Connect with us


Best Gadgets of 2022 (pt 1)

Innovations kept coming in 2022, driving ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK’s choice of the year’s best tech.

As consumers keep tightening their belts, manufacturers have to find new ways to convince them to go out and spend. As a result, the pace of innovation has speeded up, even as spending seems to slow down.

There cannot be a single Gadget of the Year, so broad are the categories and options within those categories. These are among the standouts:

Health gadget of the year

Troo Blue-light Blocking glasses (from R149)

Blue light hits us at all angles, even if we are not staring at screens, with a dramatic impact on the quality of our sleeping hours. Blue light filtering glasses are now available at low cost from Troo, a local tech accessory company that sources high-quality fast-charging cables, wireless charging docks, and the like, to promote safer, smarter and more durable products designed to withstand an “on-the-go lifestyle”.

Troo Blue Light Blocking Glasses were developed with a focus on “innovation, design, comfort and high-quality materials”. The eyewear has a coating developed for people who spend a lot of their time indoors and are exposed to blue-violet light from LED lights as well as smartphones, TV, tablets or computer screens.

Fitness gadget of the year

Fitibit Sense 2 (R7,499)

While the first Sense introduced Electrodermal Activity (EDA) as a health metric to reveal levels of stress, the Sense 2 intorduces a Body Response sensor called cEDA (“c” for “continuous”), that continually monitors  stress levels through the day and alerts the user to do something about it when the numbers go through the roof.

It also tracks heart health with sensors that detect signs of atrial fibrillation through an ECG app, and combine that with heart rate variability and skin temperature to give a big picture of heart health. Provide the most holistic view yet of fitness and wellness, through combining exercise, sleep and stress metrics. It is the first device that actively assists in managing stress, providing “actionable” insights to guide users in their response to health measures.

Audio gadget of the year: appliances

Sonos Sub Mini (R10,999)

A compact alternative to the Sonos Sub, at almost half the size and price, its standout innovation is Sonos Trueplay technology, which measures how sound reflects off walls and other surfaces in a room, and fine-tunes the speaker accordingly.

It also provides a stunning bass experience, removing the usual kinds of vibration that spoil the low-frequency sounds of cheaper speakers, thanks to an acoustically sealed cabinet, with dual woofers that face inward to create a force-canceling effect that neutralises distortion.

Audio gadget of the year: wearables

LG Tone Free FP9 wireless earbuds (starting at R2,699 for the UVnano editions)

The Tone Free FP-9 earbuds come with the industry’s only auto-cleaning UVnano charging case. It uses ultra-violet light to reduce bacteria on the earphone speaker mesh by a claimed 99.9% within five minutes of beginning charging.

They also feature medical-grade, hypoallergenic ear gels. As well as LG’s new Whispering Mode, which allows users to hold the right earphone close to their mouth and whisper into its microphone, enabling more private phone calls.

Photographic gadget of the year

Instax Mini Link 2 printer (R2,799)

The sequel to Fujifilm’s Instax Mini Link, the rechargeable portable printer uses Bluetooth to transfer images from a smartphone. From the point of transferring an image from a smartphone to the device, it begins printing in about 15 seconds, and can produce around 100 prints per charge.

The innovations that set it apart are InstaxAiR, an augmented reality (AR) effect that allows users to add graphic effects to prints, and “Drawing in the air”: by holding the printer, pressing the feature button on top, and aiming the side LED lens to draw in the air, what is drawn then appears on the print preview in the app.

Household appliance of the year

Winner: LG 39L Neochef (R6,499)

The new Neochef is a combination of a microwave and convection oven, which means it cooks with microwave heat and a circulated heat fan. That also means it does almost everything that a microwave, oven, air fryer and stove-top can do. And one more thing: one can make biltong in it.

It comes with a steamer dish, tray and lid, which requires a little water for the steaming process, and steaming vegetables is quick, easy and very healthy.

Laptop of the year

Dell XPS 13 Plus (from R32,999)

The Dell XPS 13 Plus is the most powerful iteration yet of the XPS range, which stands for Xtreme Performance System, and is Dell’s latest challenge to Apple’s MacBook Air series. It is so packed with innovation, options and customisation, that it makes the latest Air feel like old tech.

The function row above the keyboard does not comprise keys at all, but touch-sensitive “capacitive touch” backlit icons. The most startling innovation is the invisible trackpad, a glass touchpad that sits in the usual space below the keyboard but is not marked by any separation from the chassis. Thanks to haptic feedback, it feels as if one is pressing down, clicking or tapping on a regular trackpad.

Tablet of the year

Huawei MatePad 10.4 2022 edition (R5,499)

The 10.4” high-res display on the new Huawei MatePad tablet changes in real time to reflect ambient lighting conditions, with a 4096-level brightness adjustment, from bright living rooms to gloomy bedrooms.

It weighs just 440g, but has a micro-curved centre frame design to make it sturdy for maximum portability. It’s a great tool for hybrid work and meetings, as it is geared towards multitasking, allowing multiple screens to be open at the same time. Advanced audio algorithms effectively filter noise, making it more efficient for meetings and business calls.

* Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee

Subscribe to our free newsletter
To Top