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