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Get a Ring Video Doorbell Pro for an all-time-low $95 – CNET
Ring A video doorbell isn’t necessarily going to stop porch pirates from making off with your latest Amazon delivery. But it can alert you when the delivery happens or if sketchy dudes approach your front door. It’s a form of DIY home security, and well worth having (at least in my opinion).Right now you can…
A video doorbell isn’t necessarily going to stop porch pirates from making off with your latest Amazon delivery. But it can alert you when the delivery happens or if sketchy dudes approach your front door. It’s a form of DIY home security, and well worth having (at least in my opinion).Right now you can get a deep discount on one of Ring’s top models: For a limited time, and while supplies last, the refurbished Ring Video Doorbell Pro is just $95, the lowest price I can recall seeing. Price for a new one: $250.The Ring offers live 1080p video, motion alerts and two-way voice communication. This particular model supports Pre-Roll: It’s always buffering 4 seconds of video, so when someone (or something) trips the motion sensor, you can see what happened before that.
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One important caveat: The Ring Pro does not have a rechargeable battery. It must be hard-wired to your home, so if you can’t connect it to the existing (working) doorbell wires at your front door, this isn’t the video doorbell for you. Read CNET’s Ring Video Doorbell Pro review to learn more.The good news is that although it’s refurbished, it’s covered by a one-year warranty, same as a new Ring.This article was published previously. It has been updated with the latest deal. CNET’s deal team scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and check out our CNET Coupons page for the latest promo codes from Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon and more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page.
The best electric kettles of 2020 – CNET
Editors’ note, Oct. 16, 2020: The Cuisinart CPK-17 electric kettle has been removed from this list due to customer feedback and Amazon reviews stating that the auto shut-off feature is defective and poses a potential fire hazard. We have reached out to Cuisinart for comment.Electric kettles are underrated kitchen appliances. I use mine regularly to…
Editors’ note, Oct. 16, 2020: The Cuisinart CPK-17 electric kettle has been removed from this list due to customer feedback and Amazon reviews stating that the auto shut-off feature is defective and poses a potential fire hazard. We have reached out to Cuisinart for comment.Electric kettles are underrated kitchen appliances. I use mine regularly to brew French press coffee and to add boiling water to a simmering stockpot. You can choose a basic kettle with minimal options easily enough. But it’s worth taking a look at models that have specialty features like hold temperature buttons and dedicated tea-steeping baskets. All options that you’ll find aim to boil water fast, but which is the best electric kettle?Below, I’ve detailed the results after testing eight electric kettles that range in price from the $22 AmazonBasics MK-M110A1A to the $280 Breville BTM800XL. Let’s see which ones stood out the most.
The Miroco MI-EK003 isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s the best electric kettle we tested under $50. It has a large 51-ounce capacity, a simple on/off lever and it boiled water quickly. I also like the look of its glossy black finish and stainless steel interior. A button on the top of the handle makes it easy to open the lid safely so you won’t get hit with any steam. This model shuts off when it starts to boil.
The $280 51-ounce capacity Breville BTM800XL with its stainless steel base is technically a kettle — but it’s also a tea brewer and is by far the most decked-out electric tea kettle we tested. It features hot water and tea buttons, with options to specify the perfect temperature to brew green, black, white, herbal, oolong or custom and delicate teas. You can also select if you want the tea to be strong, medium, mild or custom. A digital display gives you a readout of what the brewer is doing and it has a keep warm button that helps your water stay hot for up to 60 minutes.In addition to that, the BTM800XL comes with a basket for your loose leaf tea that automatically lowers when you select your options, as well as a teaspoon measuring spoon. As a tea lover, I really liked these options, but it’s a luxury appliance that’s only worth it if you’re a regular drinker of loose-leaf tea.
The $100 Oxo 8717100 is a great kettle in general, but its gooseneck spout is particularly appealing for pour-over, or other manual coffee making that requires a steady, controlled pour. I also like that the Oxo 8717100 electric gooseneck kettle has a temperature hold function, making it possible to specify that you want your water to hold at 200 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperature begins to drop, the 8717100 turns itself back on, reheating your water. It has a smaller 34-ounce capacity, perfect for just over four cups of water. This gooseneck kettle shuts off automatically after 30 minutes.
Kettle talk Here’s a list of the eight models I tested to find the best electric kettle: AmazonBasics MK-M110A1ABodum MeliorBreville BTM800XLCuisinart CPK-17KitchenAid KEK1222SXMiroco MI-EK003Ovente KG83BOxo 8717100And here’s a more detailed overview of each model’s key specs for comparison: Electric kettle specs
Capacity (in ounces)
Dimensions (HxWxD, in inches)
Weight (in pounds)
The AmazonBasics MK-M110A1A kettle is the most affordable and shares a smaller footprint and water capacity with the $100 temperature-customizable Oxo 8717100, although the $35 Bodum Melior electric kettle has the smallest overall capacity of the group at just 27 ounces. The $80 KitchenAid KEK1222SX looks the most like a classic stovetop kettle, but its on/off-only functionality seems limited for its high price. It’s also difficult to remove its lid without getting hit with steam, so I’d suggest waiting for the water to cool down completely before attempting to open the KitchenAid kettle’s top lid. The $100 Cuisinart kettle has the largest capacity at 58 ounces, or 7.25 cups and nearly as many options as the very pricey $280 Breville BTM800XL tea maker. Both of these kettles have custom heat options for the perfect cup of tea, whether it’s green, black, herbal — or another variety. The Breville is the only of the eight models with a dedicated basket for brewing loose leaf tea in the kettle, making it the most specialized kettle of the bunch. While the $38 Miroco MI-EK003 electric kettle isn’t the least expensive model we tested, it’s my favorite reasonably priced kettle. It has a large capacity, a pretty fast boil time (more on that below) and a simple on/off toggle. The Ovente KG83B electric kettle has a great price and it’s easy to use, but it didn’t particularly stand out during my testing. Sensors attached to this RisePro thermocouple thermometer helped me track water temperature.
How we test: Electric kettles To test our batch of eight electric kettles, I used a RisePro thermocouple thermometer. The thermocouple measured two things: how quickly each kettle boiled three cups of water — and how well each model with a “hold temperature” function held the water temperature over a 10-minute period. For the boil test, I watched the thermocouple display until the sensor tracking the temperature inside each kettle reached 209 degrees Fahrenheit. While 212 degrees is the boiling point of water, elevation and barometric pressure put the boiling point in Louisville, KY — where the smart home team is based — at 209 degrees. For the hold temperature test, I used the thermocouple thermometer to measure the minimum, maximum and average temperatures held during the 10-minute period. The table below displays both the average time it took each kettle to reach 209 degrees and the minimum, maximum and average temperatures each kettle with a hold temperature function held over and 10 minutes. Keep in mind that the thermocouple readings aren’t exact and that there will be slight variation based on placement during testing. That said, I did my best to place the thermocouples midway down in the water, in the center of each kettle. I also ran each test two times to confirm my readings were as consistent as possible. Test results
Average time to boil (three cups)
3 min 27 seconds
4 min 50 seconds
3 minutes 22 seconds
3 min 53 seconds
3 min 21 seconds
3 minutes 32 seconds
4 min 45 seconds
3 min 24 seconds
Min, max and average hold temperature (over 10 minutes, in degrees Fahrenheit)
175.3; 206.8; 197.2
187.7; 210.4; 197.8
195.4; 205.9; 200.8
The KitchenAid KEK1222SX boiled water the fastest, at 3 minutes and 21 seconds to reach boiling temperature, but the AmazonBasics MK-M110A1A, the Breville BTM800XL and the Oxo 8717100 were nearly as fast at boiling water. The Bodum Melior and the Ovente KG83B were the slowest by far, at nearly 5 minutes to boil three cups of water. The Cuisinart CPK-17 and the Miroco MI-EK003 landed somewhere in the middle for boiling water, at 3 minutes and 53 seconds and 3 minutes and 32 seconds, respectively. The Breville BTM800XL, Cuisinart CPK-17 and the Oxo 8717100 each offered keep warm or hold temperature functions, so I did extra testing with these models. The Oxo kettle was the only model of the three that allowed you to select a set temperature for it to hold. The other two simply had “keep warm” options that prevent the water from cooling down as quickly as it might otherwise, but don’t let you customize the temperature setting the kettle maintains. Because of this, the Oxo 8717100 is the absolute best of the pack if you want to hold your water at — or at least close to — a specific temperature. I set the Oxo at 209 degrees (our boiling temperature for these tests) and it managed to stay within about 10 degrees. As soon as the temperature began to drop, the kettle would turn back on and heat the water up to around 205 degrees. The Breville and Cuisinart models, in contrast, had steeper temperature drops overall. The Breville BTM800XL ranged from roughly 175 to 207 degrees and the Cuisinart CPK-17 ranged from about 188 to 210. Regardless of the specific model you buy, start by thinking about how you plan to use your kettle — are you a pour over coffee fiend? Maybe the Oxo model is the best pick. Just need something simple with a large capacity? Consider the Miroco MI-EK003. Do you like to make large pots of loose leaf tea? The Breville is your best bet.
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Amazon Echo review: The best Alexa smart speaker in years – CNET
The new Amazon Echo boasts a striking spheroidal design. Chris Monroe/CNET Amazon’s fourth-gen Echo smart speaker is a ball to use — literally. Alexa’s new countertop speaker is spheroidal, a striking departure from the soft-cylindrical speakers of past generations. And honestly, six years after the first Echo launched 10,000 (or at least a few dozen)…
The new Amazon Echo boasts a striking spheroidal design.
Amazon’s fourth-gen Echo smart speaker is a ball to use — literally. Alexa’s new countertop speaker is spheroidal, a striking departure from the soft-cylindrical speakers of past generations. And honestly, six years after the first Echo launched 10,000 (or at least a few dozen) smart speakers, a reimagined design was overdue.The big question of the new Echo is, well, how reimagined is it? Voice assistants are growing and changing all the time, but for the most part, they do what they’ve been doing for years already: answer questions, set timers, control your smart home gadgets, play music and so on. So why buy a new Echo?Amazon has faltered recently with its core smart speaker, as the more budget-friendly Dot has become a better entry point to the market and 2019’s Echo Studio offers higher-end sound for audiophiles. That’s left the $100 Echo as a sort of undefined middle child in the growing family of Alexa-powered speakers. But 2020’s Echo is genuinely different, and it’s not just because of the new spheroidal profile. This Echo has turned up the sound quality and added higher-end smarts than the competition, all for the same $100 price tag, leaving it one of the most forward-looking smart speakers released in years.
LikeImproved sound quality and powerful bassBetter smart home connectivityEasy and quality stereo pairing
Don’t LikeA bulky designNo revolutionary upgrades
Getting the ball rollingAmazon’s 2020 Echo boasts two important upgrades that should inform your decision to buy it or not: improved sound quality and smart home hardware.When it comes to sound, the Echo represents a significant improvement over the third-gen speaker from 2019, likely in part to the fact that the third-gen Echo essentially copped its design almost wholesale from an older device. In addition, the Echo has adaptive sound, so it can adjust to the acoustics of the room in which you use it. I personally didn’t notice dramatic differences in output from room to room, but the speaker sounded good in the various rooms and on the various surfaces I used for testing.The Echo sounds better than the last generation, but how does it sound compared to the direct competition? Google’s $100 Nest Audio, which dropped only a couple of weeks before the Echo, is a solid device. But the Echo simply boasts more power: the Echo’s volume at 85% is about equivalent to the Nest’s max.What’s more, between the Echo’s 3-inch woofer and dual 0.8-inch tweeters, bass and lower-range mids are richer and stronger. Listening to bass-heavy music, like Lil Wayne’s A Milli or Travis Barker’s recent Run the Jewels collaboration, Forever, the Echo keeps the low end thunderous even at high volumes, whereas the Nest Audio ends up feeling treble-heavy as the bass begins to drop out.
Amazon’s spherical smart speaker offers entertainment…
That said, if you prefer more acoustic music, the Nest Audio provides marginally better performance of complex, midrange-heavy songs. Both speakers, though, really capture the texture of vocal-heavy music. The Echo, with its slightly better low range, sounds slightly better to my ear when playing Johnny Cash’s gravelly baritone in Hurt, whereas the Nest Audio sounds slightly crisper in its treatment of Lianne La Havas’s subtle vibrato in No Room for Doubt.As with Google’s new speaker, a pair of Echoes can be set up to work in stereo format. The effect is great, particularly with songs that take full advantage of stereo panning or asymmetric sound, such as The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army or Pink Floyd’s Money. Unlike the Nest Audio, the Echo has a 3mm line in/out port for connecting to other speakers.Both Amazon’s and Google’s smart speakers offer great sound quality for the $100 price tag, but after side-by-side testing with dozens of songs, the Echo takes the prize by a small but significant margin. It’s more powerful, and if you like hip-hop or trap music, the Echo will treat you well. Otherwise, they’re fairly comparable, with the Nest boasting a slight edge when it comes to some acoustic and classical music.A-round the houseThe Echo’s sound quality is admirable, but Amazon has distinguished its midrange smart speaker even more from Google’s Nest Audio and Apple’s HomePod Mini with its built-in hub, which features a Zigbee receiver and Amazon Sidewalk Bridge. If those things don’t mean anything to you, don’t worry. Essentially, Amazon has built in two new ways for smart home devices to connect to its smart speaker.The Zigbee receiver lets the Echo connect with countless smart home devices, from lightbulbs to flood sensors, without the need for an additional hub — the middleman device that translates various types of radio signals so your low-power sensors can communicate with your WiFi network. This small design decision has seriously broadened the range of gadgets Echo users can install in their house without the extra hassle and expense of a smart home hub.I tried installing a couple of Zigbee devices and found the process to be totally painless. This isn’t revolutionary — in fact, Amazon included Zigbee receivers in their $150 Echo Plus and their $230 second-gen Echo Show — but it is bringing better home connectivity to a broader audience, and that’s a clear win for Amazon customers.Plenty of window, flood and motion sensors rely on low-power communication protocols like Zigbee to extend their battery life.
What’s less clear is how Amazon Sidewalk, which Amazon says will launch later this year, will affect Echo users. According to a recent Amazon blog post explaining it, Sidewalk will allow users to “contribute a small portion of their internet bandwidth, which is pooled together to create a shared network that benefits all Sidewalk-enabled devices in a community.”Practically, that could mean a larger functional network for devices toward the edges of your property — say, outdoor lights or Tile tracking devices — or even beyond. It’s a cool idea, though how much you benefit from it will largely depend on where you live, and how big of a change it will represent for most customers remains to be seen.Home theater in the roundThe other home feature I was excited to try with the new Echo was setting up a home theater group. Connecting a voice assistant to your entertainment system feels like a real improvement, if you haven’t done it before. And the new Echo, using Alexa, works pretty well here.I used a 4K Fire TV Stick to create the group, and it felt great to be able to simply say, “Watch The Boys,” to Alexa, only to have your TV turn on and begin streaming the Prime show. The speakers worked fairly well, though I had one drop out of the group while I was testing it. If you have fast Wi-Fi, then it seems this setup would work well. In a house with multiple people streaming or using bandwidth in other ways, although relying on your Echoes for stereo sound might lead to more frustration than it’s worth.Amazon’s Fire TV Stick can join two Echoes in a home theater group in the app in under a minute.
The other big problem I ran into was streaming music. I expected to be able to stream music as usual from the Echo speakers while the TV was off, then flip it on to stream video when I wanted. Alas, streaming music on the connected Echoes automatically turned on the TV, which scrolled lyrics to the songs. And when I manually turned off the TV, the music also stopped.Using Alexa to control your TV and dual Echoes for stereo sound as you stream is cool — it’s much better than you could do a few years ago. But the kinks still aren’t worked out to the extent I want them to be, so I still wouldn’t recommend picking up new Echoes for your entertainment center unless you have fantastic Wi-Fi and don’t plan to use the speakers for music, too.
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Ball is lifeThe best changes to the fourth-gen Echo might be sound quality and home smarts, but the most obvious change is its spherical design. Of course, this design isn’t some aesthetic revelation: Most smart speakers look basically interchangeable at this point, with a layer of fabric mesh over soft geometric shapes. Google’s recent Nest Audio is vaguely rectangular, and Apple’s soon-to-launch HomePod Mini is similarly spheroidal.The new Echo has a larger footprint, which isn’t ideal for kitchen countertop usage.
The ball-like profile, according to Amazon, enables the improved sound output, but it also comes with a few practical drawbacks — chiefly a larger footprint. If you’re planning to replace the third-gen Echo or an Echo Dot with this speaker, you’ll probably have to slightly reorganize your shelf. It’s a small complaint, but the kitchen countertop is some of the hottest real estate in many homes, and dedicating more of it to a smart speaker might not feel ideal for those of us with limited space.The Echo comes in three colors: the standard charcoal (black) and glacier white, plus a muted twilight blue. That’s a bit more conservative than Google’s array of pastels, but again, many of these aesthetic distinctions feel like minor quibbles.Those criticisms aside, the 2020 Echo feels like a much more worthwhile gadget than last year’s third-gen Echo. The powerful sound and smarts distinguish it from the competition, and with an ever-improving Alexa, buying a smart speaker hasn’t felt this good in years.