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Google Street Views is now letting you take a dive underwater. / Google

At Reviewed.com this week, we shined a light on several gadgets and home appliances - a handful were even worthy of our prestigious Editor's Choice awards. Among the winners were two HDTVs: Sharp's top-of-the-line 60-inch model and LG's 50-inch bargain option both impressed us. Samsung offered a pair of headphones with excellent performance, but at a steep price. Sharp also delivered on a new microwave that might look generic, but is actually a solid value.

In our news and features department, we got to the bottom of a new (old) trend that's sweeping the nation: the laundrobar. We also scoured the depths of the ocean with Google Street View's new underwater views, covered a butter knife that guarantees a smooth spread, and learned about why some Chinese theaters aren't just allowing people to text during movies - they're encouraging it.

What the heck is a laundrobar?

Waiting in a laundromat for your clothes to finish washing isn't much fun, but what if you threw booze into the mix? Well, that's exactly what's happening in cities around the country and overseas. These establishments are known as "laundrobars," and in essence they fuse two distinct businesses - the laundromat and the bar - into one, creating something totally unique.

50-inch LG TV is bare bones, but offers great value

There are TVs out there that spare no expense, offering oodles of smart features, 3D functionality, and other flashy extras. On the other hand, LG's new 50LB5900 TV skips those features in favor of affordable high performance. At under $600 on sale, it's an excellent value for a 50-inch TV, and can compare favorably to nearly any other bargain TV on the market.

Google Street View dives under the sea in new update

Google Street View recently added some new addresses, and if you're going there you won't need roads. By using a specially designed underwater camera, Google has begun to offer spectacular panoramic views of the world's most beautiful coral reefs and underwater vistas. Just this week, Google added images from the Florida Keys, which mark the first reefs from the Continental US to be made available for virtual exploration.

Sharp 60-inch TV is future proof

On the opposite end of the spectrum from LG's no-frills TV, Sharp's 60-inch LC-60UQ17U Q+ model lives on the cutting edge. It's Sharp's top-of-the-line model, and with handy smart features and "3K" functionality, it justifies its price point. Most impressively, it offers the ability to receive (if not actually display) a 4K Ultra-HD signal, which will futureproof it for years to come.

This butter knife is the best thing since sliced bread

A new Australian Kickstarter project hopes to end one plight many Americans face in the morning: butter that just won't spread properly. Dubbed The ButterUp, this knife has a built-in grater that creates easily spreadable ribbons of butter. Apparently the world has been clamoring for better butter knives, because the ButterUp has already raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars-more than five times its funding goal.

Samsung Level Over headphones are the full package

If you often find yourself in noisy environments and need the pristine sound of noise-canceling headphones, the Samsung Level Over cans are among the best options out there. While these 'phones aren't the absolute best at anything they do, they do many things very well. With their spiffy design, excellent noise-canceling abilities, and mostly excellent audio, the Samsung Level Overs offer the full package.

Ralph Lauren serves up smart shirt at U.S. Open

Ralph Lauren unveiled its latest product at the U.S. Open tennis tournament this week: a smart athletic shirt called Polo Tech. The shirt has sensors that tracks its wearer's vital stats. It then transmits them to an app on your smartphone. The shirt will primarily be worn by ball boys during this tournament, but at least one notable collegiate player will also demo Ralph Lauren's first foray into wearable technology.

Sharp microwave great for midnight snackers

On first glance, this microwave doesn't distinguish itself much - it looks like a generic, bargain box. But its looks are deceiving, as it offers performance usually found in more expensive machines. This Sharp's strengths lie in its strong default power options and popcorn settings. Best of all for fans of midnight snacks, it cooks quietly, so you can make popcorn without waking your roommates.

Why some movie theaters are encouraging texting

In most theaters, the fastest way to earn the scorn of your fellow movie-goers is to text during the movie. But now some theaters in China are actually encouraging people to text to their hearts' content. The theaters use a technology called "bullet screens," which allow viewers to text comments to the theater that then appear on the screen. But considering our current distaste for texting at the movies, the chances of this tech coming stateside seem slim.

Kenmore washing machine a true bargain

The Kenmore 41182 washer is fairly straightforward: It mixes water with detergent and spins, but doesn't do much more than that. Fortunately, it manages to do that one task very well, allowing it to stand at the head of its class. Even better, this Kenmore is priced affordably, and due to the efficiency of its cleaning, will keep your annual energy costs low.

This app knows when your food will go bad

For the absentminded among us, there's a new app to remind us when our food is going to spoil. Called The Fridge, the app could help to reduce food waste, and save us some money in the process. Sounds handy, right? Well, there is one big catch: You still need to enter your food's expiration dates manually. But once you do that, The Fridge sends you alerts on your food, even when it's out of the fridge.



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: The week in Reviewed: Laundrobar edition

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