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Amazon Echo

After the Amazon Fire Phone crashed and burned, our faith in its products was iffy at best. But its Echo Bluetooth speaker-plus-voice-assistant is now one of our all-time favorites...

$99.99 at Amazon
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Caption:Photo:Chris Monroe/CNET
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Amazon Echo

...especially since it hooks into a ton of services we care about -- more and more each day. Good stuff, Alexa.

$99.99 at Amazon
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Fizzics

Fizzics makes bottled beer taste like draft through sound waves? Yeah, right. But it was good enough to fool the owner of a beer bar on a blind taste test. And it won us over, too.

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Wireless chargers

Paying money for a wireless charging dock seems pointless when the phone's free charging cable works fine. But you really can't beat the cord-free convenience of plopping down your phone and grabbing it up whenever you need it.

$479.99 at Walmart
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Published:Caption:Photo:James Martin
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Virtual reality -- trust us

You will instantly look like an idiot the moment you put it on, but getting sucked into a virtual reality world is a trippy, compelling, bodysnatching experiences that can feel incredible real -- and that power is awesome.

$499.00 at Amazon
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Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET
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Amazon Kindle

Why would anyone need an ugly e-reader, especially when you can read books on your tablet or phone? But the Kindle's easy-reading display makes reading feel relaxed and casual, and it's distraction-free.

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Drones

Some of us saw drones as fun, overpriced toys whose novelty quickly wore thin. But use them as an overhead video recorder and they start adding to the bigger picture. Plus, we can't wait for drone delivery to become real.

$1,195.00 at Amazon
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Published:Caption:Photo:Joshua Goldman/CNET
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Snapchat

We couldn't see the value of a service that gobbles up your photos and videos after 10 seconds. But over time, we realized that not everything needs to live forever, and that there's a certain art to telling stories this way.

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This smart cookware

What could be more gimmicky than a $200 smart frying pan? But then I tried the salmon...

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Pantelligent

Pantelligent's pan, which uses a connected app to give you instructions while you cook? Sounds a bit pie in the sky, but it's actually fun and easy to use.

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Google Maps Timeline

Creep alert: A feature that painfully shows you how much and how accurately Google has been tracking you. Turns out we like being able to see where we spend our time and use it to find names of spots we can't remember. Oh, and past trips neatly correspond with Google Photos as a kind of automated journal.

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BlackBerry Priv -- hear us out

The BlackBerry Priv isn't perfect, but nor is it the train wreck we worried it would be. Instead, it's a competent all-around Android phone with a keyboard that, once you spend some real time using it, really clicks. (See what we did there?)

$299.00 at Amazon
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Published:Caption:Photo:Nate Ralph/CNET
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Food printers

We scoffed at expensive food printers like Pancakebot, and then we envisioned a world of pancake parties -- kids parties, elections, theme parties. We've created a world of pancakes and it's glorious!

Also check out Gadgets we thought we'd love, but really hate.

$259.05 at Amazon
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Published:Caption:Photo:Chris Monroe/CNET
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