Testing different gadgets is part of the job for us here at Review Geek, but have you ever wondered what our favorites are? The things we choose to use on the daily and can’t (or at least don’t want to) live without?
Here’s a little spoiler: Some of the picks here might surprise you. Of course, we all love our laptops, phones, and TVs, but those are basically a given. Instead of hitting you with a couple thousand words on why our laptops are cool (boring!), here’s a look at some of the stuff you might not expect—from bread makers to smart blinds, this is tech that is truly transformational for many of us.
Maker solves all of that. Thanks to a touchscreen, you don’t need to know all the ins and outs of espresso pulling and milk frothing. Just choose what you want (cappuccino, latte, flat white, and more), and it’ll do all the work for you. The machine even grinds the beans for every shot. All you have to do is press buttons and stand back.
The Barista Touch is still a little fussy, you need to tamp down the grinds just right, but it’s a lot easier than any other espresso machine. It’s so easy to master, my wife will actually use it. It’s expensive, but the excellent latte I enjoy every morning is worth the cost. I don’t even need to go to Starbucks.
. Tell me this doesn’t sound familiar? You drop some bread in the toaster, come back and check, and it’s not done. You drop it again, still not done. Drop a third time, and now it’s burnt. Frustrating right?
Breville’s toaster has a motorized lift system. Set the level of “doneness” you like and hit toast. The bread lowers, toasts, and lifts when it finishes. If you want it toasted more, you can hit the “a bit more” button. That’ll lower the bread and toast it up for less time than the first round. Do you have a bagel? Hit the bagel button, and the outer elements won’t heat up, toasting just the inside of the bagel. If you’re worried your toast will burn, hit the lift and look button; the toaster will lift your bread long enough to give it a look, then drop it back down. And the frozen button is perfect for waffles and the like.
The Breville toaster does an excellent job of evenly heating your bread or bagel, and you’ll never worry about burnt toast again. It really is a “smart toaster” because it anticipates everything you could want. And my favorite little feature is the plug—it has a finger loop right at the prongs so you can unplug the toaster easily. Occasionally some models will have a button labeled crumpet instead of bagel, but mine came with the Americanized word.
Breville 2-Slice Smart Toaster
. Don’t get me wrong; they’re still expensive, with a starting price of $130. But compare that to Lutron’s Serena Shades that start at $500 and can easily cost over $1,000 per window, and you can see why I went with Ikea.
I have my blinds set to open partially every morning and close at 5 PM every day. I keep a remote nearby to close the blinds during meetings, and of course, I can control them with voice commands. That last bit is helpful if I need some privacy or I want to be sure I closed them before leaving my bedroom. We’ve added a set to my wife’s office now as well, for all the same reasons. Finally, I can see my monitor without the sun scorching my eyes.
I admit that the tech I can’t live without is expensive, especially compared to alternatives. But there’s a reason I can’t live without it. Whether it’s an espresso maker, toaster, or smart blind, each improves the quality of my life. And that extra money spent pays for itself.
bone conduction headphones and smart bike trainer.
/ are also on the pricier side of Aftershokz’s catalog. I can also recommend the if you want to save a bit of coin, or even the if you’re just looking to give bone conduction a try. Just keep in mind: These are about convenience and awareness, so they’re not going to have amazing audio quality. Every pair ships with earplugs, however, so if you want to use them as your only headphones, you can.
So if the best possible sound quality isn’t at the top if your list, but situational awareness and comfort are, give bone conduction a shot. I love mine.
The Best Bone Conduction Headphones
and with the Kickr, so whether I’m looking to absolutely bury myself with a killer vo2 workout or just to noodle around Watopia on a recovery ride, my Kickr is the key to my bike fitness (and sanity).
It’s not the top of the line model that Wahoo sells, but for my uses, it’s perfect. I’ve been using it for a year and half and wouldn’t trade it for anything … probably not even the nicer model.