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On Good Authority: Our favorite tech and gadgets in 2021
Working for Android Authority is both a blessing and a (bit of a) curse — please, don’t tell the boss we said that. You get to try a lot of cool new tech and gadgets throughout the year, but you rarely have time to enjoy the latest and greatest before the next thing rolls around. However, every once in a while, there’s a standout product that really hits home. It quickly becomes our favorite item, whether by improving our daily life or by bringing a new cool and fun factor into it.
We’ve asked some of our team members to share the gadgets they most enjoyed using in 2021. We didn’t want to limit ourselves to just Android-adjacent items, nor did we want to restrict ourselves to products that launched during the year. Loose rules mean looser answers, so you’ll find a smorgasbord of gadgets below. My favorite is — oh I won’t spoil it, you’ll see it when you get there. It has to do with laundry ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
Perhaps the most curious aspect of this post is that the only phone that made it is one you wouldn’t expect. Maybe we’ve become too jaded with mobile tech, maybe we’re getting older and we need our ergonomic desks and massage guns more than our Pixel 6 and Galaxy S21. Who knows? Without further ado, here is Android Authority‘s favorite tech in 2021.
Bodgan Petrovan: Logitech MX Master Keys
I long loved Logitech’s MX Master 2S mouse ($58), so when I decided to ditch my old Microsoft keyboard, the decision to get the MX Master Keys was easy. Or was it? Not gonna lie, $100 is a lot to pay for a keyboard, but in this case, I think you get what you pay for.
The MX Master Keys is excellent for typing — it’s actually the first time I can touch-type almost 100% of the time.
The MX Master Keys is excellent for typing — it’s actually the first time I can touch-type almost 100% of the time. It’s well-made, (mostly) ergonomic, and it’s a pleasure to use. It even survived an encounter with some vagrant black coffee. And that was good, because I’m not sure I could’ve gone back to another keyboard.
C. Scott Brown: Theragun Elite
I bought my partner the Theragun Elite for her birthday. She hurt her hip on one of our many hiking trips and needed to go to physical therapy. At her weekly appointments, they’d use a Theragun on her and she said it was really helpful. Now that we have it in the house, we use it on each other all the time. It helps a lot with “tech neck,” which quite obviously afflicts a guy like me. It’s definitely been a worthwhile investment.
Eric Zeman: Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch
In a year when working from home got weird, the iPad Pro was able to keep me productive in a greater range of spaces when I needed to get creative.
Check out: Your guide to the best tablets
Hadlee Simons: Vivo X60 Pro Plus
I was initially going to say the PlayStation 5, but I barely play it and even then, I end up playing PlayStation 4 games that I missed out on (having bought an Xbox One instead last time around).
But as weird as it is to say, I have to admit I really liked the Vivo X60 Pro Plus in 2021 after reviewing it. The Vivo X70 Pro Plus adds so many premium extras, like water resistance and wireless charging, but the combo of a more compact size and pleather back really made the X60 Pro Plus a phone that I loved to use in spite of its flaws. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that it shares mostly the same camera specs as the new release. I wouldn’t recommend that most people buy the X60 Pro Plus now, given the number of extra features seen on the newer phone and the similar price tags, but it definitely felt great to use.
Kaitlyn Cimino: Roborock S7+
With an inexplicable aversion to vacuuming, I can’t express how nice it is to have an effective robot vacuum to delegate to instead. The Roborock S7+ vacuums, mops, and even auto-empties its own refuse. It responds to voice assistant commands but it also runs on a preset schedule so I literally don’t even have to think about it. Instead, I simply wake up to a crumb-free floor.
Kris Carlon: Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light
I had no idea bedside lamp clocks could be this involved and feature-packed. From meditative breathing exercises to sunset and sunrise lighting, nature sounds, and environmental monitoring, this Philips SmartSleep lamp does it all. My alarm clock used to be my sworn enemy, now it’s more like my sleep coach. The model I reviewed is no longer available, but a similar and cheaper one can still be found on Amazon.
My alarm clock used to be my sworn enemy, now it's more like my sleep coach.
Nick Fernandez: iPad Mini (2021)
I love small tablets. The portability and ease of use are perfect for light web browsing and reading, or taking notes on the go. The new iPad Mini checks nearly every box for me, with the exception of maybe a slightly higher refresh rate screen.
Paula Beaton: Sony PlayStation 5
It’s not a 2021 gadget, but I’ve been waiting so long to get my hands on a Sony PlayStation 5 that this was my most exciting purchase of the year, and I’ve been blown away by some of the latest games, like Kena: Bridge of Spirits.
Our advice: Should you upgrade from the PS4 to the PS5?
Rita El Khoury: Ikea Idasen sit-stand desk
2021 was a pivotal year in my personal and professional life. New country, new home, new job, new everything. Moving from part-time writing to full-time has also forced me to consider a better home office setup. My back and posture aren’t what they used to be a decade ago, and I didn’t want to spend my entire day sitting, so I started looking at sit-stand desks. Eventually, the Ikea Idasen lineup won based on price, availability, size, and smoothness. I do not regret that decision one bit.
The Ikea Idasen desk keeps my back sane and stops me from hunching over too much.
The desk has become an integral part of my work routine. I don’t have to think about it: I start my day standing for a couple of hours, then I sit a bit, then I do another standing bout in the afternoon. It keeps my back sane and stops me from hunching over too much. The addition of a standing desk mat ($79) is essential if you want to go this route.
Robert Triggs: Meaco ABC 12L Dehumidifier
Forget noisy, expensive, and inevitably useless tumble dryers, buy a dehumidifier to dry your clothes overnight in the winter. It really works, this thing even has a dedicated laundry setting. It’s (mostly) quiet and costs just pennies an hour to run too. Plus you get the added benefit of a dehumidifier to keep your rooms dry and comfortable, all for just £170. Maybe it says something about the state of my 2021, but this has been my tech revelation of the year.
Roger Fingas: Oculus Quest 2
From the moment I started playing games, total immersion was the goal, making VR an obvious endpoint. The Quest 2 may not be the absolute best VR headset — especially given its Meta/Facebook ties — but it’s affordable, fully wireless, has great controllers, and you can use it alone or with a PC. I spend most of my time playing Pavlov, but it’s also fun watching movies or YouTube on simulated screens that are larger than I could ever fit in my real home.
Play more: Best VR games for most VR headsets
Tristan Rayner: Sony PlayStation 5
Yeah, yeah, I got a PlayStation 5 and you didn’t, sorry. I actually paid a Very Online Guy $10 to help me get one. Anyway, it’s big and monstrous, but boy it’s made gaming fast– I can get back into a game within about 30 seconds which is great. Plus the controllers are pretty awesome, though I wish battery life was a little stronger… Anyway, great times!
What about you? Did you buy a cool dehumidifier or any other neat gadget that made your life a little better in 2021? Let us know in the comments below.