Command your castle. Say ‘Hey Google’ and control your home without lifting a finger

The age of the smart home is here, and the benefits are wide-ranging. Find out just what you can do with a smart home now

Google Home Mini Nest Thermostat E Nest Home Hub
(Image credit: Google)

Getting into the world of smart home technology has never been easier than it is today. The range of quality, life-changing products on offer is now truly remarkable and the potential to upgrade and improve how you live your daily life massively in scope.

T3 knows this as we spend each and every day reviewing the latest and greatest smart home tech and, trust us when we say this, today's best smart home products really do let you command and control your own home like never before. From voice control and remote operation, to serious cost saving and security improvements, and on to entertainment and time-saving autonomies, the benefits today's best smart home products deliver are many.

And what we like most about smart home tech so much here at T3 is just how easy it is to get involved. With a device as accessible as the Google Home Mini, which is small, stylish and very affordable (under £50), you can embed a proper smart home hub at the center of your home, from which an entire ecosystem of smart home technology can be built. Each person's smart home can be personalised as they wish, to create a truly bespoke experience.

But how exactly can top smart home tech transform your daily life, and what are the benefits it can deliver? What follows is a selection of T3's favourite smart home technology today and, more importantly, the many uses of it that we now feel we couldn't live without.

Google Home Mini

(Image credit: Google)

Command your castle through the power of voice

Voice control has been the dream for many since science fiction shows like Star Trek showed us how we could order our "Tea, Earl Grey, hot". And the truth is that today voice control is one of the most useful and advanced features available in the smart home.

Google Home Mini, for example, is powered directly by the Google Assistant, meaning that by simply saying 'Hey Google' you can verbally ask it questions on any subject, get the latest news, traffic and weather reports, play music or your favorite podcasts, master your calendar and daily schedule, set alarms and reminders as well as much more. And that is just with one device.

Start linking in more great smart home products and what you can do rapidly expands even more. For example, add in a Chromecast, link it to your TV, then voice control your TV content. With a Chromecast you can ask Google, hands-free, to 'Play House of Cards from Netflix on my TV', for example, and then sit back and enjoy the show.

Equally, if you invest in some of the very best smart lights on the market, then no matter where you are, you can control your home's lighting through the Google Home Mini with the power of your voice. Want to set the scene for an epic movie night? Then turning the lights blue and dimming them with a few voice commands is the perfect way to set the scene.

Google Nest Hub

(Image credit: Google)

Rule your residence from anywhere, at any time

Another huge benefit of getting started with smart home is that it allows remote access and control of many things that we use every single day. 

For example, upgrade to the Google Nest Hub, which packs a 7-inch touchscreen on top of all the awesome functionality delivered by the Google Home Mini, and you can now get visual feeds directly from connected products like the Nest Hello Doorbell, allowing you to know who is knocking before you answer the door.

What’s more, even if you aren't in when someone comes to your door, you can still see who it is and even converse with them directly through your smartphone. And, with the Nest Hello Doorbell delivering HD video at a wide angle, you don't get a narrow blurry outline of a figure who could be anyone, but the full picture, be that on your phone or through your Google Nest Hub.

Google Nest Hello Doorbell

(Image credit: Google)

Be informed and entertained like a king all day long

One of the absolute best benefits of upgrading to a smart display though, is the multitude of additional entertainment and information that is then placed at your fingertips or on the tip of your tongue.

For example, the Nest Hub can not only act as the ultimate digital photo frame, syncing seamlessly with your Google Photos library, but it can also play YouTube videos and songs from YouTube Music, Spotify, and Deezer, Pandora, which neatly are all available for free. You literally get a massive library of video and music content for nothing, which can then be watched or played at any time.

Want to watch the latest Star Wars trailer? Then you can simply ask Google Assistant to play it for you, hands-free, on the Nest Hub or a Chromecast-connected TV or monitor.

Having a smart display also lets you immediately see your schedule, commute to work on Google Maps, and the very latest news stories. Before leaving the house at one glance you can get briefed on the day's big stories, see what the weather is going to be like, and discover how long it is going to take you to get to work. As a tool to empower a daily routine, few can match the benefits a Google Nest Hub can deliver.

Google Nest Thermostat E

(Image credit: Google)

 Keep your kingdom warm and prosperous

The functionality that a smart home can deliver even extends to, literally, saving you money each and every day. Hook up a great smart thermostat like the Nest Thermostat E, a product that T3 currently has positioned in the number one position in its best smart thermostats guide, and you immediately unlock incredible energy saving potential.

The Nest Thermostat E, can help you optimise how your home is heated from day one, with smart functionality like knowing when a user is home or out. All this helps dramatically reduce energy waste while ensuring your home is warm when you need it to be.

Naturally for a connected smart home product, a smart thermostat like the Nest Thermostat E can also be controlled through a smart display or speaker and also from anywhere through a smartphone. Day had a sudden cold snap and you're about to leave work and set off home? Well now with a few button presses you can crank up your smart thermostat's temperature and ensure you home is toasty for when you walk through the door.

Google Nest Cam Outdoor

(Image credit: Google)

Secure your stronghold with smart defenses

And, talking of walking through doors, when it comes to stopping unwanted people from doing so a connected smart home is, literally, streets ahead. Along with smart locks that allow remote access to be granted, temporary access to be granted for one-time deliveries of things like groceries and packages, now you can link products like the Google Nest Cam Outdoor to a smart hub and see everything that goes on around your home.

With 24/7 live video recording over a 130-degree field of view, and at 1080p Full HD resolution with night mode too, the weather proof Nest Cam Outdoor is ideal at keeping a watchful eye on your property, even when you're asleep or away. The Nest Cam Outdoor can also notify its owner with smartphone alerts, with motion tracking and facial recognition tech allowing the system to immediately show you exactly who has approached your property.

As a safety measure for keeping your home safe, a connected smart security camera like the Nest Cam Outdoor is an invaluable tool in our opinion here at T3, and thanks to incredibly affordable products like the Google Nest Hub, it is now a super approachable, plug-and-play experience to get setup. From smart security products, to smart lighting and through to smart appliances and entertainment systems, among others, it truly easy remarkably to make a home smart now.

And that all comes back down, truth be told, amazing products like the Google Home Mini and Google Nest Hub, the centre and brain behind any great smart home setup. There's a reason T3 rates them so highly, as they do what we think all great technology should make our daily lives better and spark joy.

All the smart home products recommended here are available right now at Currys. The Google Home Mini costs £49, Nest Hub £199, Nest Hello Doorbell £189, Chromecast £30, Nest Thermostat E £199, and Nest Cam Outdoor £149.

For 25 years T3 has been the place to go when you need a gadget. From the incredibly useful, to the flat out beautiful T3 has covered it all. We're here to make your life better by bringing you the latest news, reviewing the products you want to buy and hunting for the best deals. You can follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. We also have a monthly magazine which you can buy in newsagents or subscribe to online – print and digital versions available.