Connected homes used to be something you'd associate with the future but that's no longer the case. Over the last few years we have seen several smarthome gadgets and devices appear and they have really come into their own in 2015.
Smart heating and lighting systems have greatly improved since they first launched, but they aren't the only devices that make up a connected home. Everything from the gadgets that allow you to control them remotely to the tablet, smartphone or smartwatch with the apps you need to control the devices in the first place, all contribute to a smarthome.
If you are looking for the best gadgets of 2015 that will help make your home a more connected one, you've come to the right place. We have detailed 10 devices that will make your home wonderfully connected from British Gas's smart heating system to the new Sonos Play:5 that puts smartphone control at the forefront when it comes to playing music around your home.
We've critiqued the best devices available over the past 12 months, culminating in the 12th Pocket-lint Gadget Awards in association with EE at the end of November. This feature handpicks the best of the best when it comes to products that will help you create a smarter home.
Philips Hue with Siri
We really like the Philips Hue lighting system, and the variety of lighting options it delivers. For 2015, Siri of course is the fun element that will make you feel like you are on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise asking the computer to do things for you and those things happening instantly.
The bigger picture will be HomeKit operability with other systems like sensors, heating, or security, and while that's still a long way off for many - given the lack of options in the UK (there are a few more in the US) we expect this eco-system to only grow with time. If you are a current Hue user, £33 is a cheap price to pay for what should deliver plenty in the future, and voice control in the present.
READ MORE Philips Hue with Siri review
Hive Active Heating 2.0
Hive Active Heating remains one of the more accessible smart heating systems. There are a growing number of rivals, but with British Gas pushing Hive, it's an easy option to select. The latest iteration of Hive Active Heating is the most compelling so far. The refreshed thermostat gives a visual lift with a smarter retro design and offers much better functionality than the previous version.
The new features give you more flexibility for greater control, but the competition from the likes of Honeywell and Nest remains strong and there has been no word on HomeKit compatibility. Overall though, Hive Active Heating is great, offers a new thermostat that looks fantastic in this latest version and continues to strengthen its offering.
READ MORE Hive Active Heating 2.0 review
The Naim Mu-so is one seriously standout wireless speaker. Sure, its £895 price tag is going to deter its fullest possible audience, but the Mu-so is so good it's worth saving up for. The industrial design aesthetic mirrors some of Naim's higher-end hi-fi products and sound is sonically sensational whatever tracks you happen to throw at it.
It's a wonder why it's taken Naim so many years to create its first wireless speaker, because as first attempts go, the Mu-so is a stormer. It is one great-looking, great-sounding product with plenty of input sources and a decent app to boot. Hear it and believe: the Mu-so is the new-wave hi-fi for the 21st century.
READ MORE Naim Mu-so review
Sonos Play:5 (2015)
Sonos has a fantastic track record in delivering great speakers - and the new Play:5 sets yet another precedent. It has a subtle yet sophisticated design that we love, offers a brilliant app to connect to streaming services and all your music, among other great features such as capacitive touch controls.
More importantly however, the sound it delivers is superb, especially with Trueplay software tuning. Yes it's slightly bass biased and there's no hi-res support but the new Play:5 is all-round fantastic. Sonos has competition nipping at its heels left, right and centre, but the new Play:5 shows what 13 years of experience can deliver. It's the ideal way to start a Sonos multi-room system, or add a badass centre piece to an existing one.
READ MORE Sonos Play:5 review
The Apple Watch is a powerful smartwatch with plenty of features on offer - from calls, to notifications, and thousands of apps all on your wrist. There's not much that sets it apart from the competition, however, save for its good-looking design.
It's the most designer, fashion-aware take on the smartwatch yet and a more luxurious accessory than most of the competition offers. What Apple has created is fantastic, but it hasn't yet fully addressed the social issues associated with wearing such a device on your wrist. We put the Watch on each day like an item of clothing and it has become an extension of our daily tech lives, but it is still a tough sell and it will probably continue to divide opinion for a long time to come.
READ MORE Apple Watch review
Amazon Fire TV 4K
The Fire TV is Amazon's fastest selling product of all time, both in its original set-top-box and streaming stick forms. There's only one product that deserves to best its sales records, and that's the second-generation 4K Ultra HD version. It is, quite simply, the best streaming box on the market.
Amazon's second-generation Fire TV box is a real step forward in the media streaming sector. By adopting 4K UHD streaming Amazon has set the bar high for others to follow. Anybody with an Amazon account will be tempted, even if they are yet to buy a 4K TV and if you do own a 4K TV, then welcome to the best option for sourcing UHD content in the UK.
READ MORE Amazon Fire TV 4K review
The new Chromecast is an easy way to get content to your TV via your phone, tablet or PC without any hassle. Whether you want to playback from apps, mirror browser tabs (or local media playback within), or even play split-screen games - Chromecast 2 is the device that makes your basic TV extra smart.
The first Chromecast was near perfect and with the sequel, Google's has done some polishing to make it shine even more. It won't even begin to replace set-top boxes, but it does a great job of simplifying the process of flinging content from your smart devices to your television, for a good price.
READ MORE Chromecast 2 review
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
The "standard" Galaxy S6, with its new metal build, was considered an impressive design push for the flagship range. The S6 edge, on the other hand, is an extravagant foray into capturing the imagination of public and pundits alike by showing off just how far design can be pushed.
When design is done correctly it fuses aesthetics with functionality. The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge does exactly that; it's a phone that turns heads, rightfully reinforcing its position as one of the most enticing flagships on the market and the most exciting phone we've seen for some generations.
READ MORE Samsung Galaxy S6 edge review
Apple iPhone 6S
An iPhone S update year usually means a couple of new features that most people could take or leave, but the iPhone 6S is the most exciting S model for a long time. It bucks the usual trend, delivering a phone that will offer plenty to iPhone users new and old alike, with 3D Touch a principle new feature that will lead iPhone functionality going forward.
Improved battery life, enhanced cameras and slick operability from iOS 9 all make the iPhone 6S great to use, even if the screen resolution is still behind the current flagship curve. The addition of Live Photos, 4K video and baked-in Hey Siri might be less integral to all, but they're the kind of fun features people want and that Apple delivers well. The iPhone 6S is a device that doesn't disappoint.
READ MORE Apple iPhone 6S review
Apple iPad mini 4
The Apple iPad mini 4 is faster, slimmer and more accomplished than its iPad mini 3 predecessor. This time around the mini succeeds in finding its place, despite not being as altogether powerful as the larger iPad Air 2.
It's a lovely, compact tablet with anti-reflective screen coating that makes it good for watching movies, playing games, and reading or writing on the go. The mini doesn't mean a compromise; this is as much iPad as many will need and it performs excellently as an on-the-go tablet.
READ MORE Apple iPad mini 4 review