CES offers us a yearly opportunity to see a diverse set of products and services from companies all around the world. The show's scale makes it impossible to see everything, and even tougher to digest it all when watching from afar. And even though we couldn't be on the ground this year (indeed, we were all watching from afar), there's still plenty to talk about from this year's show.
Here are all the winners of our Best of CES 2021 awards!
Best of CES 2021
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Charge it all.
While CES 2021 was the big debut for all sores of MagSafe and MagSafe-adjacent goodies, from alternative chargers to multi-device stands, there's still room for more traditional Qi charging. This includes products like Anker's PowerWave Go, which will be the perfect solution for many people looking to charge their iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods without having three different plugs to manage. The Powerwave Go has a dedicated Apple Watch charger on top, with room below for your AirPods to sit right next to your iPhone as all three charge in a compact, sleek stand that customers will be able to get their hands on in March.
Get a grip.
In recent years, one of the best additions for gamers on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV has been support for game controllers from Microsoft and Sony. This year's CES saw the launch of a new grip (and several other gaming accessories) that'll make using an Xbox controller with your device even easier. Otterbox's Easy Grip Controller Shell encases everything except the face of your controller, offering easy access to your essential controls while its sweat-wicking, anti-microbial material keeps your controller not only protected from drops but clean, too.
A perfect desk charger.
Belkin may have already launched its 3-in-1 BOOSTCHARGE PRO, but it's by no means done with MagSafe. Going for something a little more compact, the BOOSTCHARGE PRO 2-in-1 features a MagSafe connector that floats your iPhone over its base, which has another wireless charging pad that's perfect for your AirPods or AirPods Pro case to charge. There isn't an Apple Watch charger, but the BOOSTCHARGE PRO 2-in-1 is the perfect wireless charger for your desk, taking up minimal space on the desk itself, and is a great workday companion to keep your devices charged.
Noise-canceling for less.
Belkin had more than just MagSafe up its sleeve at CES this year. There were also the SOUNDFORM Freedom truly wireless earbuds. Like many others, these in-ear buds feature several hours of music playback, which is augmented by the included charging case, which itself can charge using any standard Qi pad. But importantly, the SOUNDFORM feature active noise cancelation to keep the noise of the world out of your ears. Most interestingly, at least for us, is these earbuds are the first third-party product to adopt support for Apple's Find My app, meaning that, if lost, you can find these earbuds just as you could find an iPad, Apple Watch, or AirPods.
Keep it up.
The Sonix Powerstation is actually a kit that includes a MagSafe-like wireless charger and an adjustable metal stand to hold up your iPhone. The charger-stand combo, which comes in multiple excellent colors, including graphite, gold, silver, and blue, is a great way to keep your iPhone in quick reach while you're charging it on your desk. Because it's MagSafe-compatible, you can orient your iPhone in multiple ways on the stand while charging. The charger itself can be separated from the stand if you just want to lay your iPhone down while you charge it.
iPad as desktop.
For those of us who are serious about using the iPad as our primary computer, the Kensington StudioDock seems to be the perfect product. Once connected to your iPad Pro (or iPad Air 4) through the included USB-C port, you can use the StudioDock's three USB-A ports, HDMI port, SD Card reader, Ethernet jack, or 3.5mm headphone jack directly with your iPad. The base of the dock also has wireless charging pads that can charge your iPhone and AirPods, while an addition to the USB-C connect on the StudioDock gives you an Apple Watch charger. The stand also rotates so you can use your iPad in portrait and landscape orientation.
Control over the outdoors.
It wasn't a big year of HomeKit at CES, but Lutron's new outdoor HomeKit-compatible plug is worth mentioning. Lutron has long been one of the most reliable companies when it comes to HomeKit gadgets, and this plug for your outdoor lights and appliances is bound to be the same. The plug is built to stand up to all sorts of inclement weather over a long period of time and is perfect for everything from automating lights to controlling landscaping features like sprinklers.
Feel the thunder.
This one's a bit interesting for the Mac fans out there. Anker has introduced the latest member of its PowerExpand line of docks. This one is a 5-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 dock. Thunderbolt 4, like Thunderbolt 3, can transfer data at up to 40Gbps, but the latest generation of the protocol can sustain that over more channels. Since nothing really has Thunderbolt 4 support right now, including any Macs, it's good that this dock is compatible with Thunderbolt 3, too. It's powerful enough to run on an 8K display at 30Hz, or two 4K displays at 60Hz.
This one gets a 'finally.'
These are products many have been waiting for. PopSocket has finally announced a line of MagSafe-compatible accessories, including the PopSocket Grip, which brings the familiar PopSocket into the MagSafe age, as you might expect. There's also the PopWallet+, a MagSafe-compatible wallet the just sticks right to the back of your device or case. You'll also be able to get your hands on the Pop Slide Grip and the PopSocket Slide, two grips that are meant to be attached to cases through mechanisms other than magnets.
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Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.