Can you believe it’s March already? The holiday season and ice cold weather look to be in the rear view mirror and we’re ready for spring.
As we prepare for warmer temperatures and start to break free of cabin fever, some of us are cleaning out our homes and offices. In some cases we’re de-cluttering altogether; in others, we’re replacing our old gear with new stuff.
If you’re like us, and on the hunt for new things, you’ll like what we’ve got in store for you. Before you go off blindly buying something you’ve never heard of just because it’s on sale, do a little homework. Ask around, check reviews, and turn to others for help.
The Weekend Recommender is our way of highlighting the cooler devices we’ve encountered along the way. Generally, it’s an assortment of tech and mobile-related things, but it’s also a handy place to learn about other items, too.
Gourmia Digital ExpressPot Pressure Cooker
We’ve come to love the various Gourmia devices that have come our way. Some are smarter than others, but each of them deserves a spot in our kitchen. This pressure cooker is no exception as it’s packed with features.
With a six-quart capacity, it’s big enough to knock out a meal for a large family. And, it doesn’t really matter what you’ve got on the menu because there are more than a dozen cooking modes. Indeed, there are 13 of ’em, including stew, rice, soup, and simply keeping things warm.
The pressure cooker isn’t exactly small, but that’s fine with us because it essentially replaces a few of our kitchen devices. This means more counter and pantry space and less cleanup hassle. Simply take out the stainless steel insert and toss it in a dishwasher and you’re good to go.
If you’ve never cooked with a pressure cooker, you owe it to yourself to try one. Meat, veggies, beans, and other foods simply taste better when they’re prepared this way. Thank to the SpeedSense Technology, you can cook food 70% faster while, at the same time, retain more flavor and nutrients.
There’s practically zero setup to worry about and the cooking modes take the guesswork out of times and temperatures. Things couldn’t be easier. $200 at Best Buy
Polk Command Bar
Try as we might, we can never truly get the speaker settings right on our televisions. Sometimes it’s too heavy in bass, other times it’s hard to hear dialogue. Then there’s the whole question of whether or not it’s surround sound.
The Polk Command Bar is an excellent all-around speaker for people looking to get a well-rounded sound. Not just from your TV, mind you, but your phone, too. Yep, it’s got Bluetooth inside so you can quickly connect your handset for blasting your favorite playlists.
That’s not all, either. This is the first speaker first third-party soundbar to offer full integration with Amazon’s MRM (multi-room music) ecosystem. In other words, the Command Bar works in tandem with your Echo Dot and other speakers for music throughout the house. Alexa, play The Dark Side of the Moon.
Of course you can also use the speaker for other tasks, including the connected home stuff like dimming lights or pulling up the next episode of a show. Oh, and there’s even an HDMI port in the sound bar that can power your Amazon Fire Stick.
There are two main components at play and they work together wirelessly. Simply install the Polk app on your phone, plug in, and walk through the process; it takes just a few minutes.
Included in the box are HDMI and Optical cables as well as a remote. The latter is convenient for hopping between sources, changing EQ levels, fine-tuning audio, or prompting Alexa.
The Command Bar provides crisp, clear, and thunderous audio no matter the source. It sounds better than anything we’ve used in the past and it’s a perfect companion to a growing smart home setup. $300 at Polk
Coal Portable Charger
Take a look at all of the various gadgets and gizmos you charge on a regular basis. What do they have in common? Unfortunately, it’s not the plug they each use. No, some of our stuff is on microUSB while others are on USB Type C. Then there’s that whole Lightning port that Apple uses. What a mess.
The Coal solution is a simple one: a single cable with a variety of tips. And, while it’s not an entirely new concept, it is among the best looking and more durable ones we’ve seen. It also happens to come with a portable charger and/or wall charger.
Available in 8,000mAh and 12,000mAh capacities, the Coal Catalyst is a portable power bank with multiple ports. Plug your preferred cable in via one of the USB ports and top off your phone, Switch, or earphones.
Don’t have a cable with you? Not to worry, this one comes with the aforementioned handy cable. It’s a nice one, too; it’s braided and won’t tangle up from being tossed in your backpack or bag.
Choose from five different designs and color palettes, each of which looks hip and modern. The finish is soft to the touch and feels better than that boring old black brick your co-worker lugs around.
With enough juice to charge your standard phone multiple times over, the digital read-out lets you know how much is left in the tank. $45 at Amazon
Withings Pulse HR
There’s no shortage in selection when it comes to wearables and activity tracking devices. Nearly every major phone maker has tried its hand at one and the old guard of traditional watch manufacturers is doing the same.
We’ve seen most of the phone companies get out of the smart watch business, leaving it to brands like Fossil and TAG Hueur. And, for good reason. They know how to craft compelling and quality hardware. The same applies in activity trackers. Sometimes you need to stick with the names who have been in the space for some time. That’s why we like Withings.
The Withings Pulse HR is one of the latest wearables from the company that is no longer under the Nokia umbrella. It’s a thin, lightweight way of keeping track of all of your activity