As of February 2021, the US tech industry was worth roughly $1.6 trillion.
Over the years, technological advancements have paved the way for a huge number of incredible devices. Connectivity and convenience are better than ever, and companies are constantly coming up with new innovations.
As 2021 comes to a close there are a number of holiday tech gifts out there that you can’t miss.
For our list of 10 of the best tech gifts of 2021, keep reading.
1. Shred Cube
In today’s world, computer-based security is more important than ever. Everyone has all sorts of data and information stored on computers from personal photos to medical records. When files containing such data are no longer needed, most people will delete them.
The problem with this is that deleted files are not always beyond recovery, meaning there is a risk of someone gaining access to files you thought were gone- say what!
Fret not- Santa Clause has arrived with The Shred Cube, the perfect solution for your deletion problems! This tech gadget is a small cube that connects to your computer via USB and is capable of permanent file deletion. Much like a paper shredder, this shreds computer files, completely destroying any trace of information- woohoo!
It’s capable of deleting single files or multiple at a time if you need to delete files in bulk. On top of this, it can also shred any other data related to the deleted files. Once shredded, files are gone for good.
An additional feature of the Shred Cube is its ability to scan for any copies of the chosen files, which are also deleted. It can even detect copies under different file names!
There will be absolutely no trace left behind of any deleted files, which makes this even more secure than a paper shredder. Perfect for any files you need completely gone.
There is no software for the shred cube, which means it can be plugged into any computer and used immediately. The Shred Cube is pocket friendly and you can easily take it anywhere.
Hurry up and get yours! The Shred cube is currently available at a price of $59.95, so it won’t blow your holiday gift budget.
For more information on how it works, check out the Shred Cube FAQ.
2. Ring Video Doorbell Pro
In recent years doorbells have received a number of upgrades. The company Ring has proven this by creating a number of different doorbells with modern features to enhance your home.
The Video Doorbell Pro is one such device. A wired doorbell that comes loaded with features focused on both security and style, such as dual-band wifi and color night vision.
Whenever someone rings your doorbell it will automatically send a notification to your phone. This can even be set up to notify you whenever something triggers the built-in motion sensors, which you can adjust to your preference.
If you’re not able to answer the door, visitors can leave a message with pre-selected quick replies.
It can even connect to Alexa to automatically greet anyone at your door. Alexa can instruct delivery drivers where to leave packages, and automatically record detailed video messages.
Beyond notifications, the app can steam a live view of the Video Doorbell Pro’s camera, and even lock and unlock your door if you have a compatible smart lock.
You can even stay connected with other users in your area. Crime and safety alerts from your neighbors and local public safety agencies can be viewed in real-time.
Ring also offer Ring Protect, a subscription service that gives a number of extra features:
- Access all videos (up to 60 days history)
- Download and share videos with your phone or computer
- Set up recurring snapshots throughout the day
- Enable notifications for whenever your device spots a person
- Snapshots in notifications to show what triggered an alert
This is the basic $3/mo cover, with a number of other features available on more comprehensive plans.
The Ring Video Doorbell is available for $169.99, which includes a free 30-day trial of their Ring Protect Plan.
3. Wyze Smart Plug
Tech companies are constantly coming up with new ways to improve how people live their everyday lives. Wyze is a company at the forefront of tech devices, with products such as smartwatches, Bluetooth headphones, and cordless vacuums.
One of their products designed for use in any home is the Wyze Smart Plug. It can connect to any household device and plug into a regular power outlet to give a host of features to make your life easier and more comfortable.
The Wyze Smart Plug is voice-activated, and Wyze can connect to both Alexa and Google Assistant.
If your hands are full or you’re comfortable on the sofa, all you have to do is tell the plug to turn on or off. It’s that easy. You’ll find this especially useful for hard-to-reach plugs such as behind the tv or sofa.
You can also control your smart plug from anywhere using your phone. This can help you avoid high energy bills and avoid the risk of fires. This can be very useful if you’re the forgetful type and want to check to see if you’ve left something on after you’ve left the house.
Custom scheduling is also possible, so you can set specific times for your plug to automatically turn on or off. Perfect for making sure your morning coffee is ready by the time you get to the kitchen.
If you have multiple Wyze Plugs, you can also take advantage of the “grouping” feature. This allows you to designate multiple plugs as a single room, so you can turn everything in that room on or off with a single finger tap or voice command.
If security is a concern, Vacation Mode can be activated when you’re away from home, which will turn your devices on and off at random intervals, acting as a deterrent for anyone thinking of breaking in.
Wyze sense is a feature that makes use of extra motion sensors. Devices can be set to turn on whenever anyone is nearby.
All devices connect to 2.4GHz WiFi, requiring no separate hub.
The Wyze Smart Plug is available in packs of two for $14.99 (plus shipping).
4. Apple HomePod Mini
Apple is well renowned for its innovations and the quality of its products. The Apple HomePod Mini is a perfect example of this.
Following up on the HomePod smart speaker, Apple did what they do with most of their devices: released a smaller, more affordable model. Despite its size, it still performs incredibly well.
It is just 3.3 inches (8.4 cm) tall and 3.9 inches (9.8 cm) wide and weighs 0.76 pounds (345 g). This makes it about half the size of one of its main competitors, the Amazon Echo.
The 360º design gives balanced audio in all directions, and the volume is very impressive for a speaker of this size. The sound quality and bass are also better than you would expect, providing clear audio at all volumes.
Three microphones are in the chassis and listen for the “Hey Siri” command. A fourth microphone uses echolocation to help the speaker hear you over the music and any background noise. The HomePod mini does a great job of hearing your voice commands.
Beyond playing music, the HomePod Mini can use several Siri-powered functions. Controlling other devices, setting timers/alarms, making shopping lists, making phone calls, and more are all possible.
This intelligent device is also capable of music curation. If you ask it to “play something, I’ll like” it will find new music based on what you usually listen to. Alternatively, “play something different” will find new genres but still keep them within your tastes.
Five different color options are available: White, yellow, orange, blue, and space grey. It has a seamless fabric mesh wrap which provides good acoustic properties and gives a stylish look to the speaker.
There are no physical buttons, but the glass panel on top features several controls.
- Volume up/down
- Skip forward
- Skip back
- Set Siri to listening mode
When Siri is listening, the glass panel displays a mesmerizing orb of colored light, and a smaller white orb will display when music is playing. It’s a small touch, but adds to that luxury Apple aesthetic people have come to expect.
Apple currently has the HomePod Mini available for $99.99. When it comes to home tech gifts, this is one of the best that’s out there.
5. Apple AirPods Pro
Another high-quality product from Apple, the AirPods Pro are at the top end of the AirPods line.
These were first released a couple of years ago now, but still, they are widely considered the best Apple earbuds available, as well as some of the best earbuds on the market.
The new design is less prone to falling out of your ear than previous AirPods and uses an additional microphone to improve noise cancellation. Transparency Mode can be activated to let an ideal amount of outside noise in.
The touch-sensitive controls on each stem are very useful for features such as noise cancellation and skipping tracks. However, these controls do take some getting used to.
Overall the sound quality is quite impressive. Vocals and bass are a clear step up from the AirPods 2. They still don’t compare to on-ear headphones in terms of quality, but that is typical of earbuds.
Battery life is about four to five hours, which isn’t the most impressive as some wireless earbuds offer up to eight or nine hours. The case can give about 24 hours of listening time, and be conveniently charged with a wireless charging pad.
Anyone with other Apple products will find other benefits. The AirPods Pro will automatically pair with all Apple devices connected to your iCloud account. You just need to open the case and you’re ready to go.
They are very light, to the point where they are almost unnoticeable in your ear, and the action of squeezing the rim is customizable for different functions or controlling Siri.
System updates have brought new features such as conversation boost, Siri notification announcements, and integration with Apple’s Find My app. They are even capable of assessing how well the fit is in your ear.
It is worth noting that there are better options for working out, and at a price of $249.00, these are the more expensive for wireless earbuds.
These are a good investment for iPhone users who want to combine sound quality with convenience or upgrade from the original AirPods.
6. Philips Hue Bluetooth Smart Lightstrip Plus Two-Meter Base Kit
Strip lighting is a quick and easy way to add some extra light to your environment.
The Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus is an excellent example of such a product.
Using LED lighting, it can last for 25,000 hours and 50,000 on/off cycles. It emits 1,600 lumens, which is more than enough under most circumstances. With 16 million colors available, you have plenty of choices.
The light strip measures 80 inches (2 meters) long, 0.57 inches wide, and 0.22 inches tall. A six-inch cord is located at the end which connects to a control module. Both the strip and the module adhesive backing allow you to mount it on almost any surface.
The module then has a seven-foot cable to the power adaptor, which unfortunately is large enough to even block off the power outlet below it.
The Lightstrip is easy to set up and install. You can stick it to any smooth, flat surface, the strip can bend around corners, and 40-inch extensions are even available if it’s not quite long enough.
At roughly 1-foot intervals there are designated lines where you can cut the strip if you want to make it shorter. These off-cuts can actually be reused using a special connector block, though only one comes block with the product as standard.
It’s perfect for use under kitchen counters, along stairways, or behind a desk – a great gift for a computer geek.
The Philips Hue Bluetooth app or the Hue app can then be used to control the light from your phone with ease. You can access a number of features from the app:
- Color temperature
- Wake/sleep routines
It can also be connected to Alexa or Google Assistant to enable voice control, and the responsiveness over Bluetooth is as quick as you could expect.
The Philips Hue Lightstrip plus is easy to use and very effective. Overall, at $79.99 it is a great purchase for someone who wants to add some light and color to their home.
7. Click and Grow Smart Garden 3
Growing herbs and vegetables at home is something that a lot of people would like to do, but few are actually able to. Different plants need all different types of conditions to grow properly, and some require a lot of care and maintenance.
Click and Grow is a company that has found a solution to this with its smart garden products.
The Smart Garden 3 is one of their smaller models. A pot that can fit pretty much anywhere in your home; on a coffee table, a window ledge, a shelf, or elsewhere. It provides the perfect conditions for you to grow up to three plants at once.
These are grown from special seed pods, which are like coffee pods, but made up of smart soil with seeds inside. All you need to do is click them into place, add water, and plug in the power supply. The rest takes care of itself.
Click and Grow sell over 75 different plant varieties, giving you plenty to choose from.
The Smart Garden 3 is available for $139.95 which includes three soil pods with basil seeds.
8. Apple MacBook Air 13-Inch
One of Apple’s most well know products, the MacBook, has had many different versions over the years.
The MacBook Air 13 is known for being a very lightweight, portable model. Despite this, it still packs a lot of power. It runs on Apple’s M1 processor which can run legacy apps, M1 optimized apps, and iOS apps.
Measuring 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.63 inches and weighing 2.8 pounds, it packs a lot of power into a very small computer.
The external design has not changed from the last model, but the inside, including the M1 chip, has been upgraded significantly. Battery life is also very impressive with Apple promising up to 15 hours of browsing the web, or 18 hours of video playback.
The screen has a resolution of 2560 x 1600, and is the same as the previous model, except now with the inclusion of P3 wide color gamut. This gives more true-to-life images and is usually only seen on Apple’s most expensive devices.
Memory options include 8GB and 16GB, and storage includes 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB. All storage options are solid-state drives, providing excellent speed while saving on space.
The MacBook Air starts at $999, which goes up if opting for increased memory/storage, or certain pre-installed software.
9. Ecobee Smart Thermostat
Finding smart gadgets for parents can always be a tough one. You want to find something useful, but also easy to understand.
Ecobee manufactures a number of products designed for the home. The Ecobee SmartThermostat is one made with comfort and convenience in mind.
It is capable of turning your HVAC system on or off based on the settings chosen, helping you to save energy and money.
The SmartThermostat has Alexa built-in and supports a number of features such as Alexa calling, messaging, or Drop-In. Google Assistant is unfortunately not built-in, but they can be paired, and they work very well together.
An update released in October 2021 also added support for Apple’s Siri. Just note that any Siri commands will need to go through another device such as a HomePod, rather than the SmartThermostat itself.
A SmartSensor comes included, which monitors both temperature and occupancy to help keep the temperature balanced. It can even learn your schedule and adapt accordingly.
All of these features are accessible through the app, and the level of control is extensive. For example, you can set the thermostat to make sure certain parts of your home are heated, but only if there are people in the room.
The Ecobee SmartThermostat is not the cheapest thermostat on the market, but it may well be the best. It starts at a price of $249.99, with optional extras such as the Ecobee SmartCamera or additional SmartSensors for increased functionality.
10. August Wi-Fi Smart Lock
August is a leading manufacturer of smart locks, this model is an excellent choice for anyone interested in increased security and convenience for their home.
The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is easy to install, and there is no need to remove your deadbolt. It is a versatile device, able to connect to Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit.
This model is 45% smaller than its predecessors at 2.8 inches in diameter and 1.8 inches in depth. Unfortunately, it does stick out a bit on your door but is still fairly small for such a device.
The August app provides installation instructions to guide you and can be done in about 10 minutes. As it has Wi-Fi built-in, no additional Connect modules are needed (as with older versions).
Wi-Fi is built-in, and using that rather than Bluetooth means it can be controlled from anywhere. A door sensor is included so you can receive notifications when something happens at your door, or if someone leaves and doesn’t close it, for example.
The Smart Lock can be programmed to automatically lock or unlock when you are leaving or approaching. Timers can also be set, so it will lock immediately, or anywhere up to 30 minutes without interaction.
One downside is the battery, which lasts three to six months. Having a better Wi-Fi connection helps the battery to last longer as the Smart Lock won’t be constantly trying to reconnect.
Luckily, even If the battery is completely dead you will still be able to open your door with your key the old-fashioned way.
It is available in silver or matte black and has a starting price of $229.99.
The Best of the Best Tech Gifts in 2021
All the products above are standout pieces of tech. Whether people are looking for comfort, luxury, or enjoyment, there is something for everyone.
With that being said, safety and security are paramount. The Shred Cube is a remarkable piece of kit with an affordable price tag, and one of the best tech gifts currently on the market.
If you have any business or personal needs that relate to permanent file deletion, click here to get in contact today.