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The best smart home tech we saw at CES 2023
Smart home products get a ton of floor space at every CES. However, at CES 2023, the smart home category got extra focus thanks to the long-awaited rollout of the Matter protocol. Matter — and its cousin, Thread — will make setting up a smart home much easier by establishing one “language” all products can use to communicate with one another.
Everywhere we went, the topic of Matter eventually came up. But we didn’t let this distract us from what we were really there for: finding the best smart home products at CES 2023. Check out our favorites below!
Samsung SmartThings Station
Samsung’s small, kinda-boring-looking SmartThings Station might seem insignificant, but it’s actually pretty important. To start, it’s the first smart home product from the South Korean giant to support Matter out of the box. Second, it is actually three products all in one: a SmartThings hub, a wireless charger, and a smart button.
As a SmartThings hub, you can use this to connect your various SmartThings-powered devices to your home network. However, since it supports Matter, you can also use it to connect Matter-capable devices that are not part of the SmartThings ecosystem.
Samsung boldly steps back into the smart home game with the SmartThings Station.
The Station also has a smart button. This button can be mapped to perform various functions based on single, double, or triple presses. You would need to decide how best to use this feature, but the fact that it’s there eliminates the need for a separate product.
Finally, as a wireless charger, it allows you to — you guessed it — wirelessly charge your devices. If you have Samsung phones or earbuds in the house, you’ll get 15W speeds. You’ll see slower speeds for non-Samsung products, however.
The Samsung SmartThings Station comes in two colors: black and white. It costs $59.99 for the hub alone or $79.99 for the hub and a USB-C cable/charger combo. The US will see it in February, probably along with a certain smartphone.
Nanoleaf makes everything Matter
Most folks think of colorful wall hexagons when they think of Nanoleaf. At CES 2023, however, the company branched out significantly into multiple new avenues.
First, it has new smart light switches in both wired and wireless versions. It also has a new TV camera system that views what’s on your television and syncs your home’s lighting to the on-screen action (as seen above). There’s also a new smart hub that doubles as a Thread router and RGB night light, and it learns your habits, so you don’t need to bother setting up routines. Finally, not abandoning its roots, it also has some cool new ceiling panels that will satiate obsessive fans who won’t stop adding Nanoleaf lights to every square inch of their home.
See also: Things I wish I’d known before building an advanced smart home
While none of these products on their own would qualify as the best smart home device of CES 2023, one important thing brings them all together: Matter. Not only does every new product Nanoleaf launched at CES come with Matter support out of the box, but every single Nanoleaf product you already own will get Matter support at some point this year. In our travels across the show, no other company even came close to Nanoleaf when it comes to welcoming Matter to the fold.
Essentially, if you want to have a Matter-centric smart home going forward, Nanoleaf is one of the first companies you should check out for your lighting needs.
Rise smart garden
Hydroponic gardens are nothing new. However, not too many are smart, and even fewer are smart enough to help prevent people from, you know, killing all the plants.
A company called Rise is hoping to fix that. The Rise Personal Garden, shown above, is a hydroponic system with a connected app that will walk you through everything you need to do to make your garden thrive. That includes starting your seedlings, transferring them to the main system, watering them, preening them, and harvesting them. It supports herbs, vegetables, and more.
Get smart about growing herbs and veggies in your home.
The Rise system also helps adjust the pH of your tap water. After all, your home’s water might be very hard or very soft, which could dramatically affect the viability of your plants. Where most systems just leave this up to chance, Rise includes a kit (and the app provides instructions) on how to make your tap water a perfect balance for the plants you’re growing.
You can also control the lighting of the garden to suit your needs. For example, if you live in a studio apartment, you probably don’t want a bright light turning on at 6:00 AM every day. Instead, you can program the light to slowly fade in during sunrise and then slowly fade out during sunset (or any times you want, really). Interestingly, Rise told us that this actually works better for the plants.
The Personal Garden, shown above, starts at $349. There are larger versions that range from $749 to $1,349. No matter which system you choose, you’ll grow fresh plants in no time.
While Samsung’s SmartThings Station is a great and capable device, it doesn’t do everything. For example, there’s no Z-Wave support, which might make it a no-go for some smart home pros.
Enter the Homey Pro. This much more powerful (and much more expensive) smart home hub wants to be the one hub to rule them all. Chances are high that the Homey Pro can do whatever you want to do with your smart home. This includes acting as a central hub for over 50,000 devices, supporting infrared and 433MHz controls (in the EU, anyway), extending your IR blaster range (with Homey Bridge), local/cloud backups, and much more. There’s also support for a certain protocol that rhymes with Chapel DomeHit, but Homey can’t officially say that. Oh, and it’s even got RGB lighting, which is pretty sweet.
Got multiple hubs and multiple products from multiple brands? Homey Pro can take care of them all.
Homey also has an intuitive software suite that allows you to create routines — which Homey calls Flows — to your heart’s content. These Flows can be hyper-specific because nearly every smart device in your home will communicate with the Pro.
The only thing the Homey Pro won’t have is Matter and Thread support out of the box. However, these will roll out in Q2 and Q3 2023 respectively.
The Homey Pro will cost $399 and is currently in the pre-order phase. Shipments are expected to start in February.
Sometimes we forget that building a smart home is supposed to be fun. We get so bogged down with making things work together, building routines, and improving reliability that we lose track of why we built a smart home in the first place.
The Yeelight Cube is one of those devices that reminds you to have fun, and it is definitely one of the best smart home products we saw at CES 2023. There are three cubes: Matrix, Spot, and Panel. Matrix allows you to create characters from a grid of dots, while Spot allows you to fire lights upward or outward around the room. Panel, meanwhile, acts as a more traditional light box with one side displaying RGB lighting.
The Yeelight Cube system is so cool because you can connect all these cubes together. One controller can support up to six cubes, and you can arrange them in any order you like, both horizontally and vertically. They are even hot-swappable, so you can move them around to your heart’s content.
The Cubes integrate with the popular Razer Chroma system, allowing you to sync your Razer gaming peripherals, Yeelight products, and other Chroma devices with your current gameplay. This is terrific because your new Yeelight Cube will instantly fit in with your existing Chroma setup.
As icing on the cake, the Yeelight Cube also comes with Matter support out of the box!
The Yeelight Cube system will hit pre-orders in March. A controller and one cube will start at $75.99, while additional cubes will cost $45.99 on their own.
TP-Link Tapo Smart Video Door Lock
The Tapo Smart Video Door Lock is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a smart lock that’s also a video doorbell. This is not the first time we’ve seen a product like this, but for some reason, no existing model has ever taken off. We really hope that changes with the Tapo because it’s one of the best smart home devices at CES 2023.
At its core, this product is just a common sense solution: Why have both a smart doorbell and a smart lock right next to each other? TP-Link just smooshed them together into one device.
Outside of that, though, this is a fully-featured device. It has a number pad, fingerprint sensor, and traditional keyhole, providing you (or your guests) with multiple ways to unlock the door. It can also use facial recognition to unlock, although that might be less secure. You can also always unlock it using the app, although that’s not as easy as the other methods.
The camera doorbell itself is a 2K QHD super wide-angle camera. It provides two-way audio and the usual push notifications when it spots someone.
Unfortunately, since it’s a camera, the Tapo Smart Video Door Lock does not support Matter out of the box (Matter support for cameras will begin later this year, hopefully). However, TP-Link launched no fewer than 15 Matter-capable products at CES, so clearly it is on board with the protocol. It is likely this device would get Matter eventually, but TP-Link would not confirm that for us.
Pricing and availability for this device are unavailable at the moment.
The best smart home tech at CES 2023
That completes our roundup of the best smart home tech at CES 2023. For more, check out our Best of CES Awards.