15 Things That Will Make Your Life So Much Easier

The best tech devices are ones that make some part of your day easier, whether it’s prepping dinner, staying in shape, or just catching the morning news.

And luckily, more and more smart products are doing just that. They connect to your phone, so you can operate them without getting out of bed or jumping off the couch. That gives you more time to focus on work that needs to get done or, just as importantly, snag a few more minutes of rest and relaxation.

Want to wake up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee, or finally stop losing your keys? Order extra toilet paper at the press of button or track how much water you've had to drink? There are devices that make all of this possible with no more effort on your part than setting up an accompanying app.

We’ve rounded up the top gear that will help streamline your day from start to finish. After a week, we bet you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them.
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Photo: Courtesy Amazon.
If you’ve ever run out toilet paper at an — erm — unfortunate moment, Amazon’s Dash buttons are for you. The buttons, which are available for most home product companies (think Glad, Cottonelle, and Tide) take online shopping up a notch. Just hang or stick one in your bathroom, or on your laundry machine, connect it to the Amazon app, and press the button when you’re almost out of the product. And like that, new toilet paper is ordered and on the way. Hallelujah.
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Photo: Courtesy Fitbit.
Creating a tracker that actually looks nice is no easy task, but Fitbit has delivered with the Fitbit Alta. The sleek device has interchangeable bands, so you can wear a sporty rubber version while working out or a more watch-like metal or leather band at the office. Appearance aside, Alta is a good blend of the features you’d expect from a traditional fitness tracker (hours slept, calories burned, and more) and those of a smartwatch (like call, text and calendar alerts). When that important email you’ve been waiting for finally hits your inbox, you’ll know about it — even in the middle of yoga.
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Your laptop and smartphone are essential for clearing your endless to-do list, but their artificial light isn't doing your sleep/wake cycle any favors. Installing a C-Sleep bulb in your bedroom allows you to schedule and toggle between three color temperatures, one for each time of day, via an app. A C-Life bulb elsewhere in your pad can also be dimmed and brightened with the tap of a phone screen. The result: Light that's more in touch with your body's ideal natural rhythms and — dare we dream — a better shot at actually falling asleep when your head finally hits the pillow.
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Photo: Courtesy Under Armour.
Take your run to the next level with Under Armour’s new connected kicks. They feature an embedded chip that tracks your cadence, duration, distance, and sprints. They also sync with MapMyRun to offer stats on your mileage. The battery power lasts beyond the life of your shoe (meaning no charging is required), and, since your shoe is taking care of the tracking, you can leave your smartphone at home. Hey, the more you can lighten your load the better, right?
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Photo: Courtesy Tile.
If you're constantly losing your keys or want to track your luggage while traveling, Tile is a must. The small, water-resistant Bluetooth tracker can go on your keychain or stick to a hard surface. Download the app and you can see where the item is and sound a ringer to find it, Marco Polo-style.
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Photo: Courtesy O-Cedar.
You can spend upwards of $500 on a robotic vacuum cleaner. But if you just want your hard floor cleaner than if you didn't clean it all (because who has time to mop?), the O-Duster could be the perfect addition to your cleaning supplies. Like a Roomba, it navigates itself around wood or tile floors, but it uses a disposable electrostatic cloth to wipe them clean, like a Swiffer.
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Photo: Courtesy Amazon.
Alexa is going to be your new BFF. She, or rather it, is the voice service offered by Amazon Echo, a hands-free speaker that you operate with voice commands. Alexa can play the latest Beyoncé, tell you how bad the traffic is, and list movie showtimes. One of our favorite features is the news updates. You can ask Alexa to tell you headlines from sources like NPR, CNN, Bloomberg, and Discovery News while you’re getting dressed, so that you know the latest buzz before you leave the door in the morning.
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Photo: Courtesy Belkin.
This Switch is a standard plug on steroids. Using your apartment's Wi-Fi network, the switch lets you control any device from its accompanying app on your phone. So even if you forget to turn off your straightener, you're covered. It even works with Amazon Echo, which is super convenient.
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Photo: Courtesy Misfit.
Think of the Link, a small disk that you can hold between your thumb and pointer finger or clip onto your sleeve, as your do-it-all remote. Using the accompanying app, you can set Link to take pictures, change music settings, find your phone when you’ve misplaced it, and, if that wasn’t enough, track your activity and sleep. The personalization aspects of Link make it a great tool to have on hand.
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Photo: Courtesy Thermos.
Proper hydration is supposed to do wonders for your skin, happiness, and overall wellbeing. But when you're trudging away at your desk all day, you may forget to get up and refill. With Thermos' connected hydration bottle, you can automatically keep track of your daily water drinking habit. It connects to its own app, as well as to the Fitbit app.
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Photo: Courtesy Rebecca Minkoff.
This is the ultimate on-the-go wristlet. In addition to storing your cards, it boasts a built-in battery and Apple Lightning charger that will give your phone 125% extra battery life — meaning you won't have to switch on Low Power Mode. Consider that a big win for when you're heading straight from work to happy hour.
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Photo: Courtesy Roku.
Plug the Roku Streaming Stick into any outlet with a USB drive (TV, laptop, or tablet) and you can stream everything from Netflix to HBO Go. You'll still have to pay for those subscriptions, but the stick makes it easy to watch what you want wherever you are. We'll be using it during our summer travels.
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Photo: Courtesy Sur La Table.
You get home, feel totally wiped out, and the last thing you want to do is make dinner. Enter Breville’s Fast Slow Pro Pressure and Slow Cooker. The machine automatically adjusts pressure, temperature and time to let you sauté vegetables, sear proteins, and more at the touch of a button. Bonus: It’ll take up less room on your countertop then all the dishes required to do each of those separately. While the cooker isn’t cheap, when you think about how much you currently spend on Seamless, the price is easier to stomach.
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Photo: Courtesy Bragi.
The Bragi Dash headphones look and sound like something out of a sci-fi movie. The completely wireless earbuds sit in your ears and are controlled by touch, with a simple tap or swipe. They can track your workout and be used to answer phone calls, but the coolest feature is the storage component. The Dash can carry up to 1,000 songs so that your playlist is literally in your ear. Tune in and cancel out the noise around you.
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Photo: Courtesy Firebox.
You don’t have to be a coffee snob to appreciate the genius that is Smarter Coffee. The brewing machine looks similar enough to others, but what sets this one apart is its accompanying app. Log on and you’ll be able to control the strength of your coffee, set a wake-up brew time, and specify the amount it makes (Mondays might call for extra). Pulling yourself out of your warm bed to start the day isn’t easy, but this will certainly make the process smoother.
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Photo: Courtesy Nest.
Anybody can find a use for Nest Cam, but we love it for monitoring what our pets are up to when we're gone. Just set up the camera and download the accompanying app to your phone. Then, you can watch and talk to your pup wherever you are. You can also set up the camera to see if your Prime delivery actually gets there on time.
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