10 Gadgets From The 2000s That We All Loved

Tech became cool and finally gaming offered us better quality, things were more portable and affordable. Camera phones, USB flash drives, Bluetooth, iPods, the video gaming revolution took over.

Whilst the ’80s and ’90s may get more love in TV and movies, there’s one decade that stands out the most for the sheer amount of awesome tech that kept kids and adults alike entertained during it. That era was the 2000s and, for kids that lived through it, there are some gadgets that immediately spring to mind when thinking of the decade.

From iPods and flip phones to the Nintendo DS and Heelys, the 2000s was a time when tech got more compact and more creative. Some gadgets became so popular that it’s hard to believe they aren’t still used today. These were the ones that 2000s kids obsessed over the most.

After the Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Advance SP dominated the early part of the decade, few could have predicted that Nintendo’s next handheld console would become even more ubiquitous in the space of a few years. Released in 2004, the dual-screened Nintendo DS which boasted impressive-for-the-time touchscreen technology did just that.

With a plethora of games to help boost it including New Super Mario Bros. and Nintendogs, the DS quickly made its way into millions of households and established itself as the decade’s most important handheld. Though it may look slightly bulky now, its compact flip-open design played no small part in its success.

Remote Control Robots Were A Must-Have Toy

Whilst the ’90s had plenty of remote-controlled gadgets, it was in the 2000s that the dream of owning a full-operational toy robot became truly cool and that was thanks in part to WowWee and their iconic gadgets. From Robosapien to Roboraptor, WowWee made the robots that every kid wanted to play with.

Its functional black-and-white color scheme and red glowing eyes gave robots like Robosapien a distinct appeal as they looked a lot more like cutting-edge gadgets than toys. With no shortage of extra functions and features including the ability to dance and do kung-fu, it’s easy to see why remote control robots captured the imagination of so many 2000s kids.

Flip Video Cameras Won Over Many With Their Simplicity

Digital camcorders had already started to shrink by the turn of the millennium but, long before affordable phones with amazing cameras would become a thing, the compactness of Pure Digital’s Flip Video cameras immediately won over 2000s kids. Along with its “point-and-shoot” simplicity, Flip cameras were perfect for younger gadget lovers.

When the Flip Video Ultra was released in 2007, it became an even bigger hit thanks to a smart marketing campaign that focused on how easy the camera was to record with as well as how easy it could be to share videos with others. It may have become redundant quickly but the Flip Video camera was an important stepping stone that many still look back on fondly.

USB flash drives

USB flash drives replaced floppy drives and optical discs. When they first debuted in the 2000s, they had what now seems like a laughably small capacity—only 256 megabytes?

The first commercially-available USB flash drive was the ThumbDrive, produced by Singapore company Trek Technology in 2000. Later that year, IBM came out with its own model, the DiskOnKey.

Today, the sturdy drives support up to 256 GB. But more importantly, they inspired consumers with the idea of portable, personal storage that goes anywhere—an idea that cloud-based storage services like Dropbox are taking to the next level.

Apple’s iPod Dominated The MP3 Player Market

Although it’s technically just an MP3 player like more or less any other, the Apple iPod represented far more than that when it became the company’s latest must-have gadget in 2001 when the first model was released. With an instantly recognizable design and those iconic white headphones, iPods were a fashion statement as much as a music player.

However, the immense popularity of iPods helped speed up the move over to digital music which would come to be the norm ever since so its importance as a piece of tech can’t be understated either. With a huge range of models going all the way down to the clip-on iPod Shuffle, it’s no surprise Apple’s MP3 player helped define how 2000s kids started listening to music.

The Sony PlayStation 2 Engrossed A Generation

Standing as the best-selling console of all time even today, it’s fair to say the PlayStation 2 was a phenomenon when it was first released in 2000. Even with Microsoft and Nintendo as competition, the PS2 was always the coolest of the bunch during the first half of the decade thanks to its sleek design and its range of incredible games.

Titles like Grand Theft Auto and God of War might not have been aimed at children, but it’s 2000s kids they made the biggest impact on at the time, and it’s likely the PS2 is a big reason why they’re still huge franchises today. The 2000s boasted a bunch of incredibly popular home consoles, but none outdid the PS2.

Flip Phones Like The Motorola Razr Were Iconic

Although smartphones began to get some widespread adoption towards the end of the 2000s, with the first-generation iPhone released in 2007, the decade was largely defined by phones with neat movement features. From flip phones to phones that slid up to reveal a concealed keyboard, old-fashioned brick phones quickly came to look boring in comparison.

Few flip phones were more iconic than the Motorola Razr, an impressively slim flip phone that helped establish the company as a rival to the ever-present Nokia. For 2000s kids that did own a flip phone, it’s very likely they owned this model which dominated the flip phone market for several years.

Heelys Were A Toy That Exploded In The Mid-2000s

With the wheeled shoes continuing to find fans even in the 2020s, Heelys are one gadget from the 2000s that may have actually outlived the fad label that many would have applied to them. Although the shoes were first patented in 1999, it wasn’t until the mid-2000s that they suddenly became a must-have piece of footwear for any self-respecting kid or teen.

Outside of sports technology, it’s fair to say there haven’t been that many innovations to shoes in recent decades and that makes Heelys stand out even more. Giving the user a way to glide along the ground on wheels without having to sacrifice fashion sense, it makes sense that they were the perfect toy for young people everywhere.

The Nintendo Wii Was A Gadget That Transformed Gaming

Perhaps it hasn’t entirely replaced gaming with an old-fashioned controller as some predicted it would but the Nintendo Wii still proved that gaming could be a physically engaging experience in 2006. Given it quickly became one of the most popular home consoles ever made, it’s fair to say they made their point.

Games like Wii Sports and Mario Kart Wii helped prove that the Wii’s motion controls could make for as fun an experience as any of its more conventional rivals and gave 2000s kids a new way to compete with each other from the sofa. The Wii’s distinctive design philosophy in its physical components and even its UI mean it’s still an instant source of nostalgia for many.

2000s Kids Couldn’t Get Enough Of The Tamagotchi

Even though it might be primarily thought of as a ’90s fad, it’s unlikely there’s anyone who was a kid in the early to mid-2000s that didn’t also get swept along in the hype for this egg-shaped digital pet-raising device. Promising to let give any child a taste of owning a pet without the responsibility that usually goes with it, it’s no surprise Tamagotchi’s were enduringly popular.

With just three buttons and graphics that were far simpler even than handheld games generally were, Tamagotchi might have started to show its age by the mid-2000s but connectivity features between two of the devices helped keep things fresh. It also made it even more perfect as a gadget that 2000s kids could enjoy together.

Everyone Wanted Their Own Portable DVD Player

In an age of 4K movies on huge screens, it might be hard to believe there was once a time when everyone wanted a gadget that could only play movies on a tiny, low-quality screen, but that didn’t stop portable DVD players from being a highly coveted device in the 2000s. Allowing the user to play movies without a TV and on the go, they were incredibly simple machines.

Yet, with TVs often being fought over between families, the prospect of being able to watch movies on a separate device was a dream for a lot of children at the time. iPads and smartphones mean today’s kids have a lot more content at their disposal but, for 2000s kids, a portable DVD player was more than enough.


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Lee Clarke
Lee Clarke
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