Here’s how you can bring some smarts to your patio


As the temperatures cool and the days get shorter, patios shift to marshmallow roasts and game day grilling. It’s a great time to make your outdoor entertaining smarter and add convenience, security and fun while you’re at it. Here are four gadgets that will bring your smart home outdoors.

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Netgear Orbi Outdoor Satellite

Product Review: https://www.cnet.com/reviews/netgear-orbi-outdoor-satellite-review/#ftag=CAD187281f

CNET rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 (Outstanding)

The good: It has superb range and can live outside year round to extend Wi-Fi to your yard, pool or garage. It even has a night-light.

The bad: It can only be used with an Orbi router and it costs more than most of its competitors. Despite security measures from Netgear, someone could steal or break it if you leave it outside.

The cost: $326.23 to $329.99

The bottom line: If you have the money to spend and already have an Orbi router, the Orbi Outdoor Satellite will give you great coverage outdoors and speeds as fast as you get inside. Make sure you mount it somewhere safe if you plan to leave it outdoors.

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Cree Connected LED Bulb

Product Review: https://www.cnet.com/reviews/cree-connected-led-bulb-review/#ftag=CAD187281f

CNET rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 (Outstanding)

The good: The Cree Connected LED boasts solid lighting specs, strong ease of use, a wide range of control options, and a terrific price point.

The bad: Unlike standard Cree LEDs, the new connected bulbs won’t dim very well on dimmer switches due to interference from the built-in Zigbee dimming smarts. Also, the all-plastic aesthetic might not appeal to everyone.

The cost: $14.97 to $24.99

The bottom line: With tried and true hardware inside the bulb and smooth performance on multiple platforms, this $15 smart bulb is a smart bet for connected lighting.

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iDevices Outdoor Switch

Product Review: https://www.cnet.com/reviews/idevices-outdoor-switch-review/#ftag=CAD187281f

CNET rating: 4.0 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

The good: The iDevices Outdoor Switch is convenient, filling a niche not many smart plugs have attempted to fill, and the power tracking will help savvy holiday decorators save money.

The bad: You can’t control the dual outlets individually, the price is a little steep, and HomeKit user sharing can be a pain.

The cost: $45.99 to $79.95

The bottom line: The Outdoor Switch lets you flip on your holiday lights from the comfort of your couch and schedule them to turn off after you’re asleep. With the added bonus of energy monitoring and the new remote access, those willing to dish out 80 bucks will get a solid product.

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Ultimate Ears Blast

Product Review: https://www.cnet.com/reviews/ultimate-ears-megablast-review/#ftag=CAD187281f

CNET rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 (Very good)

The good: The UE MegaBlast is a portable, fully waterproof Wi-Fi and Bluetooth speaker that has Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant built in. It sounds very good for its compact size, is durable and offers strong battery life.

The bad: Somewhat expensive; speakers can’t be linked; no Alexa voice support for Spotify playback (can only stream Spotify via Bluetooth); USB charging port is a little bit of a pain to access, making the optional charging base more of a must-have accessory for home use.

The cost: $199.00 to $249.99

The bottom line: While it’s expensive and still a work in progress, UE’s Megablast speaker is the best-sounding portable Alexa-enabled speaker out there right now.

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The following CNET staff contributed to this story: Executive Editor David Carnoy, Senior Associate Editor Ry Crist, former staff member Dan Dziedzic, Associate Editor Molly Price and Senior Editor Laura K. Cucullu. For more reviews of personal technology products, please visit www.cnet.com.



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