Our scientists evaluate thousands of products each year. Here are a few of the hottest innovations that will transform how you cook, shop, clean and more.
LG PJ9 Zero G Levitating Speaker (price not yet available, lg.com): Wirelessly connect your tunes to this LG gadget and watch your friends’ jaws drop. When music plays, the portable speaker levitates and rotates above the subwoofer base — seriously! Then, when it needs to recharge, the speaker lowers itself onto the charging station like magic.
Lab Lowdown: Our tech pros found it super easy to connect to through Bluetooth and were impressed with the sound clarity, but needed a couple of tries to line up the speaker and the magnet to get things spinning.
Hoover React Vacuum Cleaner (from $200, hoover.com): Cleaning it all is a breeze with Hoover’s new vacs, which identify floor surfaces and adjust brush speed accordingly (faster for carpet, slower for bare floors).
Lab Lowdown: Our pros noted the intuitive design. A few times, a vac identified a very-low-pile carpet as hard flooring, but you can easily override the technology.
Mini Brewing Maestro
Nespresso Essenza Mini ($149, nespresso.com): Love fancy coffee, but don’t have the space for a full espresso bar? The new super-compact Nespresso is about to change your morning. Weighing just five pounds, the little brewer is perfect for any space where real estate is tight – an apartment counter, a dorm room or even your desk. Snag some of the brand’s recyclable capsules, and get a cafe-quality cup at home.
Lab Lowdown: In our Kitchen Appliances Lab tests, it heated up quickly and brewed a well-balanced espresso with rich crema on top in under two minutes. We love the simple-to-use controls — choose espresso or lungo (a double-size pour).
DJI Spark ($499, dji.com): Join the drone craze with this mini DJI flyer. Capture a bird’s-eye view of your kid’s backyard birthday party or soccer game with the built-in camera and intelligent flight-control features. Then you easily can edit footage right in the app.
Lab Lowdown: Since it weighs more than 155 grams, you’ll need to avoid flying it within 5 miles of an airport — it will warn you if it’s too close.
Amazon Dash Wand with Alexa ($20, amazon.com): Grocery-shop right from your kitchen! Use the new handheld device from Amazon to add items to your cart via voice or by scanning a bar code. You can also treat built-in Alexa like your personal assistant — ask how many ounces are in a cup or where the closest coffee shop is.
Lab Lowdown: It took our testers two minutes to set it up, then seconds to scan coffee beans and order more as well as ask for tomorrow’s forecast.
ON ANOTHER MATTER …
GH Seal Star of the Month: WE Charity
This world-renowned nonprofit creates opportunities for anyone — child or adult — to help improve the world. Our first GH Humanitarian Seal honoree provides tools to think (and act!) as “we” instead of “me.”
Why It Earned the GH Humanitarian Seal: GH analysts were impressed by WE Charity’s diverse global programs that help make doing good doable!
1. Inspiring Action: Over 3.4 million people have raised $79 million, volunteered 27.6 million hours and collected over 9.8 million pounds of food for over 6,500 groups.
2. Building Strong Communities: WE Villages in Asia, Africa and Latin America offer clean water, education and food and empower women with financial independence.
3. Increasing Knowledge: WE Schools educate young Americans on important social issues to help them develop their own service projects.
4. Connecting Kids to Influencers: Acts of service earn students tickets to WE Day, a concert-style event with inspo from the likes of Selena Gomez, Malala Yousafzai and Prince Harry.
The following products and vehicles were recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Unless otherwise indicated, discontinue use of the products immediately and return them to the store where purchased for a refund. For more information about the products, call the manufacturer or CPSC’s toll-free hotline, (800) 638-2772. Only some cars or trucks recalled are affected. Contact a dealer for your model to see if it is included in the recall. The dealer will tell you what to do.
Foot warmers sold with Sleep Number 360 smart beds, sold at Sleep Number stores and online from April 2017 to August 2017 for between $5,400 and $11,000.
The foot warmer under the mattress cover can short-circuit and overheat, posing a burn hazard. Consumers should immediately stop using and disable the foot warmer in their Sleep Number 360 smart bed using the instructions provided by the company. Sleep Number is directly contacting all known consumers to provide a free replacement foot warmer and to schedule installation by an authorized technician. Consumers can contact Sleep Number at (800) 318-4432 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST on Saturday, or online at www.sleepnumber.com/recall.
Mercedes-Benz 2017 C43 AMG, E300 4Matic,
GLC300, and E43 AMG 4Matic sedans
These vehicles have electrical power steering control units with improperly welded contact pins. The improperly welded pins may lose contact, deactivating the power-steering assist and increasing the risk of a crash. MBUSA will notify owners, and dealers will replace the electric power steering rack for free. Owners may contact MBUSA customer service at (877) 496-3691.
© Hearst Communications Inc. Distributed by King Features Syndicate
—GOOD HOUSEKEEPING REPORTS: Tried-and-tested new tech for 2018–