The Tech Wrangler is a bi-weekly column in which Forbes Vetted Senior Editor Dave Johnson explores the best values in consumer tech. These are not necessarily the least expensive products in their class, but represent the crossroad of price and performance—in other words, money well spent.
This week saw the conclusion of CES 2022—the annual Consumer Electronics Show, chock full of the hottest new tech for home, entertainment, automotive and a hundred other categories. Not all journalists appreciate the show, but I love to attend, always on the lookout to be among the first to discover hidden and unexpected gems. Of course, it’s a lot easier to find weird and outright misguided or terrible products, like the robot back massager I tried out in 2018 or the voice command software that—true story—I watched the designer literally get into an argument with in 2012. This year is no different, and I’ve found a few products worth calling out.
The Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is one of several CES reveals that are interesting, but you might want … [+]
This week I decided to highlight three products from the show—innovations I consider the best, the worst and the craziest from this year’s CES. And because you can’t buy any of them quite yet even if you wanted to, I will contrast them with available versions of that tech you can get right now. So join me on a slightly unusual tour of CES 2022.
The Worst Idea From CES
Masonite’s Smart Door Has A Smart Doorbell and Smart Lock Built In
I can sort of understand where Masonite is coming from here; its M-Pwr Smart Door is a powered, networked and connected smart door that has a Ring Video Doorbell, Yale Home smart lock, LED lighting, battery backup and more built right in. The product designers at Masonite probably said something like “everyone’s buying smart home gadgets, so let’s build all that stuff into a door and sell a single smart door that does it all!”
Unfortunately, this doesn’t quite land. What happens if one of those components fails? Now you have to fix, service or replace a door rather than a smart doorbell that’s bolted to the wall on your porch. How easy will it be to service all the electronics packed into that door? Especially since it has elements that will degrade over time, like the backup battery. And what if I don’t happen to like Yale’s smart lock? Now a door manufacturer is deciding what smart home products I get based on the corporate partnerships it establishes. It seems limiting; I’d rather choose my smart home tech a la carte, thank you.
What You Can Buy Right Now
The Latest Ring Doorbell Costs Just $100
Masonite did make one smart choice: The brand is partnering …….