When it comes to today’s technology, most products tend to fall into one of three categories: productivity, entertainment or communication.
However, there’s a growing collection of “lifestyle” gadgets that can help you live a better life, too. Think: wearable activity trackers, sleep-related gear, robotic vacuum cleaners and advanced oral care solutions.
I’ve tested a bunch of these “lifestyle” products over the last few months, and I specifically liked the following items the best of the bunch.
1. Sweet dreams are made of this …
The Somneo Connected Sleep and Wake-Up Light ($219.99) is a smart bedside companion that helps you get a better night’s sleep and leaves you feeling refreshed in the morning.
How, you ask? When it’s time to climb under the sheets for the night, this high-tech device guides you though light-based breathing exercises to wind down from the activities of the day. When it’s time to rise, the Somneo gradually brightens your room by simulating a natural sunrise, from red to orange to a bright yellow light, with optional sound — yes, instead of a jarring alarm buzzer, you can ease your way into the day. There’s also a snooze backup option with sound effects or FM radio, if you prefer.
Also included is a built-in AmbiTrack sensor that tracks temperature, humidity, noise and light levels, and feeds them to the SleepMapper app, which then suggests ways you can improve your sleep space and routine.
2. Fit as a fiddle
While a Fitbit is fine for tracking daily activities and sleep habits, a GPS-enabled and waterproof smartwatch like the Apple Watch (Series 3) goes above and beyond just measuring heart rate and exercise sessions — although it does that very well, too.
Starting at $369, these fashionable wrist-mounted devices can accept calls and texts — even without a nearby iPhone— and includes an optional cellular plan ($10/month through Bell or TELUS). You can stream millions of songs through Apple Music, see pictures of the kids or grandkids while in line at the supermarket, and raise your wrist to your mouth to activate Siri — your personal assistant — before asking a question or giving a command.
Left your wallet at home? Don’t fret. Your watch is also your wallet — simply wave or tap on a contact-less terminal to securely buy something at retail.
3. Set it and forget it
Are you sick and tired of vacuuming your home, especially when your time could be better spent elsewhere?
Why not let a robot do the dirty work for you? Simply push a button on the iRobot Roomba 690 and this vacuum cleaner will start moving around each room, sucking up dirt, dust and pet hair. You can also schedule the Roomba to clean at certain times of the day or if you own an Alexa- or Google-powered smart home speaker, you can also use your voice to say to command the Roomba and it will begin! Other features include a long-lasting battery, a low 91mm-tall profile to navigate under couches, anti-drop sensors (so it won’t fall down stairs), and effective three-stage cleaning system.
4. Putting the “tooth” back into “Bluetooth”
There’s also some clever tech for your bathroom, too. Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart is the best toothbrush money can buy, as it offers you personalized guidance and coaching.
With its multiple high-performance brush heads — one for gum health, another for whitening and a third for plaque control — each item includes intelligent microchip recognition that tells the toothbrush which head is being used, and selects the optimal mode and intensity.
Even more impressive is the integrated sensors in the handle that track and analyze your brushing, in real time, via the Philips’ Sonicare app, showing you where you’re brushing and where you’re not (or if you’re not brushing long enough or applying too much pressure). This Sonicare is also super sleek, with its slender and black finish, and wirelessly charges up when dropped into the (included) drinking glass.