This past year has made working from home the new normal, and many of us are now either working from home permanently, or adapting to a hybrid model of working where we spend some days working from home, and other days working from the office.
This has meant that getting the best technology to help you work from home has never been more important, and the TechRadar Work From Home Awards have been created to celebrate the very best in home working gadgets and apps.
Our team of experts have been carefully testing and evaluating all of the entries, and we’re now pleased to announce the winners of the TechRadar Work From Home Awards 2021 below:
Einova by Eggtronic Power Bar
The Apple MFi-certified, multi-device wireless Power Bar from Einova is exactly what your home office has been waiting for – especially if your desk has become a cable graveyard and you’re looking to declutter.
It’s an all-in-one power bank that charges up to four devices simultaneously with Apple MFi, USB-IF certification and 53W total output. You can charge your iPhone, AirPods and an Apple Watch thanks to the three wireless charging spots — two 7.5W high-speed Qi Apple Fast Wireless Charging spots plus one 5W magnetic wireless charging spot designed for your Apple Watch.
Each 7.5W Qi spot has its own dedicated LED light, which activates when the spot is charging a device. Radically simple design with versatility and portability: the Power Bar makes staying on top of your digital life a breeze while working from home and on the go.
LG Gram 17
Unveiled at CES 2021 and launched to the UK public in February, the LG Gram series of laptops have won numerous awards this year thanks to industry-leading portability and performance, including a TechRadar Recommends award, with 10 awards in total and counting.
The LG gram is available in three sizes (14-inch, 16-inch and 17-inch) with the new models continuing the brand’s legacy of go-anywhere computing convenience as ultra-light and ultra-portable laptops.
Boasting exceptional and nimble performance and long battery life, the laptops feature stylish new designs for a premium, sophisticated look whilst meeting the heaviest demands of our data-rich, 24/7 connected world. The 2021 LG Gram range feature 16:10 screens, designed for maximising work efficiency.
The keyboard and touchpad have also been enlarged for faster, easier typing without compromising the portability of these compact devices – features include extra big and flat keycaps for seamless typing to reduce typos, and enhanced key pitch stroke from 1.5mm to 1.65mm helping to relive fatigue in your hands.
An all-in-one power button allows users to power their gram and login at once, for extra ease of use and speed. Thunderbolt 4 lets you enjoy dual 4K and single 8K display connection to only one Thunderbolt port with stability, scalability and security.
Providing a big-screen experience without sacrificing portability, the flagship LG Gram 17 boasts a large 17-inch screen while only weighing 1.35kg (2.98lbs), allowing consumers to enjoy better productivity while travelling. Thanks to LG’s ultra-narrow bezels and a hidden hinge design, the laptops achieve an impressive screen-to-body ratio (STBR) of 90%.
LG UltraFine IPS monitor 32UN880-B
The LG UltraFine 32UN880-B monitor is the perfect companion for work productivity. As an LG UltraFine display, all the details are mastered with unparalleled detail and powerful performance on offer for users looking to view their content in luminous display, perfect for those specialising in content creation, or photo or video editing.
This monitor comes with P3 (the standard of colour gamut) support with 500 nits, offering sustained high brightness in any ambient lighting conditions, helping users to demonstrate their ideas powerfully.
The higher resolution means more than just a better-quality image – with DCI-P3 and HDR10, the LG UltraFine Ergo provides peerlessly sharp and vibrant displays to allow users to appreciate their work down to the smallest detail.
The 31.5-inch 4K IPS display delivers a comfortable viewing experience by reducing colour shift from different vantage points.
Samsung Smart Monitor
The Samsung Smart Monitor launched in November 2020 as the world’s first do-it-all screen, designed for users who are working, learning and staying entertained while at home.
Whilst Samsung’s Smart Monitor incorporates powerful mobile and PC connectivity, as well as remote home office and learning features, it also provides users with Samsung’s Smart Hub for when the work is done.
Similar to Samsung’s built-in Smart TV platform, Smart Hub allows the display to be used as a complete entertainment hub so that consumers can stream their favourite content, including Netflix, HBO and YouTube, via the monitor’s app store.
For home office and learning, the display operates Microsoft Office 365 applications without a PC connection thanks to embedded Wi-Fi, allowing users to view, edit and save documents in the cloud directly from the monitor.
Remote Access also allows users to wirelessly and remotely access files from a PC or view content from a laptop whether it is situated elsewhere in the house or at the office. The USB Type-C port allows for data, display and power — up to 65W — with just a single connection, keeping the area around the monitor clean and beautiful.
The Samsung Smart Monitor provides numerous connectivity options for both PCs and smartphones. Users can connect their personal mobile devices with just a simple tap using Tap View,1 App Casting or Apple AirPlay 2.
For a complete desktop experience using a mobile device, users can also connect to the monitor with Samsung DeX.
The Samsung Smart Monitor also features technology designed to make viewing more comfortable. Adaptive Picture optimises picture quality for any viewing environment by automatically adjusting brightness and colour temperature in response to room conditions. This ensures the most comfortable viewing experience in any environment, reducing eye strain even after extended use. The monitor also features a special eye-saver mode to reduce blue light.
BT Hybrid Connect / Unbreakable WiFi
BT’s Hybrid Connect is the UK’s first unbreakable home broadband backed up by EE, the UK’s best mobile network, redefining broadband reliability in a time where a strong and fast connection is more important than ever.
BT’s Hybrid Connect works to reinforce the always-on promise, working with your Smart Hub 2. If your broadband ever goes down, it automatically connects you to EE’s 4G network, without you needing to lift a finger or lose focus during important workstation tasks.
So, even if there’s a fault with your fibre broadband connection (e.g., due to a damaged phone line, a fault at the cabinet or poor weather), it can keep all your workstation devices connected to the internet.
When the broadband connection is restored, it will automatically defer back to the fixed connection, minimising any interruption to internet use.
Hybrid Connect offers a truly unbreakable connection, perfect for uninterrupted video calls and endless streaming and works alongside BT Complete WiFi, so whether connected to a broadband network of the EE network, customers will continue to receive a signal at their workstations, even in those hard-to-reach places in the home.
With BT’s Hybrid Connect, customers have the reassurance of an always-on connection, meaning that they never need to worry about dropping off important work calls, missing out on virtual university lectures, not being able to send or receive emails or being unable to progress with their to-do lists ever again because of a lost internet connection.
Productivity remains high and unwanted Wi-Fi related distractions are gone. And it’s not all work and no play. When the working day is over and it’s time to wind down, the device continues to power your home entertainment needs, delivering the best possible streaming and gaming experience to your workstation thanks to an uninterrupted and unbreakable connection.
Working straight out of the box, not only is Hybrid Connect always-on, it’s also perfect when switching to BT, providing instant connectivity for new customers, while they wait for their fixed line broadband to be activated.
Epos H3 headset
Despite being aimed at gamers, the Epos H3 headset is also an excellent choice for people looking to keep in contact with colleagues while working from home.
The Epos H3 closed acoustic headset delivers an immersive game audio experience with multi-platform plug and play ease of use. A microphone with a flexible lift-to-mute boom arm delivers clear audio in meetings and during games.
A stainless steel slider in the headband with length indicators provides easy adjustment and hinged ear cups angle to fit any face shape for long wearing comfort.
The length indicators and click stops on the slider allow the user to easily find and remember their most comfortable fit. The new design also features hinged ear cups that angle to fit any face shape.
OWC Envoy Pro FX
The first portable SSDs on the market?were one small step?in mobile storage?advancement, often with limited capacity, speeds, and reliability.
However, the Envoy Pro FX is one giant leap. This portable SSD provides out-of-this-world performance and is the first of its kind universal Thunderbolt drive to work via USB-C and USB-A.?
This lets you plug it into yesterday’s and today’s Thunderbolt?and USB-equipped?Macs and?PCs. However, it’s also impressively future-proof, allowing you to plug it into tomorrow’s Thunderbolt 4?and USB4?machines.
You can even plug?it?into iPad Pro, Chromebook, and Surface devices, and you’ll never?have to worry?about your external drive interface or compatibility.
Iris Flow Headphones
Iris Flow sets a new standard for personal audio, as these are the first headphones to feature IRIS technology that dramatically improves sound quality while simultaneously activating your brain, to help you Find Your Flow.
Iris’ 25 years of research and development into the experience of audio have led to creating a solution to poor sound quality, enabling the world to now ‘listen well’.
Its patented technology makes the brain more actively participate in the act of listening, which when used in an at home working environment, increases levels of engagement and focus, and facilitates effective communication.
The Iris Flow headphones are a game-changer in work-from-home technology, transforming digital audio listening and communication into a truly immersive experience.
Featuring impressive features such as 37-hours of battery life, best in market 40mm Beryllium drivers and Qualcomm cVc technology with dual microphones for optimised phone calls, Iris has engineered a headphone without compromise.
But what differentiates the Iris Flow Headphones from any other is the technology within. At the heart of the product is a patented algorithm that reintroduces the spatial components of sound normally lost in any digital format, including music streaming, YouTube, or video conference calls.
This spatial component of sound is how we have evolved to hear. It’s what makes us feel the emotion of sound at a live concert and allows us to connect with colleagues, friends and loved ones when we are deep in conversation in a live environment.
For the first time ever, we can now experience that emotive, live sound experience when listening through digital channels, and it’s this scientifically-proven feature that truly stands these headphones apart and allows us to work more effectively at home.
Other features include: USB-C charging, 3.5mm connector, sound isolating foam padding with rich protein leather, patented acoustic chamber, ergonomic aluminium chassis and a frequency response of 5Hz-25,000Hz.
Released in November 2020, OpenComm is the first bone conduction stereo Bluetooth headset from AfterShokz and is designed specifically for efficient communication in the workplace, whether the user’s office is a desk at home, a job site, or a driving cabin.
This headset leverages AfterShokz’s award-winning and proprietary open-ear design reimagined for a different kind of consumer: the work from home professional.
Patented bone conduction technology delivers premium sound while leaving ears open, helping users stay connected to and aware of their surroundings. By eliminating the physical in-ear sound barrier that has always been present with traditional headsets, professionals can more easily collaborate with their peers, hear their children and deliveries at the door, and remain actively engaged within their workflow or work duties wherever work is being done.
Features like an adjustable noise-cancelling boom microphone and 16 hours of talk time and a 5-minute Quick Charge that provides two hours of talk time ensure clear communication.
Additionally, a lightweight titanium wraparound frame and open-ear design make OpenComm ideal for comfortable, all-day wear. OpenComm also features a multifunction button for accessible controls and NFC Pairing (Near Field Communication), which provides those with NFC-compatible devices with an easy way to connect their headsets.
Extra benefits of the headset include an IP55 water-resistant rating and Bluetooth 5.0. This means that users can take a conference call or participate in a webinar while working from their home office, the kitchen, or even while on a neighbourhood walk with ease.
However, the most unique feature of the OpenComm headset is undoubtedly the patented 7th generation bone conduction technology, with the adjustable DSP noise-cancelling boom microphone coming in at a close second.
The signature open-ear design and patented bone conduction technology deliver unrivalled situational awareness, while PremiumPitch 2.0+ Stereo Sound provides high-quality audio.
The adjustable boom mic helps to eliminate background noise for clear communication in loud environments, making it the perfect productivity partner for working from home or working while on the go. These design elements and features allow OpenComm to stand out in the headset industry as an option that pairs comfort with communication in a way the market hasn’t seen before.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G
Navigating through working from home life can be challenging, so maintaining connections and keeping in touch with both colleagues and loved ones is vital, whilst also staying productive and keeping on track of daily tasks.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G is a category-defining smartphone providing an unrivalled mobile experience for those who enjoy being on the cutting-edge of technology.
Scoring 4 out of-5 stars in TechRadar’s review, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 was described as “the world’s most cutting-edge phone” at launch. Building on its longstanding legacy of Galaxy leadership, Samsung once again pushes the boundaries of mobile innovation and engineering, offering unparalleled versatility for everyday life.
Users can communicate in an instant thanks to ultra-fast full 5G band compatibility, while the 4,500mAh battery and Super-Fast Charging means users can do more without worrying about battery life.
From staying connected to loved ones to keeping work colleagues in the loop, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 is not only a communication driver, but a way of staying on top of daily tasks.
Users can enjoy a versatile device experience, whether the device is open or closed. The 6.2-inch Infinity-O Cover Screen provides maximum usability so users can check emails, look up directions, or even watch content without unfolding the device. When unfolded, the cinematic 7.6-inch Main Screen, with minimized bezels and notch-less Front Camera, immerses users with a 120Hz adaptable refresh rate, perfect for video calls
You can also enjoy seamless multitasking, whilst staying connected to those that matter the most. The intuitive UX ensures apps can transition effortlessly between the smaller and larger displays, with optimised App Interactions supporting the flow.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
Scoring an incredible 4.5 out of 5 stars and Recommended Award in TechRadar’s review, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is a next-generation companion for managing routines, smashing fitness goals, and holistically tracking health and wellness. TechRadar has also named it “The best Smartwatch for those on Android”.
From running, to HIIT, to yoga, Galaxy Watch 3 provides Samsung’s most comprehensive suite of health features yet, where TechRadar’s review praised the “strong fitness features” encompassing a wide range of lifestyles and preferences, all monitored via Samsung Health.
For users that have adapted to home-workouts, they can access a full-service fitness studio from the comfort of the living room with Samsung Health, which features a library of more than 120 different video workouts.
For avid runners that hit the pavement at lunchtime to break up their WFH daily routine, the standalone running analysis offers real-time feedback during runs as well as six-factor post-workout reports, which help improve form and boost performance.
To track cardio progress, VO2 max readings analyses offers insight into oxygen uptake, monitoring oxygen flow to muscles to track progress.
What’s more, the Blood Oxygen (SpO2) feature measures and tracks oxygen saturation over time, and the Watch 3 can also measure blood pressure and electrocardiogram tracking via the Samsung Health Monitor app, providing users with deeper insight into health to make more informed decisions about their overall wellness.
Because recovery is just as important as the exercise, Samsung has been developing its sleep management offering since it was first introduced back in 2014. Now, Galaxy Watch3 offers brand new sleep score and insights so you can track your sleep and get familiar with your pattern.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 4G also encourages users step out into the fresh air to get their steps up, without being tethered to their phone. On the daily morning walk, pay for coffee in a tap via Samsung Pay, check schedules on the move and even message friends – no phone necessary.
The holistic health suite is underpinned by a timeless design inspired by a luxury timepiece, built with premium materials and Samsung’s signature rotating bezel, an exclusive feature to Samsung smartwatches which gives it the edge vs competitors, making it one of the most efficient ways to navigate features.
The watch grade steel with a strap crafted from quality leather offers a sophisticated yet classic style, comfortable enough to wear at all times, whether that’s during an action-packed workout or whilst clearing the mind at a yoga session.
Power Plate mini+ Massage Gun
Compact but solidly built, the Power Plate Mini+ is a portable massage gun that has real kick when you need it, but can also loosen tight muscles more gently than a full-sized version.
It will give hours of use on a single charge, and is ideal for keeping in your gym bag for post-workout massage, or at your desk to loosen tight muscles while working. It’s beginner-friendly too, with an excellent set of instructional videos available in the Power Plate mobile app, and a very reasonable price tag.
It’s the best massage gun we’ve tested to date at TechRadar, and it’s ideal for people working from home who may be feeling the stresses and strains of working all day at a desk.
Smeg Drip Filter Coffee Machine
The Smeg Drip Filter Coffee Machine features Smeg’s iconic retro-inspired design, and is available in a variety of colors. It’s designed to produce large quantities of filter coffee in one go, and a hot plate means you can keep the coffee warm for up to 40 minutes after brewing.
There’s a timer function, so you can load in the ground coffee, add water, and select the time you want the machine to start brewing your coffee. You can also choose between a delicate or an intense aroma from your coffee, depending on how you like it.
It did a very good job of keeping coffee warm for up to 40 minutes, while its stylish design also adds to its appeal and earns it a place among our best coffee makers.
Arlo Essential Video Doorbell Wire-free
The Arlo Essential Video Doorbell has been developed with security and efficiency for consumers at its heart. Over 70% of burglars enter the home through the front door, making it an area that requires additional security.
Yet many people admit to not taking action to protect this vulnerable part of their property. Often because the products available are unsightly, poor quality and hard to install which can eat into people’s precious time.
The Arlo Essential Video Doorbell can help keep your front door secure 24/7 whilst being quick and easy to use. It is 100% wireless, making it super easy for consumers to install, while its compact rechargeable battery lasts up to six months meaning consumers can save even time by not having to constantly recharge the battery.
The Arlo Essential Video Doorbell is also a faster way to answer your door. The only doorbell to directly video call your mobile when it’s pressed, so you don’t need to wait for an app to open – a simple swipe will let you speak to whoever had just rung the door bell.
That means you can direct delivery drivers or let visitors know you’ll be home soon – even if you aren’t at home, saving you time.
And, if you spot an intruder, you can trigger one of the built-in security features such as the siren to scare them away. The widest viewing angle and unique square video capture means you can see visitors from head to toe.
The video is captured in clear 1080p resolution which means key details including the face and clothes of visitors can easily be recognised, even at night. For efficiency, this video is streamed directly to the homeowner’s mobile phone via the highly rated Arlo app ensuring they can keep an eye on who is arriving at their homes, even if they are away.
LG UltraWide Ergo 34WN780-B
The LG UltraWide Ergo 34WN780-B is a welcome innovation for anyone who spends a significant amount of time at their desk. The enhanced flexibility of the Ergo stand offers expanded ergonomic adjustment with movements including extend, retract, swivel, pivot, height and tilt.
Users can ensure the monitor perfectly follows their eye level for a more comfortable and sustainable experience, helping employees now working from home to ensure they’re not risking their long-term health with poor monitor positioning and desk set-up.
Promoting good posture, each individual user can create a perfectly customised work station. The compact design takes up very little desk surface, not only contributing to an easier installation but helping users achieve a clutter-free environment that offers a mess-free work station to boost mindful productivity.
Wiser by Drayton
Many people have been working from home in some capacity since March 2020 and despite trying to adapt the home, and it’s proved a challenge to create a productive and energy efficient workspace. In fact, a OnePoll survey by heating experts Drayton found that half of those polled wanted to improve their abode after six months of working from home.
The innovative Wiser multi-room smart heating system gives users complete control of their heating and hot water via an intuitive app. You no longer have to heat the whole house all day and have the ability to only heat the rooms in use, such as the home office, to create a comfortable working environment, while reducing energy usage significantly.
Designed by trusted British heating experts Drayton, Wiser allows you to create up to 16 individual heating zones, so you can set different room temperatures and heating schedules throughout your home to suit everyone’s work schedule.
For those returning to work in the office on a part-time basis, the option to tweak schedules in just a few simple steps provides added convenience. Wiser is also Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatible, making the system ideal for those looking to embrace smart technology now they are spending increasingly more time at home.
Not only does having the ability to control the room temperature make the working from home more comfortable, it makes the home more sustainable and saves energy – making it a great long term investment.
Wiser works alongside the existing heating system with no need to alter pipework or valves, making it easy to fit as a standalone project or during a boiler service. Wiser is suitable for use with combi and conventional heating systems, with kits available to control heating only or heating and hot water.
Fuelling Your Day
Samsung Family Hub
From keeping your food fresh to shopping for your groceries, tracking food expiry dates and providing recipes based on what you have in the fridge, the Samsung Family Hub is critical in helping you manage your time throughout the day, making working from home easier than ever.
Family Hub enables people to easily share life’s important moments with one another and – through the use of the SmartThings App – control more of the connected devices within their smart home centrally.
The latest version of Family Hub can help to fuel your day with its simple, sophisticated, and modern technology, complete with features that allow you to organise your food supplies in line with your fridge’s contents.
In response to years of consumer insights with Family Hub, the next generation delivers innovative features that users want the most: cameras inside the refrigerator and improved, thoughtful meal planning and recipe suggestions tailored to personal preferences.
As well as helping you to fuel your day, The Family Hub also enables people to share a greater variety of media and entertainment and brings a new level of control to the connected home. To make sharing even easier, Family Hub has the SmartView feature, which mirrors content from connected Samsung TVs and Samsung mobile devices.
With portrait mode, users can enjoy vertical smartphone videos, as well as their favourite social media content on the full screen of Family Hub. With almost half a dozen options available, members of the household can continue to enjoy music from their favourite music streaming apps even in the kitchen.
The work from home setting that became a new reality last year shifted the perception of privacy protection and online security.
Individuals and companies were quick to realize that the new setting does not offer office-level security of their networks and devices, thus were quick to turn to VPNs as an easy and effective solution.
National lockdowns boosted the VPN market and Surfshark was at the forefront among premium VPN providers.
Last year the company announced an initiative to support freelancers and small businesses that had to move to work from home with free VPN subscriptions.
The initiative that lasted for over a week proved the demand for such security solutions, as hundreds of applications from small business owners for 6-month free VPN services were approved, and most of these companies extended their subscriptions after the period ended.
In addition, the analysis of the increase in Surfshark VPN usage during the lockdowns showed an over 30% spike in demand for server resources that has not decreased and continues to grow to this day.
Working from home has showed how important it is to have a reliable and seamlessly manageable cybersecurity solution such as a VPN to protect yourself and the data you are working with when having no office IT infrastructure to cover these needs.