The 20 best gadgets of 2021 – The Guardian
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 £1,599, £799
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: ‘smooth, slick and even’.
Cutting-edge tech is often super-expensive, difficult to use and less than slick. Not so for Samsung’s latest folding screen phones. The Z Fold 3 tablet-phone hybrid and Z Flip 3 flip-phone reinventions are smooth, slick and even water-resistant, packing big screens in compact bodies. The Fold might be super-expensive still, but the Flip 3 costs about the same as a regular top smartphone, but is far, far more interesting. Samuel Gibbs
Fairphone 4 £499
Fairphone 4: ethically built.
Cutting-edge in a different way, the Fairphone 4 is proof that a good phone can be ethically made, built to last and be repaired at home with just a small screwdriver. This Android handset is a bit chunkier than an iPhone or Samsung, but has its own standout design, with user-replaceable battery and pop-in modules for things such as the screen and camera. It even has 5G now. SG
MacBook Air M1 £999
Apple MacBook Air M1: silent powerhouse.
Unlike the first iteration, it wasn’t pulled out of a manila envelope on stage, but ditching Intel for Apple’s first custom-designed M1 chip in the MacBook Air was no less game-changing. It turned the original “ultrabook” into a thin, light and silent powerhouse with battery life practically double everything else. The best consumer laptop by a country mile. SG
Sonos Roam £179
Plenty of party tricks: Sonos Roam.
Sonos’s first truly portable speaker showed that Bluetooth speakers don’t have to suck. The good-looking Roam has Bluetooth, wifi for when at home, a mic for Alexa or Google Assistant, a 10-hour battery, supports practically every music service under the sun and has plenty of party tricks. The best bit is the sound, blowing away anything of this size or weight, so it won’t end up collecting dust in a drawer. SG
Sony WF-1000XM4: sparkling sound.
They still have a terrible name, but Sony nailed it with its fourth-generation true wireless earbuds. They tick almost every box: top-class noise-cancelling, sparkling sound, long battery life, rock-solid Bluetooth, a much more compact case and, finally, a smaller, genuinely comfortable-to-wear design. Like most earbuds they’re sadly not repairable and you can’t replace the batteries, so some work left to do. SG
Nothing ear (1) earbuds £99
Nothing ear (1): a comfortable fit.
If you’ve been weighing up buying a pair of true wireless earbuds but can’t quite stomach the price of Apple’s AirPods Pro (£239), the Nothing ear (1) might just fit the bill. At £99, they’re at the more affordable end of the spectrum, complete with …….