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Our favorite consumer tech

Tech publications love to rate and recommend products. As a tech company, our team is naturally drawn to consumer technology, so we thought it would be fun (and hopefully useful for our community members) if we put some of these favorites into our own listicle. From multi-tools to trusty homebrew computers, the Keen team has a wide-ranging and eclectic collection of devices in our homes.

Who: Nayeem

What: Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush and Sonos wireless music system.

Why:

Philips Sonicare

After the very first time using this toothbrush, my first thought was, “My teeth feel like I just got them professionally cleaned by a dentist.” Seven years later, I still get that feeling every time I brush and my toothbrush still runs for over two weeks on a single charge. Once you brush your teeth at a rate of 30,000 strokes per minute, it’s really hard to ever go back to using a manual toothbrush.

Sonos

I’ve been an early adopter of Sonos since 2009 after purchasing four of their amps on the recommendation of my A/V specialist. Sonos allows me to have four independent audio zones in my condo, meaning four discrete audio sources and playback volumes that I can also group together in any combination. The Sonos app has also been consistently delightful to use over the years and their customer service is stellar.

Who: Will

What: Anova connected sous-vide cooker and the Leatherman PS Style multi tool.

Why:

Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker

I love products that bring high end living to the masses. Anova does this beautifully. With it I’ve been able to cook restaurant-quality food more easily than everyday meals. It also has a small form factor, which is great for NYC living.

Leatherman PS Style

The Leatherman PS style is the perfect multitool for people like me who love to take things apart to see how they tick. I’ve done entire device teardowns with only the tools packed into this little guy. The secret is the ‘multidriver’, a flat blade that can open anything: philips, flathead, even torx screws, but it also has pliers, scissors, and a bottle opener. I can even fly with it since it’s knifeless.

Who: Kelly

What: iPhone 7 Plus and Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD camera lens

Why:

iPhone 7 Plus

Why wouldn’t I love the device I use almost every waking second of the day? I love that I can do most of what I need to from a phone, even significant photo editing. The camera on the iPhone 7 is great, especially with the two focal lengths and RAW format capability. As long as I have good lighting, I can take great photos for digital use that mimic using a DSLR without having to carry that around 24/7.

Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD

The Tamron SP 85mm is a fixed length lens ideal for portraiture for Canon or Nikon DSLRs. It’s perfect for those blurred background portraits. As much as I love my iPhone for photos (see above), you still can’t beat the lighting and quality control you get from a DSLR and a couple fixed lenses.

Who: Ryan

What: Big Ass Fans's smart Haiku Fan and Roomba 980

Why:

Big Ass Fan Haiku

I’m so bullish on the Haiku Fan that I kept coming back to it when thinking about this piece. I have always been a ceiling fan guy, but Haiku is a cut above the rest. The blades are hand crafted from bamboo, resulting in slight variances from blade to blade. Add to this that these fans connect with my other smart home devices and can turn on and off based on my presence. They are awesome.

Roomba 980

Roomba and their robot vacuums have been around for awhile now, but their new 980 feels like a leap forward. For the first time, this vacuum feels like it is working more effectively than I do. Other robot vacuums work randomly, but the 980 learns about my home and remembers how best to clean it. On second thought, maybe this vacuum is too good. Should I be scared?

Who: Kira

What: Furbo Dog Camera and Amazon Echo

Why:

Furbo Dog Camera

Furbo has been a game changer with my pup Nina. It’s affordable and provides stellar camera quality, two-way audio, and remote treat tossing. It’s a great way to check on her when we aren’t home.

Amazon Echo

Echo has changed the way my boyfriend and I interact with our home. One of my biggest gripes with Smart Home technology is the requirement that I use my phone to interact with my devices. Echo and its personal assistant Alex give us the power of voice control. Integrate Alexa with your Wink or SmartThings hub and your entire smart home can be managed without ever needing to touch your phone. I can’t wait to release our own Alexa integration!

Who: Dan

What: My desktop computer (ie: the Frankenstein computer) and the HTC One M7

Why:

Frankenstein

I love this machine because of nostalgia mixed with pride. Every part has been replaced at least once. It was one of my earliest introductions to hardware, and though it now gasps for life as I attempt to watch HBOGO shows in a reasonable quality, it still holds a place in my heart.

HTC One M7

My old HTC One M7 was my only phone where people would go, “wow that’s a nice phone, what is that?” The dual front-facing speakers still rival today’s flagships and the camera was nifty for its time. Though I begrudgingly updated my phone last year, I still keep the M7 around as a portable gaming device.

Who: Nate

What: The Othermill, a durable, reliable desktop CNC with some of the best CAM software on the market, and Schlage Smart Locks.

Why:

Othermill

I’ve been testing a lot of different CNC mills for various projects and the Othermill is by far my favorite. Their software is top notch and their hardware is intuitive to use. It’s super quiet by CNC standards and I love that I can preview cutting jobs on my personal computer before taking them to the mill.

Schlage Smart Lock

Schlage Smart Locks are first and foremost super solid locks. The fact that they can be controlled from your smartphone is an added bonus. Connecting your locks to a smart home hub makes it super easy to share temporary access codes with friends and build interoperability with other devices.

Who: Gregg

What: Amazon Echo and Audio-Technica M50 Monitor Headphones

Amazon Echo

Alexa is the missing link between the virtual and physical world. I have a SmartThings hub that I never used because I didn’t like having to fumble with my phone to control things. With Echo, all I have to do is say, “Alexa, turn off the living room lights”, and voila, they go off! What a breeze!

Audio-Technica M50

When I produce music I need crystal clear sound that is unbiased. The M50s accomplish this with resounding success at a price point that doesn’t break the bank. They are very comfortable and look great. I love them so much that I even use them when I’m out and about.

Who: Mike

What: Instant Pot and ASUS’s RT-N66R router.

Why:

Instant Pot

The Instant Pot is super easy to use and perfect for cooking during a busy week. It’s like what Letherman would make if they made slow cookers. Plus there are roughly 47 million Instant Pot recipes on Pinterest.

ASUS’s RT-N66R

The ASUS RT-N66R was the first really powerful mainstream, consumer facing WiFi router. I can count on one hand the number of times over the past four years I’ve had to reset it because my internet froze. It’s also really easy to modify because it uses nearly stock firmware. Mine at home runs NGINX and a dynamic DNS service.

Who: Dinesh

What: AWS IoT Button and Touchless Taps for sinks.

Why:

AWS IoT Button

The AWS IOT button is a simple tactile button that connects to the internet and can do whatever you program it to do. You can connect it to any internet-based app or service, and the physical button are small and easy to use.

Touchless Tap

Touchless taps are great because they provide elegant solutions to a very relevant problem: water waste. One touchless tap can save more than 30% water compared to traditional taps. They are hygienic and easy to use to-boot!

Who: Nathan

What: The Apple Macintosh SE. I’m still searching for the ultimate smart device (other than the Smart Vent of course!).

Why:

Apple Macintosh SE

The Macintosh SE was the first real computer that I remember, and my first portal into software and engineering.

TBD

I’ve been working on and with hardware (in the electronics sense) for a long time now, and I’d like to believe that the best is yet to come. “Hardware” is the result of two primary enablers: the evolution of technology and market demand for increasingly better solutions to a growing range of human problems. We’re only starting to see what is possible in this space.

What are your favorite pieces of technology? Let us know in comments section below. We’d love to hear from you. Please provide the device name, what it does, and why you love it. If we get enough, we’ll post your comments in a separate blog post and make you internet famous.


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