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2021 Tech Holiday Shopping Guide: Laptops, Gaming Consoles, and more

By Aryan Suren December 14, 2021, 3:00 pm
2021 Wearables Holiday Shopping Guide Source: Pocketnow

The holiday season is upon us, and with the global chip shortage being at the neck of every manufacturer in the world, getting the right tech products might be a task this year. Thus, to help make your life easier and give you a chance at buying your gifts early, here is our guide on the best gadgets to get this time of the year!

Note: If you're more interested in buying a particular product for someone, like phones, tablets, or wearables, we've got dedicated holiday guides for those, which you can access by clicking (or tapping) on the underlined text in this excerpt.

M1 MacBook Air

Apple M1 MacBook Air on table

All-day battery life and performance that makes sure no task is much of an ask allows us to rate the M1 MacBook Air as our top laptop recommendation for this holiday season.

The 13.3-inch Retina Display supported by Apple's very own silicon has proven itself to be one of the most efficient devices over the last year and a half, and its increasing compatibility with various software only adds to its value. If you happen to have a college-going family member in mind or just somebody who's up for a new computer, this device is a great pick.

But in case you're looking for options on the Windows side of the spectrum, the Surface Pro 8 offers one of the best experiences, although this device is pricey. The 2-in-1 machine provides you a choice between Intel's 11th-gen i5 and i7 processors supported by Xe Graphics, which allows for workflows that include some light video editing and the ability to enjoy indie game titles.

M1 MacBook Air Space Grey front-view

M1 MacBook Air

The Best Laptop

The M1 MacBook Air offers efficient performance with uncompromised battery life.

Surface 8 Pro side-angle

Surface Pro 8

The Windows Alternate

Microsoft's Surface Pro 8 is the laptop to get for 2-in-1 enthusiasts.

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro Front View Source: Lenovo

If you've been eyeing devices to help you run through your collection of games or create content with, the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is a laptop that packs in enough power and a display that'll serve both of those purposes well.

It features a 16-inch QHD (2560x1600) and, powering it is the new Ryzen 5 5600H (or Ryzen7 5800H) processor, coupled with Nvidia's 3050 graphics card (you may upgrade to RTX 3060 or 3070 with Ryzen 7).

For those familiar with computer hardware, it even features a MUX switch that will make sure the laptop doesn't depend upon its integrated graphics card if using its dedicated GPU proves beneficial.

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro front view

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro offers a great combination of hardware for a content creator or gaming enthusiast.

Oculus Quest 2

The Oculus Quest 2 headset

If you've been eyeing the realm of virtual reality for a bit, be it just for the gaming aspect or trying to get in some workouts, the Oculus Quest 2 is a device to have on your shopping list. Available for a reasonable entry price of $299, this all-in-one headset can help you enjoy your games or exercises with a different perspective. It ships with two controllers in its package to allow you to be on your way the minute you get it.

A point to note, the base model ships with only 128GB of storage, so if you've bought a ton of game title bundles that have left you with a large library, getting the 256GB unit might serve you well.

Oculus Quest 2 with Controllers

Oculus Quest 2

Oculus Quest 2 is the VR headset to get if you want to enjoy games or workouts within a new environment.

Nintendo Switch Lite

Nintendo Switch Lite in new blue featured imaged

A holiday shopping guide without a Nintendo Switch is something that can be termed uncharacteristic. If you have kids around your house or are just looking to get yourself back into games, the Nintendo Switch Lite is the perfect handheld to purchase. It shares a processor with the other Switch models on sale, meaning for the lower cost, you aren't leaving any performance on the table and have access to the same eShop titles.

To tell you a little more about the console, for visuals, it depends on a 5.5-inch LCD screen with two permanently attached Joy-Cons and a USB-C port at the bottom, and a headphone jack at the top. Thus, for $199, it offers an experience that's nearly identical to the $299 Switch and only misses out on the ability to output to a TV, making it "the" purchase for those who love to game on the go.

Nintendo Switch Lite in Blue

Nintendo Switch Lite

The Nintendo Switch Lite is the perfect on-the-go gaming device to purchase due to its reasonable battery life and portable dimensions.

DJI Mini 2

DJI Mini 2 front view

Are you planning on getting into flying drones? Well, the DJI Mini 2 is the best option that offers a well-rounded experience without being too hard on the wallet. It offers a steady connection to your smartphone, bundled with a great software experience that's easy to navigate, which makes stepping into the world of drone flying a lot simpler.

The only other thing to consider would be the image quality it outputs, which, while limited by the small size of the sensor and its flight-enabled enclosure, produces shots that hold detail and maintain sharpness. Improvement to DJI's algorithms also means that noise, a factor to consider due to the smaller sensor size, is handled better and doesn't break every capture.

So, once again, if you're looking to get into drones this holiday season, the DJI Mini 2 is a sure-shot purchase to have on your list.

DJI Mini 2

DJI Mini 2

DJI Mini 2 offers a great drone experience to interested buyers with the ability to capture decent shots without the high price tags often seen with these flying machines.

Sony ZV-1

Sony ZV-1 with flip out screen

If you are looking for a gift for someone who has shown interest in documenting their trips or daily life, the Sony ZV-1 is by far one of the easiest to recommend options on the market. It features Sony's popular autofocus technology, making it one of the best in its weight class of devices that are easy to fit into a pocket. The unit also has above average battery life, meaning recording for a little over 60 minutes straight is possible.

In terms of image, the lens on this unit provides bright shots with decent bokeh, which you effortlessly enable via its easy-to-access defocus button. The side-flipping screen can also play a massive role in getting the perfect frame for your shot.

If we have any qualms about this option, it would be its dependence on a micro USB connector instead of USB C.

Sony ZV-1 Camera Body

Sony ZV-1

The Sony ZV-1 is the perfect vlogging companion for a budding video creator or someone who loves to keep a record of their life.

Withings Body+

Withings Body Plus in White

If you wish to keep an eye on your health, having access to basic metrics is often a good thing. The Withings Body+ is a device that can help you with that and more. This weighing scale can provide users with a body composition analysis, available for viewing on the smartphone, enabled by its WiFi compatibility (you can register up to eight unique users who can also access weight history).

The smart scale can also sync data with Apple Watch and fitness apps like Apple Health, Fitbit, and Google Fit. Although you will need to keep AAA cells handy to power the unit, the manufacturer claims it can last 18 months with a single set.

Withings Body Plus

Withings Body+

The Withings Body+ is a smart scale perfect for the health-oriented and provides metrics essential to keep track of your progress.

Roborock S7

Roborock S7 with iPhone Source: Roborock

A robot vacuum is something that you think isn't a need until you get one going around your house. The Roborock S7 is a smart-assistant compatible machine with a suction force of 2500PA and 5200mAh that keeps dirt, mud marks, and pet hair off your floor throughout the day.

It has a docking station to keep it juiced and free of dust to ensure it's never full and unable to clean when needed. Its mop is advertised to scrub up to 3000 times a minute and is fed with a 300ml water tank, while its dustbin can hold 470 ml of dirt (emptied in its 3L dust bag, installed into the charging dock).

Roborock S7

Roborock S7

The Roborock S7 is a device perfect for keeping your house clean of dust and mud. Its compatibility with the variety of assistants also makes using it a convenient affair.

Amazon Echo Series

Amazon Echo on a table

If you've wanted to smarten up your living space, the entire Amazon Echo series is a great place to start this holiday season. The fourth-generation Amazon Echo features speakers that can keep your home lively with music and a microphone array that can hear commands to keep you updated on news and weather, all while making sure using your appliances is a task that needs only a few words stringed together.

Amazon Echo 4th Gen

Amazon Echo

The Default

The Amazon Echo is the first step towards readying your home for its transition into one that's connected and convenient to control.

Amazon Echo Show 8 front view

Amazon Echo Show 8

Alexa with a Display

The Echo Show 8 adds to the smart home experience with its conveniently sized eight-inch display that allows you to control your smart home, glance at recipes in the kitchen, answer video calls, and more.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max

Amazon Fire TV Stick Remote and Dongle Source: Amazon

If you're someone who's already got a Smart TV at home that won't cut it due to slow performance or want to get additional functionality because you have an older unit, the Fire TV Stick 4K Max is a great addition.

The device comes packaged with more RAM than before (2GB) and the latest WiFi 6 standard, meaning working through the various menus of the UI is fluid, and content is quickly ready to be served, especially if you have already switched to WiFi 6-compliant equipment around your house.

The Fire TV Stick also offers Alexa functionality via its bundled Remote, which allows you to keep tabs on the smart home components of your house.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max with Alexa-enabled remote

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max

The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max is a great addition to households that are using Amazon's services to the fullest and a welcome change for those who want more from their older generation TV.

Alternate: Chromecast with Google TV

TCL 6 Series R635 (65 inches)

TCL Series 6 featured image Source: Pocketnow

Buying a TV can be a confusing task due to the vast number of options in the market, but if you've set yourself a budget of around $1000, the TCL 6 Series, particularly the 65-inch R635, is a great device for the home. The 4K panel also has support for Dolby Vision HDR with 240 localized zones to provide contrast without giving up on color uniformity.

For UI, TCL ships the unit with Roku TV. It also works with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. And for those of you looking for some info on ports, it features 4 HDMI inputs but doesn't have full support for HDMI 2.1.

TCL R635 Front View

TCL 6 Series R635

Get the TCL 6 Series R635 for a balanced viewing experience that offers great value for its price.

Alternate: Amazon Fire TV 65" Omni Series

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