Here are the 8 best gadgets of 2022

Here are the 8 best gadgets of 2022

Like every year, 2022 saw many technological products come and go. Not all of them managed to live up to the hype (looking at you, Pixel Watch), but the ones that did stood out. From the unrivaled cameras in the Google Pixel 7 Pro to the unique versatility of Valve’s Steam Deck, 2022 was a great year for devices that fit right into your lifestyle, whether you’re a WFH homebody or a travel enthusiast .


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Here’s hands down the best technology 2022 had to offer.

Best Game Newcomer: Steam Deck

Steam deck

The Steam Deck packs a lot of power into an acceptable small body.
Credit: Dustin Drankoski/Mashable

While there are countless entities that make great video games out there, the world of video game hardware is much smaller and more cutthroat. One poorly received console can be enough to kill a company’s desire to ever try again. No other game company has managed to break up the Nintendo/Sony/Microsoft triumvirate that has dominated the console market for the past 20 years.

So when PC gaming titan Valve decided to jump into the handheld console market in February with the Steam Deck, there was each reason to expect it might not work. Valve’s previous hardware efforts like the console-like Steam Machines and the strange Steam Controller failed to find footholds. Its $1,000 Valve Index VR headset fared a bit better, largely thanks to the hype surrounding it Half-life: Alyxbut VR is still a niche market.

It’s pretty audacious to jump into the hardware market with something that’s going to draw direct comparisons to the ultra-popular and beloved Nintendo Switch, but Valve has pulled it off.


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The Steam Deck is powerful enough to play high-end PC games on the go, comfortable to hold and has a beautiful touch screen. If that wasn’t enough, you can even install different operating systems on it and use it as a portable emulation machine for older consoles like the GameCube and PlayStation 2. There is no other portable gaming system that offers anywhere near the level of freedom that Steam offers. Deck provides and for that it belongs on any list of the best technology of 2022.

No zoom.

Pixel 7 Pro photo is not zoomed

Credit: Alex Perry/Mashable

Alllll the zoom.

Pixel 7 photo zoomed in

Credit: Alex Perry/Mashable

File this one under “Least Surprising News of the Year,” but Google has made another amazing smartphone camera.

The Pixel 7 Pro is, without exaggeration, the best phone camera I’ve ever used. Google’s personal in-house Tensor chip took the Pixel 7 Pro’s software-based photo enhancements to incredible new heights in 2022. Sure, regular photos look great day or night (Google’s Night Sight is still the best), but the real watershed moment comes when you the Pixel 7 Pros use awesome 30x zoom lens.

Even when you zoom all the way in on something that’s miles away, the Pixel 7 Pro takes shots that look like you’re practically standing right next to the subject. The level of sharpness and clarity in these photos is unmatched in smartphone photography. In addition, you can use a new macro focus function to check the small details on small objects. Plus, it still has the same great Magic Eraser tool for getting unwanted distractions out of photos and a new Unblur tool that cleans up blurry images even if they were taken on a different phone.

Whether you’re right next to something or far away, the Pixel 7 Pro camera has your back.

Tech women have been wringing their hands over the notch at the top of modern iPhone screens for years. It technically served the purpose of slimming the bezel around the screen, but it was also distracting. With the iPhone 14 Pro, Apple took the bold step of not removing the notch, but making it work for you.

Now, that obstructive black dot at the top of the screen is called the Dynamic Island and it grows, shrinks and animates everywhere to showcase notifications, music you’re listening to and remind you of that timer you set 20 minutes ago.

Apple has cleverly turned a former obstacle into a feature that iPhone users can no longer live without.

In a year where we expected the new iPhones to be mostly iterative, the Dynamic Island breathed new life into Apple’s premium devices. That said, “Dynamic Island” won’t be winning any Best Feature Name awards this year.

AirPods Pro 2022 in drawer

Old look, new AirPods.
Credit: Stan Schroeder/Mashable

Sometimes innovation is not strictly necessary. While Apple brought some bonafide novelty to its latest iPhones via the Dynamic Island in 2022, the same philosophy hasn’t been applied to AirPods. And you know what? That’s good!

The latest AirPods Pro have the same physical design and $250 price point as the original model. They don’t have any flashy new features, but they make all the great parts of the original AirPods Pro better than before. The sound quality is still excellent, the active noise cancellation blocks twice as much background noise as before, and the battery life can last as long as seven hours on a full charge.

When Apple introduced the AirPods Pro in 2019, they were the best AirPods out there. It turns out that not much needed to change when it came time to refresh them this past year. There is no need to fix what is not broken.

Apple M2 MacBook Air

The keyboard of dreams.
Credit: Molly Flores/Mashable

Rounding out the three Apple products on this list (Apple had a good year!) is the M2 MacBook Air. This is another product that has brought mostly minor upgrades to the table, but the end result is a laptop that is absolutely dreamy to use as an everyday work machine.

I ought to know; I use it now.

Apple went with a new design that brings a uniform thickness to the laptop’s body (previous MacBook Airs were thinner on one side than the other) while remaining amazingly light at just 2.7lb. Its 13.6-inch screen looks fantastic, even if it loses points for being limited to just 60Hz. And while its meager two USB-C ports aren’t quite enough, the M2 chip powering this bad boy makes it one of the smoothest, fastest laptops in the world.

It also doesn’t hurt that it the best keyboard that Apple has also made in years.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro

For the Android lover in your life.
Credit: Kyle Cobian/Mashable

Android owners also deserve excellent wireless earbuds. Fortunately, after years of iterating, Samsung has finally come up with something that works pretty well without many caveats: The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.


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These awkwardly named earbuds have a beautiful egg-shaped design with silicone ear tips that provide incredible comfort for long listening sessions. You can even sleep with them on. The sound quality is excellent and the ANC is truly impressive. Plus, using it with an Android device gives you access to a bunch of handy customization features, like the ability to mess with an audio equalizer, remap touch controls, and enable spatial audio for 3D listening.

Of course, iPhone owners are excluded from all that sweet customization. But that’s what AirPods Pro is for.

Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones in carrying case

They may look generic, but they don’t sound like it.
Credit: Molly Flores/Mashable

Sometimes earplugs are not enough. If you’re sitting at home and need to really dive headfirst into a project, blocking out the world around you with all your favorite jams, Sony’s $400 WH-1000XM5 headphones have the best tool for that in 2022.

While they don’t have a catchy name or a flashy look (you could easily mistake them for any other pair of black headphones), these bad boys come with some of the best sound quality in town. You’ll never find yourself wishing that the volume was just a bit higher as with other headphones. Plus, best-in-class noise cancellation makes them perfect for filtering out noisy kids, roommates, or coworkers in any situation.

Oh, and the battery lasts up to 30 hours on a full charge. You won’t get that out of just any pair of earbuds.

Best Portal to the Metaverse: Meta Quest Pro

Meta Quest Pro user wearing headset inside Starbucks with laptop on lap

Finally, a headset you can use in public.
Credit: Elizabeth De Luna

I know I know. It hasn’t been a banner year for Meta, between the company’s economic woes and the lack of confidence its employees have in Mark Zuckerberg’s vision for the metaverse. You may personally find the idea of ​​working in VR uncomfortable. However, if this is indeed the future we are heading towards, and if you want to try it now, the Meta Quest Pro is for you.

While the $1,500 price tag seems steep compared to the $400 Quest 2, one look at the Quest Pro explains why Meta is charging so much for it. Everything from the headset’s build to its convenience features and controls is of significantly higher quality than the three-year-old Quest 2. Plus, it offers full-color pass-through capabilities, making it more of a mixed-reality headset than the pure VR offerings on Quest 2.

Maybe it’s not the future of work, but if it is, the Quest Pro is a great starting point on the journey there.

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