If you only ever buy one piece of smart home tech, make it this

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If there’s one con­sis­tent thing about smart home prod­ucts that re­ally hit the mark, it’s flex­i­bil­ity. When some­thing does more than its ‘dumb’ equiv­a­lent could, in a way that quickly con­vinces you to never go back, it’s a true es­sen­tial – and that goes dou­ble when we’re talk­ing about safety, as with the Nest Pro­tect.

Nest’s smoke and car­bon diox­ide alarm screws onto the wall or ceil­ing like any other smoke alarm, but it does a lot to help you with gen­eral peace of mind, as well as kick­ing up a din when it de­tects smoke.

For a start, it con­nects to your Wi-Fi net­work, so you can check its sta­tus from any­where at any time, and it doesn’t just warn you of smoke with a noise: it sends your phone a no­ti­fi­ca­tion too, wher­ever you are. Most use­fully for novice or for­get­ful chefs, it gives you a gen­tle warn­ing about lower-level smoke build-up be­fore it gets to the stage where it fully kicks off, so you can si­lence it with a press of its cen­tral but­ton (or through the app), save your ears, and open a win­dow to clear the haze. And, if you have more than one, they all know their lo­ca­tion, and alert you to­gether, so a Nest Pro­tect on the top floor will an­nounce that smoke has been de­tected in the kitchen, or wher­ever.

There’s even more great stuff in the de­tails. You don’t have to test it: you can set it to test it­self, and while you’re out, it uses its own mi­cro­phones to check its speak­ers work. It also does its own bat­tery mon­i­tor­ing. It has a dim green light around its cen­tral but­ton, and when you turn the lights off for bed, this flashes once to in­di­cate that ev­ery­thing is work­ing cor­rectly, so you know you’re cov­ered overnight. It uses light-based sen­sors to de­tect smoke, which means it can dif­fer­en­ti­ate smoke from steam, so your shower won’t ac­ci­den­tally set it off – but the sen­sors can also de­tect mo­tion. This means that if the lights are off and you walk past it in the mid­dle of the night, it gives off a gen­tle glow, so you can find the bath­room. And it works with other smart home stuff – see the next page.

The Nest Pro­tect costs $189 for both the bat­tery-pow­ered and wired ver­sions. You can read more about the mod­els at nest.com/au.

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