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The Best Hot-Ticket Tech Gifts of 2021, From Laptops to Speakers

From tablets and headphones to laptops and watches, these tech gifts are up top when it comes to the most coveted electronics of 2021.
best tech gifts of 2021
Composite by VICE Staff

We’ve been told that the holidays are about merriment and togetherness, but it doesn’t take that hard of a look to see past the yuletide-palooza and discover that it’s all a not-so-subtle front for promoting our times’ latest and greatest tech. And frankly? That's fine. The rest of the year, it's hard for us to keep up, and frankly, it's time to upgrade from your ancient Bluetooth speaker, cracked-screen phone, and the earbuds you've been holding on to since they were passed out on your flight to Milwaukee in 2018. The new stuff is smarter, sleeker, and more packed with carefully curated features than ever before, in all realms of tech including home devices, sound bars, laptops, and gaming systems. 

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So pass the mashed potatoes and remind your family to hold off on giving you socks for the fourth year in a row: It’s 2021, baby. There are oddly necessary gadgets to splurge on and smart-home essentials to save on

From noise-canceling headphones to speakers worthy of the pros, we’ve created the Mother of All Tech Lists. Use it to guide your own quest for the greatest deals as you rifle through the holiday sales, or print out a few copies and hand them out to the people shopping for you. It’s your call. 

The Best Smart Home Devices of 2021

While it’s a little trippy turning our homes into living, breathing computers, smart home products let us dim the lights, turn on the fire Miguel track, and answer the door without lifting a finger—and frankly, that’s rad. Here are the hottest home tech products of the holiday season.

Google Nest

Ready to welcome a Netflix-playing robot into your home? The Google Nest Hub will tell you the weather, play music through your sound system, help you turn appliances on and off, and more. It's kind of like having your very own Alfred Pennyworth. (It’s also on sale right now.) 


$98.98$59.99 at Walmart

$98.98$59.99 at Walmart

Amazon Echo 

You’re committed to Alexa, it’s cool. The new 4th generation Echo is currently 40% off on its mothership realtor. If you’re looking for rich sound for your favorite tunes in addition to a smart home hub, this little orb’s got you covered. 


$49.99$19.99 at Amazon

$49.99$19.99 at Amazon
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Blink Video Doorbell

It’s like screening your calls, but for visitors. You can also take the 80 bucks you save on this smart doorbell and spend it on a 2019 Echo Show that will connect to your new digital doorman. 


$229.98$134.98 at Home Depot

$229.98$134.98 at Home Depot

The Best Headphones of 2021

Lots of the best speakers, headphones, and other audio electronics are still on sale thanks to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so add to cart on these spicy sound-blasting meatballs before they sell out.

AirPods Pro

Been putting off upgrading to AirPods from wired headphones because you're afraid you'll lose them? Your iPhone's OS will now tell you if you've left your AirPods behind at another location, meaning that the chances of you losing them at the coffee shop is almost zilch. Plus, they have incredible noise cancellation and transparency modes, and best-in-class sound quality. 

$249$179 at Amazon
$249$179 at Walmart
$249$179 at Amazon
$249$179 at Walmart

Sony’s WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Silencing the world truly is priceless. But if we must talk numbers, then there’s no better value than these noise-canceling headphones from Sony that are currently over 100 dollars off. 

$348 at Amazon
$349.99 at Best Buy
$348 at Amazon
$349.99 at Best Buy

Bose QuietComfort Headphones

On sale or full price, these bad boys from Bose are worth every penny. If you buy them during the current seasonal sale, though, that’s 5,000 extra pennies saved in your piggy bank. 

$329$279 at Amazon
$329$279 at Walmart
$329$279 at Amazon
$329$279 at Walmart

The Best Speakers and Audio Equipment of 2021

Still using that tiny, tinny Bluetooth speaker you got for free from the holiday raffle in 2016? Pal, no. Get thee some decent bass.

Bose Smart Soundbar 

Gifts don’t do you any good if they’re stuck at the North Pole. Which, judging by the dumpster fire that is the world's current supply chain, is a real threat this holiday season. This Bose smart sound bar may not be on sale, but it’s available for fast delivery, so you can confidently schedule a better-sounding movie marathon on Christmas morning. 


$449 at Amazon

$449 at Amazon
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Sonos Roam

Move over, crappy travel speaker you’ve had since college. It’s time for an upgrade. Invest in a Sonos Roam. It adapts its sound to fit your surroundings, plus, it’s waterproof. Now that’s a grown-up portable speaker. 


$179 at Sonos

$179 at Sonos

Kanto U4 Speakers

Alas, when I bought these speakers this summer, my tarot cards did not tell me that in only a few short months they’d be 40 dollars off. Learn from my mistakes and strike while the iron’s hot. These speakers have a built-in phono preamp, which makes them an ideal set for upgrading your turntable setup without actually having to learn what a preamp is and how to select one. 


$439.99$399.99 at Amazon

$439.99$399.99 at Amazon

Sony Bookshelf Speaker System

Normally, you’d be hard pressed to find this high-fidelity pair of bookshelf speakers for more than 70 bucks off, but as Taylor Swift says, ‘Tis the damn season. 


$169.99$88 at Amazon

$169.99$88 at Amazon

The Best TVs and Streaming Devices of 2021

With the amount of time we now spend pummeling our brains with Love Island and True Crime, doing it with seamless streaming and high-def screens is honestly quite worth it.

Samsung 4K Smart TVs 

If you’re a veteran Black Friday shopper, chances are you’ve witnessed hand-to-hand combat over a TV out on the front lines. B&H is doing its part to keep us all civilized by launching its deals online, like this 65-inch Samsung Smart TV. At 250 dollars off, it’s a deal worth throwing hands over. 


$1397$1097.99 at B&H

$1397$1097.99 at B&H
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TCL QLED Smart TVs

This Roku smart TV normally costs more than my monthly rent. In the spirit of the season, it’s now in the three-digit pricing. Go crazy. 


$1499.99$999 at Amazon

$1499.99$999 at Amazon

Roku Ultra 

Even with Black Friday prices, not all of us are in the market for a new TV. That doesn’t mean we’re excluded from a streaming glow-up, though. The Roku Ultra—which comes with 30 free days of HBO Max—is now 34% off on Amazon. 


$99.99$66.01 at Amazon

$99.99$66.01 at Amazon

Apple TV 

Calling all Apple devotees: The 2021 Apple TV 4K is here, ready to enhance the visuals of your existing setup and open the doors to the world of Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV+, and HBO Max. 


$197 at B&H

$197 at B&H

The Best Gamer Gifts of 2021

Yep—you know them already. But here’s the latest on the greatest from Nintendo, Xbox, and Oculus.

Nintendo Switch 

The elusive Nintendo Switch has been sold out for months, since it’s naturally at the top of everyone's holiday shopping list. The supply chain gods have pulled themselves together in preparation for Black Friday, though,  and now the coveted console is back in stock at Walmart. Godspeed, friends. 


$409.90 at Walmart

$409.90 at Walmart

Xbox Series S

Walmart’s Black Friday deal on the Xbox Series X is already out of stock, so you don’t want to sleep on the Series S. My advice? Shop this one before all the egg nog from holiday parties puts you out of commission. 


$881.50 at Walmart

$881.50 at Walmart

Oculus Quest 2

Ready to get all Ready Player One in your living room? Time to finally try out this world-bending VR headset. 


$299 at Amazon

$299 at Amazon
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The Best Laptops and Tablets of 2021

There’s nothing quite like getting a new laptop or tablet to make you realize how much better tech is getting year after year. Even an upgrade from a three-year-old model can make a huge difference, which is why it’s smart to shop for new computers while prices are low for holiday sales.

MacBook Pro

The new 13-inch MacBook Pro is still an investment. But Best Buy’s generous 500-dollar price drop makes the Apple powerhouse a little more attainable. 


$1799.99$1299.99 at Best Buy

$1799.99$1299.99 at Best Buy

MacBook Air

2020 was a No Good Year, but that doesn’t mean we have to shun the perfectly good MacBooks that were made during that bleak, bleak time. Thanks to B&H, you can snag this high-performing 13.3-inch MacBook Air for under a thousand bucks. 


$849 at B&H

$849 at B&H

HP Chromebook 

Educators and students who were thrown into the abyss of virtual learning have come to rely on the humble Chromebook—and for good reason.


$169 at Amazon

$169 at Amazon

Apple iPad Pro

Good luck finding the latest iPad at a discounted price any other time of the year. If you’ve been coveting this beauty, now’s your time to act. Its M1 chip sets it apart from the generation of iPads before it; now you can play console-level games and enjoy next-level graphics when you use your iPad for all your creative pursuits. 


$896.99 at Amazon

$896.99 at Amazon

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7

Using your holiday wishlist to fund your new work gadgets may sound lame, and it kinda is, but it’s less so when it comes to the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7. It’s designed for work, and gives you the performance of a PC all in tablet form. Right now, it’s yours for under $500 on Amazon. 


$649.99$499 at Amazon

$649.99$499 at Amazon
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Microsoft Surface Tablets

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly tablet that doesn’t skimp on storage, display, battery life, or graphics, let me introduce you to the Microsoft Surface Go 2. It’s also half the price of an iPad, all the live-long year. 


$227.99 at Walmart

$227.99 at Walmart

The Best Wearable Tech of 2021

Get those 10,000 steps in for sure. And better yet, don’t fumble around for your phone whenever you want to see what time it is.

Apple Watch Series 7

Apple Watch diehards will notice the upgrades on the Series 7: More screen area, more crack-resistant front-crystal, and a quicker charging time. Plus, when you buy an Apple Watch, you get three free months of Fitness+ - just enough time for you to set and discard your New Year’s resolution to be a healthier you. 


$379.99 at Amazon

$379.99 at Amazon

Fitbit Charge 5

Healthnuts, gather ‘round to track your pace and heart rate come January, when you're trying to work off all the candy cane Joe-Joes. The new Fitbit Charge 5 comes with stress management tools, which you hopefully won’t have to utilize as much in 2022. (It’s also marked down right now.)


$178.95$129.99 at Amazon

$178.95$129.99 at Amazon

Enjoy the upgrades, and may your smart devices be obedient and all your content be fire in 2022.