The Ambient Smart Home Awards 2021: The big winners revealed – The Ambient
The votes have been cast. The results have been counted. The time has come to announce the winners of the 2021 Ambient Smart Home Awards.
A bit like last year, we’ve spent more hours inside our houses than we probably would have liked to in 2021 and, while that absolutely sucks for obvious reasons, there has never been a better time to get your smart home up and running.
A smart home doesn’t have to mean completely new and crazy gadgets or robots. Often it just means replacing gadgets, appliances and accessories with connected or automated versions of a similar thing.
And, with ever-evolving and quite-frankly-brilliant ecosystems from the likes of Apple, Amazon, Google and SmartThings providing the backbone, it’s super simple to get your smart home pimped out with the latest and greatest gear.
Which leads us on nicely to our top smart home picks for 2021…
Smart Home Product of the Year
Google Nest Hub 2nd-gen
A tough pick this as we wanted to choose something that not only seemingly sits within our smart home but is also a device that pushed the envelope forward in terms of innovation.
Despite very little changing on the outside, it’s the 2nd-generation Nest Hub that ticks those boxes.
Catching up with its stablemates the Google Nest Mini and the Nest Audio, the Nest Hub now has the same on-device machine learning chip for faster Assistant responses and gains an additional far-field mic so it can hear you better. It also packs 50% more bass into the same size speaker with a 1.7-inch driver.
But it’s the sleep sensing features that really set it apart.
Simply angle the screen towards your torso and the built-in Soli chip will watch your chest rise and fall and monitor your movement.
The built-in microphones, ambient light sensor, and temperature sensor will keep an eye and ear out for disturbances like coughing and snoring, and light and temperature changes.
Beyond being a handy sleeping partner, the 2nd-gen Nest Hub has all the smart home features and tricks you’ve come to know and love.
You can control your smart home from its touch-screen, and the smart home dashboard, Home View, is a simple but (genuinely) innovative way to see and control all of your smart home gadgets.
Read our full Google Nest Hub 2nd-gen review to find out just why it’s our overall top pick.
Smart Speaker of the Year
Sonos’ smallest speaker to date is super compact and is designed to be taken out and about.
The Roam is a great little Bluetooth/Wi-Fi/AirPlay speaker that packs in a hell of a lot of features for a very reasonable price-tag.
And it’s very much a smart speaker, with both Alexa or Google Assistant available for voice commands. Obviously, as these digital butlers need data, they will only be active when on Wi-Fi mode.
Like the Move, the Roam is also capable of being a regular Bluetooth speaker, while at the same time able to become part of your regular Sonos system with its Wi-Fi mode.
However, it actually trumps the Move on the Bluetooth front as it’s able to be on both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi mode at the same time.