Elite Traveler editors are always on the go and trying out the latest technology for their homes and lifestyles. Technology is designed to make everyday tasks more streamlined and accessible, so whether it’s trying out the best headphones for lengthy outdoor runs, or the simplest way to grow vegetables at home, here are the best technology picks from our editors to make your busy life just a little bit more manageable.
Samantha Coles, Managing Editor
Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator, $3,000
Samsung launched the Family Hub refrigerator three years ago, an ‘app-based experienced anchored in food management, family connections and entertainment.’ The latest model, unveiled earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, is so much more than a place to keep your food fresh (although it does, of course, do that too). The refrigerator has a ‘Family Board’ screen that acts as a digital bulletin board where you and your family can stick notes, photos, hand-written notes, and doodles on the screen. It can also stream music and radio — perfect if you’re following a recipe. The refrigerator also has an AI personal assistant named Bixby: ask it for the daily news while you make your morning coffee, if you need an umbrella for the day, call an Uber, and any remind you of any important to-dos. Bixby can distinguish each family member’s voice so when you speak to it, you get information tailored to you. There is also an internal camera that displays the contents of your fridge on your smart phone so you know exactly what to pick up from the farmers’ market or decide what to have for dinner — or, the Meal Planner feature can suggest recipes based on what you have. samsung.com
Click and Grow Smartgarden 9, $200
If you’ve ever cultivated your own crops or flowers, you’ll know how satisfying it can be when that first bloom appears, but requires an attentive and patient gardener. Smart gardens bring all the joy of gardening into your kitchen but with much easier maintenance — key for frequent travelers. Click and Grow’s Smartgarden is self-growing and produces super-local herbs, flowers and vegetables. It uses Click and Grow’s ‘smart soil’— inspired by NASA technology, the soil creates releases nutrients in sync with the plant’s life cycle, keeps soil pH balanced, and employs tiny oxygen pockets to guarantee that plants get ample breathing room and nutrients even when the soil is wet. It comes with mini tomato, mini basil and green lettuce biodegradable plant capsules and a subscription service is available to keep your garden indoor thriving with ease. clickandgrow.com
Barisier Tea or Coffee Brewing Alarm Clock, $440
The most curiously designed coffee-brewer-cum-alarm-clock; the Barisier looks more like a scientist’s bench than an apparatus to make your morning cup of Joe. It is striking in design (it has won a number of awards) and will be a sleek addition to your kitchen or home office and pays homage to the retro teasmade — just with updated technology such as a Peltier cooler that is automatically activated by an infrared sensor to keep milk chilled; an induction heater and a fine-meshed metal filter which allows oils in the coffee to pass through. The Barisieur is the brainchild of Joshua Renouf: He designed the piece while studying in university and, after sharing it online, it went viral and caught the eye of Sir Richard Branson. Renouf achieved his crowd-funding target and the Barisier can now be seen in Four Seasons Hotels and in the coolest homes. It is available in black or white. barisieur.com