In a year when millions around the world have shifted from working in an office to working from home, having a stable internet connection is more important than ever. It seems fitting to award our choice of Smart Home Tech of the Year to the brilliant TP-Link Deco P9 mesh Wi-Fi system. If your Wi-Fi connection isn’t up to scratch, the Deco P9 can likely ail your ills, as we discovered when we reviewed it earlier this year.
Mesh Wi-Fi systems have the potential to greatly expand the Wi-Fi coverage in your home, with some systems claiming a maximum range of thousands of feet. Of course, as we all know, this varies wildly depending not only on the thickness of your walls, but your electronics, how far the access points are from each other and much more, but it’s safe to say you’ll notice a dramatic difference compared to the stock routers that the likes of Virgin and BT provide.
What separates the Deco P9 system from a sea of mesh Wi-Fi systems is the fact that it doesn’t just rely on wireless connectivity to ‘communicate’ with each unit, instead utilising a combination of wireless and built-in powerline capabilities. That’s a big deal in the mesh Wi-Fi world, meaning the Deco P9 doesn’t have to deal with issues like thick walls and other obstacles mentioned earlier because it utilises your home wiring to pass data between the access points and your main router.
That allows you to place the access points further apart without running the risk of it losing connectivity, extending the potential range of the system, and it’ll generally provide faster download speeds than most Wi-Fi-only counterparts too. The best part is that the Deco P9 system is modular – you can start off with a two-unit system and buy extra access points if you want to expand your wireless coverage in future.
There’s also the user-friendly app to consider, providing quick and easy control over your home Wi-Fi system. Want to turn off the Wi-Fi around dinner time? That’s certainly possible. You can also create specific guest Wi-Fi network, blacklist certain devices and set up parental controls on specific devices that block access to various categories of website, all via the app for iOS and Android.
It’s a great choice for most looking to upgrade their home Wi-Fi system, gaining a 4.5-star rating and our Tech Advisor Recommended Award in our full TP-Link Deco P9 review. If you’re tempted, you can grab it from the following retailers right now:
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Of course, it wasn’t an easy decision to make with so much smart home tech bursting onto the market in 2020. Though they didn’t make the final cut, there are a few honourable mentions.
One great option is Amazon-owned Ring’s Video Doorbell 3 Plus, introduced earlier this year. Though the form factor is similar to its predecessor, new tech allows not only for more granular motion detection control – ideal for those living on busy streets – but can also record footage from a few seconds before the doorbell is pressed or motion is detected. For peace of mind, it’s a great buy.
And for our entertainment-focused smart home pick, the Chromecast with Google TV is a solid option. It allows you to turn a ‘dumb’ TV into a smart one, complete with full Chromecast support and a range of apps available to download on the dongle. It’s a step up from the standard Chromecast experience, bringing Google’s official option closer in line to the likes of Roku and Amazon’s Fire Stick range.