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smart home

Swann is also very good (and often uses Reolink cameras), an adequate solar panel, a good video doorbell/chime, and increasingly effective AI to make the camera’s smarter. Added to that it has local support and you can bag a bargain by shopping around.

Uniden is also impressive and has the best solar panel charger ever (it works), and a new range of Google Assistant devices and a new Guardian Pro app. If you were focusing on a Google Home, this is one of the best alternatives.

D-Link has a range of excellent cameras indoor/outdoor that work with its connected home devices as well as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. This is a pretty compelling brand with great local support.

Nest gear is nice, well made and part of the Nest ecosystem.

As for base stations.

The key benefit is that the base station keeps camera traffic off the Wi-Fi network and it can have more smarts than directly connected Wi-Fi cameras.

Arlo is the word, and unfortunately, we did not get off on the right foot with its original Arlo series. It makes good gear, but its marketing department made over the top claims that we just had to challenge.

smart home

Well, Arlo is now a separate company, its old tech replaced with the 4K Ultra series (yet to be reviewed – check back in two weeks), marketing notched back a little, and it looks great.

D-Link has its first base-station kit, and we will also be reviewing that soon.

smart home

Smart Locks

You can lock/unlock your doors via mobile phone, grant temporarily entrance to visitors, let couriers drop parcels and know who is at your door. A smart lock needs to use a smart camera, light and doorbell for best effect.

smart home
Now there is a smart lock!

It is a digital front door, and we have not reviewed any because these require installation to test.

Rules – must haves:

  • Look for Google Home integration (or Siri or Alexa depending on what you use) and IFTTT as a minimum
  • Most importantly Wi-Fi connection. Other features like voice activation, geofencing etc will depend on this
  • Some locks only have Bluetooth to communicate with a keyring dongle or smartphone app if in range – convenient but don’t waste money on it
  • Some locks only have Z-Wave or Zig-bee to work with a designated smart home hub. Unless you have one forget these.
  • Power is an issue – no power means no lock, so you need a backup way to unlock – key or press pad

Go to Bunnings and see what is on offer. We cannot offer any recommendations yet.

Video Doorbells

Video doorbells enable you to know who is at your front door via your mobile phone or cast to a screen. It can act as an intercom – useful for those who can’t get to the door quickly.

As yet we have only reviewed the Swann Smart Video Doorbell. The review is a good read about a simple Wi-Fi video doorbell.

smart home

I won’t compare it with more complex and expensive Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple Home Kit hybrid doorbell and security camera setups like Arlo, Nest and Ring because these are far more expensive and part of an overall security system.

Smart Thermostats and smoke detectors

One of the benefits of a smart thermostat for heating or cooling is that it allows you to set and automatically monitor the temperature via a smartphone app. And, when connected to other smart devices like temperature and movement detectors, it can reduce cooling and heating expenses.