As Londoners we need the technology in our homes to do more for us.
We want our homes to be “smart” in every sense of the word, with devices that make life easier and anticipate our needs – not pointless products that take forever to set up.
The best new tech for 2020 fits the bill. You can use your voice to command more than just music.
The latest televisions “disappear” when not in use. This is discreet tech that serves you perfectly.
Google Nest speakers
Google has positioned itself at the heart of the smart home since merging its wireless speakers with acquired home security brand Nest.
The new second-generation Nest Mini sounds better than ever. It’s convenient, compact, can be wall-mounted and comes in four attractive colours – the fabric covers are made from recycled plastic water bottles.
Google Assistant is built in, letting you control smart home appliances (including Nest security cameras, doorbell, smoke alarms and central heating thermostat, Philips Hue light bulbs and more), play music or ask Google to search for something on the internet.
It understands accents and natural speech – you don’t have to stick to a short list of commands. Priced from £49. Visit store.google.com.
LG Signature R9 “rollable” TV
Going on sale this year, this unique “rollable” TV has a stunning OLED screen that’s just 0.2mm thick and made of flexible materials, so it rolls up when not in use.
The 65-inch picture is bright and lifelike but the set’s innovative design is the star of the show. The screen disappears into a discreet, minimalist table designed by Foster + Partners.
You can even use a voice command to tell it to roll up. Or partially retract the screen and enjoy it as a short, wide display for everything from apps to art. Price to be confirmed. Visit lg.com/uk.
MiniBrew Craft hi-tech home beer kit
You’ve seen beans-to-cup coffee machines, how about a hops-to-glass beer machine? Home brew goes hi-tech with this Dutch beer-making device, which lets you brew five litres of world-class beer from raw ingredients then enjoy it poured straight from the keg.
The process of mashing, boiling and fermenting is straightforward and automatic. You get the ingredients as a pack, the machine does the rest. It includes a transparent mashing tun and a traditional-looking, copper-coloured keg.
The results are fresher than any beer you can buy from the supermarket and can be preserved for up to three months thanks to a built-in cooler. Priced about £1,020 at minibrew.io.
LG Styler steam closet
Clothes care is set to be revolutionised with this new steam closet that sits in your wardrobe area, refreshing clothes with cycles as quick as 20 minutes. It steams garments, banishing odours and lifting creases, reducing the need for dry cleaning.
Its heat pump can also be used to gently quick-dry delicates such as lingerie and sweaters, or dry coats that have been caught in a rain shower.
Refresh up to four garments at a time, including trousers or jeans in a press in the door. You can even sanitise clothes and pillows: the machine uses steam to reduce allergens and germs by 99.9 per cent, certified by the British Allergy Foundation.
App control with Artificial Intelligence works with Google Assistant, so you can turn it on with a voice command or ask how long till the cycle is finished. Priced £1,899 at lg.com/uk.
Elipson Planet W35 high-definition audio speaker
Elipson revolutionised loudspeaker design with its first spherical speakers in the Sixties. These new Planets update the design for the 21st century with wireless high-definition audio. Connect any source via aptX Bluetooth or wi-fi. Or a wire if you prefer.
The spherical design measures 35cm and contains left and right stereo speakers, so you only need one to fill a room with sound.
You can add other W35s around the home for a stylish multi-room system, with app control so you can enjoy the same music everywhere or different sounds in each room.
Sit it on a stand, tripod, wall mount or even suspend it from the ceiling. Priced £799 each at elipson.com/gb.
Ikea Oddlaug sound-absorbing panels
Need to reduce the noise of urban living? Whether you want to protect neighbours from your listening habits or protect yourself from their noise, these new sound-absorbing panels from Ikea are a must. They’re also good for softening the sound coming from teenagers’ bedrooms.
The panels come in packs of 15 and are modular, so you can create a wall hanging in a design of your choosing or use them as a room divider. Priced £25 for a pack of 15. Visit ikea.com.
Philips Hue Filament
You can now add vintage-style Filament bulbs to your Hue smart lighting system, which can be controlled via app using Bluetooth or by voice using Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.
Add a Hue Bridge to control a whole home of up to 50 lights via app from anywhere, with smart mood settings and more.
A single button can turn off all the lights in the house when you’re out, saving energy. Hue also offers colour-change light bulbs while its Friends of Hue collaborations offer a wide selection of lighting designs from brands including John Lewis & Partners. Priced from £17.99. Visit meethue.com.
Optoma UHZ65UST ‘short throw’ projector
An amazing way to avoid the bulk of a television is a “short throw” projector. They’re designed to be placed very close to the wall or screen, yet project a huge, perfectly proportioned home cinema picture. There are no cables to trip over and no heads in the way.
Place this space-saving Optoma on a sideboard, just inches in front of a white wall, to enjoy a 120-inch 4K HDR big picture. Connect any source via HDMI or play media from a USB stick.
Powerful speakers are built in, so you won’t need a soundbar or external speakers. It’s also compatible with voice commands from Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Priced £3,299 at optoma.co.uk.
Motorola Razr smart-home controller
Control your smart home from anywhere in the world using an Android smartphone with Google Assistant. The upcoming Motorola Razr is the hottest of the lot. Its clamshell design features a flexible OLED screen. It looks like a normal-sized phone but you can fold it in half when not in use and the flexible screen simply folds up.
The Razr fits easily in a pocket when folded, while the big screen is protected from damage. Whether the phone is open or closed, you can control smart home devices with your voice. Priced £1,168 (SIM-free) or on contract with EE. Visit motorola.co.uk.
Cubbit data storage
Want to store or back up your data on the internet without paying a monthly fee or worrying that your privacy could be breached? This hexagonal gizmo makes cloud storage more affordable and secure. Your data is chopped into little pieces, encrypted and the pieces are spread around thousands of Cubbits worldwide.
No one has access to your data because it’s dotted all over the place. And there are multiple copies, so it’s safe even if something goes wrong with one piece.
There’s no monthly fee. Instead you add storage to your own Cubbit – for example, recycling an old hard drive by hooking it up – to increase your storage allowance. Priced from £245 at cubbit.io.