, but on a slightly larger scale.

What’s more, it includes air filtration, which is particularly handy these days, dealing with fine particles in the air as well as chemicals you might not be thinking about.

There’s an app that can control things as well as integration with agt least one smart assistant, meaning if you’ve started to smarten up your home, the Dyson Pure Cool Link should fit right in.

Read our review…

DeLonghi PrimaDonna Elite

Price: from $2499

Thinking your morning coffee would be easier if your coffee machine could be controlled by your phone? Well that’s a thing.

DeLonghi’s PrimaDonna series not only features a built-in grinder and milk preparation compartment, but can be connected to the DeLonghi Coffee Link app on iOS and Android, so you can make coffee from your phone.

Just don’t forget to place the cup under the spout, otherwise your coffee might end up on the floor, not the cup.

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