Home & Office
Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


The perfectly pointless $197 gadget that some people will love

I had no idea this was a big thing. I certainly had no idea people might pay a lot of money for one.
Written by Chris Matyszczyk, Contributing Writer
Person holding an ice cube over the Ice Designer


Ice Designer

Some things pass me by.

I may have never seen them. I may have seen one but imagined I didn't. Or, I may not have even considered that a certain concept was something people might pay money -- even a lot of money -- for.

I was, therefore, arrested beyond reason when I received a PR rep's email entitled: "Cool Gadget For Creating Patterned Ice Cubes: The Ice Designer."

Also: This is the perfect mini electric screwdriver

No, I didn't immediately open the email. Instead, I went to Amazon to search for the two words "ice" and "designer." Was this really a thing?

The search results melted out of the page.

For example, there was the "Siligrams Monogrammed Bartender Ice Cube Tray -- Personalized Custom 2 inch Cocktail Ice Cube Tray -- Custom Silicone Ice Cube Mold -- Gift For Him -- Ice Stamp -- Whisky Ice Cube -- Design Your Own."

But not a gift for her? Even if you design your own? Would anyone pay $39.99 for this? It seems they would.

Also: 14 Tik Tok-famous kitchen tools to give a foodie

Then there was this: "The Premium Clear Ice Ball Maker Mold -- Whiskey Ice Ball Maker Large 2.4 Inch -- Crystal Clear Ice Maker Sphere -- Sphere Ice Mold Maker with Storage Bag -- Clear Ice Mold for Clear Sphere Ball Ice Maker."

Four ice balls will cost you $84.95.

I leave that last sentence for your consideration while I tell you of something else that surprised me. It appears that some people go to all this trouble just to make ice cubes look, what? Prettier? More edifying?

Back I scuttled to the tempting email. I could really create patterned ice cubes? All on my own?

Also: This $11 gadget is a must-have for aging eyes

The email offered: "The Ice Designer is an innovative brass plate that makes the perfect addition to your home bar!"

I wanted to exclaim right back: "I had no idea my home bar needed an innovative brass plate! Thank you!"

Then I paused.

One, I don't have a home bar. The bars I go to aren't at home.

And two, how often have I ever needed an innovative brass plate?

I read on, as the email was blissfully short.

The next line of untrammeled excitement read: "The Ice Designer makes five different patterns when an ice cube is pressed on it. The thick, deep grooves in this highly conductive metal plate have patterns that emboss the ice fast, and last relatively long in a drink -- plus they look really, really cool!"

They look really, really cool? And they last relatively long? Wait, how relative is your sense of cool? And how relative is your sense of length?

Also: This tiny keyboard is perfect for Raspberry Pi boards and smart TVs

Also, I must tell you that this innovative brass plate, one that my nonexistent home bar -- well, there's a kitchen cupboard with a couple of bottles inside -- desperately needs, has a high price. $197, no less.

I went to the Ice Designer site and discovered you can even get a customized ice designer plate. If you want just one square customized, it costs $297. The whole thing customized? That'll be $397.

Is this the sort of thing that they now have at Twitter HQ? I wondered.

We're talking about your money and your predilections here. You must choose what makes you happy.

I'll just say that I learned something, and sometimes I'm quite startled by what I learn.

Editorial standards