The pandemic has slowed down our lives, but has barely been an obstacle to technological change. In our pick of the best consumer techs of 2021, we found plenty of breakthroughs.
Television of the year
Winner: TV LG OLED55A1 (17,000 R)
LG’s 2021 OLED lineup improved on its already impressive 2020 lineup, and the groundbreaking model was the first OLED TV for under R20,000, the 55-inch OLED55A1. At its price, it aggressively competes with rival units with much lower display specs. To sweeten the deal, users are getting three months of Apple TV + free to enjoy Apple’s 4K library.
Finalist: Hisense ULED 8K 75-inch TV (R50,000)
With four times the pixels of 4K, the Hisense 8K ULED TV is a fantastic option for sustaining your entertainment space. It features Dolby Vision for excellent color reproduction and AI scaling to make 4K content sharper. The built-in Android TV operating system is open to apps like Netflix, Showmax, and DStv Now.
Student of the Year Laptop
Winner: Asus VivoBook 15 OLED (from R14,000 in special from Evetech – generally R16,000)
For those who watch a lot of videos online, the VivoBook 15 OLED is the laptop to get. As the name suggests, the OLED display is one of the sharpest and most vivid displays on a laptop right now. It also comes with a fingerprint sensor for convenient login with Windows Hello. It houses the latest generation Intel processor and the battery easily lasts all day.
Finalist: Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (from R19,000)
Acer’s latest Chromebook is set to dethrone the VivoBook, but fails with limited software support. This laptop is for those who only use the Google Chrome and Android apps from the Google Play Store. Since the laptop is running a few apps, its battery life is fantastic and can take a user a whole day or more.
Tablet of the year:
Winner: Lenovo Tab P11 Pro (Coming out soon)
This tablet works hard and plays hard. The Lenovo Tab P11 Pro wins thanks to its fantastic display, quad-stereo speakers and fantastic battery life. It also has a few goodies in the box: a magnetically attached keyboard and a stylus with palm rejection. This made the tablet a versatile tool, running Word all day and streaming Xbox Game Pass games all night.
Finalist: iPad mini 6 (from 10,000 rand)
Is it a telephone? Is it a tablet? He’s in limbo at this point because he has 5G but can’t make or receive calls. However, it is Apple’s best performing “mini” style tablet with the A15 Bionic chipset, which is also featured in the iPhone 13 lineup.
Audio device of the year:
Winner: Sonos Beam 2 (R10,000)
The Sonos Beam (Gen 2) improves on last year’s winner’s game from the same company, with a second edition that supports Dolby Atmos, the new standard in surround sound. Custom designed for home theater, brings home theater surround sound technology, adding height channels, allowing sounds to be felt as coming from three dimensional objects. Equally effective for listening to music and radio, it also supports Alexa and Google Assistant, which means it can be controlled by voice, and is compatible with standard TV remotes.
Safety Technology of the Year:
Winner: Ring Doorbell Wired (1300 R)
Ring’s new smart doorbell offers a smart, easy-to-use technology security solution with a compact design. It connects to a user’s smartphone through the Ring app, including features like 1080p HD video with night vision; two-way conversation; and audio with noise cancellation. It offers a clear field of vision and the ability to see and speak with visitors at its doorstep, no matter where the owner is. Customizable motion zones allow specific zones that trigger alerts, and users of privacy zones do not wish to monitor.
Laptop of the year:
Winner: Fitbit Charge 5 (R4,000)
While not the flagship device in the Fitbit line, the Charge 5’s focus on overall well-being makes it a winner in a pandemic. It’s probably the first fitness device that tells you when it’s okay not to work out. It includes tools to track stress, heart health and sleep, such as Electrodermal Activity Sensor (EDA) for stress management, ECG assessments, atrial fibrillation detection (AFib), notifications heart rate high / low and more in-depth sleep information. Health measures include respiratory rate, change in skin temperature, and SpO2 or oxygen saturation.
Finalist: Huawei Watch 3 Pro (R8,000)
The Huawei Watch 3 Pro brings the smartwatch closer to the smartphone with eSIM functionality, which means that it can receive and make calls independent of a smartphone, and allows connectivity away from its smartphone. It has sensors to track heart rate and SpO2, coupled with smart software to enable sleep tracking and stress management. The five-day battery life with continuous tracking turned on takes it into Fitbit’s long-lasting realms.
Heard of the year:
Winner: Huawei FreeBuds 4i (1200 R)
The Huawei FreeBuds 4 is the perfect blend of price and high fidelity. It has 10 hours of continuous music playtime, which drops to 3 hours on a continuous voice call. It also features active noise cancellation and silicone ear tips to eliminate background noise.
Finalist: AirPods Max (11 300 R)
Apple’s premium on-ear headphones represent the epitome of luxury audible technology, with an expected high Apple price tag. It has spatial sound, which adjusts its surround sound to the way you adjust your head. It’s quite magical to hear someone in their left ear looking to the left, then come back to the center looking at the screen again.
Personal Tech of the Year:
Winner: Xiaomi Smart Toothbrush (R700)
The statistics relate to dental hygiene with the Xiaomi smart toothbrush, with statistics on the quality of brushing, the length of time they brush and whether they reach all the teeth. He also produces reports over time on how his dental hygiene journey is going.
Home Technology of the Year:
Winner: iRobot Roomba i7 + (15,000 rand)
The original name for robot vacuums is finally coming to South Africa, and the Roomba i7 + gives a good idea of ââwhy it tops the category. An automatic drain system makes it ideal for whole house cleaning, with a mapping system that personalizes it based on the unique design and contours of the house. A remote control device can be placed anywhere to create temporary and invisible virtual wall barriers, and it is ideal for navigating a variety of surfaces, such as rugs, ridges, and rug protectors.
Finalist: Hobot Legee 7 (R8,000)
At half the price, the Legee 7, described as a 4-in-1 mop, offers a mop and vacuum combination. It is distinguished by two capabilities: superb automatic mapping of the spaces to be cleaned, in several rooms, and seven specialized cleaning modes, when a gentle vacuuming is not enough. He lost due to difficulties with certain surfaces.