Believe it or not, 2021 is already halfway over. Join us as we take a moment to reflect on the best new tech of 2021 so far.
While we seem to live in a world where time has no meaning, we also live in a time when technology is reaching some impressive new heights. From reinventing gadgets and applications we already use, to filling new niches that we may not have known even existed, tech just keeps on getting better and enriching our daily lives.
We’ve had the honour of reviewing a lot of cool new products lately. This week on Editor’s Choice, we have selected a sampling of some of the coolest tech of 2021 across a variety of departments—not necessarily the top-scoring products in their respective categories, but those that have made an impression on our reviewers so far this year, and might make a difference for you as well. Here is our top 5 tech of 2021—so far!
The Pulse 4 technically made our list as a candidate for your home listening pleasure, but in reality, this beefy speaker is extremely portable. Our reviewer was impressed from the moment she first turned it on and seamlessly connected it to her phone. It makes the most of its 20-watt sound with some help from a woofer and a crafty design. As we approach the height of patio and backyard campfire season, the Pulse 4 is ideal for providing atmosphere with IPX7 waterproofing and a dynamically programmable LED display, all powered by a battery that can last all night.
What we said: “This speaker masters great customization, easy connectivity, colour coordinated light shows, with bass for days and does it all with the added bonus of JBL PartyBoost. The JBL Pulse 4 Portable Bluetooth speaker is THE speaker to beat as far as I’m concerned. At $249.95 USD I originally thought that I would have never purchased this for myself, or even for a gift for a loved one. But after being given the chance to test it out, I’m in love, I’m never going back, and I will likely buy a second one, even at that price—it’s worth it.”
From the world of streamers and content creators comes the Loupedeck Live, which aims to give Elgato’s Stream Deck line a run for its crown. Though our reviewer was a little daunted by the time required to truly learn how to utilize the Live’s features, it quickly won him over with its sleek design, tactile controls, and customizable profiles for many popular programs. Experienced video editors who want to improve their process should give this a look.
What we said: “The Loupedeck is a beautiful device that will work hard for the hard working creator. If you can overcome the overwhelming software, you will have a tool that will serve you well for years to come.”
From the peripheral department, we have the Nimbus+ controller for iOS. Controller support is becoming more prevalent in mobile games, and SteelSeries has your back if this is an area you’d like to invest more time in. Previous versions of the Nimbus have been ideal for Apple TV and other less portable devices, but the Nimbus+ has a selling point for iPhone users—its phone mount, which allows iPhone devotees to enjoy their favourite apps with a proper controller without having to remove their devices from their cases or using awkward stands. Best of all, it currently comes with a trial offer for Apple Arcade.
What we said: “There are plenty of non-arcade titles that seamlessly integrate with the Nimbus+, especially if you enjoy older games[…] In fact, I can actually envision sitting down and playing through these mobile ports now, where touch controls had once sapped my will to keep going.”
With so many gaming headsets on the market, keeping track of your options can seem herculean. However the Penrose X from Audeze, a dedicated Xbox headset, made a big splash with our reviewer and may have converted him from using simple earbuds. If you’re looking to pamper your ears and your Xbox, consider this premium model.
What we said: “If you can foot the price and you want to treat your ears to a truly fantastic phonic experience during gaming sessions, the Audeze Penrose X is a great place to start.”
Our last pick for this midyear recap shows how technology can enhance our crafts, and that an underdog company can compete with the big names. Xencelabs is a new start-up staffed by industry veterans, and their early offerings left our reviewer impressed. As someone who’s always wished he had artistic talent, the Xencelabs Pen Tablet and Quick Key Remote bundle has me even more jealous than usual.
What we said: “Both the Xencelabs’ Medium Pen Tablet and Quick Key Remote are excellent drawing and design solutions that feel just as robust and high quality as other leading brands.”
There you have it! Hopefully there’s something on our best tech of 2021 list that could make an impact on your daily routines, but if you’re looking for more recommendations, stay tuned to CGM’s Tech section for the latest news and reviews as we head into the second half of the year.