Being a gadget hound presents a few challenges at the end of the year. Namely, which one did I like best? Often, my process involves detailed analysis and introspection. I often remember the best devices because they just stay in my head all year long. Here are my top picks that stood out the most from the year.
1. Hatch Restore
I’m always looking for products that make nighttime routines easier and healthier for all of us. The Hatch can be programmed with a nighttime routine that helps you fall asleep. The device doubles as a reading light, and one button on the top initiates the sleepy time process.
2. Remarkable 2
Everything about this digital tablet is top tier. The pen feels like you are writing with an actual pencil or pen. The notations you make are translated accurately. The entire tablet is light, lasts long on a charge, and fits snugly in the case.
3. Dyson Lightcycle Morph
Dyson nailed it with this task light, which adjusts brightness automatically based on the angle of the sun and makes reading at night easier and even healthier for the eyes. That said, my favorite feature is actually how you can turn and angle the light toward what you are working on.
4. Google Chromecast with Google TV
Google really outdid themselves with this streaming adapter, which happens to run on a brand new operating system called Google TV. I love how the home screen shows trending movies and shows so I don’t have to constantly keep looking them up on Metacritic.
5. Apple MacBook Air M1
This laptop is more than another new laptop release. Apple decided to develop a new chip that is 3.5 times faster than previous generations. It’s quiet, it’s fast, and it doesn’t get as hot on your lap. I also like the machine learning processing capability.
6. Luno Air Mattress 2.0
This air mattress for your car is a brilliant idea, mostly because of the pandemic (helping you avoid hotels or staying at someone’s house). You can custom order the model you need for your car (such as a Subaru Forester).
7. Ostrichpillow Heatbag
Sometimes an innovative product also solves a serious safety concern. Old-school heating pads can start fires, especially if they are around a Christmas tree. This heating pad works using eight layers of material. You can heat it up in the microwave in 35 seconds.
8. Vasque Breeze Hiking Boot
On hikes through mud and snow, these boots keep your feet perfectly dry thanks to the waterproof material. They are breathable, light, and durable as well. My favorite feature is the grip, which stuck to the trail even in a heavy downpour.
9. Sonos Arc Soundbar
The most amazing soundbar you will hear, the Sonos Arc has enough oomph to fill a room with the sweet sounds of a Mandalorian blaster. It works easily with the iPhone for streaming audio and you can mount the soundbar on the wall. Engineers tuned it to basically blow your socks off.
10. 2021 Mazda3
Sometimes an innovative car just impresses you right away. The Mazda3 impressed me because of the new turbocharged engine, but at the compelling price of $20,500. Maybe that’s the most important innovation of all.