PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Holiday shopping is just around the corner. Before you start buying presents, Consumer Reports is out with a gift guide that could help.
They’ve done all the testing for you and compiled a list of the top rated products this holiday season.
We tried out some of their top picks:
We begin with a robotic vacuum, one of the newest Roomba models.
Sarah Villafuerte, of Highland Park, allowed us to try it out in her home after lunch with her kids, Sebastian and Javier. Normally, Sarah is busy sweeping up, but this time, we let the Roomba do the work.
“It’s actually doing a pretty good job,” said Villafuerte.
It glides up on carpet and slides right under a chair. There’s even an app so you control the Roomba from your smartphone.
“I’m surprised, it did really well on the carpet,” said Villafuerte. “But, it also seems confused sometimes.”
For instance, it initially missed spots under some high chairs and actually spit back a couple items. We wound up moving the high chairs, so it would clean that area, but James Baussmann, Public Relations Manager for iRobot, says the Roomba would have returned to the area and finished the job on its own.
“At the end of the Roomba 960’s cleaning cycle, it doubles back around all edges of the room, including chair legs,” Baussman writes. “It will do this on every cleaning mission, unless “Edge Cleaning” is manually turned off in the app.”
Consumer Reports gives the Roomba 960 a thumbs up. It costs $700, but with a coupon at Bed, Bath and Beyond, we got it for $560.
Oregon Scientific Wireless BBQ/Oven AW13
One of our favorites on the list is a remote meat thermometer. Consumer Reports recommends an Oregon Scientific model for $40.
We couldn’t find it in local stores, so we got a similar device for $40 by Maverick Housewares.
We put the probe into a steak, set how we wanted it done and then let it cook without having to stand there watching. Even from far away, the remote display lets you know when it’s finished.
Ninja Personal Blender Auto-IQ BL480
We also check out a Ninja Personal Blender. You can make a peanut butter banana smoothie in seconds. Then, grab the container, add the lid, and take it with you.
Price tag? $100.
Photojojo Telephoto Lens 2X
If you take pictures with your cellphone, Consumer Reports recommends some add on lenses, and the Photojojo Telephoto Lens lets you zoom in twice as close for $20.
At Best Buy, we found a kit from Insignia with three different clip-on lenses, plus others gadgets for $70.
There are very clear differences especially with the macro and fish eye lenses.
Wonder Workshop Dash
We enlisted the help of 8-year-old Ryan and 10-year-old Jason to try a toy robot.
Consumer Reports favored Wonder Workshop Dash because it’s educational and appeals to kids of different ages. It costs $150.
But, it gives points for coolness to Sphero BB-8, which also sells for $150.
It’s a replica of the droid in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” And if you watch the film with it, Consumer Reports says it responds to cues in the soundtrack.
You can also guide its movements and create hologram-like messages. Its head also kind of floats. However, it also falls off repeatedly.
Bose QuietComfort 35 Noise-Canceling Headphones
We had fun testing Consumer Reports’ pick of noise canceling headphones: Bose QuietComfort 35.
Bose claims outside noise fades, and it does. KDKA-TV’s David Highfield couldn’t hear anyone until they were right up in his face.
The sound quality is great, but the price tag substantial at $350.