4 How to use your phone to boil the ket­tle, so you don’t have to move from the sofa

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playlist from your smart­phone with­out hav­ing to get up to change songs.

If you don’t have a spare tablet, buy­ing a Chrome­cast Au­dio ( bit.ly/ au­dio431) is prob­a­bly the next best bet. Avail­able for only £30, this handy de­vice plugs into the back of your speak­ers via RCA jacks, a 3.5mm ca­ble or op­ti­cal lead. Af­ter con­nect­ing it to your Wi-fi net­work, you can find it in the same De­vices Avail­able list de­scribed above. The Chrome­cast Au­dio is also com­pat­i­ble with a range of other mu­sic apps in­clud­ing Google Play Mu­sic and Deezer.

Dim your lights

Smart light­ing is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly com­mon and many of the com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing Phillips and Nest, now ad­ver­tise their prod­ucts on TV, but it’s still an ex­pen­sive op­tion. How­ever, that’s about to change as Ikea has re­cently in­tro­duced smart bulbs at an af­ford­able price. For just £ 29, you can pick up the Re­mote kit, which in­cludes a sin­gle screw-fit 980-lu­men LED bulb and a palm-sized wire­less re­mote that al­lows you to switch the bulb on and off, dim it and change colour tem­per­a­ture from cool to warm. You can add fur­ther screw-fit bulbs or GU10 spot­lights from just £9 and £ 12 a pop, and it’s pos­si­ble to pair up to 10 bulbs per re­mote-con­trol unit, so you could in the­ory kit out an en­tire two-bed­room flat for un­der £80.

Al­though it’s wire­less, the Re­mote kit doesn’t use your home Wi-fi. For this, you’ll need the Gate­way kit (£69), which in­cludes a wire­less hub that con­nects to your router, two bulbs and a wire­less re­mote. This kit gives you the abil­ity to con­trol your lights us­ing your phone.

Log your weight loss

Check­ing your weight is just one te­dious part of di­et­ing, but wouldn’t it be a lit­tle less pain­ful if you had a scale that au­to­mat­i­cally logs your weight and sends it to your smart­phone ev­ery morn­ing? Thank­fully, such a thing al­ready ex­ists in de­vices such as the Nokia Body+ ( bit.ly/nokia431) and Fit­bit Aria ( bit.ly/fit­bit431). You won’t get much change from £ 100 when buy­ing ei­ther de­vice, but they make it much eas­ier to keep track of met­rics such as your body-fat per­cent­age and BMI (as well as your weight), and they send all this in­for­ma­tion to your smart­phone via Wi-fi or Blue­tooth. Both scales recog­nise up to eight users and the Nokia Body+ even gives you a weather fore­cast to make sure you’re pre­pared for the day ahead!

Boil the ket­tle

How much eas­ier would life be if you could make a cuppa in the TV ad break with­out hav­ing to wait for the ket­tle to boil? The iket­tle 3.0 from Smarter ( bit.ly/iket­tle431), avail­able from Ama­zon for £99.99, could save you up to 33 hours a year by let­ting you check the wa­ter level in your ket­tle and switch it on from a smart­phone app. You can even set iket­tle alarms so you don’t ever have to wait for a brew, and can choose the tem­per­a­ture, if you’d like warm rather than boil­ing wa­ter.

The iket­tle can be paired with other IOT (in­ter­net of things) de­vices and ser­vices in­clud­ing Alexa, IFTTT and Nest, mak­ing your home even smarter; and thanks to the app’s abil­ity to con­nect se­curely via 4G, you can also ‘re­mote boil’ from any­where out­side your home. If you’re more of a cof­fee fiend than a tea drinker, Smarter is re­leas­ing a new ver­sion of its cof­fee ma­chine later this month.

Set the iket­tle to boil when you wake up

Smart scales make it much eas­ier to keep tabs on your weight

Ikea’s smart-light­ing kits rep­re­sent ex­cel­lent value for money

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