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Monday, August 02, 2021

Five most underrated gadgets of 2020

From the Apple AirPods Max to the Microsoft Surface Duo, these are the most underrated gadgets of 2020.

Written by Anuj Bhatia | New Delhi |
Updated: December 31, 2020 7:35:10 am
AirPods Max, Apple AirPods Max, Xbox Series S, Apple Watch SE, Google Pixel 4a, Surface Duo, most underrated gadgets of 2020, underrated gadgetsThe AirPods Max headphones have been heavily trolled for their price. (Image credit: Apple)

In the crowded market for tech products, there’s a good chance that some may have been overlooked by consumers and trade pundits. This isn’t to say they aren’t excellent, or deserve less appreciation. But these gadgets are worth talking about — despite the fact that they didn’t get the mainstream attention they deserved. We thought these five gadgets fit the list.

Microsoft Surface Duo

It’s possibly the most underrated gadget of the year, partly due to the fact Microsoft is behind the Surface Duo and not Apple or Samsung. The dual-screen Surface Duo was never meant to be the “regular” device we know, despite that, some intentionally tried to compare it to the existing smartphones. With Duo, Microsoft tried to reimagine the smartphone and that thought should be welcome, no matter how good or bad the device is. The duo is a first-generation device and knowing Panos Panay, the company’s chief product officer, the second-generation device hopefully will be much better. Regardless of how people judged Microsoft’s innovative dual-screen Android device, the Surface Duo served its purpose. Read our first impressions of the Surface Duo here.

AirPods Max, Apple AirPods Max, Xbox Series S, Apple Watch SE, Google Pixel 4a, Surface Duo, most underrated gadgets of 2020, underrated gadgets Google Pixel 4a. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

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Google Pixel 4a

Google never promised the Pixel 4a to be a flagship device and that messaging somehow didn’t work in favour of the brand. The Pixel 4a was essentially a budget version of the Pixel 4, but it retained what made last year’s flagship stand out. Google’s budget phone had a stock version of Android with the promise of three years of guaranteed updates. It also offered excellent camera performance, something that’s hard for the competition to deliver at this price. That said, the Pixel 4a wasn’t a perfect Android smartphone and lacked features like wireless charging. It’s a pity that the Pixel 4a didn’t receive much marketing from Google. Had the Pixel 4a promoted well in India, it could have been Google’s big entry into the mid-range smartphone market. Read our review of the Pixel 4a here.

AirPods Max, Apple AirPods Max, Xbox Series S, Apple Watch SE, Google Pixel 4a, Surface Duo, most underrated gadgets of 2020, underrated gadgets Apple Watch SE. (Image credit: Apple)

Apple Watch SE

Big surprise, right? The Apple Watch SE deserves another look. When Apple launched the Watch SE, the less expensive Apple Watch was seen as a compelling alternative to the Watch Series 6. But somehow the flagship Apple Watch Series 6 completely overshadowed the Apple Watch SE. To be clear: Apple Watch SE offers every feature its pricier sibling offers, with the exception of an always-on display, an ECG app and a sensor to measure blood oxygen levels. Starting at Rs 29,900, the Apple Watch SE even costs less than the flagship Series 6. Sadly, the Apple Watch SE hasn’t gotten the love it deserved. That’s a shame, because the Watch SE is pretty darn good.

AirPods Max, Apple AirPods Max, Xbox Series S, Apple Watch SE, Google Pixel 4a, Surface Duo, most underrated gadgets of 2020, underrated gadgets Microsoft Xbox Series S. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

Xbox Series S

Ever since its launch, the Xbox Series S is regularly dismissed as the “confused” next-generation game console. But why? The smaller and less-powerful Xbox Series S isn’t made for the same audience who would end up buying the Xbox Series X or PS5. That’s exactly how Microsoft sees the Series S. The distinction is clear. The Series S is primarily an “Xbox Game Pass” machine and it’s meant to be connected to a 1080p TV or monitor. To be clear: the Series S is capable of running all the next-generation titles. Problem is, you will miss out on features like ray tracing. The Series S is affordable among the next-gen consoles, and Microsoft is aiming the device at casual gamers. The storage space issue is genuine, and Microsoft should address the problem. The Xbox Series S needs to be critically examined, but its positive aspects shouldn’t also be ignored. Read our review of the Xbox Series S here.

AirPods Max, Apple AirPods Max, Xbox Series S, Apple Watch SE, Google Pixel 4a, Surface Duo, most underrated gadgets of 2020, underrated gadgets Apple AirPods Max. (Image credit: Apple)

Apple AirPods Max

The AirPods Max aren’t exactly underrated, but they are definitely Apple’s most trolled product in recent years. Just because they cost Rs 59,900 Apple should be heavily trolled. What is surprising, however, is how people made a perception about the AirPods Max and started comparing them with similar offerings but less expensive over-ear headphones from Sony and Bose. A pair of headphones, cheap or expensive, cannot be judged unless you test them on your own. And since the audio quality is subjective, it’s up to listeners’ experience whether to react negatively or positively. The funny part is that trolls started reacting to the AirPods Max when virtually nobody tested them. It’s funny how we make perceptions without using a product.

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