There are two big trade shows in electronics and home appliances — the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, held early in the year, and IFA (Consumer Electronics Unlimited) held in Berlin every September.
These theatres of all things on their way to market, and the latest press releases by our favourite brands, reveal that handling has emerged as the most crucial feature in modern appliances 2015/16.
Keen domestic kitchen operatives might enjoy the initial hit of whip-cracking visual styling, but they do demand more of top end designers than sheer good looks.
Form, function — it all has to work together to sell. The Grohe Minta Easytouch from Häfele is typical of the problem solving luxury end of the market.
A glance from the wrist, forearm or back of the hand brings the water on and off, saving you mucking up the finish of the tap and lever when your hands are covered in oyster juice and organic dough. RRP €692 www.Hafele.ie
LG are cleaning up with a whole new configuration of washing machine.
Presented at the CES show in Las Vegas in January, the Twin Wash is an extra small, flat drum in a drawer that acts as a pedestal for the main LG machine (most contemporary LG front loaders can accommodate a Twin Wash).
Wi-fi and NFC enabled, the idea is you can do quick washes or run off a few delicates while the main load is handled in the principle drum. What do you do with up to 14kg of wet washing and that old 8kg dryer? May I suggest the line?
The machine has launched in the US at around €540 and is on its way to market here and in the UK having launched to the Korean home market in July.
For the truly filthy rich, take a look at LG’s new line in domestic Styler steamer closets which fog 99.9% of germs and odours from the clothing, fluffing the fibres with a dancing hanger and eliminating the need for ironing if you have the room to accommodate its considerable carcass.
Well of course washing with water at all is so last year, and Siemens realising that most of its clients are Dry Clean only, have introduced the first washing machine that uses activated oxygen to coax the dirt and smells from no-wash clothing. Politely termed the HygieneMix, the machines will also handle a proletariat wet wash too.
Nordmende are also dishing the dirt and in a startling move, re-using the water in their new Waterbox A+++ machines.
Taking just 5.5l per load, the machine recycles the water through a filter for the next load and even pops the door open (as we used to do, if and when the timing was right) to allow dishes to steam to squeaky dry perfection. DWLD631IX. €499.99 from suppliers including PowerCity.
Fridges and Freezers
Door in door — and in the case of many German units, as many as six doors — is the cool step forward in refrigerator styling.
Still, there’s one particular innovation that has technophile blogs thrilling all over the US and Europe.
The Haier Smart Window refrigerator is so new, I can’t even show you one.
When you walk up to this discreetly blank door, a motion sensor activates a light offering a magical, misty view through a dedicated carbon coating, of the contents without the unpleasantness or energy implications of opening the door.
Well, of course, we don’t need one, and the wealthy who can buy one don’t need to save the pinch of kWs — but who doesn’t want one? Hands up.
Well, sorry, it has just revealed its charms at the Berlin IFA technology show and you will have to wait until late next year to nab one. Haier.com.
Bosch, not to be outdone, has come up with an in-fridge camera range, allowing you to prowl the contents of your fridge (or stare sadly into the crushed back of a milk carton) as you pose over the deli’ in the supermarket. Ingenious? Ridiculous? You decide. Bosch NoFrost.
In small appliances, another quiet word here for Bosch, who, putting its odd detective devices aside, has finally addressed the jack hammer noise created by most blender/juicers.
Look out for the SilentMixx range on its way to market, if you don’t like your nerves pulverised with the beetroot and sesame seeds. Expected to be in the €120-€150 range for some healthy quiet.
If you’re trying to square a horrific, calorific intake with your silhouette, you’ll love QardioBase.
In short, it’s a smart scale that not only weighs you, including a fat and muscle mass reading, bone mass and BMI result, but gives you a smiling Emoji for doing well and allows you to set goals and reminders for your fitness program.
The Pregnancy Mode lets mothers-to-be safely track a healthy weight gain over their terms. From €150.
The must-have hot buy for next year?
Well, it has to be the Miito, recipient of last year’s James Dyson Award.
This stunning piece of design has flourished on the back of a KickStarter campaign and massive worldwide support from wild-eyed, highly caffeinated enthusiasts of tea and coffee.
In short, the Miito is an inductive stem that is placed into a cup of beverage, soup, water or other liquid and heats 250ml to a boil individually, in one minute.
It’s safe, energy efficient and downright elegant. All you have to do is use a non-ferrous cup or teapot such as stoneware, ceramic or glass to ensure the circuit works.
Miito’s base creates an electromagnetic field which will then heat any ferrous material on its surface.
Having swiped your preference for temperature on the Miito, the cup is placed on the Miito base, and the rod placed inside a vessel. The rod’s disc heats as it draws energy from the base, heating the liquid in turn.
You can choose from 100% to 50% of the heat depending on your taste and the character of the liquid, for example 37°C would be appropriate for warming baby food.
The shop is due to go live shortly, so register online to be notified. The price is likely to be in the area of €100. www.miito.com/shop