Summer's here, which means it's the perfect time to go outside and enjoy the (hopefully) good weather while it lasts.
That doesn't mean you have to leave all your tech behind though. There's a wealth of rugged, connected and voice controlled gadgets out there to improve your outdoor R'n'R time.
So, whether you're arranging a huge party in your garden, gathering a few friends for a beach picnic, or simply having an impromptu barbecue on the balcony, here's some of the best smart home tech for your outdoor entertainment.
The smartest cooking grill out there, Lynx SmartGrill packs a hefty asking price, but it backs that up with plenty of features.
Alongside built-in voice recognition, allowing you to speak to your appliance, and order it around like an errant sous chef, it also ties into your smartphone. The app connectivity means you can use other people's tried and tested recipes, as well as create your own, to cook things just right. Need a reminder to flip food at the right time? The SmartGrill offers that too, monitoring temperatures on its own, and learning how well-cooked you like your food.
From $5,999, lynxgrills.com
Every party needs tunes which is where Amazon Tap comes in handy. Introduced alongside Amazon Dot, Tap looks a lot like its predecessor Amazon Echo but it's cordless so you can take it wherever you want i.e. out to the patio or down to the beach. Tap gives you access to Alexa on the go, is Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled and you get a decent nine hours per charge.
Knowing when to take your meat off a grill is a sometimes tedious process. Who wants to step away from talking to friends to check how the steaks are cooking? Weber iGrill makes waiting for your food to cook completely hassle free.
Just insert the probe into the meat, and the companion app will give you a heads up via a notification when it's done. You can use the app to set various preset alarms, catering for numerous different meat types, or you can create your own custom alert. Temperature tracking means you can see exactly how quickly the food has warmed up too.
From $39.99, weber.com
Where are your friends tonight?
All good parties continue late into the evening, which means mood lighting is essential. Playbulb Garden is a Bluetooth connected smart color LED light, meaning you can easily add color and lighting effects to your yard without the need for cables. Five different effects are available, catering for chilled parties, as well as more excitable events. Once fully charged, the smart light can operate for up to 20 hours. It's water resistant too, so you don't have to worry about rain, or partygoers spilling booze.
Netatmo Weather Station & Welcome
If you have a really smart home set up, it can help your parties run more smoothly. So with Netatmo's new Connect platform, for instance, you can get accurate, local weather reports to your smart home kit even if you don't have a Weather Station installed in your own garden. The indoor Welcome cam will keep an eye on the house and let you know who is coming and going while you're getting merry out back and it also works with motion sensors for that extra peace of mind.
Coolest Cooler is a party in a beer cooler that had a long, old road on Kickstarter but is finally shipping. Underneath its conventional exterior, it offers splash-proof outdoor Bluetooth speakers that will stream for eight hours, a USB charger for your gadgets, a built-in blender, a bottle opener and of course somewhere for you to store all your beer.
A blender that will make 20 pitchers worth of cocktails alone sounds like heaven on a hot summer's day. If you can afford it, make this the centrepiece of your 21st century garden party.