9 Great Gadgets to Simplify Your Life
LG Smart Appliances
We wanted to highlight one of LG’s latest line of smart appliances, but we really couldn’t choose between all the great new units. The latest ThinQ washers (price to be announced) offer two notable features: Smart Diagnosis and Smart Adapt. While we’ve seen programs like Smart Diagnosis before on other appliances, it’s new to laundry for LG. If your machine breaks, it will send important troubleshooting information to customer service ahead of time. If the problem is easy to fix, your machine will alert you to the solution; if not, you can be sure the repairman will know exactly which part to bring with him. Smart Adapt, on the other hand, allows you to take advantage of advances in laundry technology, and help your machine adapt to your changing lifestyle. If you want a new cycle, merely download it from LG, and you can remove it from your washer later if you decide you no longer want it. This can prove particularly helpful for growing families.
LG also debuted Blast Technology in its fridges (price to be announced). While it’s not good for everything, the Blast chamber is a great way to quickly chill beverages. The chamber pipes in air from the freezer, but gently rocks to keep your drinks from freezing. Plus, the temperature never dips too low, so if you don’t pull your drink out right away, you won’t have to worry. LG promises that it can make a warm can of soda frosty in five minutes and it can get a bottle of white wine to the perfect serving temperature in 8 minutes.
Last but not least, if you’re sick of dragging your canister vacuum around behind you, LG’s latest unit (price to be announced) is motorized for added convenience. The canister has built-in sensors so, when the unit and handle are more than three feet apart, it will prompt the motorized wheels to follow you. We were pretty impressed with how responsive and agile the canister was in demonstrations; it was able to easy turn around and follow the handle around corners.
Video: Stay connected on the go >
RCA Wall Plate Charger
Got more devices than room for plugs? The RCA Wall Plate Charger ($20) turns any standard home AC power outlet into two USB charging outlets and a single standard outlet. It's as easy as plugging in the charger. At just $20, you can save yourself the hassle of not having an open USB port handy on your computer or having to turn it on to charge your iPod, phone, tablet, or more.
The latest trend in new tech devices? Monitors that will help you manage every health metric you can imagine, from your weight to your blood pressure to your daily activity level and calorie intake. What sets the Basis Band (price to be announced) apart from the rest is that, beyond measuring calories burned and tracking sleep patterns, it also monitors your heart rate, and it’s the most complete health monitor we’ve seen to date. Heart-rate monitoring means it is able to produce more accurate metrics than ever. For instance, if you are lying in bed, traditional sensors might assume you are sleeping. The heart monitor will recognize whether you are still awake. Once you’ve started wearing it, you can use Basis’ user-friendly web portal to monitor every stat.
Haier Connected Wine Cooler
Oenophiles and occasional imbibers alike will love the Haier Connected Wine Cooler (price to be announced). We couldn’t get enough of this one-of-a-kind new appliance when we first saw it. The cooler relies on an app you will be able to install on your smartphone or tablet; merely use your camera to scan the barcode on your favorite bottle of wine. The cooler will set to the optimal temperature for that specific bottle based on Wine Spectator’s extensive inventory of descriptions. The app will even alert you when the bottle has reached the optimal time to drink, and when you need to drink it soon before it goes bad!
Polaroid Android Camera SC1630
Just as phones are getting better and better at working as cameras, Polaroid has introduced a camera that can act as a smartphone. With the SC1630 (price to be announced), you’ll have a good dedicated point-and-shoot camera, but also the ability to download any of the 60,000 imaging apps from the Android Market for easy editing and sharing right on the device. Plus it offers built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for easy uploads. (Cellular data plans, like 3G service, will be an added option for connectivity anywhere.)
Griffin Twenty Audio Amplifier
Cut the cord on your speaker set with the Twenty Audio Amplifier from Griffin (price to be announced). This sleek white box will allow any speaker set to wirelessly sync with your iTunes library using AirPlay technology, allowing you to listen to all your music in any room of your home, anytime.
There are so many devices promising to help you not miss your favorite show, but none offer the ability to both record and view TV on the go like Simple.TV ($149 plus service). A cross between TiVo and Slingbox, this device lets you record shows and then play them back anywhere on any connected device.
Craftsman Noise-Canceling Headphones
Noise-canceling headphones are great when you’re on a plane or trying to edit a home movie, but they’re really not safe to wear outside of the house. All that might change with the latest model from Craftsman ($59.99). They’ll certainly cut out distracting ambient noise for a better listening experience, but the pair won’t block out everything, meaning you can still be more aware of your surroundings. The set also includes voice sensors; great if you’re engrossed in a project and, say, your kid is yelling at you from another room.
Roku Streaming Stick
Whether or not your family is already a fan of the great video streaming possibilities made possible by a Roku, you’ll certainly want to check out the Roku Streaming Stick (price to be announced, under $100). No bigger than a thumb drive, this device will slip easily into your home entertainment center. And it still gives you all the features Rokus are known for, including built-in Wi-Fi, memory to save programs, and easy access to your favorite video services like Amazon Instant Video, HBO GO, Netflix, and more.