I love how fast consumer technology improves, so in 2022, we’re just surrounded by simple gadgets that make our lives more frictionless. But if you stop and look around once in a while, you’ll realize that not everything is as exciting as it once used to be, specifically in how they look. Sure, there are exceptions and occasional surprises, but I know I’m not alone when I say most gadgets we use every day just look… boring!
But you don’t have to equate “gadgets” with the “dinky last-minute purchase” you make just to get something done. I recently started replacing a lot of gadgets on my desk with things that achieve a nice balance between style and utility. You don’t have to reach the far corners of the internet to scout for these products, either. Many of these funky tech items are just a couple of clicks away, so you can easily get them for yourself or as a holiday gift for someone else. Not sure where to start? Here are some funky gadgets I keep around me to not get sucked into the new normal of boring tech in 2022.
Chargeeek Retro charger: A tiny Macintosh charger anyone?
An increasing number of smartphone manufacturers have stopped shipping charging bricks with their devices, forcing us to spend additional money. So why not pick up an aftermarket charger that looks like a tiny Macintosh computer?
The Chargeeek Retro charger is just that. It’s shaped like a Macintosh computer, complete with a beige color scheme and a disk drive cutout. This cute-looking charger has equally impressive specs and features on paper. It’s a 35W GaN charger with a USB-C port, which means it offers enough juice for most modern smartphones and low-powered laptops. It also supports different charging protocols like PPS, PD3.0, and QC3.0, and its screen lights up in different colors depending on how it’s charging your device. White light means “no charging,” yellow means “normal charging,” blue means “fast charging,” and green indicates “super charging.”
Chargeek Retro 35W GaN Charger
The Chargeek Retro 35W GaN charger looks like Apple’s old Macintosh computer, complete with a beige color scheme and a disk drive cutout. It’s essentially a 35W USB-C charger with support for charging protocols like PD, PPS, QC 3.0, and more.
Chargeek Storm 2: Power banks can be cool too!
How do you take something as utilitarian as a battery pack and make it exciting? If you want your gadget to look straight out of a Cyberpunk movie, the folks at Sharkeek have come up with arguably the coolest power bank out there right now: the STORM 2.
Its biggest selling point is the transparent plastic body that gives you a direct view of its guts. You can see the main circuit board, the individual battery cells, and more. There’s also a crisp 1.14-inch screen that lets you geek out on things like the input and output stats, the battery settings, and more. It’s not just about the cool looks, though. The STORM 2 is an airline-safe power station with a 93.5Wh capacity, 100W USB-PD support for fast charging and recharging, and also a bunch of ports to take care of all your devices. Check it out!
The Chargeek STORM 2 is a transparent power bank that comes with a lot of ports to charge all your devices day-to-day.
ASUS ROG Ryujin II: CPU cooler with GIFs, because why not
A CPU cooler, as you probably already know, is one of the most crucial components of a PC. They regulate the temperature of the CPU, and you can’t build a PC without one. As somebody with a PC case within arm’s reach on my desk, I look at it all the time when I’m gaming or getting some work done. So I swapped out the stock CPU cooler with the ASUS ROG Ryujin II. It’s a 360mm AIO that comes with a 3.5-inch display on top of the CPU water block. You can use this screen to show CPU usage metrics like the temperature, clock speeds, and more. I use it to display the “This is fine” GIF, though, which never gets old!
ASUS ROG Ryujin II 360 AIO
The ASUS ROG Ryujin II 360 is an excellent AIO that offers impressive cooling performance and plenty of good features. It’s a little on the expensive side, so we think it’s more suited for high-end enthusiast builds.
Lightstrips that sync to PC or TV
RGB lights can turn even the simplest setups into a more welcoming space, so what better way to light things up than getting lightstrips for your TV or monitor? There’s nothing funky about adding some lights to your setup, but you can turn things around with a bit of creativity.
I highly recommend checking out what Philips is doing with its Play Gradient lightstrips if your budget allows for it. You can sync them to your PC via software and get them to match the content on your screen for cool surrounding lighting. Alternatively, you can also buy regular RGB lightstrips and add them to your setup, as I did for my gaming setup you can see in the image above.
Philips Hue Play Gradient Lightstrip
The Philips Hue Play Gradient lightstrip is perfect for adding some ambient light to your gaming or entertainment setup.
Nothing Phone and earbuds: Transparent tech is cool
Nothing may not have the most high-end or the best-performing products in its portfolio, but they definitely look the part. Both Nothing Ear (1) and Phone (1) have a semi-transparent look that seemingly offers a glimpse at the internals. You don’t see the guts of the phone or earbuds like you do with the Sharkgeek STORM 2 power bank, but I think they still look better than most other smartphones and true wireless earbuds out there. You won’t be able to slap anything but a transparent case on your phone, though, so keep that in mind.
Nothing Phone 1
The Nothing Phone 1 blends a unique transparent design with powerful hardware. It’s not the most powerful smartphone out there, but it’s certainly one of the best-looking ones.
Nothing Ear 1
The Nothing ear (1) earbuds have a lot of things going for them, including a unique design, great sound quality, intuitive touch controls, wireless charging, and more.
dbrand Grip case: Boring smartphone cases begone
As much as I hate using a case on my phone and covering its beautiful design, I always make it a point to buy one to secure my investment. My quest to find the best smartphone case ended recently when I got my hands on dbrand’s Grip case. One of the best things about this case is that it lets you install a skin on the back, so you can truly customize it to your liking. I know this doesn’t exactly fit the bill as a “tech” product, but I still wanted to recommend it because it can spruce up your tech. I am using a Grip case on my Pixel 7 with a leather skin, and it adds a lot of personality to my desk when it’s just resting there.
dbrand Grip Case
Dbrand’s Grip case is one of the most durable and versatile options out there. Not only do you get to customize it with a ton of different skins, including this new Navy Camo, but it also offers military-grade drop protection and a nice in-hand feel while maintaining a low profile.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to replace every gadget you own with something that you’re thrilled to use every day, but there’s a lot to explore. I know these products aren’t for everyone because they aren’t functionally any different from what you may already have at your disposal. But if you, like me, are tired of using familiar and generic-looking tech products, then check out the ones I’ve mentioned. I am always on the lookout for cool and funky stuff, so let me know if you have any other suggestions for me in the comments below!