There are literally tens of thousands of tech gadgets released every year. Some are great, some you’ve heard of, some are just ‘meh’, and the vast majority are forgettable. Fortunately, I get to try a lot of gadgets. That’s what I do. Of all the devices I’ve tried in the last couple of years, a few stand out and a few others I use every week. Here’s a quick note on some of my favorite tech things of the roaring 2020s:

One of the coolest gadgets I’ve seen this year is great for anyone creating video content. The Pivo Pod is a small device that’s about the size of a cup holder. It holds a smartphone where you can record yourself with a camera. Here’s the thing though: it keeps your face on camera, no matter where you move. Locking in on a face, the Pivo follows it everywhere it goes. Dance across the floor, and the Pivo keeps you from moving out of the shot. It’s like you’ve got your own cameraman, even zooming in and out as you move. It can follow animals too. Good for real estate agents, creators, and anyone who records Instagram or TikTok videos. Pivo apps have special effects as well to make videos stand out. Like this one that’ll turn heads on TikTok.

Vinyl records are not only in again, they’re outselling CDs and even music from iTunes. And if someone has old records they want to hear again, they’ll need a turntable to spin those stacks of wax. Audio Technica makes quality and affordable turntables. There are also some statement pieces like the House of Marley Stir It Up Bluetooth turntable that connects to wireless speakers and the computer.

I hardly ever cook without using a Sous Vide precision cooker. Once reserved only for steak houses, these cook by circulating water at a precise temperature around the meat. You can’t over or undercook. Set steaks at 131 degrees and after an hour they’re 131 degrees throughout. Impossible to cook a bad piece of beef, fish, chicken, and many other things. I even do creme brulee sous vide. Anova precision cookers are some of the best kitchen gadgets on the market today.

I’m a firm believer that music fans cannot have too many Bluetooth speakers. It’s nice to have one in every room when you want to listen to a favorite song, album, or playlist. You won’t go wrong with any Bose, Sony, or JBL speakers but one of the loudest Bluetooth speakers I’ve tried this year is the Soundcore Mini-Rav speaker. I picked this one up at the start of summer for listening outside and for tailgate parties. It’s very loud and has some of the best bass I’ve heard in a portable speaker. It’s huge (nothing mini about it) and it has cool lights that flash as the music plays. The battery lasts a very long time and it’s water resistant if they take it to the pool or lake.

And office space doesn’t have to be boring. Nanoleaf and Govee make lighting panels to dress up any wall. The panels change colors and can be controlled with apps. Nanoleaf makes these cool hexagon panels, and these lights are called “lines”. They’ll even dance to music, and match the colors of video games someone’s playing on the computer. By the way, if there’s a gamer on your list, they know all about the Nanoleaf Panels and have seen them on videos by other gamers.