The Pocket-lint Gadget Awards will take place in the middle of November and that means we will soon be finding out the winners of the 18 categories ranging from smartphone to smarthome. Each category has been narrowed down to six nominees from the hundreds of devices we have reviewed over the last 12 months.
As always, we have been running a series of features detailing the nominees within each category in a little more detail in order to help you with your voting decision.
The smarthome category was introduced to the Pocket-lint Gadget Awards in 2014 but things have certainly become a lot more interesting since then. Devices are now more advanced and while there is still a way to go before a smarthome is second nature, there are some great products in this category this year. Here are the nominees.
Amazon Echo is an excellent system that delivers a smart gateway to the rest of the connected world. If you have third-party smart devices - lights, a thermostat, and so on - then Alexa makes sense of this brave new world and gives it order. It's a wonderful thing indeed.
As time has gone by, Alexa has evolved and delivered more than we'd have ever imagined. The rise of the smart speaker owes itself to the Echo, the original and in many people's view, the best. If you want to dip your toe into the world of Alexa, the Echo will get you there. If you're all about music then the Plus sounds a lot better, while the Show and Spot handle visuals thanks to their screens. Whether listening to music, adding to our shopping list, adjusting the heating or asking other apps to do their thing, Echo and Alexa have blown our mind.
Does two decades of search experience give Home the upper hand over Amazon Echo? In terms of search results, yes. But is it the better product? It wasn't at first but Google has gained a lot of integrations and partnerships over the last year. Home is a fantastic looking device, it's now much more rounded and it's brilliant at conversational points and search.
Like Amazon Echo, this nomination is for the entire Google Home and Google Assistant system. It's not as extensive as Echo in terms of devices, but Google Home delivers a brilliant user experience, great sound from the Home and Home Max, and accessibility through the Home Mini, all of which offer great design. If you're after a smarter home, Google Home is an excellent place to start.
The Hive View is certainly the best-looking indoor camera you can buy. It's priced to compete with the likes of Netatmo Welcome, Arlo Q or Logi Circle, with that ability to temporarily move it to somewhere else and have it run off a battery.
Integration with the Hive platform adds some additional appeal to existing Hive owners - because you're using one smart home app - and the detection and recording quality is good. At launch the Hive View didn't support video downloads but that's now been corrected too, making this a great smart home camera option.
Nest Hello is the most advanced video doorbell you can buy right now. Not only is its smaller-scale and more premium design more appealing than its competitors, it also brings a wider and more powerful feature set with it: great facial recognition and video quality, all wrapped into an ace user interface and app package.
It isn't perfect, with its biggest downfall being the potential cost, but it is an excellent device that continues to deliver fantastic performance on our front door and great integration with Google Assistant. Hello Nest Hello, welcome to the video doorbell party. You might be a bit late - but you were the guest we've been waiting for.
When Philips Hue first launched competition wasn't really a factor. Six years on there's a lot more competition - Hive, Osram, Ikea, Elgato, Belkin, Lifx and others all have lighting systems - but no other manufacturer has really managed to gain as much ground or have as expansive an offering as Philips.
As the system has grown and expanded it's clear to us that Hue is something much more; a system that in many cases you might be able to justify the cost given the expanse of possible usage scenarios. Whether that's creating a lighting security system, getting the lights to turn on when you come home or leave the house, or merely notify you about things that you use in other parts of your connected life. After nearly six years using Hue, there's no going back to standard lighting for us.
Samsung VR7000 Powerbot
The Samsung VR7000 Powerbot is one of very best robot vacuum cleaners we've tested. It may have a fairly high price point, but it's worth every penny. With a compatible app, remote control and voice-control capabilities, it's also highly flexible and easy to use. We rarely found this robot vacuum would get stuck or have problems navigating the house, managing daily cleaning cycles with ease.
It is one of the noisest robot vacuums we've tested, but that's part and parcel of such significant suction power. If you're weighing up your robot vacuum cleaner options then the Samsung VR7000 Powerbot should be high on your wishlist. It truly sucks in the best possible way, while so many other robo-vacs just plain suck.
Voting in the 15th annual EE Pocket-lint Awards is now open so you can let us know which one of these great devices you think should win the Best Smart Home award for this year and give us your verdict on all, or some, of the other tech across the 17 categories.
Winners will be announced at the exclusive event in London on 13 November in association with EE. Voting closes on 2 November.