Review: Chemex’s new Ottomatic vs. Wilfa’s Precision Coffee Maker – does premium coffee have a new king?

chemexottomatic-3

At a time when people are increasingly buying “natural” and “organic” foods, the word “Chemex” mightn’t sound like an ideal name for a maker of coffee brewing gear. Yet Chemex’s 1941-vintage Coffee Maker has spent decades as a gold standard for pour-over coffee: featured in the MoMA collection, this Bauhaus-inspired design combines an hourglass-shaped glass pitcher with leather-bound wooden grips and special paper filters, producing delicious coffee.

The Chemex process involves placing freshly ground coffee beans inside a Chemex-brand filter atop the Chemex-brand pitcher, then “pouring-over” hot water in a manner that guarantees optimal extraction of coffee from the grounds. Following Chemex’s instructions, identical coffee beans and water produce a noticeably better cup of coffee than the typical home coffee machine – the reason many coffee shops offer Chemex-brewed coffee at a premium.

chemexottomatic-10

But traditional Chemex brewing requires learning, takes time, and demands a lot of user interaction: everything from hitting the right water temperature to the multi-step pouring process requires a lot more attention than just pressing the “start” button on a Keurig. While Chemex isn’t catering to the exact same audience, the company has acknowledged the value of a streamlined brewing process with this week’s release of Ottomatic ($350). Priced above top-ranked established coffee makers such as the single-cup Keurig K75 and small pot Bonavita BV1800, Ottomatic is designed to compete against premium metal and glass models such as the Wilfa Precision Coffee Maker — machines that are equal parts art and science. Chemex designed Ottomatic to look beautiful and radically simplify the fussy pour-over process. That’s exactly what it does. Read on for all the details.

Read more

Nintendo Throwback Sale: Super Mario Galaxy 2 $10 for Wii U, Mario 3D World $45, Yoshi + Pushmo deals

IMG_3577

Announced this morning during its Nintendo Direct video series, Nintendo has launched a new Throwback Sale in its eShop for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. While most of Nintendo’s discounts aren’t particularly newsworthy, this one is a better deal than most, because each week includes a steeply-discounted Wii U title, plus smaller discounts on several Wii U and 3DS releases.

The biggest steal in the bunch is Super Mario Galaxy 2 at an all-time price low of $9.99 (reg. $20 digital, $36 on disc), which is today being offered for the first time as a digital download for the Wii U. As the flagship original Wii Super Mario game, Galaxy 2 features an interstellar theme with completely 3-D planets. Also available for the next week at reduced prices are:

  • Super Mario 3D World ($45, reg. $60, $52 on disc)
  • Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3 [Game Boy Advance Virtual Console] for Wii U ($6, reg. $8, cart here)
  • Yoshi’s New Island for 3DS ($30, reg. $40, $37 on cart)
  • Pushmo for Nintendo 3DS ($3.49, reg. $7)
  • Pushmo World for Wii U ($7.49, reg. $10)

Next week, Punch-Out!! will become available for the Wii U, followed by Metroid Prime Trilogy one week later. Nintendo has indicated that some Wii games – unfortunately not Super Mario Galsy 2, we’ve learned – will no longer require special Wii controllers to play on the Wii U. Check out our Wii U Buyers’ Guide for recommendations on the right Wii U bundles, accessories, and games to purchase, as well as our daily Wii U deals for additional discounts.

WaterField Designs has a spot for all of your tech in its new Made in America Bolt Briefcase

Bolt Briefcase Small Gadgets

WaterField Designs, purveyors of high-quality bags and accessories made in San Francisco, has released its latest addition to its popular line of its the commuter solutions. Designed specifically for “techies and travelers”, the made-by-hand Bolt Briefcase puts the focus on quick access to the most important items in your bag, while keeping your valuables secure.

Owner Gary Waterfield describes the new Bolt as so:

When designing the Bolt, we started with a list of what we travel with and how much protection and accessibility we need for each item. For example, my wallet and smartphone—high accessibility items—are safely stowed, but easily accessed from front magnet-closing pockets, while my laptop sits securely inside its padded main-compartment laptop sleeve.

This new bag features two “easy-access” compartments for the gear that needs to be pulled out regularly, a waterproof compartment, a padded sleeve area for laptops and a slot to slide over suitcase handles. It is available in two sizes, 13 and 17-inch and is available in a variety of colors. Starting at $249 for the small model, and $30 more for the larger rendition, the Bolt Briefcase is set to ship on January 20th.

Full PR below:

Read more

Kitchen Tech: The best bar tools for making amazing home cocktails (Part 2)

hotpoker

Some wonderful things can be made entirely with your hands. Others — including fantastic cocktails — require tools. This week, we’re continuing our prior edition of Kitchen Tech on bar tools, focusing on items that will help you serve restaurant-caliber drinks at home. Last week’s column looked at “fundamental” tools and “good ideas.” Now we’re looking at “the fancy stuff,” special little items used by leading restaurants across the world.

Most of the tools in this week’s column aren’t expensive, even though many of them are being used by top bartenders inside and outside the United States. Below, you’ll find a collection of optional but seriously cool tools I’ve personally tested and found worthy of recommending, as well as details on why some are more optional than others.

Read more

Gaming For Couples: The best Wii U bundle, games, demos and accessories

IMG_3412

Nintendo’s Wii U will likely be remembered as the most misunderstood major game console ever released. As the sequel to Wii – which sold over 100 million consoles – the Wii U is a true 1080p HD console, plays all of the Wii’s games, and even includes a screen on its packed-in controller. It’s also the best current-generation console for couples and families, hands-down. But it had a slow start due to weak early software support, only getting mega-hit games in mid-2014, and many people didn’t realize that it was actually an all-new console.

 

wiiu

Today, a bunch of great Nintendo exclusives are available, and more are on the way – it’s finally a great time to buy a Wii U. That’s what we just did, so for this week’s edition of Gaming For Couples, we’re going to walk you through the best titles, accessories, and deals we’ve found, helping you to do the same.

Read more

DISH brings Sling TV with ESPN, TNT, TBS and more to a myriad of streaming devices for just $20

sling-tv

Update (1/11 10:00am): Sling TV is now accepting requests to try its service, it is currently invite-only so you’ll have to submit your information and hope for the opportunity to get in early!

DISH is looking to revolutionize home entertainment by offering a smaller package of popular channels, without contract, for just $20 per month. Focusing on a handful of popular channels has allowed for DISH to put together a competitive product, dubbed Sling TV, that falls between the Netflix/Hulu and full cable TV price points. With ESPN, TNT and TBS, Sling TV is making a strong case for your living room.

There are however a few key differences from other offerings that make this an interesting proposition, including a special offer for Xbox One users.

Read more

Kitchen Tech: The best bar tools for making amazing home cocktails (Part 1)

The team toasts to a successful show.

Some wonderful things can be made entirely with your hands. Others — including fantastic cocktails — require tools. The topic for this week’s edition of Kitchen Tech is bar tools, specifically the ones necessary to make restaurant-caliber cocktails at home. Not just any restaurant and cocktails, mind you: we’re talking about making the very best cocktails from leading restaurants across the world.

Ready for the surprise? These tools aren’t crazy expensive. They’re actually some of the most affordable we’ve covered in Kitchen Tech, even though most of our choices are endorsed by top bartenders inside and outside the United States. Inside, you’ll find over a dozen different types of tools I’ve personally tested and found worthy of recommending, along with a few tips on why I didn’t pick some other options.

Read more

VIZIO Smart 240Hz LED 4K UHDTVs: 50-inch $800 (Reg. $1,000), 55-inch $1,000 (Reg. $1,400)

vizio-4k-P552UI-B2

Update (12/6 6:30am): Amazon has matched the price on the VIZIO 55-inch 4K for $999.99 with free scheduled delivery. Additionally, they’ve dropped the price of the 50-inch 4K version to $799.99, which is an all-time low as well.

Best Buy offers the VIZIO P-Series 55-inch (P552UI-B2) Smart 240Hz 4K LED UHDTV for $999.99 shipped. That’s a savings of $400 off the regular price, $349 better than Amazon and the lowest that we’ve ever seen it go for. Over at Amazon this UHDTV is rated 4/5 stars by over 207 reviewers.

This VIZIO 4K UHDTV features 4x the resolution of 1080p displays, 64 active LED zones, a 240Hz refresh rate and five HDMI inputs. Additionally, it has 802.11ac wireless for smart functionality with Netflix, Hulu Plus and Pandora.

Read more

Roundup: The best selfie sticks for your iPhone 6, 6 Plus, and 5/5c/5s

iphone-selfie-stick
Not only is the selfie not going away, but thanks to the selfie stick, the trend is going to the next level.

Take a stroll around nearly any major city and you’re bound to see individuals and groups of people taking their pictures with iPhones affixed to poles. Just last weekend, I was at one of the biggest tourist spots in the world, Walt Disney World, and I couldn’t walk a few feet without bumping into one.

selfie-stick-iphone

The idea of the selfie stick is to hold an iPhone further than your arms can reach to grab the perfect selfie angle. It’s also a good way to capture more scenery and people in each picture without having to hand your iPhone to a random person nearby. Aside from a few ridiculous exceptions, most of these monopods extend to around 3.5 feet.

You’ll find that the majority of selfie sticks are made by no-name companies out of China, so you’ll come across a lot of cheap options. Nicer models include a Bluetooth remote, while less expensive models connect via the headphone jack. One of these options is necessary to snap the shutter for the photo when you can’t touch the iPhone,

Here are the best selfie stick options for iPhone 6/Plus, and iPhone 5/5s/5c … Read more

1080P 120Hz HDTVs: Panasonic 50″ WiFi Smart: $500, Sharp 42″: $300

Some nice big HDTV options available today from first-tier retailers:

Update: Oos

Newegg offers the Vizio 47″ Class 1080p LED TV model E470-A0o for $349.99 shipped. That’s 50% off and the lowest price we’ve seen for this popular 47-inch 1080P display that features Slim Frame Design, 3 HDMI+USB Inputs and is Wall Mountable.

 

TC-50AS530U-Panasonicpng

Best Buy offers the Panasonic c Series Smart LED LCD TV – 50″ Class (49.5″ Diag) Model TC-50AS530Uc for $499.99 with free shipping or site to store. That’s $350 off and the lowest price we’ve seen.(more info at Panasonic.com)

Some other great finds:

Best Buy offers the Hisense 1080P 40-inch for $239 shipped. Features 8W speakers, 3 HDMI inputs.

They also offer a popular Sharp 42″ 1080P 120Hz for $299.99 shipped Read more

$30 Streamers: Roku LT/Stick+3 Months of Hulu Plus or Chromecast +$20 Google Play, 2 months Hulu Plus, more

If you haven’t yet put a streaming dongle on all of your HDTVs, $30 buys you a lot of great options currently out there.

Screen Shot 2014-12-27 at 9.54.20 AM
Amazon and Best Buy continue to offer the Chromecast Dongle for $29.99 with free shipping. What makes this deal special is what Google adds on afterwards (ending January 31st): After setting up your Chromecast and visiting this page, you’ll receive $20 Google Play credit, X-Men original movie, 3 months of Drama Fever, 2 months of Hulu Plus and 90 days free Google Play music.

google-play-free-credit-offer-chromecast

  • Stream online video, music, photos and more to your TV using your smartphone, tablet, or laptop
  • Supports a growing number of apps including Netflix, YouTube, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Pandora, ESPN, MLB.TV, Google Play Movies and Music, Plex, MLS, crackle, Vevo, Rdio. Allows to cast a Chrome browser tab.
  • Box includes Chromecast, HDMI extender, USB power cable, and power adapter. No remote needed.
  • Easy setup: Plug into any HDTV and connect to your home WiFi network
  • Works with Android phones and tablets, iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows, and Chromebooks

Screen Shot 2014-12-27 at 9.52.57 AM

Next, Groupon offers either the Roku LT HD Streaming Player or Roku Streaming Stick with 2 Months of Free Rdio and 3 Months Free of Hulu Plus for $29.99 shipped. That’s the lowest price we’ve seen for these popular streaming options that come with Remote and the most streaming options available which can be operated without a smartphone, tablet or computer.