Pricey but Practical Tech

Robotic lawn mowers, piano fine-tuners, and much more.



See the new issue of Briefings magazine, available at newsstands and online.

See the new issue of Briefings magazine, available at newsstands and online.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall: Who has the best abs of them all? The latest “mirror” may actually help answer that while also offering a great workout routine. There are also robotic lawn mowers, and refrigerators that show you how much food you have even when you’re nowhere near the kitchen. Many of these gadgets might be seen as a luxury, but the latest actually offer a lot of convenience, says Adam Wright, senior research analyst at the market research firm IDC. Just be prepared to shell out a few more dollars for these than you would for a typical appliance.


Samsung Family Hub Smart Refrigerator ($3,599)
Forget if you have milk in the fridge? This appliance has built-in cameras that allow you to view what’s inside from your mobile device, and users can create and share shopping lists from the fridge for convenience on grocery runs. “Many consumers might find it beneficial to have a connected fridge that can serve as a home hub,” Wright says. There’s also a home screen to add pictures and notes—with the option to stream music or use other apps.


The Oracle Touch by Breville ($2,499)
This innovative automatic espresso machine brews true café-quality coffee at home, using a simple touch screen. Full flavor and precise water temperature? Check. Sufficient steam pressure for micro-foam and velvety milk texture? Double check. The gadget is second best to having your own in-house barista.


Mirror ($1,495, plus $39 per month)
Cardio, strength, yoga, Pilates, barre?…?you name it, and Mirror likely has it. A unique play on America’s love of boutique fitness, the Mirror home gym sports an LCD panel, stereo speakers, a camera, and a mic. The device streams more than 50 new workouts each week and is achieving cult-like status among several celebrities.


Reyburn CyberTuner ($1,000)
Splurging a grand on an app to help tune your grand piano may seem excessive, but considering pianos need tuning every few months, the price strikes a better chord. The app is geared toward users who already know piano-tuning basics and have their own tuning equipment. It analyzes aural tuning and suggests intervals, checks notes, performs fast pitch correction, and creates musical tunings, from low bass to high treble.


Husqvarna Automower 315 Robotic Lawn Mower ($1,799)
Some people find mowing the lawn meditative, but for the rest of us, this Roomba for the yard might be a dream. This robot lawn mower syncs up with a mobile app so users can remotely start and stop the gadget while monitoring its progress on a virtual map. Made for lawns of up to 0.4 acres, this tiny powerhouse can navigate slopes, tight spaces, and other obstacles. This type of mower can save money over the long run, Wright says, since it also displays alerts when it needs maintenance, rather than a homeowner just waiting for the typical mower to break down.


Insta360 Pro 2 Professional VR Camera ($4,999)
This VR camera uses six lenses and in-camera HDR to create immersive, lifelike experiences. The gadget boasts clear, crisp image quality, high resolution, built-in stabilization, and the ability to convert footage into a specially segmented sphere. There’s also full integration with Adobe Premiere Pro for a more streamlined editing process. Pricey, yes. But what’s the price tag on preserving memories or capturing footage in riveting 360-degree VR? We’ll leave that one up to you.

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