The Best New Tech of 2021

MacBooks, AirTags, and e-bikes galore

Key Takeaways

  • Tech lovers enjoyed a bountiful year in 2021 with new products ranging from laptops to a refined Amazon Kindle. 
  • The M1 Apple iMac is a delight to use, and its slick design fits into almost any space. 
  • The new Rad eBike mixes the capabilities and aesthetics of a motorcycle with a traditional bicycle.
New Amazon Kindle Paperwhite on wood table

Amazon

This year brought a host of terrific gadgets ranging from speedy MacBooks to fantastic new Kindle reading devices.

Apple outdid itself in 2021 with a refresh of nearly its entire lineup. The latest MacBook Pro and iMac offer the blisteringly fast M1 chip and lots of nice design touches. But I also discovered some great e-bikes to get me into the great outdoors. 

Despite the marketing hype, some of the items that brought me the most joy this year were the least expensive. For example, I discovered a terrific pair of headphones for around $50 and the $29 Apple AirTag. 

Apple Leads the Pack

I’m an unabashed Apple fan, but even Cupertino haters have to admit the company’s latest crop of devices brings some outstanding features. 

My new daily driver is the 16-inch M1 MacBook Pro, which is the best laptop I’ve ever used. The build quality is top-notch, and the enormous screen offers a level of crispness and viewing comfort that’s stunning to behold. The new M1 chip inside the Pro means apps launch instantly while also running cool. It’s also very power efficient, so you can often leave your power adaptor behind. 

Two woman using Apple's 2021 M1 iMac in blue and rose gold

Apple

If you’re looking for a desktop, chances are you’ll be well served by the M1 iMac, which sports the same speedy chip as the MacBook, but in a larger form factor. The 24-inch screen on the new iMac is the perfect size for getting work done while not taking up too much room in your home. 

For a more portable but still capable computing experience, consider the 12.9-Inch M1 iPad Pro. The giant screen on this tablet is perfect for watching movies or scrolling through long text documents. It’s a little unwieldy if you just want something to play with on a long flight, but it can’t be beaten for Netflix sessions on the couch. And if you’re doing any work on the iPad, it’s worth investing in Apple’s incredibly well designed Apple Magic Keyboard for the iPad, which turns the tablet into a capable laptop equivalent. 

Meanwhile, Apple’s least expensive product in years may also be one of its handiest. An Apple AirTag costs only $29, but it offers an effortless way to track almost any object. I’ve lost and found my keys and wallet at least a dozen times in the six months since I’ve been using my AirTag, making it well worth the minimal cost. 

Lastly, the AirPods Max. Yes, it has a high price tag, but it might be worth it simply for its incredible noise-canceling abilities. These are the best sounding headphones I’ve ever used, and they pair easily with most Apple products thanks to the special chip inside. The AirPods Max is fairly heavy, but their aluminum design screams quality, and they’re somehow surprisingly comfortable despite the weight. 

Reading and Biking Made Better

After spending way too much time every day staring at glowing screens and typing on keyboards, I like to go lower-tech with a reading device. The new Amazon Kindle Paperwhite only has an E-ink screen and doesn’t do email, but that’s perfect for staying focused while trying to concentrate on a novel. The latest Paperwhite offers a bigger screen and faster processor than its predecessor, making this the best electronic reading device I’ve ever used. 

Some of the best tech products out this year also kept me from looking at screens entirely. For example, the new Rad eBike mixes the capabilities and aesthetics of a motorcycle with a traditional bicycle. The RadRover 6 Plus eBike is big and heavy, but it sports thick tires and luxurious suspension on the front fork for an incredibly smooth ride. The RadRover also boasts a powerful motor that keeps you zipping up steep hills without sweating. 

RadRover 6 Plus eBike up against a rock wall

Rad Power Bikes

Another great e-bike released this year is the VanMoof S3, which combines stunning good looks with some nifty tech that might make it the perfect around-town transportation. The S3 comes with an electronic shifter, an app-controlled built-in lock, and even the ability to use Apple’s Find My network if it gets lost. 

The year in gadgets brought some fantastic refinements to everything from bikes to laptops to headphones. Here’s to the exciting innovations we can look forward to in 2022!

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