From MacBook Pro Notch to Steam Deck, 2021’s Most Surprising Gadgets and Features


The technology is generally fun, although it becomes increasingly difficult for companies to surprise their customers, especially when a flurry of leaks covers all aspects of a new product before it launches. However, there are always a few surprises in store when there is very little product information available before launch. Also this year we saw a handful of products and features that came as a total surprise. Here are the biggest technological surprises in 2021.

MacBook Pro notch

The arrival of the new MacBook Pro was still on the cards, but little was known about the notch display. It was hard to ignore, and everyone had a point of view to share. Some opinions were too strong, reminding us of when Apple first introduced the notch on the iPhone X in 2017. Hate aside, the notch is a brilliant idea. Apple has cleverly avoided the big edges and extended the display upwards, which creates space to accommodate a 1080p webcam and a True Tone sensor. Second, this thing hardly makes a difference in how you consume content on the XDR screen. In fact, you get more visible space than before.

The Xperia Pro-1 is a premium smartphone for camera enthusiasts. (Image credit: Sony)

Sony Xperia Pro-1

The Xperia Pro-1 was a total surprise, a phone that combines Sony’s Alpha mirrorless technology with its high-end Xperia smartphones. Sony has had a tough time in the smartphone market, so seeing the Xperia Pro-1 was a real treat for the fans. The Pro-1 feels different from other camera-centric smartphones and a lot to do with the large 1-inch camera sensor paired with built-in video and photo apps. With the Xperia Pro-1, Sony has taken a different path and its prowess in the field of imaging gives leverage to the Japanese giant. But at $ 1,800, the Xperia Pro-1 is aimed directly at the professional market and content creators, a sign that Sony is no longer interested in competing with Apple and Samsung in the consumer smartphone market.

Apple MacBook Pro 2021, Metroid dread switch, Sony Xperia Pro-1, PS5, steam deck, best of 2021 The Steam Deck, a portable game console, will be available in February 2022. (Image credit: Valve)

Steam bridge

While Steam Deck will officially hit store shelves early next year, its launch was nothing short of a surprise. The so-called ‘Nintendo Switch’ of PC gaming, Valve’s Switch Deck is arguably the best portable gaming device for playing AAA games. What makes Steam Deck so appealing in the first place is that you can run any Steam game in your library on the $ 400 device which can be used in both portable and docked mode. It doesn’t appear to be a half-baked product and has a large display in the middle, tactile buttons, analog sticks, and other buttons on the sides. If the Switch exemplifies Nintendo’s walled garden approach, the Steam Deck kind of breaks it. Although the two devices are fundamentally different in their approach, except that both are gaming machines.

Metroid Dread is one of the most publicized games of 2021. (Image credit: Nintendo)

Terror Metroid

Metroid Dread was the biggest surprise of the year, possibly the best game Nintendo has to offer. Nintendo dropped the announcement at E3 2021, and the tech world was taken aback by the news of the game’s launch on Switch just before the holidays. The first 2D Metroid game in 19 years, Metroid Dread has many unique gameplay elements the series is known for while adding completely new mechanics. With strong artistic design, visuals and excellent audio design, the story of Samus Aran continues. No wonder Metroid Dread is TIME magazine’s game of the year.

Faceplates work on both standard PS5 and PS5 digital editions. (Image credit: Sony)

Sony makes official cases for the PS5

Sony doesn’t want third-party vendors selling custom faceplates for its PlayStation 5, so it makes its own. To be available from January 2022 in five color options (only the red and black options will launch at first, Sony says these facades for the PlayStation 5 are “easy to use” and simply snap into place where it fits. The previous ones were white. Priced at $ 55 apiece. The announcement came after Sony entered a legal battle with a custom-box seller Dbrand for selling the fronts of the PS5. A patent filed by Sony for Exchangeable PS5 plates have been leaked on the Internet, hinting that the company may soon launch the PS5 faceplate replacement covers.


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