Video transcript included below...
Hey guys, Dan here from CLE Tech and today we're going to take a look at some great home tech for March 2017.
So I am not sure if this video will turn into a series of some sort but what we're going to focus on is not necessarily just smart home tech but rather just tech that you would use primarily for your home.
Also, before we get started, in order to ensure you don't miss my latest videos, be sure to turn on notifications for my channel and if you're new to my channel, I hope you decide to hit that subscribe button too!
Our first item is a 55” 4K Roku TV from TCL. Now most people when they think of great TV’s, they think of high end brands with super high prices. TCL is looking to break that trend with a really good panel for half the price. The TV itself doesn't have a lot to it in terms of looks or design. It's well built, with premium looking materials surrouding the border of the panel. You do get two legs for the TV to stand on but I usually mount my TV's and only put them on for this video.
There are plenty of I/O ports on the sides and back of the TV but overall it's just a clean and very functional 4K TV.
Where this TV draws it's praises is from it's UI. It is a Roku TV and has all of the features baked into the TV from a typical Roku streaming set top box. The navigation menu is clean and fairly customizable. You can add all your apps, or in this case channels, in one scrollable list and also rearrange said apps to your liking. You also have access to the Fandango store to download 4k TV and movies on demand.
Personally, I am fan of this layout for a few reasons. I think it's pretty easy to navigate around the menu and find whatever it is you're looking to watch. If you don't agree, well you can always hold down the search button on the remote and speak into the mic with your search inquiry.
The remote itself is also pretty nice. It is a standard Roku remote with your navigation buttons on the front and volume buttons on the side. My favorite part of a Roku remote is the headphone jack. This is great because we use this TV in our bedroom and when my wife is asleep, I can easily plug my headphones into the remote and get all the audio from the television right from my remote.
Finally, you are probably wondering just how good the 4K display really is? I'll be honest, it's not the best but it's not bad at all and definitely worth the lower price tag. Certainly, if you compare this TV’s panel to a Samsung HDR or LG OLED TV, you will notice a huge difference no question.
Out of the box, the picture wasn't great. I did dive into the settings menu a bit more and noticed that the input picture settings definitely needed some tweaking. After doing so, I noticed that when the TV is actually playing the content back at 4K quality, it's a pretty good display. It gets the job done for what our needs are and I really do enjoy it. You can pick this TV up right now on Amazon for $499 and, of course, links to this and other products featured will be in the description below.
This next product is definitely an interesting one and probably one of the stranger items that you will see on the channel. Yes, you’re looking at my toilet for a reason. The toilet seat is actually a bidet from our friends over at BioBidet.
For those who don’t know what a bidet is, well, I will leave you with this definition...Okay, so, poop jokes aside, I never thought how about ever getting a bidet let alone reviewing one on this channel but the BioBidet A8 actually has quite a bit of tech packed inside. For starters, this bidet can go over your existing toilet, provided that it's an elongated bowl style. The bidet has a ton of different features and options on the provided remote control but before we get into that, in order to activate the bidet, you actually have to be sitting down on it. There is a smart sensor on the seat itself and it recognizes when someone is sitting down. Then, after you press the neccesary buttons, the bidet will start doing it's thing. It's obviously very difficult to see what this would look like unless you do what I did and cling wrapped the bowl in order to not get sprayed in the face.
There are tons of features and options on the remote like the ability to control the temperature of the water, the pressure levels, location of the water, etc. There also is a very useful night light built into the seat for those nightly trips to the bathroom.
Now this particular model is all electric and is rather expensive. I believe it was described to me as the "Cadillac of bidets" coming in around 6 to 7 hundred dollars but BioBidet did tell me that their $99 A3 model is non electric and does lack some of the extra features but it definitely gets the job done.
Now some of you might find this strange like I did at first but I actually love this thing and now I understand why people from other countries thought that it was weird that we North Americans DON'T do this. I highly recommend checking out the cheaper model first, or hell, jump right in with the BioBidet A8. Either way, link is in the description!
Finally, the last item is the AmpliFi HD Smart Router. Now this router can act as a standlone router or a wireless mesh system by adding multiple AmpliFi HD’s to your home.
For this video, I did not use any mesh points. Just one AmpliFi HD router and I have to admit, it did a great job of covering the dead zones in my house AND kept signal strength consistently at near max speeds.
This is great considering that dead zones and/or inconsistent network speeds has been a HUGE problem for me.
I have tested quite a few smart routers over the last year ranging from Google WiFi, Google OnHub and the Starry Station. With the AmpliFi HD, I noticed that the dead zones were no longer dead but the speeds were a bitttt slower that the rest of the house. The good thing is the rest of the house had very consistent speeds, coming in always just above the maximum number that I was paying for!
The AmpliFi HD is probably one of the cooler designed routers that I have tested recently. Something about this all white cube that really adds to the decor in your house! You do have all of your neccesary ethernet ports on the back but the coolest thing to me is that it's powered by USB-C. Which to me was totally different than the standard power cables that usually comes with WiFi routers.
Another nice touch is the light that wraps around the base of the router. Does it help WiFi performance? Probably not but certainly looks cool.
The UI on the router itself is simple and gets you all the relevant information to you quickly and efficiently. Your main screen gives you the time and date but if you tap through the UI even further you will see things like total MB of data used, your different IP addresses, how many devices are connected to your network, and your network speeds.
Of course, this is a smart router and so there is an AmpliFi app for your phone so that you can monitor things like network speeds and connected devices, router performance and throughput. You can also set up guest networks and what's more interesting is set up a time frame in which said guest network is active for your guests. You can, of course set your network to always be available for your guests if you don't want to be cruel and only give them an hour of your precious bandwith.
Honestly, I have tested a lot of WiFi routers and mesh systems over the last few months, but this has been the router that I keep on going back to. I also want to note, that if you have a smaller house, there is no need for the mesh system. This single router works perfectly. If you do have a bigger home, roughly over 2000 sq ft, I do recommend getting some more access points to help any dead zones and boost signal strength.
You can pick up the AmpliFi HD Wireless Router for only $135 at the time of this video, which is definitely worth it with all of it's features, sleek design, and great network performance.
So that's it for this episode of Top Home Tech. I might try to do this monthly and just pick 3 random home tech items that I use on a daily basis and of course, if you do like this video and want to see more, please let me know in the comments section below. Also, please subscribe so you don't miss videos like this one or others that I might have in the future.
Thanks for watching and I will see you in the next one.