The best cheap smart home devices and gadget deals in March 2019

Upgrade your living space into a smart home without breaking the bank with our hand-picked devices that include speakers, security cameras, light bulbs and more. Create a smart home hub with these gadgets can simplify your technology and help make your day-to-day life even easier.

Whether you want to personalize and control your lighting, stream music and videos or secure your home, we've found a variety of top-rated smart home gadgets to help you get started building your smart home. Most of your products work with Alexa or the Google Assistant so that you can control the devices with the command of your voice. We've also included the Aukey Smart Plug-in our list which gives any device you plug into smart capabilities.

Read on for our list of the best smart home gadgets that include the best prices and deals that are currently available. We have a variety of devices that will fit all smart home needs and budgets.

The best smart home device deals

The best-selling Echo Dot is a voice-controlled smart speaker that works with Alexa to make calls, answer questions, set alarms, check the weather and so much more. The compact smart speaker can also control your compatible smart home devices with the command of your voice. Just ask Alexa to find TV shows, turn on lights, adjust the temperature and more. You can use your voice to play a song or artist through Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, and others. Alexa has over 50,000 skills so you can discover new skills that will help you with everyday tasks.

The Amazon Echo smart speaker can play music, answer questions, set alarms and more all with the command of your voice. You can also control your other smart home devices with the Alexa-enabled speaker just ask Alexa to turn off the lights, adjust your thermostat, lock your door and more. The Echo can make calls and send and receive messages through the hands-free speaker. The smart speaker features a better audio experience than the Echo Dot offering a powerful audio with Dolby technology built in to the speaker.

Control your lighting from anywhere with the TP-Link Alexa-enabled light bulb. You can turn your lights on and off and adjust brightness with your tablet or smartphone using the Kasa app. You can connect the smart bulb with Alexa or Google Assistant devices and use your voice to control your lights. The easy-to-install light bulb can transform into any color to set the mood and personalize your lighting by adjusting brightness as well as light appearance from soft white to daylight. The TP-Link bulbs will also help you out with your energy costs by reducing energy use up to 80% without brightness or quality loss. 

Turn your electronics and appliances into voice and app-controlled devices with the Kasa Smart WiFi plug by TP-Link. The smart plug works with Alexa and the Google Assistant so you can turn your devices into a hands-free experience. You can turn on lamps, appliances and more from anywhere on your smartphone using the Kasa app. You can also schedule the smart plug to automatically turn on and off when you're away and reduce your energy by managing devices that use the most power. 

Help secure your home with the Ring Video Doorbell Pro that allows you to answer your door from anywhere. The Ring Pro works with Alexa and will send alerts to Echo devices which allows you to hear and speak to visitors entirely hands-free. The Ring Video Doorbell Pro also sends alerts to your smartphone when motion is detected or when someone presses the doorbell so you can monitor your home from anywhere. The Pro features advanced motion detection with a camera view that generates motion alerts within user-set motion zones. The Ring doorbell connects to your existing doorbell wiring so you don't have to worry about re-charging the battery and features four different faceplate options.

Control your thermostat from anywhere with the 3rd generation Nest Learning Thermostat. The smart thermostat uses technology to learn your habits and adjust automatically to help save you energy. On average the Nest thermostat saves 10-12% on heating bills and 15% on cooling bills so the Nest will pay for itself in no time. You're able to control your thermostat from anywhere with Nest app using your phone, tablet or laptop. The smart thermostat also works with Alexa so you can adjust and control the temperature with the command of your voice. The Nest thermostat features a thinner and sleeker design than previous models and comes in four different colors.

roomba robot vacuum cleaner sales deals

Clean your floors with the command of your voice and completely hands-free with the Wi-Fi connected iRobot Roomba Robot Vacuum. You can use the iRobot home app to clean and schedule your vacuum from anywhere and receive notifications when the job is complete. The Roomba 960 can continuously clean for up to 75 minutes and will automatically recharge. The robot vacuum features a three-stage cleaning system and a high-efficiency filter that captures 99% of allergens, pollen, and dust. The Roomba is also compatible with Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant so you can control the vacuum with your voice. 

Keep your home secure with the Arlo Pro two camera security system. The top rated security system includes two cameras, rechargeable batteries, power adapter and cable, wall mount, and a base station. The Arlo Pro cameras are weatherproof so they can be used indoors or outdoors and can operate in up to 122-degree temperature. The 100% wireless Arlo Pro records video in 1080p HD resolution and offers advanced motion detection to catch every angle so no moment goes unnoticed. The security system also has a smart siren that can be controlled remotely, or when motion or sound is detected. The security camera works with Alexa, and has a compatible app which allows you to monitor your home from anywhere.

The top-selling Anova Sous Vide lets you master the hottest cooking trend, sous vide. Just fill a pot with water, set the desired temperature and time, and cook everything (meat, souffle, carrots) to perfection. The Anova Sous Vide allows you to prepare restaurant quality meals by cooking your food at the precise temperature and not ever having to worrying about over-cooking. You can set the time and temperature manually on the device or through the Anova app. The app allows you to cook remotely, so you don't have to wait around in the kitchen waiting for your food to cook. The app also gives you access to over 1,000+ creative recipes and guides you through each recommended meal.

Build your smart lighting hub for your home with the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit. The Philips starter kit includes three 60W white and color ambiance A19 bulbs, one Hue bridge, ethernet cable, and power adapter. The Hue hub is compatible with Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant so you can control your lighting with your voice. The Hue color bulbs allow you to choose from sixteen million colors in the Hue app to set the perfect mood and create a unique and personalized lighting experience. The Hue app also lets you sync your lighting with movies and music and allows you to control everything remotely. The Hue hub will enable you to add on to your smart lighting system with the bridge accommodating up to fifty Hue lights.

The Logitech Harmony Elite Remote is the ultimate universal remote that not only controls your TV but can also control other smart home devices. The Harmony remote works with Alexa so you can use your voice to control your TV and other connected devices. The remote features one-touch automation so you can touch one button to trigger everyday activities like turning on the lights and TV. The Harmony Elite also works with other smart home devices, offering single-touch control with smart lights, locks, thermostats and more. The universal remote lets you combine up to fifteen remotes and several apps into one easy-to-use remote so you can control all of your electronics and gadgets with one device.

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Best drawing and painting software of 2019

For thousands of years, art has remained an important part of human culture and expression. But, of course, it has undergone a great deal of transformation as new technologies have emerged.

If you’re a professional artist or designer working in today’s interconnected world, you don’t necessarily need access to a physical notepad and pencil to get your creative juices flowing. With your trusty computer, it’s possible to create amazing masterpieces with a mouse or indeed stylus, when used in conjunction with a software package replete with all manner of virtual tools and paintbrushes.

Many of these applications work alongside electronic sketchpads and other hardware, making it even easier to develop amazing artwork. Another obvious benefit is that these apps come with built-in effects, filters and editing features so you can really jazz up your creations.

Here’s our pick of the best drawing and painting software which is currently available.

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Image Credit: Adobe

When it comes to creative software, Adobe has dominated the scene for decades, and Photoshop CC (CC stands for Creative Cloud) is loved by artists and designers across the world. It provides creative types with a plethora of cloud-based tools to create and enhance photos, illustrations and 3D visuals.

This software isn’t just about editing photos. If you’re a professional designer, you can use it to create packaging, banners, websites, logos and icons. Not only can you come up with your own creations, but you’re also able to make use of intuitive templates if you’re more of a beginner, or you’re working to a tight deadline.

You can design your own illustrations and turn images into paintings as well, with the option of switching between animate and print-style options. When you’ve created a piece, you can enhance it with a range of built-in effects. 

There are multiple pricing tiers, depending on which other apps and features you'd like bundled with Photshop CC. The cheapest is the Photography level at $9.99 per month and also comes with Adobe Lightroom CC, as well as 20GB of cloud storage. Up from that is the Single App plan at $20.99 per month and comes with 100GB of cloud storage, as well as Adobe Portfolio, Adobe Fonts, and Adobe Spark. For the All-Apps plan you get access to all Adobe creative desktop and mobile apps as well, and that costs $52.99 per month.


Image Credit: Autodesk

Autodesk SketchBook is a drawing app targeted specifically at designers, architects, concept artists and other creative professionals. If you fit into any of these categories, the software will give you the tools to sketch and create stunning illustrations easily and quickly.

It sports a minimalist interface that works across Windows, Mac, iOS and Android devices, as well as 140 pre-designed brushes. Should you not be able to find the brush you need amongst that lot, you have the option to tweak them and import your own. Another neat feature is the ability to add an unlimited amount of layers to your creations, all of which come with blending nodes and grouping abilities.

The software costs $16 monthly or $126 yearly, but whichever package you choose, there’s a lot of support on offer. For instance, you can schedule a call with Autodesk’s customer support team if you have any questions about the software, or indeed chat online or via email. You also get access to the company’s knowledgebase, which contains extensive documentation, tutorials and training videos.


Image Credit: Corel

Corel offers a host of creative software packages, one of which is a drawing app called Painter. Aimed at designers, artists and students, this cross-platform application provides you with the likes of ‘thick paint’ which you can daub onto your digital canvas, and then scrape around or blend to create some highly realistic looking masterpieces.

There’s a large selection of brushes, with the ability to create custom brushes and palettes – plus you can import these, too. Painter is a downloadable app which is available on both Windows and Mac. It’s compatible with third-party software like Photoshop and drawing tablets from companies such as Wacom, as well.

As for the price, for the latest version of Corel Painter is available for around $400, though there are special rates for an education edition for students and learning centers.


Image Credit: Escape Motions

Developed by artist Peter Blaskovic, Rebelle 3 is another highly versatile drawing and painting application. Described as “one-of-a-kind paint software”, it’s been designed for creatives working on watercolor, acrylic, wet and dry media artwork.

Blaskovic created the app as part of his experimental drawing projects and wanted an easy-to-use program to access natural painting tools on-the-go. The app uses realistic color blending, wet diffusion and drying techniques, and offers a plethora of watercolors, acrylics, inks and pastels.

There are also ‘dry’ tools like pencils, markers and erasers, so you don’t have to stick to paintbrushes. The app also boasts some interesting capabilities like the ability to tilt the canvas you’re working on. What’s more, Rebelle works with Photoshop, allowing you to tap into 23 additional blending nodes. It currently costs $89.99, but you can give the app a spin via a free trial.


Image Credit: Artweaver

Artweaver is one of the oldest painting tools out there, and the software is now on its sixth edition. The application provides you with a diverse set of predefined brushes and pencils that can be used to create amazing pieces of art.

Not only does Artweaver offer an intuitive and easy-to-use interface which makes it suitable for novices, but it also boasts an impressively configurable brush system. So while you can choose from a variety of predefined brushes, you can also tweak them to suit your exact needs.

Furthermore, Artweaver has another strong suit when it comes to working on joint art projects, because you can use the app to collaborate with other folks on the same document. Of course, you’ll need to be online to do so.

Want to get a better idea of your artistic process and exactly how it flows? Then you can get the application to record your work. That way, you can review, evaluate and improve your abilities (hopefully). Currently, Artweaver is only available on Windows, but it’s temptingly cheap at $47 – and there’s also a free version available though it has limited functionality compared to the paid version.

Other drawing and painting software to consider

While we've covered some of the big hitters when it comes to drawing and painting software, there are some good lower-level programs worth considering if you'd prefer for not to pay out for a big program. Here we'll look at some of the other alternatives you might want to consider, especially if looking for something more entry-level, or simply competent when it comes to art and design.

PaintShop Pro is a neat little art program. Although not as full-featured as some of the above it's still very competent software for many aspects of art and design. Whether it's photo editing, drawing, or creating/designing graphics, there are a lot of tools and additional plugins available to get the effect you want. Originally developed by Jasc, it's now part of the Corel stable of creative programs and is available for around $80. 

Adobe Illustrator can sometimes be thought of as being the little brother to the more powerful Photoshop, but don't overlook its possibilities. While Photoshop was originally built for photo editing, Adobe Illustrator has always been designed around illustration and drawing. You don't need to choose between one or the other, however, as if you subscribe to even the basic level Adobe creative apps plan, you can have both Photoshop and Illustrator together.

Sketchup is more focused on 3D design rather than general painting and drawing, but is worth considering if that's the main reason you need software for drawing. Even better is that there's a free version, but even the paid-for versions are relatively cheap by comparison to some of the above, with an annual cost of $119 or $299 according to how many features you want to unlock. 

GIMP is a dedicated art program specifically built to run on Linux operating systems. While it may not be as powerful as some of the software listed, it makes a big effort to do a lot of things, from photo editing to sketching to design. Anyone who already works with Linux has probably heard of it and even has a copy, but if you were thinking of moving to Linux but weren't sure what creative software was available, you could do a lot worse than try out GIMP.

Microsoft Paint is a basic art package that comes with every Windows install, and has done so since at least Windows 3.x. The release of Windows 10 has seen 3D editing tools added to it, but let's be fair-it's still a simple program that isn't going to rival anything else on this list. However, because of the easy availability of MS Paint it's worth mentioning – if nothing else because it does have a basic toolkit that is expanded on by other software.

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£75 pre-paid Mastercard gives Plusnet some of the best cheap broadband deals in the UK

There really is nothing better than getting something for free with your broadband deal, and when that freebie effectively makes the internet package you're buying one of the cheapest options around, well that's just showing off. 

Plusnet is no stranger to the idea of offering up an incentive with its deals, this time dropping in impressive £75 pre-paid Mastercards with its ADSL internet package. That means that the monthly price of its cheapest plan effectively drops down to £14.80 a month, making it one of the cheapest offers on the market.

Ready to begin your new life with a cheap broadband deal from Plusnet? You can find all of the information on this internet package down below. Or if speed is something you feel this offer is missing, then check out our guide to the best fibre broadband deals on the market. 

This new Plusnet broadband deal in full:

Want something a bit faster from your broadband?

When it comes to cheap ADSL broadband, this is one of the best options out there. The only thing that beats this is Onestream, which is currently the UK's cheapest option at £13.99 a month. Or for a well known name in internet, without messing around with reward cards, TalkTalk has a £17 ADSL offer that could be more up your street.

But if you need something a bit faster, a fibre broadband deal perhaps? Then there really is no beating BT right now. It starts with monthly costs of £29.99 but then dampens that price with a £90 pre-paid Mastercard and then offers up average speeds of 50Mb – not a bad place to be with your internet.

For our pick of the most affordable fibre we would offer up Vodafone. With average speeds of 35Mb, no upfront costs and monthly payments of just £21, this is a truly great value package.

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Openreach plans copper switch off

Openreach is inviting its telco customers to participate in a consultation that will identify the best way to migrate the UK from copper to fibre infrastructure, with a view to switching off the analogue network entirely.

BT-owned Openreach is embarking on a major build of FTTP, with ambitions to reach 10 million premises by the middle of the next decade. It has pledged to expand the scope of this rollout if the investment conditions are right.

It believes engaging with industry is a key enabler to delivering this larger target and to fulfilling the government’s ambition of a nationwide FTTP network by 2033.

Openreach copper

The consultation is seeking views on how Openreach would build out this new network, how the industry should migrate customers across, and how Openreach should eventually retire the copper network.

For its part, Openreach has outlined a number of principles to guide the process. These include a pledge to avoid building new notspots, to work with customers to upgrade every customer in areas where the network is available and a simple product portfolio.

It believes copper services should be phased out progressively and that large numbers of customers should be upgraded “voluntarily”. Openreach is also proposing a consumer charter to encourage transparency and create a process for those who will be migrated at a later date.

“More than 16 million homes and businesses could order better broadband connections over our network right now, so we’d encourage everyone to check the services available to them and upgrade today,” said Katie Milligan, Managing Director for Customer, Commercial and Propositions at Openreach.

“At the same time, we’re consulting with broadband providers to decide how and when we upgrade customers to even faster, more reliable and future-proof, full fibre broadband.

“Our new network will place the UK at the forefront of the global digital race and provide a major boost to the UK economy, so we’re determined to create a plan that will benefit of every UK community, by upgrading customers quickly, smoothly and affordably.

Openreach’s short term target is to connect three million homes and businesses by 2020 and recently announced Salisbury would be the first city in the UK to have universal access to the FTTP network.

The government’s Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review (FTIR) has called for 15 million properties to be covered with fibre by 2025 and for nationwide coverage to be completed by 2033. It would then consider switching off the UK’s copper network.

However, the Institute of Directors (IoD) believes a more ambitious timetable of 2025 would encourage fibre adoption and rollout.

 The Mobile Industry Awards 2019 return on 6th June! To enter the awards visitwww.mobileindustryawards.com Entry Deadline: 5pm on 29th March  

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Best ITSM tools of 2019

Information Technology (IT) has become a necessary and ordinary part of the modern business landscape. However, being able to track and resolve issues across many devices can be a difficult challenge. Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) software aims to make it manageable.

One of the key issues faced by ITSM is the variety of devices that might be used. There could be a mix of desktops, laptops, and cell phones, all of which will need to be kept up to date with security updates, as well as any software issues with them corrected.

Additionally, ITSM cannot be focused only on the technology but must also manage the users of that technology. That means there is a need for proper error reporting and logging, technical helpdesk assistance, and other ticketing support. 

This must all be organized so its easy for IT managers to find what they want and need to find to resolve problems as quickly as possible, and ensure others are solved before they become an issue.

Here at Techradar we've put together a list of five of the major ITSM platforms you might want to consider if you find yourself needing an ITSM solution.

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Image Credit: Now

ServiceNow IT Service Management is the ITSM offering from the ServiceNow family of support products. This product endeavors to aggregate IT Services into a single cloud-based platform, and has plenty of heavyweight customers including GE Digital, Broadcom, and Overstock.com.

It features the ability to aggregate those essential, but often difficult to work with legacy applications into a single cloud location, with manual processes becoming automated along the way. The firm also claims IT productivity increases via implementation of features such as incident management with automated routing, asset and cost management which can track costs and contracts for assets, and a modern, self-service portal for consumers to access.

ServiceNow IT Service Management can also be integrated into real-time performance analytic dashboards, with the proficiency to benchmark how you are performing among peer industry averages.

While the website provides plenty of information on how this can benefit your business, the company is unfortunately rather opaque on pricing. With no offer of a free trial, there are two plans with descriptive names, the lower being “IT Service Management,” and the higher “IT Service Management and Performance Analytics” which adds features, true to its name, for performance analysis. 


Image Credit: Freshworks

The folks at Freshworks bring us Freshservice, a cloud-based ITSM which promises to standardize processes in a “slick, modern and efficient manner.” This ITSM software package offers an array of features including opportunities for collaboration between agents, proactive problem management that can reduce service desk incidents by 40%, support for root cause analysis of incidents via a visual timeline and coordination for new releases with standardized start and end dates. There are also available mobile apps for iOS and Android.  

All tiers offer a 21-day free trial to see if Freshservice fulfills your organizations needs. Plans start at the Blossom plan, which costs $19 per agent monthly for the basic feature set. Stepping up to the most popular Estate plan adds additional features including software license management, analytics and customizable agent roles. 


Image Credit: LogMeIn

RescueAssist is remote support software that offers a robust support platform to cover the gamut of ITSM needs. With such a mature product, the features are well developed, and include two-way screen share so technicians can take over a system remotely including keyboard and mouse control.

There's also the ability to use file transfer to send updates to remote systems, support for customers using multi-monitors, annotation tools for technicians to draw on a customer’s screen, and multi-session support for techs to be able to handle up to eight customers simultaneously.  

The cost of RescueAssist depends on whether you would prefer to pay monthly or yearly. The monthly charge is $69 per month per technician, but if you pay on a yearly subscription this comes down to $55 per technician.


Image Credit: Samanage

Samanage is a cloud-based ITSM solution which is Information Technology Information Library (ITIL) ready. Users can submit their tickets through either email or the self-service portal, and Samanage helps to move the ticket requests through the “Lifecycle of problems, changes and releases.” The feature set is rounded out with a service level management, automations, benchmarking, automations and IT asset management. 

There is also a tool for risk detection. It is OS agnostic as it works from any device – desktop, laptop or mobile – with a web browser offering flexibility in use.  There is a 30-day free trial, which is longer than competitors. After that, the pricing is opaque, although it is based around an annual subscription. 


Image Credit: InvGate

InvGate Service Desk is a comprehensive ITSM tool to support IT; it is available as either on-premise software, or SaaS. The list of organizations that use this solution includes Burger King, Nike, Toyota and Starbucks.

The features include ticket management with assessment of customer satisfaction, self-service capabilities with a predictive knowledge base and news broadcast capabilities, and ‘gamification‘, which refers to the use of game-style mechanics to support and motivate employees with a positive reinforcement model.  There is also multi-department support, and integration for asset management with InvGate Assets. 

As with some other ITSMs, unfortunately the pricing is opaque, but the firm does offer a 30-day trial.

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