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Another year, another busy time in the world of tech. In a blink of an eye, the year has come and gone with many new announcements and releases that have wowed us off our feet. If you’ve been following us, then you’re well aware about how frequently we release several different buying guides and roundups. But if there’s one with a definitive list of gadgets you should know about, this is it.
We’re talking about tech gadgets that had a tremendous impact on our lives. From tried and true stalwarts in the space who have continually delivered outstanding stuff, like the Apples and Googles of the world, to other brands you’re probably not too familiar about, we’ve narrowed down the best tech released in 2021. There’s a lot to cover, so our curated and detailed list comes from our editors who have not only spent the time learning about them, but using them in their lives to really gauge their potential.
1. Google Nest Cam Battery
It has been several long years since the release of the original Nest Cam, but Google finally refreshed its popular security camera with three new models this year. The Google Nest Cam Battery is one of the most versatile cameras around because it can be used inside or out, perched on a table or mounted to magnetic surfaces, and it’s smart enough to distinguish pets and cars. Even better, it comes with 3 hours of video event history for free — unlike other cameras that require you to subscribe to a service for cloud storage.
When it comes to security, you can count on this one to work when it matters most with its 1080p video with HDR support, water resistant construction, and intelligent alerts. In the event of power or internet outages, it’ll still continue to work by saving clips locally. And finally, there’s peace of mind with privacy because you can have it automatically turn off the camera when you get home with its geo fencing feature.
2. Apple AirPods
The third time’s a charm for Apple and its 3rd generation AirPods, which stand out for its more compact redesign, force touch controls, and IPX4 water resistance construction. It’s priced less than the AirPods Pro, which were released in 2020, while still offering a case that supports MagSafe charging. Best of all, they’re stylish looking wireless earbuds that sound amazing.
3. Samsung Jet Bot AI+
Samsung’s robot vacuums have always been average performing at best, but that all changed with the release of the Samsung Jet Bot AI+. This flagship robot vacuum is one of the smartest at avoiding obstacles, but what makes it remarkable is the fact that it features a camera that effectively makes it a security camera on wheels. Seriously, we’re impressed by how it goes on patrols when you’re not home and sends notifications whenever motion is detected.
4. Anker Nebula Solar Portable Projector
Projectors typically need to be tethered by a cable for power, but not this one from Anker. With its built-in rechargeable battery that’s rated for upwards of 3 hours of playtime, the Anker Nebula Solar Portable Projector can be taken anywhere for a quick and convenient setup — all without the need of wires because this Android TV lets you access your favorite streaming services.
5. Amazon Echo Show 15
Taking a drastic departure from the norm, Amazon’s newest smart display is not only its biggest one to date at 15-inches, but it’s also the first that’s meant to be wall-mounted. You could make an argument for the Amazon Echo Show 15 to replace your note taking or reminders board at home, just because the display offers ample real-estate with relevant information at a glance. From your calendar to know when your next meeting is coming up, to a sticky note for quick reminders about buying a new carton of milk, the Alexa-powered Echo Show 15 offers incredible utility for the home.
6. Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
Are you not surprised by this one? We’re not either, but you have to give Apple credit for again making an impact on consumers. The Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max is just one of those phones that, you know, just works when you need it. There was a marked focus on content creation over previous generations, as the iPhone 13 Pro Max excelled in macro photography, low-light situations, and especially video where users can produce cinematic focus shifting on the fly without the need of tinkering with on-screen controls.
7. Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen)
Convergence, it’s what makes gadgets versatile. The Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) is a perfect example of this, since it’s basically three devices in one. This smart display features a rotating touchscreen that pans around, so you’re always in frame during video calls. Secondly, it’s a security camera too because it can notify you when it detects motion when you’re not at home. And finally, it’s an excellent Alexa-powered smart speaker that will satisfy audiophiles.
8. Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2
Much like DJI in the drone space and Apple with smartphones, Ring has established itself as the premier force in the video doorbell market. It’s not often we find a product that integrates new tech we haven’t come across in the mainstream before, but the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 stands out for its 3D Motion Detection and Bird’s Eye View to pinpoint the location where someone has been on your property. Sure, it’s great at watching the front door to protect your packages from porch pirates, but it’s also useful to know where someone has been snooping around on your property.
9. Sony WF-1000XM4
Everyone is making earbuds, but we love that Sony has taken interest in one particular area: noise cancellation. The Sony WF-1000XM4 is the latest pair of truly wireless earbuds from the company, and just like its predecessor, it knocks it out of the park with its industry leading noise canceling tech. If you ever need peace and quiet in an instant, just throw them on and you’ll be greeted with instant silence!
10. DJI Air 2S
Despite having two other major drone releases this year, the DJI Air 2S makes our list because it’s the drone for beginners and enthusiasts. If you’ve never flown a drone before, DJI makes it a breeze with its various safety features and intelligent tracking. Meanwhile, its 1-inch CMOS camera sensor captures sharp photos and crisp 5.4K video. There’s also MasterShots mode, which automatically pilots the drone and produces a short video that looks like it’s been edited by a professional.
11. Nintendo Switch OLED
We’re still all waiting for a proper successor, but the Nintendo Switch OLED is a variant of the popular console with its 7-inch OLED screen. Thanks to this change, playing on the go is even more immersive because colors are more vibrant on this touchscreen panel.
12. Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch
All laptops can handle the mundane, everyday stuff, but few can appease power users who don’t want any compromise with performance. The Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) can certainly please their appetite, powered by Apple’s latest M1 chipset for an unparalleled performance. From heavy video editing with special effects, to compiling code for a project, this MacBook Pro maintains its performance no matter what’s thrown at it — plus, all of that power is encased in its iconic design.
13. LG C1 OLED
When it comes to the ultimate home theater setup, there’s nothing more deserving as the crown jewel than the LG C1 OLED TV. With its superior contract, wide viewing angles, and luscious colors that’ll put you into a hypnotic state, the LG C1 OLED TV offers the best picture quality for all of your viewing pleasures at home. Add to that, this smart TV offers users access to all of the popular streaming services around — plus two voice assistants to choose from: Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
14. Amazon Fire Omni TV
Amazon’s spent years helping people to upgrade their TVs with smarter features with its line of Fire TV Stick streamers, but that all changed this year with its very first television ever — the Amazon Fire TV Omni. This smart 4K television is powered by Amazon Alexa, giving users the same rich experience they’ve come to appreciate with its Fire Sticks, while also offering support for Ultra HD, HDR 10, HLG, and Dolby Digital Plus. Best of all, you get all of this at an affordable price that doesn’t break the bank.
15: Garmin MARQ Golf
Who says smartwatches need to look so techy, right? The Garmin MARQ Golf has all the smarts you’d come to expect, but it’s packaged all in a stunning, luxury design that can oftentimes be mistaken for a traditional timepiece. As its name implies, this is the smartwatch for golfers because it’s a caddie on your wrist.
16: Sony SRS-XG500
Sure, it costs more than most high-end smart speakers like the Amazon Echo Studio, but the Sony SRS-XG500 is a portable boombox that’s ready to help get the party started wherever it’s brought. This Bluetooth connected speaker is big on audio with its boisterous bass output, while LED light highlights ensure it gets noticed while playing its tunes.
17. Level Lock
Smart locks are perfect examples of how something that’s traditionally seamless in appearance can become obtrusive looking. The Level Lock is a refreshingly different smart lock, just because it looks very much like an ordinary lock. There’s no keypad on the outside, nor is there a clunky housing over the deadbolt on the inside. You honestly won’t realize it’s a smart look by just looking, but it’s still accompanied with many smart features we’ve come to appreciate in smart locks.
18. iRobot Roomba j7+
When iRobot releases a new robot vacuum, you know it’s worth paying attention because the market leader in the category is always hungry for innovation. The iRobot Roomba j7+ is a forward-stepping model for the company, complete with advanced obstacle avoidance with the help of a camera and A.I. technology — as well as the sleekest self-empty charging station around. When it comes to avoiding pesky wires and other clutter, you can count on it to intelligently vacuum around them.
19. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
The first time was needless to say a test and the second time saw marked improvement, but Samsung really fine tuned the classic flip phone form factor. Not only does the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 turn heads with its foldable display, but the display and cameras have been improved over its predecessors. Given the challenges of cramming in so many components into a chassis that folds, you have to commend Samsung for making a flagship caliber smartphone that can compete with the giants in the space.
20. Wyze Color Bulb
Color changing smart LED light bulbs have been around for a while now, but they’ve been costly to buy. Sure, the prices have gone down over the years, but the release of the Wyze Color Bulb this year showed us that you can buy four of them for essentially the same price as one from a brand like Philips Hue. While other low-cost color changing bulbs tend to deliver muted colors, this one from Wyze offers plenty of saturation and brightness for a unique ambiance.
21. Microsoft Surface Pro 8
Microsoft’s Surface line has been around for years now, perfecting the tablet meets laptop hybrid design with each new iteration. However, the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 received one the biggest design changes in years with its sleek chassis and larger display. It’s also a powerhouse under the hood with all the latest hardware. If you’re looking to travel light, the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 is a worthy option.
22. Fitbit Charge 5
Fitbit continues to reign in the fitness tracker department, but its latest one is crammed with so many goodies — including contactless payment that means you can travel without your phone and still pay for stuff. It also looks really good on your wrist, thanks to its more premium looking design. Of course, it’s a fantastic wearable that tracks an assortment of metrics — including the ability to measure stress response.
23. Dell XPS 13 OLED
Nothing’s more attention grabbing than a gadget with a mesmerizing display. The Dell XPS 13 OLED will make anyone gawk in amazement because of its 13.4-inch OLED touch display. Sure, it’s great for watching videos when you need a break and out somewhere, but its attractiveness extends to its sleek and sturdy construction.
24. Nutribullet Brew Choice Pod + Carafe
On some days, you may need just a single cup of coffee — but sometimes there are occasions that warrant more. The Nutribullet Brew Choice Pod + Carafe has the convenience of knowing exactly what you want with its instinctive tech, which can tell what to brew and how much based on what you choose. For those single cups, Keurig K-cups are the way to go, but there’s still the option to put in your own grounds and filter if you need much more.