2022 is coming to a close. We’re only a couple of days away from 2023, and I decided to reflect on the tech I’ve used this year. There are so many tech products that caught my eye, but I’ve decided to narrow it down to 5 products in total. It took some time to filter through everything, but ultimately I’ve landed on the devices that I personally used the most, and the ones that I’m still using to this day, actually.
No, you will not find any iPhones or Samsung Galaxy smartphones on this list. In fact, you won’t find a single product from either Apple or Samsung. Quite frankly, their products didn’t stick with me in 2022. Apple didn’t really do enough to innovate, in my opinion, the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro are kind of forgettable, and just a new iteration of the iPhone 13 series. When it comes to Samsung, well, I could say something similar about the Galaxy S22 series. Not to mention that Exynos reigns supreme in Europe, so that’s another stumbling block. I’ll talk more about the foldables later on.
In any case, do note that this is just my opinion, and a selection of products I ended up enjoying the most. It will most certainly differ from yours in a major way. Having said that, the devices I landed on are, in alphabetical order: ASUS ZenFone 9, Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2, Huawei MateBook X Pro, Huawei Watch GT Runner, and the OPPO Find N2. I’ll talk about each of those products below, in the order mentioned here. So, let’s get started.
ASUS ZenFone 9
I’ve briefly owned the ASUS ZenFone 8, and it was a really nice phone. It always seemed like it was one step behind in a way. Then the ZenFone 9 arrived, and… well, changed my opinion entirely. I simply love compact smartphones, and when they’re not only compact, but excellent in pretty much every way, then I’m truly hooked. The ZenFone 9 is the phone I used the most in 2022, and for a good reason. This handset improves upon everything the ZenFone 8 offered, pretty much. Well, it improves in all the major ways.
Design-wise, it’s completely different, and for the better. It remained just as compact, but now has a clearer identity. It looks kind of unique, while the ZenFone 8’s design was forgettable. There are two pronounced cameras on the back, which I actually like, while the soft-touch back is also quite nice, even though it does show wear and tear. The sides are flat, but with chamfered edges, and in collaboration with the backplate, the phone feels excellent in the hand. It’s extremely comfortable to hold and use, which is not something I can say for many phones with flat sides, looking at you… iPhones (yes, plural).
That 5.9-inch display on the front is just the right size for my preference, and it is a very nice 120Hz panel. The Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 delivers outstanding performance, and helps with battery life too. Speaking of which, the ZenFone 9 shines in the battery life department. Crossing 8 hours of screen-on-time mark is not a problem at all. To make things even better, the cameras are much-improved compared to the ZenFone 8, and are actually really good. They do tend to go a bit overboard on the sharpness side of things, but I really like the results.
True, the phone doesn’t have wireless charging, for example, but it has so much to offer, and even an audio jack on top of everything. Everything I’ve mentioned, plus great software, with a super-fact side-facing fingerprint scanner (which does support gestures), and you do get yourself a truly excellent smartphone package. This is, without a doubt, the best compact smartphone of 2022.
Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2
Huawei has been releasing truly wireless earbuds for a long time now. The latest premium pair the company has to offer are the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2… and they’re outstanding. These earbuds not only look great, but they have excellent battery life, very nice build quality, and the sound is also up there. These are not cheap by any stretch of the imagination, but they’re well worth it if you want some of the best truly wireless earbuds out there.
These earbuds are boxier than most others I’ve used this year, and that’s not a bad thing. They’re easier to grip in my opinion, and also look better because of it. They have a shorter stem than most other offerings out there, and are also not large at all. The touch panels on the side are extremely responsive, and a joy to use. You can customize them to your preference, of course.
The sound quality is excellent, some of the best I’ve heard from a pair of truly wireless earbuds. The soundstage is quite wide, and the upper-mid levels are also really nice, while you’re getting some bass out of them too. Active noise canceling is also really good, while the awareness mode works perfectly. The audio feedback for when you activate gestures is also welcomed, and so is wireless charging. The battery life is also outstanding, the best I’ve seen from a pair of truly wireless earbuds. They can also hold a charge for a long time if you’re not using them.
What I didn’t particularly like was the case itself, mainly because it’s glossy. Glossy plastic is the worst kind you can use on a product, well, right after truly cheap-feeling plastic, of course. Some sort of a matte finish would go a long way. At least the fingerprints were not as visible on the white model I’ve used.
Huawei MateBook X Pro (2022)
The Huawei MateBook X Pro (2022) is the most premium laptop Huawei released in 2022. This thing is very, very pricey, but it’s also great. Let’s talk about the design first, as it’s definitely worth focusing on. The Huawei MateBook X Pro (2022) is made out of magnesium, well, partly, at least. That’s actually part of the reason why it’s as light as it is. This 14-inch laptop weighs only 1.38 grams, and it feels great in the hand. That matte finish is very welcomed.
The bezels around the display are truly minimal, and the display is outstanding. It’s very color accurate, offers a high refresh rate, and it’s very sharp too. Yes, it is also touch-sensitive. There are up-facing speakers included here, and they’re very good too, and offer a full and rich sound. That spacious touchpad is also worth noting, and it’s a solid-state touchpad as well. It did take some time getting used to, but once I did… there was no going back. The keyboard feels premium too, and has really good key travel. It was actually one of my favorite keyboards to type on in 2022.
The performance with the Intel Core i7-1260P CPU and 16GB of RAM was really good during my testing, especially for what I used it for. It still holds up brilliantly. It offers a great fingerprint scanner, fast charging, and even advanced facial scanning. The only thing I didn’t particularly like are the ports. There are five ports on the laptop, and four of them are USB Type-C, and the fifth one is an audio jack. There is not a single USB-A port on the thing, which is a shame. Other than that, the price, and some issues with auto-brightness, I really didn’t have any complaints regarding this tablet. I still don’t, it’s an excellent machine.
Huawei Watch GT Runner
When it comes to smartwatches, I’m a really specific person. My main requirements are great battery life, good design that fits my needs, wireless charging, and capable software. Quite a few Huawei smartwatches hit the bill in 2022, for me personally. Not many smartwatches in the market offer great battery life, let alone everything else I mentioned in a single package. The Huawei Watch GT Runner is the watch I decided to highlight.
This watch looks a bit stealthy, a bit sporty, and a bit classy, all in the same package. The buttons are very clicky, and the rotating crown feels great to use. The display is sharp and vivid, and the touch response is excellent. The watch offers great battery life. I was able to get about 10 days of battery life on average with this thing. That dropped to about a week if I really pushed it, which is excellent compared to basically any mainstream smartwatch. Apple’s and Samsung’s offerings don’t come even close to it.
The Watch GT Runner also came with a really nice silicone band that I used a lot of the time. The software on Huawei’s watches got much better over time, and it now does basically everything I want it to. I mostly use my smartwatches for notifications, music control, and checking the weather, when I’m not reviewing them. This watch can do so much more than that, though. It has a huge fitness focus, for example. Having wireless charging is also a nice bonus. I found this thing to be very reliable, and I even rate it above Huawei’s major offering this year, the Huawei Watch GT3 Pro, which I also used for a while.
OPPO Find N2
The OPPO Find N2 is actually the very last smartphone I got to review in 2022, and I’m glad it is. This is my favorite foldable smartphone of the year, easy. The form factor is simply perfect, and the only thing that would make the experience better was global software. This phone is actually made for the Chinese market, and it doesn’t come with global software. I managed to install Google services, though, and using it was actually a great experience, and it still is. As I said, there are some obstacles because of the software and the lack of tablet apps on Android, but I won’t get into that.
It feels more refined compared to its predecessor. It has flatter sides, while the rear camera module looks better too, in my opinion. The brushed aluminum feels great to the touch, and the hinge is great as well. Not only does it feel great to use, and quite sturdy, but it minimizes the crease. This foldable also comes with a gapless design, unlike the Galaxy Z Fold 4. Its crease is also much less pronounced than the one on the Galaxy Z Fold 4, by the way.
The OPPO Find N2 is quite compact when folded, which is appreciated, as I believe that’s the whole point of having a foldable smartphone. It should be one-hand friendly when folded, and offer a really nice, large canvas when unfolded. That’s exactly what this thing does. If you add the fact it’s 42 grams lighter than its predecessor to the mix, and the fact that it has really good battery life, and excellent performance, well, you have a true winner here. It’s also worth noting that the speakers are great, and the cameras are nothing to scoff at either. OPPO should definitely bring this phone to markets outside of China.