Tech Tools: 6 Must-Haves from the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show

Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1


Smartphones and point-and-shoot cameras are morphing into each other more and more every day. Case in point, Panasonic’s new Lumix DMC-CM1 phone comes with a high-end Leica camera lens attached. Spin the metal ring surrounding the lens to manually adjust the camera’s aperture, shutter speed and focus as if you were operating a real digital camera. In fact, the Lumix so closely resembles a leather-bodied camera that you’ll probably be surprised every time it rings.


LG Twin Wash System


LG Electronics is releasing a new front-load washing machine that has a second, mini-washer hidden underneath. The Twin Wash System lets you do two separate loads of laundry at the same time using different wash settings. The mini-washer fits under any full-size LG front-load washer like a drawer and would be ideal for cleaning delicates or oddly shaped items, such as tennis shoes, which require special settings, but not a lot of real estate. And like almost every new appliance released today, the washer connects to Wi-Fi and can send you a text message when the loads are done.


Samsung Virtual Stovetop


Induction stovetops are simple to use and clean, but because they don’t use an open flame for cooking food, it can be difficult to tell how hot the burner is. Samsung’s new NE9900 virtual stovetop aims to fix that. Each burner on the induction stovetop is lined with a ring of blue LED lights. When a burner is on, the lights reflect onto your stainless steel pots and cast iron pans as a fake blue “flame.” The higher the heat is, the higher the faux flames appear on the side of your pot, and you’ll see them and be less likely to burn your rice.


Siemens Smart Hearing Aid


Now hear this. You can help your hearing-impaired dad better zero in on your conversation in a noisy restaurant or during a windy walk by introducing him to new Siemens smart-tech hearing aids. They allow users to control the direction of the hearing aids’ microphones directly on smartphones, once the Siemens app is downloaded. Other high-tech features include being able to stream a phone call, listen to iTunes or stream Netflix from one’s TV or tablet. Easy listening takes on new meaning.


LG G Flex-2


If you’ve ever sat down with a tech device in your pocket and accidentally snapped it in two, the LG G Flex-2 may be the phone for you. The new Android device is deliberately curved into a 23-degree arc, which makes it bendable and less susceptible to breaks. The curved screen also matches the natural contour of your eyes like a curved TV screen. A cool feature called GlanceView lets you swipe downward from the top of the screen and quickly check your notifications without having to unlock your entire phone. Plus the body of the phone has a protective coating that can withstand surface scratches. Of course, we’re still waiting for the day when a cellphone can self-heal its cracked glass screen.


Breathometer Mint


Using the same technology behind an alcohol Breathalyzer, the Breathometer Mint can alert you if you have bad breath or if you’re dehydrated, which causes bad breath. Put your lips to the portable oral health device, and it vacuums out a sample of the air in your mouth. Within seconds it analyzes the quality of your breath and its moisture level. In addition to notifying you if you need to pop a breath mint before a meeting or drink a glass of water after the gym, the results can be an early indicator of gum disease, tooth decay or overall declining health.


Alyson Sheppard is a writer and editor based in Dallas. Her work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mental Floss, Maxim, National Geographic Adventure and more.

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