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Pocketnow Awards - Best Tech of 2021

By Aryan Suren January 1, 2022, 5:00 am
Pocketnow Best of 2021

Best Tech of 2021

Gadgets are engrained into our lives, and each passing year brings us advancements across the various domains of technology, and in this article, we go over what we think are some of the best Tech Products of 2021 that will have a lasting impression and effect on what's to come in the future.

Also, if you're wondering how we ranked the best smartphones of the year, check out Pocketnow Awards: Best Smartphone of 2021.

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Best Tablet: Apple iPad mini

Pocketnow Best of 2021
Apple iPad Source: Pocketnow

Tablets are a hard market because most people don't really need them, and those who have one don't tend to buy a new one each year. Thus, a good tablet has to be future-proof and has to do certain things better than a phone or a computer, all while offering good quality components at a reasonable price. Hence, our winner for this category is the much-anticipated iPad mini.

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The iPad mini is a device that gets a lot of things right, especially those that smaller mid-ranged tablets aren't known to do well. For $499, it offers Apple's latest processor packaged into an easy-to-wield chassis that has a 7.9-inch display. Its implementation of the iPad Pro Series' design language -- also adopted by the 4th generation iPad Air last year -- is a bonus that does make it look great.

And amongst other features, it has TouchID embedded into its power button, support for the 2nd generation Apple Pencil, and a USB-C port for extra convenience. For those interested in cellular models, it also has support for the sub-6Ghz flavor of 5G. These points make it the most all-round tablet and thus the winner of Pocketnow's Best Tablet Award for 2021.

iPad mini 6 in space grey

Apple iPad mini

Buy the iPad mini for the best compact tablet experience that isn't too hard on the wallet. It features Apple's A15 Bionic, which will provide unmatched performance and is a size that's convenient to carry around and doodle on.


Pocketnow Best of 2021

Best Smart TV: Amazon FireTV Omni Series

Smart TV Source: Pocketnow

If you have started decking your home with Smart Devices, there is a chance that you probably have one or two products from Amazon set up around your house. The entire Echo range of devices and the FireTV Stick are part of the available products and successful examples of the company's product business.

And in a year where most companies were iterating upon their previously released TV options, Amazon decided to make a smarter product that offers good value in various price brackets. And for this reason, we give Pocketnow's Award for the Best Smart TV to the FireTV Omni Series.

These are in no way the best panels on the market, but they feature an extra set of capabilities due to the development in hardware. Every TV in the lineup uses the Fire TV OS and has built-in microphones to listen for Alexa voice commands -- even when the screen isn't on. And its feature-rich support for Alexa and compatibility with Apple's AirPlay 2 standard are huge positives.

Amazon FireTV Omni 65-inch

Amazon FireTV Omni Series

The FireTV Omni Series provides good TV options for homeowners looking for screens that are great to have in a smart home.


Pocketnow Best of 2021

Best At-Home Fitness Solution: Tempo Move

At home fitness Source: Pocketnow

The Tempo Move wins Pocketnow's Award for the Best At-Home Fitness Solution due to its ability to offer an experience similar to its $2495 sibling, the Tempo Studio, at a fraction of the cost. The cabinet comes with 35 pounds in weight plates and has a docking station that connects to your iPhone via its Lightning Port and TV via HDMI.

Now, At-Home Fitness is an interesting category because it doesn't often work with a one size fits all approach, and it has established players like Peloton and BeachBody. But the price of entry for those services is pretty crazy, and we feel Tempo has struck the right balance with Move.

You can expect a review soon, but access to a complete dumbbell rack and smart tracking that can offer a variety of feedback for $495 is really too good to be true. Yes, there is a service cost that'll add on later, but the barrier of entry is what this accessory breaks, and we don't know of any other service that gets this good.

Tempo Move front view

Tempo Move

Tempo Move is a great companion for those who prefer working out at home and like assistance with rep tracking or form.


Pocketnow Best of 2021

Best Smart Display: Amazon Echo Show 15

Smart display Source: Pocketnow

The world of smart products continues to improve as devices are now becoming smarter, less expensive, more useful, and better looking, but offerings from Google and Apple have honestly left us in a trance.

Nest products are good, but they aren't the best in class, nor do they dare to innovate. They're mainly catch-ups. While Apple on the other hand, hasn't figured itself out with the HomePod or the Apple TV. Hence, if you notice, the only company that's been innovating in this space is Amazon, and nothing is cooler than the Echo Show 15.

This product is the largest Echo Show released and the best. It features an improved processor that makes navigating its various menus feel nicer, and the larger canvas provides a lot more real estate to view information. Be it weather, news, a shopping list, or calendar alerts.

The new sharper 15.6-inch display also makes watching videos on this piece of technology a lot better. Drill and mount it to the wall or place it on a counter with the optional stand. This device will melt seamlessly into your smart home and help keep track of your daily happenings.

Amazon Echo Show 15 front view

Amazon Echo Show 15

Amazon Echo Show 15 is the Echo Show to have if you want a device that fits into the aesthetic of your home and can provide a lot of useful information easy to grasp with a glance.


Pocketnow Best of 2021

Best Game Console: Nintendo Switch OLED

Gaming console Source: Pocketnow

The Nintendo Switch has been a runaway success since its launch, and the OLED model adds an extra bit of flair to the console we all know and love. The new changes make it a great device for new customers and an upgrade that is worth it if you want brighter and more vibrant visuals. It features a larger 7-inch screen, with an OLED panel (as indicated by its name), a redesigned kickstand that makes table-top mode a much better experience, and some minor changes to its dimensions.

It's this facelift that the original Switch should have actually been, regardless we feel Nintendo has hit it out of the park with this refresh.

Nintendo Switch OLED dock and joy-cons

Nintendo Switch OLED

The Nintendo Switch OLED improves on the experience of the original Switch with a brighter and better-looking screen, perfect for gaming on the go.


Pocketnow Best of 2021

Best Smartwatch: Apple Watch Series 7

Smartwatch Source: Pocketnow

The Apple Watch Series 7 is another step towards cementing Apple's strong foothold in the smartwatch realm. The aspect of convenience it adds to the ecosystem, and the health tracking features it enables, along with services like Fitness+, make it a must-have for those looking to better their health. This year's models feature an increased screen size and are said to sport better dust resistance if you were wondering.

But still, when compared to its competition, the giant screen, integration with third-party services via Gym Kit, and improvements to Apple Fitness + only push the Apple Watch further in the race to be the best.

Apple Watch Series 7 in Blue

Apple Watch Series 7

The Series 7 is the next iterative upgrade in Apple's line of smartwatches and promises a great experience that will let you stay on track towards your fitness goals or on top of your notifications.


Pocketnow Best of 2021

Best Wireless Earbuds: Tie — Nothing Ear 1 and Amazon Echo Buds 2

Wireless earbuds Source: Pocketnow

For the Best Wireless Earbuds Award, we had quite a situation with the Nothing Ear 1 and Amazon's Echo Buds 2, both offering great value. While we could consider AirPods 3 or the AirPods Pro, the maturity that the market has reached makes us feel that Apple needs to re-think its pricing.

The Amazon Echo Buds 2 features an understated design with a simple matte black exterior, while Nothing Ear 1's take it up a notch with a transparent body for part of the device. Both earbuds feature noise-cancellation and audio quality comparable to more expensive options like AirPods Pro.

For battery life, while the Echo Buds 2 can last five hours on a single, the Nothing Ear 1's can last for four. Although, when you focus on the cases, the Echo Buds case can only add seven hours while the Nothing's case adds 24.

Nothing Ear 1

Nothing Ear 1

Nothing Ear 1 feature a unique design and great audio performance from an upstart company.

Amazon Echo Buds 2

Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen.)

The Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen.) offer great value and are more bass-heavy than competitors like the AirPods Pro.


Pocketnow Best of 2021

Best Laptop: 14-inch MacBook Pro

Laptop Source: Pocketnow

The MacBook Pro finally received its right dose of power, as this year Apple added a 14-inch version alongside a redesigned 16-inch. But we believe the smaller of two laptops is the winner of the Best Laptop Award because it's able to pack a lot of power in a small chassis without sacrificing on many factors, something its predecessors or Windows laptops have been unable to do.

But the new M1 Pro or M1 Max chips are not the only reason this laptop receives this award, as it features some of the best battery life results, has a great display -- capable of 120hz via ProMotion -- and a much-improved webcam. Apple even went and added ports that it had removed from previous versions, making this laptop truly for the Pros.

MacBook Pro 14 front view

MacBook Pro (14-inch)

The 14-inch MacBook Pro features stellar performance with battery life that puts its competitors to shame. The addition of ports utilized in professional settings is also a huge plus.


Pocketnow Best of 2021

Best of the Best: Amazon Astro

Amazon Astro Source: Pocketnow

The Amazon Astro is a household robot meant for home monitoring. It comes built-in with Alexa and uses what Amazon calls advanced navigation technology to find the path around your house.

You can use Astro as a device to carry around items, as it comes with attachable accessories that will allow it to carry cups, Ziploc containers, a blood pressure monitor, and even a dog camera. The device puts Alexa on to a pair of wheels aiming to be ready and handy when required.

Amazon Astro side view

Amazon Astro

Amazon Astro is a household robot with Alexa built-in. The product can help manage shopping lists, reminders, deliver small items, and more.


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