The best products we tested in January: Smart locks, standing desks, etc.

CNN Underscored is constantly testing products — be it earbuds, electric razors, or smart scales — to find the absolute best in each respective category. Our testing process is rigorous, starting with hours of research to find the top products in each category. After creating a product test group, we test each product over and over again in a real environment over several weeks or even months.

This year, we tested dozens of products — from smart locks to standing desks to office chairs — to find the best products you need to improve your life. Here are the winning products from January.

The game offers the best gameplay of the series

The minute-by-minute gameplay in Fire Emblem Engage is the best game the Fire Emblem series has to offer to date. So if you’re a fan of old-fashioned Fire Emblem — and interested in great tactical RPG action — then we think Engage is well worth picking up.

A game with lovable characters with exciting powers and abilities

Forspoken is an action role-playing game featuring Frey Holland, a young heroine trapped in the land of Athia, who must use her new-found magical abilities to find her way home. We love the game’s lovable characters, interesting powers and abilities, and the interesting story.

Best smart lock overall

The Yale Assure Lock 2 is a full-featured replacement smart lock with a sleek, modular design that lets you buy just what you need and upgrade as you please. We found it easy to use and share access to our test home, and it easily integrates with HomeKit, Alexa, and Google Home smarts.

Best price smart lock

Detailed instructions make installing the affordable Wyze Lock Bolt easy. It’s simple to use whether you just want to enter your home or share a code with guests, plus we think it looks better than other budget locks we tested.

The best scanner app for mobile overall

During testing, we found Genius Scan Ultra to be the fastest scanning application and also the best document recognition application. While saving scanned items, we liked the app’s ability to suggest exact tags based on location, calendar events, and document content.

The best video editing app in general

Filmora Video Editor & Maker is a feature-rich video editing app with the largest and most diverse content library of all the mobile apps we’ve tested. Additionally, we found that we were able to do more with the two test videos we created with Filmora than with any other app we tested.

Best office chair overall

The Steelcase Series 1 stood out in our testing as one of the most comfortable, high-quality, customizable office chairs on the market, beating chairs that cost twice as much — and making it become the best chair for money.

A stylish, minimalist chair that fits almost any office space

The Verve Chair is Branch’s most stylish office chair. During our testing, we found it comfortable and well-supported, and the compact interface and simple adjustments make it well-suited to home office spaces. Armrest adjustability is limited and not meant for tall people, but it’s a solid piece of furniture if it fits your measurements.

Best standing desk overall

The adjustable branch standing desk is a near-perfect desk that can handle multiple monitors, dual laptops, and lots of sundries. It’s also incredibly solid, with one of the best builds we’ve come across during testing.

A classy solid wood standing desk that’s worth splurging on

While most of the standing desks we tested used medium-density fiberboard (MDF) tops, the Ergonofis Sway’s hardwood surface provides a more stable feel and interior style. sleeker, more luxurious than any other ergonomic desk we’ve tested.


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