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The Tech We Can’t Live Without: The Review Geek Staff’s Favorite Gadgets

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A collage of our favorite tech products

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.

Breville Barista Touch Espresso 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.

Breville 2-Slice Smart Toaster. 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

IKEA’s FYRTUR blinds. 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.

Aftershokz Aeropex Mini bone conduction headphones and Wahoo Kickr Core smart bike trainer.

Aeropex / Aeropex Mini are also on the pricier side of Aftershokz’s catalog. I can also recommend the Aftershokz Air if you want to save a bit of coin, or even the OpenMove 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

TrainerRoad and Zwift 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.



Oster® Bread Maker with ExpressBake® | 2 Pound Capacity

I actually own an earlier discontinued model of this Oster bread maker, but this new one seems a lot better (and a lot less beige). It features multiple recipe presets, an easy-to-clean loaf tray, and an automatic nut and fruit dispenser to make your bread look even more professional.

AMD Ryzen 5 5600X and GeForce GTX 3070. But if you know anything about the computer hardware scene, then you’ll know that’s a challenge at the moment thanks to scalpers. Hopefully, none of my five-year-old hardware dies in the meantime, because I do practically all of my digital work on this PC. The upgrades have taken it from a budget gaming rig to a general productivity machine that I use for writing, video editing, and photo editing. Of course, I still use it for gaming as well, whether that’s a pixelated 2D platformer such as Celeste or a modern triple AAA release like Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

It’s definitely the most important piece of tech I own, and a major wrench would be thrown into my life should it ever break down. But, at least for now, it’s chugging along smoothly, five-year-old parts and all.

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Deepfake Tech Could Make Dubbed Movies Additional Plausible

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Jack Nicholson soaring through a neural engine like a wad of french fries in a garbage disposal.
Oh no! Jack Nicholson’s caught in the neural net! Flawless AI

Foreign movies with dubbed audio are simple to pay consideration to, but only if you can forget the out-of-sync movement of actors mouths. The option? A TrueSync technology formulated by Flawless AI that quickly syncs actors lips to match dubbed audio. In other phrases, deepfake lips.

Is this an outrageous and costly way to stay away from looking at subtitles? For confident. But the tech is amazing and could make overseas films more obtainable to men and women who read arguments on the online all working day but just cannot sit by 90 minutes of subtitles. In demonstration movies designed by Flawless AI, you can see that the FreeSync tech is great at its career, and eliminates one of the most significant distractions uncovered in dubbed movies.

FreeSync is not all that unique from present deepfake technologies, while it focuses on manipulating actors’ mouths in its place of their full face. Interestingly, Flawless promises that the FreeSync technology doesn’t change the subject’s facial expressions or thoughts, therefore preserving the actor’s performance—at the very least to a degree.

If FreeSync technological know-how at any time turns into preferred, then movie fans will argue about it for the rest of time. Subtitle evangelists currently claim that dubbed audio erases an actor’s performance, and manipulating the actor’s face to fit a dub could get factors a action far too far. But for the normal person, FreeSync tech may be the distinction involving savoring a film and not paying interest. It will do extra excellent than damage. Almost certainly.

Source: Flawless through Gizmodo

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