iPad mini and 7 other gadgets that stood out in 2021
The last year in tech has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride. Supply chain issues have made it harder to buy several products, including the PlayStation 5 and budget smartphones, but despite these challenges, we’ve seen plenty of worthy devices competing for our attention. A few have emerged as the real stars of what has been a great year for tech enthusiasts. This is an alternative approach to tech gadgets that has impacted the conceptual level of what we expect from gadgets.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
The Galaxy Z Flip 3 was supposed to have wider appeal, but no one knew the phone would make such a lasting impact. Although Samsung has been making foldable phones for a few years, for the first time it seemed that the company had totally succeeded with the Z Flip 3. It is attractive, colorful and stylish and at the same time the phone starts at 1000. $ or Rs. 84,999, the lowest price we’ve seen for a foldable device. Price aside, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 nailed the idea of ââa foldable phone that can replace your everyday smartphone. Samsung addressed a number of issues with the Z Flip 3, such as durability and battery life, which hampered the business prospects of previous generation foldable phones. This third-generation Galaxy Z Flip 3 is undeniably the best. Read our Galaxy Z Flip 3 review.
The new iPad mini blew us away with its simplicity and the broader idea of ââa companion device that is not a smartphone. On paper, the iPad mini is just a mini version of the iPad Air, but once you hold the device in your hands and start using it, the experience is surreal. The iPad mini has traditionally been an iPad but not exactly a tablet in the literal sense and this is where Apple’s âThink Differentâ approach comes in. Given the small size and portability of this device, it becomes an extended version of the iPhone. We don’t yet know how Apple wants to use the iPad mini’s full potential, but this form factor is unabashedly cool and full of hidden ideas waiting to unfold. Read our iPad mini review.
The Sonos Roam is a genre-defining portable speaker, born from the idea of ââsimplifying the experience of listening to music on the go. This approach, coupled with a minimalist design and excellent audio fidelity, keeps Sonos in the league of its own. The speaker uses both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and its triangular shape allows the Roam to be different in a crowded market. Portable speakers can be a fluke in terms of audio, but the Sonos Roam gets almost everything it needs. Its audio performance is much better than the competition, and the portable speaker produces crisp, clear and well-balanced sound. Plus, the battery life is amazing, lasting 10 hours. It’s a bit pricey, but a Sonos device has never been cheap. Read our review of the Sonos Roam.
Nintendo Switch OLED
When a device hits its fifth year, its popularity peaks and sales begin to slow. But that did not happen in the case of the Nintendo Switch. The latest OLED Switch caters to more diverse customers and expands its user base. What works in the Switch’s favor is the form factor which is so unique that it’s difficult for competitors to replicate the idea. Even with the new OLED Switch, Nintendo has tried to keep a distance from 4K graphics and improve performance. Instead, he focused on the little things that improve user experience and gameplay. The fact that the Switch is both a home console and a portable console is a big draw, but what also makes this console sell in huge numbers is access to Nintendo-exclusive games that are not available. available on no other platform, including The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the wild and Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
The iMac M1 is more than a review of the most beloved desktop computer of all time. The new iMac is moving, poetic and imaginative. No wonder it would have been both thoughtful and difficult to design a brand new full color iMac. Bold, because the challenge would have been to create a different and familiar all-in-one desktop PC. The screen is bigger and wider than its predecessor, but the computer is 11.5mm thick. Thanks to the M1 chip, the iMac stays quiet and cool. There are a lot of great ideas that went into the making of the iMac, and the end result is fascinating. The new iMac has a personality of its own and that is why it’s called a personal computer. Read our review of the iMac M1.
HP Chromebase All-in-One
HP Chromebase AIO went unnoticed as a âcuteâ all-in-one desktop PC version this year. But a mixture of ideas have been incorporated into the HP Chromebase AIO: the desktop could become something of a television, a smart speaker, and a giant tablet floating in the air. Perhaps the reason this Chrome OS powered machine is different is that you can rotate it 90 degrees. The ability to move the 21.5-inch screen from landscape to portrait changes the way you view content. Another highlight of the Chromebase AIO is the fabric-wrapped base with a Bang & Olufsen speaker. Then there was the 5MP camera for video calls, the Intel Core i3 processor, and a keyboard with good key stroke. It’s a shame that this one from HP is still not available in India. The HP Chromebase AIO is great value for its $ 599 price tag.
Asus ROG Flow X13
Call it a rule breaker or a breath of fresh air, the Asus ROG Flow X13 was an expected laptop that no one expected to come our way. The Flow X13 attempted to address the main issues that users face with high-performance gaming laptops with a solution that required a different approach. To make a gaming laptop lightweight and just as powerful, Asus came up with the idea of ââan external GPU (or a companion eGPU) to add graphics performance. While this approach had some compromises, it did offer a solution to a problem. The Flow X13 is expensive, but the laptop is powerful enough for modern AAA gaming without sacrificing form factor or processing capacity. Read our ROG Flow X13 review.
Nothing ear (1)
Nothing, a new start-up from Carl Pei who co-founded OnePlus, is gaining a lot of traction among users these days. The company is backed by Tony Fadell, who invented the iPod, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman, and YouTuber Casey Neistat. The Nothing Ear (1) packs everything we love to see in a pair of truly wireless headphones that aren’t just affordable, but look different. Although the audio quality is subjective, we liked the aesthetics and its design which combines retro and futurism. For the price, Nothing headphones are a hell of a deal. They have premium features like noise cancellation, water and splash resistance, and customizable gesture controls. Read our review of the Nothing (1) ear.