Expert Reviews Tech Product of the Year Awards 2021
It’s been another extraordinary year for the Expert Reviews team. By this point, our roommates and family members are intimately familiar both with the countless products we test, and the rigorous methods we’ve developed to test them from home. The patience they exhibit as we unplug the router or rewire the doorbell for the umpteenth time is nothing short of saint-like, and we’re all incredibly grateful.
We might not have seen the inside of our Labs in what feels like a lifetime, but you can rest assured that we’ve never been busier. We know how difficult it can be to navigate the virtual corridors of online tech retailers, and that’s why we’ve been working harder than ever to provide you with unbiased reviews and valuable buying advice.
In fact, we’ve been so busy this year that we decided to split our Product of the Year awards in two. This page is dedicated to technology: from smartphones to security cameras, webcams to wireless earbuds, what you’ll find below is a celebration of our favourite devices and gadgets of 2021.
We’ve selected a winner and a runner-up across 26 different tech-related categories, and then crowned an overall Product of the Year that we feel marks a turning point for the industry.
Welcome to the Expert Reviews Tech Product of the Year Awards 2021.
Tech Product of the Year | Winner
Samsung’s latest attempt at a folding phone finally clears the major hurdles and makes the most significant breakthrough in smartphone technology in quite some time. The Galaxy Z Flip3 5G is a fantastic phone in its own right, with a specs list that will leave the competition green with envy. But it isn’t the Snapdragon 888 or the twin rear cameras that earns the Z Flip this award: it’s the fact that Samsung has managed to substantially improve the formula and create a functional folding phone with a price tag that doesn’t defy all reason. For the first time in a while, we’re genuinely excited to see what the future holds for the smartphone industry.
Tech Products of the Year 2021
Soundbar of the Year
Winner | Samsung HW-Q800A | £699
The Samsung HW-Q800A is the ultimate soundbar and wireless subwoofer combination. The 3.1.2 channel system offers an impressive range of connection options, supports both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X and is smart, too, with Amazon Alexa built into the bar. Sound quality is excellent no matter what you’re watching or listening to, with mids and treble articulated with oodles of detail and the subwoofer packing a real punch. Owners of certain Samsung TVs will benefit from extra features, but regardless of the television you own, the HW-Q800A delivers a truly immersive audio experience in a relatively petite package.
Highly commended | Creative Stage V2 | £100
If you’re in search of a budget 2.1 soundbar, look no further than the Creative Stage V2. Its audio performance belies its meagre price and the new Dialog and Surround modes both work flawlessly, amplifying speech and widening the soundstage respectively. Connectivity is top-notch, with HDMI, optical, USB-C and 3.5mm ports complemented by support for wireless streaming via Bluetooth. And thanks to the compact nature of the bar and its sleek black aesthetic, the V2 fits nicely into just about any living room setup.
Bluetooth Speaker of the Year
Winner | Sonos Roam | £179
No Bluetooth speaker is perfect, but the Sonos Roam comes pretty close. It sounds phenomenal for its size and manages to squeeze a great deal into its diminutive frame. Although primarily a portable Bluetooth speaker designed for use outdoors, the Roam can be hooked up to a Wi-Fi network and integrated into an existing Sonos multiroom speaker system. There’s support for Apple AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect, while voice controls can be executed via either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. It’s waterproof and drop-proof, too, meaning this brilliant device is capable of working its Bluetooth magic in all conditions.
Highly commended | JBL Charge 5 | £159
The JBL Charge 5 may not have quite the same repertoire of streaming skills as the Sonos Roam, but it has twice the battery life and doubles up as a power bank to charge other devices. Those are compelling characteristics for a speaker that’s rugged enough to withstand just about anything you throw at it. The Charge 5 puts out some serious sound, too: it will fill a reasonably sized room with well-balanced audio, and its bass reproduction is muscular for a compact, portable device. It can even be linked to other PartyBoost-enabled JBL speakers for an even more impactful audio experience.
Smart Speaker of the Year
Winner | Google Nest Audio | £89
It was a long time coming, but this update to the Google Home smart speaker proved well worth the wait. The Nest Audio offers all the smart functionality you’d expect from a fully fledged Google Assistant device, but this time around there’s a greater focus on sound quality and aesthetic appeal. Covered head to toe in recycled fabric, the Nest Audio is a step up from its predecessor in terms of looks, and new speaker drivers deliver 75% more volume and 50% more bass. The result is a vastly superior sonic experience and that, combined with effective voice recognition and a very reasonable asking price, makes the Nest Audio our favourite smart speaker of the year.
Highly commended | Audio Pro G10 | £230
Giving the Google Nest Audio a run for its money is the G10 smart speaker from Swedish manufacturer Audio Pro. The G10 is the company’s first stab at a Google Assistant speaker and provides streaming substance along with a generous helping of Scandinavian style. Built-in Chromecast, Apple AirPlay 2 support and Bluetooth cover various audio streaming bases, and Google Assistant works consistently well unless you’re blasting out music at full volume. The icing on the cake is a sound signature that’s expressive and engaging even when the speaker is pushed to its limits.
Premium Headphones of the Year
Winner | Sennheiser HD 560S | £169
The Sennheiser HD 560S are a fabulous example of open-back headphones, a style that may be niche but is unmatched in its ability to reproduce audio that’s faithful to the original source material. The HD 560S’s frequency response is incredibly flat and the result is natural, uncoloured sound. Instrument separation is first rate, the soundstage spacious and musical delivery beautifully poised. These are also some of the most comfortable over-ear headphones around. Soft velour padding on the earbuds and headband ensure they’re perfectly suited to the long listening sessions that their highly refined sound encourages.
Highly commended | Apple AirPods Max | £549
Apple’s debut pair of over-ear headphones are a resounding success, offering effective active noise cancellation, impressive sound quality and a comfortable fit. The AirPods Max play particularly nicely with other hardware in the Apple ecosystem: quick pairing, device switching and hands-free Siri activation are all present and correct, but it’s support for Apple’s 360-degree Spatial Audio that’s the big draw. This sees the AirPods Max track your head movements and “move” sound around the soundstage with pinpoint precision. Support for Spatial Audio is limited but the effect is stunning and helps elevate a very capable pair of headphones to another level.
Value Headphones of the Year
Winner | Beats Flex | £50
The Beats Flex refreshingly subvert the company’s reputation for producing premium headphones characterised by beefy bass. They’re the Apple subsidiary’s cheapest audio offering and articulate more detail than any other earphones in their price bracket. The Flex are a particularly great choice for Apple users, pairing seamlessly with iPads and iPhones and also supporting the company’s handy Audio Sharing feature. Battery life clocks in at a very respectable 12 hours; the earphones auto-pause when taken out; and a selection of eartips ensures finding a comfy fit is a breeze. All of that adds up to truly unbeatable value for money.
Highly commended | Anker Soundcore Life Q30 | £80
Noise-cancelling headphones used to cost a fortune, but nowadays you can pick up an excellent pair such as the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 for very reasonable money. The Life Q30 attenuate external sound more effectively than some of their more expensive rivals, and battery life is outstanding at up to 40 hours with ANC turned on. The default sound profile may be overly bassy but, with a trove of EQ presets and the option to create your own EQ in the companion app, audio can be tailored to suit just about any pair of ears. If you want over-ear ANC headphones and have less than £100 to spend, the Life Q30 can’t be beaten.
Wireless Earbuds of the Year
Winner | Sony WF-1000XM4 | £249
Sony’s WF-1000XM4 are the complete true wireless package and improve on their third-generation predecessors in every way. They feature a smaller, more ergonomic design, and the charging case is a lot less bulky too, although battery life is unaffected at 24 hours. Audio quality is nothing short of superb. Dynamic shifts are handled astoundingly well, bass is punchy and trebles sparkle across multiple genres. Noise cancellation is implemented in an extremely smart fashion, with the buds able to automatically adjust the ANC level based on where you are and what you’re doing. It’s ingenious and helps place the WF-1000XM4 at the top of a very competitive true wireless pile.
Highly commended | Bowers & Wilkins PI7 | £349
Bowers & Wilkins knows a thing or two about audio, and its first pair of true wireless earbuds are some of the best-sounding buds we’ve come across. The PI7’s hybrid driver setup results in a delightful balance across the frequency spectrum, with silky-smooth vocals complemented by rich, enveloping bass tones. These earbuds also innovate with a charging case capable of audio retransmission: plug the case into a non-Bluetooth audio source and you can stream audio directly to your earbuds. It’s a feature we’ve never seen before and one that opens up a whole host of new listening options.
Gaming Headset of the Year
Winner | Razer Barracuda X | £100
Razer’s Barracuda X headset manages to buck the trend by offering excellent value for money in a relatively nondescript package. Supremely comfortable and effortlessly straightforward to use, the Barracuda X pairs to just about any device you can imagine (excluding Xbox) via a USB-C receiver, producing a remarkable noise over an impressive 20-hour battery life. This is a headset you would feel comfortable wearing on the morning commute – simply remove the detachable boom mic and you’re left with a svelte pair of headphones. Truly an excellent all-rounder and deserving winner.
Highly commended | Corsair HS80 RGB | £140
If you’re after a high-end headset for console and PC, the Corsair HS80 RGB is without a doubt the cream of the crop. Pairing a premium design with a top-notch sound, the HS80 RGB is a capable gaming companion complete with Dolby Atmos surround-sound support and an excellent folding microphone. Yes, it demands a small premium, but this headset is worth every penny.
Premium Phone of the Year
Winner | Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G | From £949
It’s been a rocky road for folding phones, but Samsung has finally got the futuristic formula right with the Galaxy Z Flip3 5G. The company has worked hard to make the design more durable, with IPX8 waterproofing, an 80% more scratch-resistant inner screen and a robust hinge. Both of the screens are dazzling: the inner display offers a silky 120Hz refresh rate, while the outer AMOLED has plenty of room for notifications. Elsewhere, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 provides speed aplenty, gaming is smooth, and the cameras punch above their spec. The foldable future is now.
Highly commended | Apple iPhone 13 Pro | From £949
If you’re a “more is more” kind of person, the iPhone 13 Pro’s feast of features will appeal. It’s not the most dramatic of upgrades, but you’re still getting unrivalled performance from Apple’s A15 Bionic chipset, a 6.1in Super Retina XDR OLED display with a fluid 120Hz refresh rate, an exceptional main camera and video recording up to 4K at a fully stabilised 60fps. The sticking point is a price that’s a whisker under four figures for the 128GB model, but there’s more than enough here for Apple devotees looking to upgrade.
Value Phone of the Year
Winner | Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T | From £229
After a flagship phone but can’t stretch to flagship-sized amounts of dosh? Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 9T offers stunning features for its low price, including support for 5G. Its rapid MediaTek Dimensity 800U processor goes toe to toe with silicon in phones costing double the price, while the three cameras take intricate photos, and a respectable battery life of 18hrs 10mins will keep you connected for a whole day. The 6.53in FHD+ display won’t set the world on fire – nor will the plastic rear – but it’s difficult to grumble when you’re getting this much for the money.
Highly commended | OnePlus Nord 2 | From £399
Oddly, the OnePlus Nord 2 isn’t actually the second Nord but the fifth since the start of 2020. It’s far from being just another mid-range OnePlus phone, though: it contains a MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI chip that puts it leagues ahead of similarly priced rivals, and a 4,500mAh battery that produced an impressive result of 22hrs 26mins in our tests. You don’t get a microSD slot, an IP rating or wireless charging, but its 6.43in FHD+ AMOLED display is a thing to behold, the Gorilla Glass rear feels great and the cameras are well judged. It’s an excellent all-rounder.
Laptop of the Year
Winner | Apple MacBook Air (M1) | From £949
Apple’s move to its own M1 processor from Intel silicon at the end of 2020 was a bold one, but it couldn’t have gone better. Combining unbeatable battery life with competitive performance and a fanless design, the M1 Apple MacBook Air was the best laptop we’d seen for ages and it’s still the laptop to beat in its price bracket. And that’s not to mention the dazzlingly good display and slim, lightweight design that earns the MacBook Air its reputation (and its name). As our review rightly puts it: why buy anything else?
Highly commended | HP Pavilion 14 | From £549
The HP Pavilion 14 is our favourite budget laptop of 2021 and crams in an impressive roster of features for the money. Not only is performance from the Core i5 CPU impressive, but the laptop also comes with a sizeable SSD, a touchscreen, an impressive-sounding audio system and even a fingerprint reader for more convenient logging in. Oh, and as a bonus, it’s also slim and light.
Gaming Laptop of the Year
Winner | Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 | From £1,899
The Asus Strix Scar 15 is a gaming laptop par excellence, combining the brute force of AMD’s 5000-series CPUs with the very best in mobile gaming GPUs. It plays even the most demanding of games on its gorgeous 1440p, 165Hz display without breaking a sweat, reproducing stunning colours thanks to strong wide gamut coverage. With an LED light show that would be the envy of Blackpool illuminations and an ultra-precise optical-mechanical keyboard, it’s an absolute beast of a gaming laptop that’s also hugely enjoyable to use.
Highly commended | Lenovo Legion 5 | From £950
We called the Lenovo Legion 5 a “masterclass in mid-price gaming” when we reviewed it in August, and it remains our favourite gaming portable at under £1,500. For the money, it packs in superb gaming performance alongside an excellent 165Hz 1080p display and upscale design that edges it in front of its competitors. The Legion 5 is a superbly well-balanced machine for anyone who doesn’t want to spend thousands but wants to be able to game on the move.
Tablet of the Year
Winner | Apple iPad Pro (M1) | From £980
Soon after Apple debuted the M1 processor in its laptops, it updated its iPad Pro tablets with the same technology – and the result is the most powerful iPad we’ve ever used. There simply isn’t any Android-based tablet that gets close to the iPad’s potency, and the usability conferred on it by iPadOS and its broad selection of apps far outstrips the competition as well. The iPad Pro also has a stupendously good display this year, adopting microLED technology for a combination of peak brightness and deep black level response that even OLED displays can’t compete with. Whether you opt for the 12.9in model we reviewed or the smaller 11in version, rest assured that you’re getting the absolute best.
Highly commended | Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021) | £150
Amazon’s Fire tablets have been the best-value Android tablets on the market for a number of years, and this year is no different. For a mere £150, the Fire HD 10 is stupendously impressive, with a 10in 1200p IPS display, a minimum of 32GB of internal storage and a slimmer chassis than last year. Throw in Dolby Atmos support and extra RAM and the Fire HD 10 is better value than ever.
VPN of the Year
“Fast, friendly and secure.” That’s all you need to know about NordVPN, our current favourite VPN and category winner this year. NordVPN is an accessible and supremely speedy service that holds itself to unusually high standards, submitting to two independent audits in the past few years alone and promising to log absolutely none of the data it manages. It also performed superbly in our tests, producing incredible download speeds and providing access to overseas streaming services without breaking a sweat. Throw in a built-in ad and malware blocker and you’ve got a complete package that caters to just about anyone.
Highly commended | ExpressVPN | £4.94/mth
A long-standing favourite in the world of VPNs, ExpressVPN earns a commendation this year partially by being the absolute best way to enjoy streaming content from across the globe. It’s fast enough to stream the likes of Netflix in 4K with no fuss whatsoever, and with over 3,000 servers in 94 countries, it has a sensational network that also happens to be faultlessly secure. Like NordVPN, ExpressVPN undergoes independent audits and operates a strict no-logs policy.
Electric Scooter of the Year
The Pure Air is a luxurious electric scooter that was made for the unpredictable weather and terrain of Great Britain. It’s IP65-rated against water and dust, meaning it will shrug off a light shower, and the 10in pneumatic puncture-proof tyres make for a remarkably smooth ride whether you’re on a pavement or a dirt track. Then there’s the powerful 500W motor, ideal for steep inclines, and a companion app that lets you lock the motor if you need to step away for a moment. It even carries more than other e-scooters, with a maximum capacity of 120kg. But the best part about this superb all-rounder? The low price.
Highly commended | Carrera impel is-1 | £399
The Carrera impel is-1 is as thoughtfully designed as you’d expect from a well-established brand such as Halfords. Aside from the intelligent security features – including a built-in alarm system and cable lock – the impel is-1 earns our praise by nailing the little things. It’s speedy and comfortable to ride, and it’s also one of the few e-scooters to place the control panel within reach of your left hand, meaning you can adjust your speed on the go.
Satnav of the Year
Winner | TomTom Go Discover | £250
TomTom’s greatest satnav yet bears little resemblance to the sluggish, cheap-feeling satnavs of yore. The Go Discover has a crystal-clear display (available in 5in, 6in or 7in variants) with a suitably loud built-in speaker and a wonderfully simple user interface. The map itself is easy to read and highlights points of interest such as tourist attractions, shopping centres and – crucially – petrol stations, while giving you clear, concise aural directions. And best of all, it responds rapidly to your inputs. It’s a touch on the expensive side, but there really is no better argument in favour of satnavs over smartphones than the TomTom Go Discover.
Dashcam of the Year
Winner | Garmin Dashcam 47 | £130
This remarkably compact dashcam is a great all-rounder and a deserving category winner. Sporting a 2in screen for navigating menus and watching footage, the Garmin Dashcam 47 is user-friendly to a fault, with simple controls and a brilliant companion app should the diminutive size prove troublesome. The camera itself records footage at 1080p/30fps, with excellent shadow detail and better glare control than most competitors; footage can be uploaded instantly to the cloud, too, so in the event of an accident you can access it at a moment’s notice.
Highly commended | Thinkware Q800 Pro | £329
The Thinkware Q800 Pro is a discreet and straightforward dashcam. There’s no rear-mounted display here: instead, the Q800 Pro is controlled via the excellent Thinkware mobile app, where you can tweak settings and view the crisp 1440p footage (including a live feed). There’s more, too: this dashcam also doubles as a geo-locator for stolen cars and has distinct time-lapse and energy-saving modes that help distinguish it from the pack.
TV of the Year
Winner | LG C1 | From £1,099
LG’s C1 is a remarkable OLED that ticks every box for TV addicts, film fanatics and hardcore gamers alike. The panel benefits from all the inherent advantages of OLED technology, delivering awesome contrast, excellent shadow detail and bright, precise highlights. HDR performance is superb, colours are reproduced accurately, and viewing angles are pleasingly wide. Four HDMI 2.1 ports facilitate 4K resolution at 120Hz, Variable Refresh Rate and Auto Low Latency Mode, all of which are essential for next-gen gamers, while webOS remains one of the best smart platforms going. To seal the deal, the LG C1 is very competitively priced. For the money, you simply won’t find a better TV released this year.
Highly commended | Samsung QN90 | From £989
The QN90 is the first TV we’ve reviewed to make use of Mini LED technology. This allows it to pack in significantly more dimmable zones, and image quality is first-rate as a result. Peak brightness and colour accuracy are both impressive, while HDR performance is on a par with some more expensive OLED sets. An all-important HDMI 2.1 port and the inclusion of Samsung’s “Game Bar” make the QN90 a strong choice for gamers and, unlike OLEDs, it’s free of any danger of screen burn. It lacks the LG C1’s support for Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos C1, but otherwise pushes our TV of the year pretty close.
Monitor of the Year
Winner | Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 | £1,849
This is without a doubt the most astonishing monitor we’ve ever tested. The sheer size of the 49in curved panel alone left us at a loss for words – then we switched the thing on. This is the world’s first Mini LED monitor, which means eyeball-singeing brightness and jaw-dropping contrast. A whopping 2,048 local dimming zones work to produce the best HDR implementation of any monitor on the market today, and that’s not all; this 5,120 x 1,440 VA panel boasts a maximum refresh rate of 240Hz and a 2ms response time, making it an accomplished all-round gaming monitor to boot. To put it simply: nothing else comes close to the Samsung Odyssey Neo G9.
Highly commended | Philips 243B9H | £357
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Philips 243B9H quietly carves out a patch of undisputed territory for itself as the value monitor champion. In this new remote working world, the 243B9H’s versatile stand and built-in Windows Hello-compatible webcam (plus the all-important USB-C port) make it a borderline essential item. Package this strong feature set with a good-quality panel and a great price and it’s easy to see how the 243B9H earns its spot here.
Mesh Router of the Year
Winner | Netgear Orbi RBK752 | £450
Netgear’s eerily pretty Orbi mesh nodes certainly look the part, and the good news is, they have the performance to match. The RBK752 mesh kit excelled in our real-world tests, producing rock-solid wireless coverage throughout our home with minimal drop-off even as we wandered to the farthest corners. The companion app – used to control every aspect of the Orbi’s operations – is straightforward and clutter-free, with basic Amazon Alexa support so you can bark commands at your wi-fi when the mood takes you. With a minimalist approach to both design and connectivity, the Orbi was clearly built with simplicity in mind – but with performance like this, even broadband gluttons should take note.
Highly commended | TP-Link Deco X20 | £199
It’s not often that you encounter an affordable mesh wi-fi solution that performs well, but the TP-Link Deco X20 fits the bill. This little Wi-Fi 6 mesh system benefits from TP-Link’s excellent Tether app, where you can adjust the top-notch parental controls and baked-in antivirus suite. It’s a strong performer, too, delivering a strong enough signal to watch 4K videos in any room of our house when tested. The price tag is the cherry on top.
Router of the Year
Winner | Asus RT-AX82U | £177
“A brilliant all-rounder at a very tempting price.” That’s how we described the Asus RT-AX82U, and it’s not hard to see why: with remarkable test results and a host of useful built-in features, the RT-AX82U feels almost too good to be true. Performance proved strong enough to provide a good signal throughout our home, and better still, the RT-AX82U doesn’t skimp on the extras. There’s built-in VPN support, including the option to host a VPN server so you can access your home network from abroad, plus comprehensive parental controls and guest network functionality to boot. With these features, and that performance, at such a good price, the Asus RT-AX82U is a clear winner.
Highly commended | TP-Link Archer AX90 | £250
This unusual tri-band Wi-Fi 6 router claims a hard-fought second place in this category. Two 5GHz radios allow you to be uniquely picky about which devices get access to the Wi-Fi fast lane, while an impressive suite of built-in features and the option to expand the AX90 into a mesh system flesh out the package into something too tempting to ignore, particularly when you consider just how well it performed in our tests.
Wearable of the Year
Winner | Coros Pace 2 | £180
Sometimes the simple approach is best, and Coros’ mid-priced running watch epitomises this ideal. It’s a stunningly competent fitness wearable with all the core features you could reasonably expect for less than £200, and it’s incredibly lightweight and comfortable to wear. The Pace 2 is both responsive and easy to use, as well as having great battery life and impressive accuracy across heart-rate, GPS and power readings. It’s the best fitness watch you can buy at the price and an obvious choice for Wearable of the Year.
Highly commended | Garmin Enduro | £800
The Garmin Enduro delivers the best battery life we’ve ever seen in a fitness wearable and, despite its high price, it’s the watch to buy for sports people who value stamina above all else. It misses out on a couple of features compared with Garmin’s own Fenix watches, including onboard maps, but the flipside is that you can wear it for weeks on end, while using GPS regularly without needing to charge it.
Webcam of the Year
Winner | Anker PowerConf C300 | £120
It will set you back more than most webcams, but the Anker PowerConf C300 justifies its price with a banquet of useful artificial intelligence features. For instance, it automatically frames your face, following the movements of your head so you’re always at the centre of the screen. This worked brilliantly in our tests – as did the autofocus, which didn’t display any of the irritating wavering common in lesser cams. Most importantly, the PowerConf C300 broadcasts at a consistently sharp 1080p at up to 60fps, while offering rich audio and the ability to tweak the image via the desktop app.
Highly commended | Poly Studio P5 | £118
Poly is a stalwart of business videoconferencing so you’d expect the Studio P5 to live up to its high standards. Fortunately, it does, by nailing the basics: it delivers crisp 1080p video that remains balanced in good and low light, as well as a microphone that picks up voices without a lot of background buzz. You don’t get a vast number of extra features, but a physical privacy shutter will provide peace of mind and the software lets you fiddle with image parameters such as contrast, brightness and zoom. It’s an ideal companion when working from home.
External Storage of the Year
Winner | SanDisk Extreme Pro V2 | From £180
Sturdy, compact and phenomenally quick, the SanDisk Extreme Pro V2 is the perfect external SSD. It’s capable of sustaining file-transfer speeds of up to a remarkable 20Gbits/sec over the latest USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 standard, but even if your laptop or PC isn’t packing the most modern ports, you’ll still benefit from the Extreme Pro V2’s exceptional performance. You also stand to gain from its rubberised, waterproof external casing and five-year warranty, particularly if you’re an adventurous (or clumsy) sort. With every conceivable base covered, the Extreme Pro V2 is an easy recommendation.
Highly commended | Samsung T7 Touch | From £75
Our glowing review described the Samsung T7 Touch as “deliciously portable”; that’s because it weighs a mere 58g and is roughly the size of a business card holder. In spite of its size, it performed admirably in our tests, and manages to pack in a few thoughtful features to boot. These include a fingerprint scanner for rock-solid security and a pair of cables to cover all bases in the event that your device lacks USB-C.
Video Doorbell of the Year
Winner | Eufy Video Doorbell 2K | £179
Eufy’s Video Doorbell presses all the right buttons: it’s easy to install, has no ongoing costs, and captures up to 16GB of crisp 2K (or 2,560 x 1,920) footage of visitors. Once you’ve clipped it onto the door and connected the separate HomeBase to your router via Ethernet, you can use the app to speak to anyone at your front door and play a selection of canned messages such as “Excuse me, can I help you?” or one you’ve recorded yourself. Throw in a mammoth battery life of six months and you have one doozy of a doorbell.
Highly commended | Nest Doorbell | £180
Like the Eufy, the Nest Doorbell has a built-in battery to avoid the rigmarole of wires, no ongoing costs and a minimalist design. Its lens captures HDR footage at 960 x 1,280, and you get the usual option of either speaking to visitors via the app or playing a canned greeting. This was ultra-responsive in our tests, with little delay between our phone and the unit, and alerts usually arrived in less than five seconds. A nifty AI recognition system also detects pets, passing cars and even packages on your doorstep.
Home Security Camera of the Year
Winner | Eufy SoloCam E40 | £120
Many security cameras force you to pay a pretty penny for ongoing video storage, but not Eufy’s SoloCam E40: clips are added straight to the 8GB of onboard space for free. The camera is easy to install outdoors or indoors using the bracket; has a month-long battery life; and can withstand even the most inclement British weather. It performed superbly in our tests, recording 2K footage and generating notifications when needed. It even works well at night, although the images are slightly blurrier. This is a stunning camera for the price.
There’s a lot to like about the Nest Cam: it’s well built, can capture 1080p video at 30fps and has six infrared LEDs for night vision. However, it’s the object-detection system that sets it apart, differentiating between pets, cars and people with ease. You can then view the clips for free for three hours after the event. It put up a good show in our tests, with the colour footage at night being particularly impressive. It’s a quality camera that makes sense if you’re embedded in the Nest ecosystem.