February 9, 2023

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The best gadgets of 2022: outstanding techy treats

Amazingly, despite all the supply chain constraints and component shortages, 2022 turned out some truly excellent gadgets.

From foldable phones to convention-busting earphones, via home beer dispensers and portable gaming PCs, we have not been short of noteworthy gizmos to play around with over the past 12 months. It’s certainly been a pleasure to cover the world of tech in 2022.

Some of our picks for the best gadgets of the year are downright useful, while others are just plain cool. The main thing they share in common is that they all offered something a little different from their peers in some manner.

Here, then, are fave gadgets of 2022. Don’t forget to vote for your pick if you want to see it climbing up the list.

The best gadgets of 2022

Samsung further refined its popular compact foldable phone format in 2022, with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 proving to be the most accessible phone of its kind. Not only is it priced at less than £1,000 (just about), but the Galaxy Z Flip4’s clamshell design makes it extremely easy to carry around in a trouser pocket. Unfurl its 6.7-inch display, and you have a compromise-free flagship smartphone.

Yes, Sennheiser changed the design of its Momentum headphones range but we can forgive the lack of an industrial look as these headphones are simply the most comfortable and nicest we have used this year. With a huge 60 hours’ battery life and sophisticated noise cancelling, these ones have been rarely off of our ears since we tested them.

Far too many pubs and taprooms were forced to close down in 2022 as rents soared and the lockdown hangover kicked in, prompting many people to do their drinking at home. We’re thankful for the PerfectDraft Pro, an excellent beer dispenser that keeps your beer stored between 0°C and 12°C as appropriate. When it comes time to serve your beverage, Smart Pour technology ensures a smooth delivery worthy of your dearly departed craft beer bar.

Note: for Xmas there is a decent £120 off of some PerfectDraft bundles right now, so head to the site and choose which is best for you.

Bean to cup coffee machines are having a bit of a moment, and they don’t come any more comprehensive than the Sage Barista Express Impress. It’ll do almost everything in the coffee making process for you short of roasting the beans and washing up the cup, from grinding out the coffee granules to frothing your milk. In between those stages it’ll turn out excellent espresso that’s fine tuned to the particular coffee beans you’re using.

Moleskine’s smart notepad set combines the tactile writing experience of a classic pen and paper with the digital storage convenience of a tablet. Scribble away in the stylish notebook using a real pen, and your musings will be magically uploaded to the cloud for later reference on your chosen smart device or computer. Your writing will even be transcribed to digital text for your convenience. It really is the best of both worlds.

Having debuted with the Nothing Ear (1) earphones in 2021, the Nothing Phone (1) saw this British start-up taking a fresh approach to the smartphone format. The company’s vision entails a daringly elaborate light-up design, solid performance, a decent camera and a stylish custom UI for about half the price of an iPhone 14. It might just make you think twice about spending big on your next phone.

Without a doubt the phone we have used the most this year, the Google Pixel 7 Pro is a joy of a handset. The camera is stunning, even though it relies more of software than lenses, the results are always fantastic. The look is great, too, with an ace-looking camera array on the back and we are always on the search for the purest Android experience, something the Pixel range will always offer.

Usually AV companies forget about those with smaller rooms, offering up audio kit that’s just too overpowered for the spaces they are in. Enter the Sonos Sub Mini – this was a standout in 2022 for us, as it meant our modest living room could now have a fantastic booming soundscape, without the neighbours screaming too much at us. This one is easy to set up, suits the likes of the smaller Sonos Beam soundbar and looks fantastic, too.

Apple undoubtedly offered the boldest smartwatch of the year in the Apple Watch Ultra. Featuring a military-grade rugged design, extra hardware controls, dedicated diving features, and up to 36 hours of battery life, it’s a rare smartwatch that’s ready for a bit of rough and tumble. Meanwhile, a larger and brighter display makes it the best Apple Watch yet. It isn’t cheap, but for those with an active lifestyle the Apple Watch Ultra is a uniquely overqualified smartwatch.

Every consumer tech company worth its salt has a decent set of true wireless earphones on its roster these days, and they all tend to be pretty similar. Thank heavens for Sony, which released the outlandish LinkBuds in early 2022. These figure-of-eight-shaped ’buds have a literal hole in the middle of each earpiece, allowing you to stay unusually connected to your surroundings. They still sound pretty great, too.

More than five years on from its initial release, the Nintendo Switch is starting to look a little long in the tooth. Valve’s Steam Deck arrived at the perfect time to give itinerant gamers something a little punchier to play on. This chunky device is essentially a fully fledged gaming laptop that’s been shrunk further down into a handheld form factor, providing full access to your Steam PC games library and a full suite of control options.

Amazon went super-sized with its latest Kindle, resulting in one of the most immersive e-reader experiences yet. The Kindle Scribe has much more to offer than a huge 10.2-inch E-ink display, however, with a bundled stylus turning this e-reader into a compelling digital writing tool. Add a battery life that’s likely to last you weeks rather than days, and it could prove to be the perfect tool for jotting down ideas on the fly.

Sky Stream is Sky in the UK’s big push into streaming proper. Not to be confused with its NOW streaming service, it offers pretty much a full-fat Sky service with no need for a dish or a big box. Granted, you can’t record to a dedicated hard drive but it pretty much does everything else you need, at a fraction of the real estate space and at a decent cost, too.

The B&O Beoplay Portal is the closest thing to a set of ‘everything headphones’ that we’ve seen yet. On the one hand these premium cans will elevate your PlayStation, PC, and Switch gaming to another level. On the other, they also have the classy design and impeccable sound quality to serve as your primary personal audio supplier. Bluetooth connectivity, ANC, and multipoint support round out a truly comprehensive headphones package.

We are a sucker for flip phones and the Motorola Razr (2022) exceeded our expectations when we had it on our test bench. While the first reboot of the Razr was fun, it felt a little underwhelming in the technology it offered. This one, though, is razor-sharp in its specs with flagship performance, a beautiful new design and improved camera tech. This one isn’t just for those pining for the past – it may well point to the future of the smartphone as well.

SOMETHING MISSING FROM OUR SHORTLIST?

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Additional reporting: Marc Chacksfield