It’s that time of year again, when we dweebs and dorks curl up in our beds, while dreams of sweet gadgets dance through our heads. The forces that be have released more chips, screens, phones, and tablets for the Esquire Gadget Zone to narrow down before your holiday shopping. (Or a selfish upgrade. Hey, we’re not judging.) Boy, was 2022 a doozy. Sort of gone are the days where we’re stuck at home, but also sort of not. With some of the most aggressive competition between the tech bigwigs we’ve ever seen, some return to graces, and some dark horses, so where do you start? Well, Esquire’s nerd patrol has you covered with the best daily tech out there, and some of the weirdest and coolest inventions of the year.
But how did we select these stars of the gizmo world? Is there a rubric, a score system, perhaps a talent portion? Or is it all just arbitrary? The answer to all of those is yes. As long as a gadget was released or received a massive update after the 2021 Esquire Gadget Awards, we viewed it as a candidate. Then, we considered the gadget’s other features, including but not limited to: technical prowess, cost, accessibility, moxy, and that secret *it* factor as determined by a series of mystery judges. (It’s just us after a few drinks). Basically, I spent a few months playing with tech and having a blast. If anything was at the top of its class, we slapped an award on that bad boy.
Without any more rhyming or self-indulgence, we present this year’s top TVs phones, headphones, laptops—and of course, even the decorative lamps.
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Google Pixel Pro 7
Google really found its footing in the Pixel 6, making vast improvements and integrations, which marked a major push forward in the the smartphone world. While the Pixel 7 Pro isn’t as much of a leap as the 6 Pro was, it’s a perfect refinement to everything the 6 started. It doesn’t hurt that the Pro 7 is hands-down the best-looking smartphone on the market. The phone comes in three colors—including traditional black and white—but also one of the classiest-looking, mixed-material combos I’ve seen in the Horizon colorway. Not to mention, the Pixel 7 sports the Material You design system, which received a big upgrade that allows for far more customization. There’s also all of the Google mainstays, including Google Lens (featuring a fantastic telephoto lens, insane zooming capabilities, and a wonderful night photo mode), all in a beautiful Android 13 OS package. There’s never been a better time to break your Apple habits—especially if you’ve been thinking about taking the plunge.
Best Affordable Smartphone
Google Pixel 6a
The 6a has all the beauty that Google OS and a Google-built phone brings you, but for a cheaper cost than nearly any other smartphone on the market. The 6a has all the hit features from our phone of the year in 2021—Material You, built-in Google Lens, customizing options—all in a $400 package. A win-win for a good price in my book.
Best Innovative Smart Phone
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
Samsung’s latest foldable smartphone brings a new wave of design coolness into a stale world of lookalike screens… because it folds to fit within your palm. That’s why I got the Galaxy 4 Flip—not to use it as my main phone, but because I had a spare SIM card and thought, why not use it inside an awesome, smaller smartphone that’s as mighty as my iPhone? Even more, the experience with Galaxy Z Flip 4 has been mind-bogglingly seamless, and everything works even when it’s not fully folded or expanded. (I personally dig using it at the 120-degree angle). Some tech feats in Galaxy Z Flip 4, however, have indeed surprised me. I can capture selfies right from the vover screen, not to mention all the cool stuff you can do from the two-inch-sized screen when it’s folded.
Best Laser TV
AWOL Laser TV
TVs that aren’t TVs are the new TVs. Did you follow that? God knows I didn’t. Anyway! We all love TVs, but they really cramp our interior design prowess. That’s why there’s stuff like the Samsung Frame, or projector options. But few are as perfect as a laser TV. A laser TV fashions right under a screen to work as an extremely high-quality projector. AWOL makes one of the best. The AWOLl Laser TV is crisp, 4k, vibrant, and extremely light-proof. Style this with a retractable screen in front of a gallery wall and you have the perfect transformable TV room. Or maybe you want a massive 120-inch TV without the weight and room required for it. Again an AWOL laser TV is exactly what you need. Ditch your TV… by getting a TV.
Samsung M508 Streaming Monitor
Our new hybrid reality has caused a lot of us to make room, often where there is none, for desk space. Thankfully, Samsung created a stellar monitor that also works as a smart TV, saving space and making it a breeze to put together a desk or TV stand. The M508 also comes with a webcam, plus video-meeting softwares. The camera has a built-in cover, which attaches and removes on a magnet system. The M508 is also a serious testament to sleek desktop design, coming in a variety of colors, along with a phenomenal chord organization. It’s easily the prettiest and smartest monitor on the market right now.
Best 4K TV
I don’t know if it’s spokesperson Joel McHale’s sharp jawline and cool-guy charm, or just that these TVs always look like they’d cost double their ticket price, but Hisense has some of the best values on the market. The Hisense U8H has crystal-clear 4k with quantum dots, and a 120Hz refresh rate for remarkably smooth movement. The U8H is also equipped with my personal favorite smart TV OS, with Google TV—which is the easiest and smoothest experience out there. In addition to all this, the U8H has a game mode. Coupled with those 120Hx capabilities, your frame rate will absolutely be one of the fastest out there. Again: at under $1,000, this TV is beyond a great value.
Hisense PX1-PRO 4K UHD Triple-Laser
After upgrading from a portable projector that projects across a room (which, yes, is great and affordable), opting for the new hype in the projector world (in a 4K laser option) seemed worth a try. Now, I have the projector sit straight in front of my wall—which is space-saving, aesthetically pleasing, and a theater-like experience I never saw coming.
Apple 2022 M1 Max MacBook Pro
The MacBook Pro, for designers like me, was the holy grail. Then Apple went too far into its dance with a hot, broken, and semi-useless touch bar, no ports, and a whole lotta Apple last-gen nonsense. This year, Apple listened, learned, and crafted some of the best products for creatives (or anyone!) they’ve ever made. The new M1 silicon chips are fast, efficient, and effectively some of best most powerful chips on the market. It’s all coupled with a no bells, pure function design, with all the ports you’d ever need. I took the leap over to Microsoft for a few years, but the M1 Max is just too perfect for my needs. Yes, it forced my Microsoft hand to swap back.
Most Innovative Computer
Surface Studio 2 Plus
Microsoft’s Surface device first rose to fame as hybrid tablets, then to killer creative laptops. But the Studio combines the flexible functionality Surface is known for with a desktop. The new Studio 2 plus refines the line to a near-perfect iteration. The dual desktop and monitor is not only a beautiful powerhouse, but is expertly designed on a swivel—with some of the most sophisticated touchscreen elements in the tech world. The monitor moving on a swivel allows for nearly any viewing angle, in addition to making the Surface to a full drawing tablet for note-taking, photo-editing, designing, or whatever else you’d like to do. The Surface Studio 2 Plus is a masterclass in ergonomic and creative design.
Best Affordable Laptop
Surface Laptop Go 2
Think MacBook Air, but affordable. The Surface Laptop Go 2 is light, efficient, and even comes in a rad Forest Green. Not sold yet? I don’t know what else you need. The Laptop Go comes with a full HD camera, touchscreen with gestures, and one of the best-designed keyboards I’ve seen. While the laptop may not be the powerhouse of the industry, it’s more than capable for any basic computer needs. Plus, with the truly fantastic improvements of Windows 11, the OS is more accessible than ever. And with Xbox Cloud Gaming and Game Pass, even this sub-$600 dollar laptop can be a high-speed gaming machine. Apple better keep its eyes peeled, because the Surface line is giving them more than a run for its design-savvy laptops.
Best Hybrid Laptop
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold
I really wanted to hate this thing. Really. I did. But the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold is just too damn cool and convenient. It essentially works as a fully ergonomic tablet, laptop, monitor, and whatever else you want—that’s also able to fold into an extremely portable and lightweight touch screen. The ability to flip the screen from a typical landscape to a vertical is a huge help for design work and multitasking. Plus, the touch screen working as a note-taking and a drawing tablet makes this the right dual tablet laptop for just about anyone.
Apple 2022 12.9-inch iPad Pro
I mean, the iPad is still the best tablet out there. And iOS 16 only made it better. The iPad Pro isn’t only a replacement for a laptop, but it’s now a certified gaming device, organizational tool, and a genuine game changer for digital illustrators. As one of those illustrators myself, I can endorse how much this tech is a champion of the arts. It’s just a truly phenomenal experience, with some of the most accurate and ergonomic pencil controls out there. The iPad Pro is powerful, fast, pretty, and remarkably accessible, making for a near-perfect piece of tech.
Google Pixel Watch
I said it last year, and I’ll say it this year: Google Assistant is my best friend. Now, I can have it on my wrist at all times. What’s better than a wrist friend? Nothing, that’s what! In the Pixel Watch, the smartwatch game has never been so perfectly melded into one. It’s the perfect amount of Apple Watch, mixed with the perfect amount of Galaxy Watch. It’s simple, slick, and circular with an infinity edge. The band options also follow the lead of Google’s Pixel cases, which are made out of some of the coolest and most ergonomic material out there—all with some of the trendiest colors in the mobile screen market. Google has come a long way since thee Pixel, and it shows in one of the best ecosystems out there.
Best Software Improvement
Apple finally caved, bringing more customization features than I thought we’d see on an iPhone in our lifetimes. Apple found the balance between customization and micro-design management by creating refined customization options to stick within Apple’s intense design standards. For the first time, I feel like I have control over the look and feel of my phone—and a way to tell iPhones apart from each other.
Best Computer Accessory
Veikk Drawing Tablet 2200
The biggest fallacy is that drawing tablets are only used for artists. Sure, I am a designer. Yes, I illustrate. But do I sometimes use a drawing tablet to write, make spreadsheets, and respond to emails? Yes, all the time. There’s something comforting about using a pencil to break up the work day, plus the second screen is great. Now, you don’t have to buy a remarkably expensive model. While folks like Wacom have some of the nicest tablets on the market, for everyday use, there’s no need. Veikk created a truly excellent tablet that has a papery feel—and some of the most responsive pen controls I’ve seen in this price range. In tech, especially when trying new things in moderation is key, Veikk feels like luxury on a reasonable budget.
Best Bluetooth Speaker
Balmuda The Speaker
How? It’s what I always find myself asking the design team at Balmuda. First, its steam oven changed my life. Then Balmuda’s lantern made me feel safe and warm. Now, Balmuda created a truly unique and elegant bluetooth speaker. (Which is no easy feat in a remarkably oversaturated market.) The speaker looks like a futuristic spaceship power cell, yet has retro-elegant flair. Small glass tubes fit inside large class tubes, complete with a light show—all with some of the crispest, clearest sound quality I’ve heard.
Positive Grid Spark Mini
The Spark Mini is probably up for the cutest thing on this list. It’s a small amp that works as a bluetooth speaker, PA system, or guitar amp. Don’t let its truly adorable size fool you—this thing packs a massive punch in volume and quality, yet can be carried with one hand. Having an avid musician as a brother, and dabbling in tunes myself, carrying amps is a pain in the ass. So this thing is the perfect travel companion. Beyond all that, the Spark Mini is a damn good speaker, and a perfect bookshelf bluetooth speaker if you ever give up on your dreams.
Best Sound Bar
Bose Smart Soundbar 600
Bose easily made this year’s best sound bar. The sound tech behemoth mixed tech, functionality, and affordability into a near-perfect sound bar. The Bose Smart Soundbar 600 not only brings phenomenal sound to anything you stream on your TV—but also an easy-to-connect-to speaker hub for your home, so you can stream music, podcasts, or whatever else you need. Sound bars range from $50 to $10,000, but the Bose Smart Soundbar600 is the perfect blend of affordability and quality.
Best Music Maker
Unlike most products on this list, I chose a whole company here. Teenage Engineering is my absolute favorite company in the tech and invention space. Everything it does is refined, well designed, and a hell of a lot of fun. Teenage Engineering has some of the coolest synths on the market. Or take its living soundboards that have collaborated with the likes of Street Fighter, Mega Man, Rick and Morty, and so much more. Hell, Teenage Engineering even helped create designs and software for other winners here, in the Playdate and the Google Pixel. All new Pixels come with the Pixel Operator, which is a music-making app, and an instant design journey. Teenage Engineering is pushing the limit in creative fields, creating the most impressive products on the market—and are singular, standout inventors of the last decade.
Apple Airpod Pro (2nd Gen)
As much as I try to find competitors that are equal to or better than Apple, there’s still plenty of reasons why the company has a chokehold on the consumer tech world. The Airpod Pro (2nd gen) is one of those. They’re the perfect earbuds, they fit well, have phenomenal sound quality, and sport so many software features that I sometimes don’t even realize I’ve have them turned on. The Airpods Pro also feature some of the most impressive noise cancellation I’ve experienced in earbuds. In addition to all of this, the way the the Airpod Pro works with the Apple ecosystem is unimaginably smooth, with auto-switching devices, trackers, and a killer inline mic. There’s a reason the Airpod ignited this whole wireless earbud craze—and it’s nice to see Apple still leading the charge.
Jackson—a craftsman in the guitar world, now owned by powerhouse Fender—finally brought back a crowd-pleasing electric guitar this year. The Soloist, originally hit shelves (or stands) in 1984. Though there’s been a few reiterations and designs that laid dormant for years, the new Soloist feels great, plays great, and most importantly? It looks great. The Soloist is a terrific example of musical craftsmanship, which you can feel immediately upon picking this beauty up. There’s a reason people have been begging for this guitar’s return, and it’s clear Jackson waited to bring this fan-favorite back until they could get it just right.
Best Smart Oven
Wolf Gourmet Elite Digital Countertop Convection Oven
This thing has seven cooking modes. I didn’t even know you could have seven cooking modes. Needless to say, I needed the help of the Wolf Convection oven. It cooks everything faster, with modes that let you proof, warm, bake, broil, toast, and simply… bagel. (Everyone’s favorite.) Best of all, it has a built-in meat thermometer, allowing you to cook meat to a perfect temperature. It’s the perfect straightforward smart oven, sporting all the key features in a well-designed and high-quality package. With just enough bells and whistles, of course.
Best Smart Appliance
You know QR codes? Of course you do. QR codes were outdated, then a global pandemic let them stage a massive comeback just so your menus could never load. Well, Tovala actually came up with a way to bring scanning back in a far less asinine way, by literally cooking your meals for you. The Tovala bakes, steams, air fries, you name it. The Tovala works just as a six-in-one smart oven, but can also scan groceries and proceed to cook them perfectly. Plus, Tovala has a meal delivery service, where you can scan the meals that look absolutely delicious—and have them come out perfectly. It’s a wonderfully automated meal system that’s perfect for the busy. Or lazy.
Best Air Fryer
Crux Marshmello Collab
Air frying is the healthy way to eat less garbage. Or sometimes not. I don’t know! I’m a tech guy, not a nutritionist. Crux has been making fashionable, minimalistic kitchen gear for a while now, and we’ve been a big fan here at Esquire. So this year, when they teamed up with international pop sensation Marshmello to inject a little more creativity and color into an air fryer, it worked, for some reason. The result comes in black, white, and a purple the designer in me can best describe as lilac—and has splashes of color all over the front. Whether this is a goal to get Tik-Tac Zoomers to start air frying, or just because Marshmello’s head looks like an air fryer, it beats me. But what doesn’t stump me is how damn good cauliflower bites and chicken tenders taste after being cooked in this thing. Thank you, International Pop Sensation Marshmello, and welcome to my kitchen.
Best Cocktail Machine
Bev by Black and Decker
Don’t have that cocktail-making friend? Or do you, and just would rather they didn’t do the whole schtick? Either way, Bev will be that friend, but you know, quiet. The Bev cocktail maker uses pods like a Keurig, along with your own spirits to make a truly fantastic drink with zero effort. The Bev is part of the already established Bartesian system, meaning there’s already an expanse of cocktails for you to choose from. My personal favorite is the rum punch or the jalapeno shrub, but there’s also the seasonal witch’s heart or apple pie. It’s a great “serve yourself” party solution, or again, just a way to shut up the guy who keeps going on about how you don’t own any coup glasses.
Best Espresso Machine
DeLonghi Eletta Explore Espresso Machine
When it comes to at-home espresso machines, there are a lot of ways to go—but DeLonghi’s newest treat, the Eletta Explore, helps you go all out. Its own espresso beans (if you want to use your own, you can, of couse) are packed with flavor, then ground to perfection, and taste better than most espressos I pay for outside of the house. The machine can even make Americanos and Cappuccinos, all with the option to froth milk both hot and cold. Made with an exclusion cold milk frother, this means you can put your DeLonghi ice cubes inside of your DeLonghi mug, froth the milk over the ice, and the ice doesn’t melt. Genius.
Best Coffee Machine
Wolf Gourmet Programmable Coffee Maker System
Now, it may surprise you to learn that before I was Esquire’s resident nerd-in-chief and animator, I was a Starbucks Coffee Master and barista trainer. That’s right, I had one of those fancy black aprons. So when I talk about coffee, you can trust that (maybe) I remember something from many years ago. The Wolf Coffee Maker makes best pot of coffee I’ve had. It tastes like a fancier method like pour over, or french press, but all in a drip pot. The pot has a ton of customization features, which helps you make the perfect pot based on your preferences. The Wolf Gourmet Coffee pot includes one of the best systems in coffee tech I’ve seen called Accubrew. This mode weighs your grounds to work out the perfect pot of brew, using its double-walled stainless steel pot that stays hot for hours. The Wolf Coffee Maker is the perfect morning companion, which will serve up your first, second, and third cup of the day.
Best Pizza Oven
A wood fire pizza in your back yard. Do I need to sell you any more. The Gonzey looks great, cooks great, and was shockingly easy to use. So easy in fact my Irish blood was even able to crank out some great pizzas. I never wanted to become the home made pizza guy, but Gonzey made me the home made pizza guy. Proceed at your own risk.
Best Sparkling Water Maker
Aarke Carbinator 3
I have no more kitchen counter space to use for cooking. Between air fryers, smart ovens, coffee makers, and more, I no longer know where I’m supposed to slice and dice. So if I’m gonna give up that valuable New York counter space, I better have some eye candy. That’s where Aarke does me right. The Aarke Carbinator 3 is an easy-to-use water sparkler—like a soda stream, or anything else that would make your own at-home La Croix—but unlike anything else on the market, it’s beautiful. It’s thin, to the point, and comes in some of the most fashionable colors for kitchen accessories out there. My personal favorites are the Sand and Copper versions. The Aarke also walks the walk, making some of the crispiest, crisp water out there… without the damn can. Help save aluminum waste, people. And look good while doing it.
Logitech G Cloud Gaming Handheld Console
How many cloud handhelds do we need? From the Switch getting around console limitations, to Xbox Game Pass turning any device into one, or the Steam Deck, or Razor’s new announcement, surely we have enough. Well that’s what I thought. But the Logitech Cloud system showed me the way. You can stream nearly any game on this console, including Xbox Cloud Gaming, Steam Link, and more. It’s ergonomic, easy to hold, and works shockingly well, especially considering it’s all streaming-based. It’s also smaller than most of the other handhelds on the market, making it infinitely more accessible. And at just $350, this Logitech jam is a fairly affordable way to get access to a huge amount of games.
Best Mobile Accessory
Backbone One PlayStation
I could give you some narc statement about mobile phones being the most popular game console in the world—then get all the PC and console gamers in my Twitter DMs like usual—but stick with me here. The Backbone is the perfect accessory to turn your phone into a bonafide console. Now, with Xbox and PlayStation both allowing you to stream games straight to your phone, Backbone give you have hassle-free controls that feel natural with your gaming. It’s like making an impromptu Switch, that also happens to have 5G and your playstation games anywhere, at any time. The Backbone also has an extremely easy-to-use control customization system. It’s remarkably intuitive, meaning there’s very little setup to be done. The Backbone One is the perfect accessory for those who want play on the go, or feel like finally trying out cloud gaming.
Best Arcade Game
Arcade1Up NFL Blitz
Arcade1Up has reinvented the home arcade game, with new, affordable and lightweight arcade cabinets, making room for plenty of different models. Arcade1Up has Pac-Man, Mortal Kombat, Gauntlet, Simpsons, and now NFL Blitz. The NFL Blitz cabinet comes with three Blitz titles, all featuring four-player controls. Perhaps coolest of all, you can play Blitz online with other players—right from the cabinet. Blitz is an all-timer, too, but I don’t have to tell you that.
If the name itself does not prove my point, just look at this thing. It’s a blast. A Gameboy-shaped handheld in taxi-cab yellow, with an addictive crank on the side. Brought to us by a super group of fun makers in Teenage, bringing engineering behind the physical design, and Panic, the creators of the legendary Untitled Goose Game. The Playdate is an artistic expression of gaming, and one of the most refined handhelds I’ve ever played. It comes with 24 games as part of Season Onem but with an extremely fleshed out dev kit, more games are surely on the way. The buttons feel great, the crank is impossible to put down, and even without addictive and enthralling games, the engineering of this thing is worth the look alone.
Best Wireless Charger
What’s up, magnet heads? Welcome back to my bi-annual Magnet Zone column. Although we had to retire our old name, Mag Heads, we’re still here in force. If you’ve been following along, I’m just crazy about magnets. They can solve every tech problem, ever. So when Apple introduced its MagSafe tech, I was over the moon. Now, the best and prettiest wireless chargers out there are joining the magnet train—not just with MagSafe flat chargers, but also with a wonderful, ergonomic invention in the MAG:2. The MAG:2 has two MagSafe-compatible charging points: one that holds your phone screen up, and a second for Airpods, or whatever. It’s powerful, easy to use, and looks like the least-techy tech out there. Magnets are perfect, and so is the Courant MAG:2.
Best Smart Lamp
Loftie previously helped me kick my bedtime phone habits, with the best and prettiest alarm clock out there. Now, Loftie is expanding to lamps. Besides looking remarkably slick and minimalistic, the lamps also work with Loftie’s system. Creating relaxing atmospheric light for both bedtime and waking up, with a gradual light-up sequence that mimics sunlight. There’s even a reading mode. Loftie also teamed up with diffuser-winner Vitruvi Stone for some truly relaxing immersive atmosphere to help you wind down, relax, and kick the midnight doom-scrolling. As someone who is notoriously terrible at falling asleep, I was shocked by how much the loft system remedied that.
As a tech head, we get a bad name for being stinky, basement-dwelling nerds. Vitruvi will at least get rid of the stank part, in style. The Vitruvi Stone diffuser is gorgeous, comes in a massive variety of colors, and best of all, it infuses a room with some of the best-smelling oils out there. Vitruvi also teamed up with the Loftie alarm clock and lamp system to create a full room-relaxing experience. Vitruvi Stone is the perfect gadget… to get away from your other gadgets.
Letterfolk Modern Cuckoo Clock
Growing up, I loved anything with little moving parts and pieces—so my grandparents’ cuckoo clock was a favorite. It was like a Disney World ride in a living room. The problem is, until now, they all looked like they belonged in my grandma’s house. Letterhouse created a modern take on the cuckoo clock, with changeable pieces and birds to flip the color based on the season, using my personal favorite: magnets. It’s a sweet and special piece of decor, and perfect gift or addition to any office or kitchen.
Best Air Conditioning
MRCOOL Mini Split DIY 4th Gen
This year was hot. Like, really hot. Everywhere. I’ll spare you the doom and gloom that we’re hearing constantly, and instead tell you how to cool down. For anyone, anywhere, a Mini Split is almost always the most affordable climate control system for those who need to install one. Unlike most Mini Splits, this bad boy is nearly entirely DIY, save for an electrician—because we really shouldn’t play with electricity. The Mini Split system is smooth, hidden, and allows both heating and cooling to have centralized climate control without building ducts and breaking into your walls. With the summers hitting harder and lasting longer, the MRCOOL Mini Split is the best and easiest way to efficiently climate-control your abode.
Best Standing Desk
Flexispot Pro Plus E7
Standing desks are a gimmick, that a thought was a gimmick, until I used one. Turns out, standing to do work actually helps with lumbar pain, and get juices flowing. My biggest issues with standing desks have always been wobble and design. Both worries have been swiftly cast away with the Flexispot. The E7 has a massive range of customization options, from desktop and material, to leg color and so much more—making sure the desk fits right into any office decor. It’s sturdy, looks great, and will help you close your fitness rings.
Dyson V15 Detect Absolute
I’ve tried a lot of Dyson vacuums—nearly all of them—and I can confirm its latest innovation, the V15 Detect Absolute, was made to impress. Yes, it has the smooth motion and easy maneuvering the brand is famous for. But its newest tech features, like the laser illumination and HEPA filtration, take it to the next level. You can spot dirt with the green light on your hardwood floor, and its two advanced cleaner heads pick up every last microscopic piece of dirt or hair. Trust me, it’s the only machine in my house that makes me want to clean.
Best Fun Light
Gingko Smart Moon Lamp
One of the most gravity-defyingly-cool gadgets out there is the Smart Moon Lamp. The M.O. is simple: Align the 3-D-printed moon over the magnetic base center so it’ll levitate steadily and spin slowly; then, you can turn it on so the base transmits the power of light to the lamp. Of course, you may question its relevance to you and me. But after sleeping peacefully through dimmed, starless nights, to a moon glowing an ethereal white-yellow light right by my bed, this miracle lamp made me realize the importance of having cool tech that is purely vibey as hell.
Terraflame Lloyd Fireplace
This smokeless heater makes me want a dirty-as-the-G-line-subway martini, a robe, and a cigar, while I read some pretentious-ass book. The Terraflame Lloyd Fireplace hits that mid-century, ’70s cross-design style that’s so popular nowadays, coming in colors that range from a loud mint to a subtle gray. The fireplace itself produces no smoke, meaning you can have it in your apartment—even though I’m sure it breaks several building violations. To be clear: Esquire is in no way condoning you screw with your building code in the name of style. But if you were going to, this would definitely be (close to!) worth it.
Best Smart Security
Level Lock +
Get this, you can unlock this smart lock with your finger. Now that’s a game-changer. As a champion grocery carrier, I often only have a finger free, and bam I can get in. As if feeling like Batman entering the Batcave wasn’t enough, this lock also works with your phone, and keys, and isn’t a damn eyesore. You can’t even tell its a smart lock—the best tech is hidden tech, if you ask me. The lock perfectly blends tech and analog locks to create a door that works for any preference. It’s the only smart lock I’ve seen that won’t lock you out if your phone dies, or you forget a code, or god forbid the power goes out and the batter dies. The Level lock is hands down the best invention we’ve seen in home security tech this year.
Best Home Cardio
Peloton made a rower. It kicks ass. That’s all you really need to know. But this being an awards list and all, I’m sure you want more. Fine. I love rowing, I think it’s one of the better full-body workouts, and it’s sort of like a healthy amusement park ride. Peloton took a crack at it, and made one with the same design savviness and attention to detail that helped its bikes take over the world. You can take classes, free row, customize it however you like, and burn those sweet, sweet calories. And no Sex in the City characters have had a heart attack on it. Yet.
Best Wearable Tech
Oura Gen 3 Horizon
I love fitness tracking, but I hate fitness watches. I mean, no offense to those of you that do. I just hate screens on my wrist. The Oura Ring solved that problem by allowing state-of-the-art health tracking, just from one finger. No screen, no distractions. Plus, with the new Horizon model, the ring has never been thinner or more modest. The Oura tracks everything you’d need, plus it’s the only truly viable sleep tracker I’ve tried. The Oura is easily the most comfortable, advanced and slickest way I’ve found to track your health.
Brompton Electric P Line
E-bikes have become all the rage. The Brompton Electric P Line is absolutely a high-end e-bike, both in power and in style. The bike has four speeds, up to a 45-mile range, and can fully charge in four hours. (Or two hours if you purchase the speed charger.) The bike folds into an extremely transportable size, and weights just 27 pounds. Brompton is so stylish that it has a whole collaboration with fashion icon Barbour, including bags that snap right into the front, jackets, and so much more. Feel free to grab a reflective coat from the Barbour collaboration for some fashionable nighttime protection.
Best Micro E bike
JackRabbit Micro E Bike
E-bikes can be a hassle. Sure, they’ve gotten smaller, but for most of us who live in a glorified closet, where’s it supposed to go? The JackRabbit can fit nearly anywhere—and I mean it. The JackRabbit folds from its already compact build. Don’t let the small size fool you: this thing still kicks electronic motorized ass. It hits speeds up to 25 miles per hours, reaches a 10-plus-mile range, all in a tiny and portable package.