The NVIDIA SHIELD will make a great gift for anyone who is interested in Android TV, or those just looking to upgrade their current TV experience. However, knowing this is not that helpful for those looking for gifts for family members and friends who already own an Android TV device like the NVIDIA SHIELD. If that is the position you now find yourself in, then one stocking filler you certainly should be considering is the SmartThings Link for NVIDIA SHIELD. As the name suggests, this is a product that has been somewhat designed with the NVIDIA SHIELD specifically in mind. Which already rules out any concerns about compatibility or performance. More importantly, the SmartThings Link adds great value to the SHIELD without the buyer having to pay out that much in the first place. Especially for those who are interested in adding some 'smarts' to their home as this is exactly what the SmartThings Link is, a device that turns the NVIDIA SHIELD into a smart hub for the home.
In principle, the SmartThings Link works much like any other home hub with the exception that it is much cheaper compared to those other hubs. For example, the normal SmartThings Home Hub comes with a retail price of $99.99 while the SmartThings Link retails at only $39.99 – although right now it is on sale for just $19.99 making it a really great last-minute stocking filler for the Holidays. One of the reasons it is much cheaper is the SmartThings Link a home hub trapped within a USB dongle that simply piggybacks of the NVIDIA SHIELD. Which makes things much easier overall. To set up the system all the user has to do is plug the SmartThings Link into one of the USB ports on the rear of the SHIELD. The SmartThings Link even comes with a USB extender cable to avoid any issues with the dongle not fitting – if there is another device connected to the other USB port. From then on, it is just a matter of installing the SmartThings app on the SHIELD (a prompt takes care of this once the Link is connected) and following the on-screen instructions.
Once setup and ready, the SmartThings Link will do what any other smart home hub does and provide the SHIELD owner with instant access and control over other home products that are compatible with the wider SmartThings ecosystem. This ranges from thermostats, to motion sensors, and also includes more mundane but useful products, like lights bulbs and outlets. In fact, the latter two are likely to be where users will benefit the most from the SmartThings Link. As once all of the outlets or lights in a room have been converted to smart equivalents, the SmartThings Link will provide the SHIELD owner with a very easy way to activate and deactivate all the lights and outlets in a room (or in the home), at the same time. This is of course, just the entry level benefits as the level of smarts you can add to the home is largely only limited by the budget. The more all-in someone wants to go, the more they can. The smart home hub is just the first building block and the SmartThings Link is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to get started – for SHIELD owners. Regardless of which smart products someone does opt to include in their home setup, all of the setup will be properly managed through the SmartThings Android app for smartphones. So this will need to be downloaded for buyers to really get the most out of the system.
As the Android TV version of the app is far more limited in its capabilities and is more designed to act as the bridging element between the SmartThings Link hardware and the smartphone. Another clear benefit of the integration between the SmartThings Link, the SHIELD, and a smartphone, is that SmartThings can be integrated with Google Assistant. At which point the compatibility and functionality takes on a whole new meaning. As once this further integration is setup, controlling all of the smart elements in the home can be done through Google Assistant and just by using voice commands. As the SHIELD now supports Google Assistant, voice commands can be used instead of the controller when in front of the TV. Likewise, as the smartphone is also factored into the equation, and with most smartphones now equipped with Google Assistant, users are able to control the SmartThings Link from a smartphone and without having to be within ear's reach of the SHIELD. An extra added benefit to making use of the Google Assistant support is that you can also then factor in additional smart products which although not supported by SmartThings, are supported by Google Assistant. At which point, the list of products you can add to the existing setup increases massively. So this really affordable and simple solution is one which can add instant value to homes where a SHIELD is already present and while it might not be the most expensive of stocking fillers or presents to give, the actual benefits offered are much greater than the cost would suggest.
You or your family member already own an NVIDIA SHIELD and a SmartThings Link? Still need a stocking filler? No problem, get them a Google Home Mini. Thanks to the integration between SmartThings and the Google Assistant, adding a Google Home Mini unit to the mix will take things to the next level. Simply position the Mini somewhere else in the home (and far enough away from the SHIELD to make it worthwhile) and all of the SmartThings Link features will be extended to that side of the home – where the SHIELD's Google Assistant cannot hear the user. No SHIELD but interested in getting more involved with SmartThings and taking advantage of the added Google Assistant compatibility? Don't worry, the standard SmartThings Home Hub is also currently on sale at the moment with its price down from its normal $99.99 to only $49.98. Making the standard home hub a good option (or gift idea) for those who own an Android TV device that is not the SHIELD, as well as those who don't own an Android TV device at all. Although if that is the case, then the SHIELD should really be one of the gifts to consider giving or buying for yourself, and especially while it is on sale. It is worth it.