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Todd Bishop (left) and Andru Edwards (right) show Not A Flamethrower, from Elon Musk’s Boring Company. (GeekWire Photo / Clare McGrane)

A voice-activated microwave. A smart toilet. And a flamethrower … not. Those products represent a handful of the highlights for our Geared Up gadget geeks from 2018.

On this year-end episode of our consumer electronics podcast, we look back at some of the most surprising and funny moments of the year, and the gadgets that inspired them.

Pretty much anything is fair game. But Alexa-enabled devices may be the fairest of them all. Take the new Amazon Basics Microwave, which can be controlled via a connected Echo device running the company’s voice-based intelligent assistant. The microwave’s tricks include automatically reordering popcorn after enough bags have been popped to know that supplies are running low.

But Geared Up co-hosts Andru Edwards and Todd Bishop were less than impressed.

“It is a large gadget, but it is a very small, insignificantly sized microwave, Amazon,” chided Andru, before they tested a frozen burrito in the appliance. “This is not the sound of a high-quality microwave door,” Todd observed as the test got under way.

Alexa was represented at the other end of the process, too, by Kohler’s smart toilet with lights, music and heat, connected to an Alexa-enabled mirror.

If you’re not yet ready for Alexa in the bathroom, how about going hands-on with Elon Musk’s “Not a Flamethrower?”  Or traveling on top of your luggage with the Modobag? Or just using your existing iPhone or iPad with iOS12 and playing with Apple’s new MeMojis?

Listen for all of the highlights in this special year-end episode of Geared Up in the player above, or subscribe to Geared Up in your favorite podcast app to get every episode.

For more, here are the full Geared Up episodes from this highlights show.

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