Here's how to throw a kickass party this Sunday -- even if you hate football
Whether you're a football fanatic or you're just killing time between new ads and puppies, here are the best gadgets to keep you and your guests entertained this Sunday.
Ashlee Clark ThompsonAssociate Editor
Ashlee spent time as a newspaper reporter, AmeriCorps VISTA and an employee at a healthcare company before she landed at CNET. She loves to eat, write and watch "Golden Girls" (preferably all three at the same time). The first two hobbies help her out as an appliance reviewer. The last one makes her an asset to trivia teams. Ashlee also created the blog, AshleeEats.com, where she writes about casual dining in Louisville, Kentucky.
My feelings toward sports are best described as indifferent, so actually watching the Super Bowl is low on my list of priorities. Instead, I prefer to focus on the more important things -- the party. The beauty of such a gathering is that you don't have to be a sports nut to have a good time. You can fill your paper plate with hors d'oeuvres, your red cup with beer, and pretend to know why everyone's mad at the referees.
Fortunately, some of the devices we've reviewed here at CNET can enhance game day for weary sports watchers like me. Instead of feigning interest in the game, distract yourself with these fun, useful products to add a little more amusement to the important parts of your Sunday night.
Put the big game aside and food is easily the highlight of a football-watching party. Keep things simple by cooking up some chili or a hearty dip with the Hamilton Beach Set 'n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker. It's an easy-to-use device with a few special features, such as a thermometer probe for cooking to temperature and lid clips for safe and easy transport if you're taking your dish elsewhere. ($50; available at national retailers such as Target and Walmart)
You can also simplify your dessert by following a recipe from the Perfect Bake Pro, a connected scale and app that walks you through recipe that require baking. The app has a robust selection of recipes and easy, step-by-step instructions that will make for a sweet end to game day -- even if your team doesn't win ($100; an older version of the Perfect Bake is available at Brookstone for $40).
If you're not into cooking, you can always order some Domino's pizza through the Amazon Echo, one of the newest features of a gadget we think is changing the smart-home game. ($180 for the Echo, not the pizza; available at national retailers such as Home Depot)
A party needs plenty of beverages (adult and otherwise). Brighten up your beer selection with the Fizzics, a countertop system that can make your store-bought beer taste more like a draft. We initially gave this device a side eye for its big claims to enhance canned or bottled beer, but the beers we tested in the Fizzics were foamy and creamy, and it made sweet flavors pop. ($170; available at Brookstone)
Have some guests who aren't into beer? Grab a few bottles of liquor and set up a cocktail corner with the Perfect Drink, a connected scale that guides you through hundreds of different drinks. The Perfect Drink is a bit of a novelty, but the device is accurate and easy to use, and comes with a well-designed app to build nearly perfect cocktails. ($70; available at Brookstone)
Want to make some blended drinks for your guests? Go for the Ninja Ultima BL810 blender, an appliance that performs as well as models that cost twice as much. Plus, it's powerful enough to go beyond pitchers of margaritas and smoothies; the Ninja can make some delicious whipped cream and decent almond butter. ($159; available at national retailers such as Walmart)
Yes, you can set the mood for a watch party. Instead of a football-covered tablecloth, swap a regular light bulb with a Lifx Color 1000 LED bulb. This is our favorite smart bulb because of its brightness, efficiency and accurate colors. Plus, you can connect the bulb with the ESPN IFTTT channel and, with the right recipe, have the bulb flash your team's colors when they score. ($60; available at national retailers such as Lowe's)
It's all fun and one big game until everyone leaves. Then, you have crumbs, paper plates and drink rings to contend with. Splurge on a Neato Botvac Connected Robot Vacuum. We think this remote-controlled cleaner is better at cleaning floors than any other robot vacuum on the market. And who doesn't like watching a robot vacuum at work? ($700; available at Bed Bath & Beyond)