The high-tech throne

The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg took Bronell’s high-tech Swash 800 toilet for a test drive and was not convinced of the need for a toilet seat that provide bidet-like cleaning and air drying.

Our verdict? While some features of the Swash 800 made our sit-down experience more of a luxury, we were unconvinced by its bidet-like cleaning and drying process. In particular, the air dryer was ineffective, just like those annoying air dryers for hands in public bathrooms. That meant you either had to remain seated a long time or resort to toilet paper, the low-tech commodity the Swash is supposed to surpass.

Also, the Swash 800 must plug into an electrical outlet, something most bathrooms don’t have behind the toilet. So, you have to hire an electrician to install one, or use a long, ugly extension cord to plug the Swash into an outlet near the sink or vanity.

Luxury bathrooms

Luxury bathrooms not only consist of chandeliers and flat-screen TVs. MSN reports on a trend in upscale decorating that will cost Americans about $22 billion this year.

From a $20 million dollar home for sale in Fort Lauderdale, where there was a Rembrandt hanging in the loo, realtor Tim Elmes says a bathroom can make or break a deal.

“At the minimum, it’s his and hers toilets. Even if there’s one bathroom, there must be two separate toilets”, said Elms.

Don’t think a “his toilet” means less. It’s not a linen closet; it’s a gym — and a Jacuzzi and sauna — topping off a bathroom complex that’s bigger than most homes.

Tissue for a toddler’s tush

The new Cottonelle Kids line of toilet tissues is targeted at parents of 4-to-9 year olds. In addition to child-friendly graphics, the new tissue aims to solve a parenting concern that children use too much tissue. Printed on each roll are graphics that instruct kids where to tear. The line also includes flushable moist wipes that limit children to one wipe at a time.

Toilet tech

The March issue of Wired Magazine (not yet available online) takes a look at the latest toilet tech. American Standard is employing aerospace engineers to get their low-flush models working smoothly and Toto’s new Neorest 600, which features a wireless remote, is a hit among celebrities.

According to Toto, A-list royalty sits upon this throne: Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lopez, Cameron Diaz, Charlie Sheen, Will Smith. ‘They’re toilet paper-free,’ Smith gushed to Access Hollywood. ‘You sit on the toilet and there’s a spray that’s so deadly accurate – wherever you sit on the toilet, somehow it always hits the bull’s-eye perfectly.’

But the Neorest, with its 16-bit processor, 512 Kbytes of RAM and $5,000 price tag likely won’t appeal to most American consumers.

Update: The article is now available online.