83-inch LG C2 OLED evo TV.
83-inch LG C2 OLED evo TV.
Image: Supplied

After spending some time checking out most of the gizmos and devices released this year, here’s our selection of the peak of design, usability and innovation for 2022.


  • Google Pixel 7 Pro

While it isn’t officially available in SA, it’s hard to deny the impressive work that Google has put into its Pixel line.

The Pixel phone was considered an upper-midrange device, but the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro changed that perception with its refined, polarising design and use of high-end components.

Thankfully, Google has stuck with that mindset and further refined the outstanding Pixel 7 and 7 Pro.

Featuring an updated version of Google’s custom chip set, the Tensor G2, the 7 and 7 Pro combine an impressive camera with good battery life and consistently great daily performance. DxOMark, “the trusted industry standard for camera and lens image quality measurements and ratings” ranks the Pixel 7 Pro as the second-best smartphone camera of 2022 with a score of 147. That’s just 2 points behind Huawei’s Mate 50 Pro — which I can’t recommend because of the software and chip set restrictions.

Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra might offer a more flexible camera set-up, but it’s ranked 13th on DxOMark’s 2022 rankings because the system lags flagship devices released over a year ago.

Other notable Android phones include the newly released Xiaomi 12T Pro, which features a 200MP main camera sensor, and the Sony Xperia 1 IV.

Google Pixel 7 Pro (among the Pixel family).
Google Pixel 7 Pro (among the Pixel family).
Image: Supplied


  • iPhone 14 Pro

When it comes to the Apple ecosystem, the only choice is the latest iPhone.

While not everyone will need the triple-camera set-up of the Pro line-up, there are more notable changes, and improvements, to be found in that section of this year’s line-up.

Not only do the 14 Pro and Pro Max feature a new 48 MP main sensor, a huge jump up from the 12 MP sensor found on iPhones since the 6S; they also include improved ProMotion technology on the display, the new A16 Bionic chip set and the all-new Dynamic Island.

While the iPhone 14 series looks like its predecessors, it’s worth noting that this same phenomenon is occurring in the Android world. Many of Samsung’s phones appear to replicas of earlier models. DxOMark also ranked the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max at number 3 with a score of 146, just 1 point behind the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro.

The iPhone 14 Pro makes good use of its new features and, combined with iOS 16, offers an experience that is reassuringly familiar while still releasing unique features.

Apple iPhone 14 Pro.
Apple iPhone 14 Pro.
Image: Supplied
    • iPhone 14 Pro — from R26,899
    • iPhone 14 Pro Max — from R29,499
    • istore.co.za



  • Fitbit Versa 4

Selecting the best smartwatch of the year proved to be tricker than expected.

Much like smartphones, there are devices that are best for Android and others that are best for iPhone. This has become complicated in that some of the of the Android-based devices now reserve their best features for phones and devices from their own ecosystems. The result is you getting a less-than-stellar experience should you use an Android device that’s not the same brand as your smartwatch.

While devices like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and the Pixel Watch are worth considering, they both fall short in various aspects. In the case of the Galaxy Watch 5 it’s Galaxy-only features and for Pixel Watch it’s the battery life and that it’s a first-generation device that needs to work out some kinks.

After taking all these factors into consideration, the best smartwatch that works across both Android and iOS is the Fitbit Versa 4.

Featuring the same square design of earlier Versa devices, the Versa 4 (and Sense 2) are the first new smartwatches from the fitness focused company since it was bought by Google.

Sporting a redesigned tile-based interface (which makes navigation easier than before), the Versa 4 can track 40 different workouts, and has a slimmer design, a physical button and support for Google Wallet. According to Fitbit, the Versa 4 will also be getting support for Google Maps with turn-by-turn navigation.These features, combined with the multi-day battery life, impressive display and multi-OS support, make it the best smartwatch for most people.

If you’re locked into the Apple ecosystem then you’ll want to consider any of the new Apple watches announced this year: the second-generation Watch SE if you’re buying for your teenager or first-time Apple Watch user; the Watch 8 if you’re looking for a more feature-rich offering; and the Watch Ultra if you want the ultimate outdoor smartwatch.

If you’re locked into the Samsung ecosystem then it’s worth looking at the Galaxy Watch 5, though the Galaxy Watch 4, which sports the same design and most of the 5’s features, costs a bit less.

Fitbit Versa 4.
Fitbit Versa 4.
Image: Supplied



  • iPad Air 

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S8

  • Nokia T20

While most tablets are enhanced when used within a same-name ecosystem, you can, thankfully, use your tablet as a stand-alone device without any compromise.

Claiming 37.5% of the global tablet market share, it should come as no surprise that an iPad is our selection as the best tablet of 2022, specifically the M1 powered iPad Air.

Building on the impressive iPad Air 4 from 2021, the new Air is powered by Apple’s M1 chip set, has fingerprint ID in the power button, supports the second-generation Apple Pencil and offers stereo speakers.

It may not be the all-out powerhouse that the iPad Pro is, but the new Air balances power and portability in a way that makes it the best tablet for almost everyone.

The 10.9-inch Liquid Retina Display makes it great for viewing as well as content creation, while the newly included Centre Stage functionality makes it perfect for FaceTime and video calls. Throw in the USB-C charging port with support for USB 3.1 Gen 2, Wi-Fi 6 compatibility and Smart Connector pins and you have a tablet that is perfect for students, professionals or taking some time out.

If you’re looking for an Android-based device it’s the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 series. Incorporating the Tab S8, Tab S8+ and the mammoth S8 Ultra, there’s something for everyone.

On the budget end of the spectrum, it’s hard to go wrong with the Nokia T20. Despite the odd placement of the 3.5mm headphone jack, the T20 is ideal for kids or for first-time users.

Apple iPad Air.
Apple iPad Air.
Image: Supplied



  • ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 

  • M2 MacBook Air

  • M1 (Pro or Ultra) MacBook Pro

Our laptop of the year may come as a surprise — I’m more of a Mac than a Windows person — yet I couldn’t help but fall in love with the sheer power and versatility of the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14.

Powered by an AMD Ryzen 9 processor with AMD Radeon RX 6700S graphics, the G14 might form part of ASUS’ gaming line-up but it’s so much more.

With a somewhat restrained design — at least by ASUS standards — the G14 is a 14-inch laptop that fits any boardroom or business meeting but also stands out when you’re gaming.

All variants of the G14 feature a Pantone Validated 14-inch QHD+ 16:10 ROG Nebula Display, 120Hz refresh rate, 100% DCI-P3 colour gamut, 3ms response time and support for Dolby Vision HDR.

Powering the device is Windows 11 Home, 8GB DDR5 RAM and 1TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD storage. Throw in a 3.5mm headphone jack, an HDMI 2.0b port, two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type A ports, two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports — both with DisplayPort support, one of which supports power delivery — and a microSD card reader and you have a device that’s not only perfect for gaming but also the ideal content creation machine.

Weighing a mere 1.72kg, the laptop is incredibly light and portable. It’s also incredibly long lasting, thanks to the 76WHr battery.

My favourite feature is the quirky AniMe Matrix that displays text or a design of your choice on the lid of the device. Not only is it eye-catching, it’s a great way to market your brand while working.

If you’re more of an Apple fan, then your choice is really between two devices: the 2022 M2-powered MacBook Air or the 2021 M1 (Pro or Ultra) powered MacBook Pro.

While both are impressive, they are geared to different users. If typing and content consumption, with some light editing, is the majority of what you’ll be doing with your drive, then the Air is perfect for you; however, if your workload is more power-intensive you’ll want to splurge on the M1 (Pro or Ultra) powered MacBook Pro from 2021.

Image: Supplied



  • Sony WH-1000XM5

  • Sony LinkBuds S

  • Sony LinkBuds

  • Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX

When it comes to over-ear and in-ear headphones, Sony stands head and shoulders above the rest for wearability, sound quality and unparalleled noise cancellation.

Despite stiff competition from the likes of Apple, Sennheiser and Bang & Olufsen, Sony rises above them all.

I’ve been using Sony’s WH-1000XM5 over-ear headphones for the past few months and I can comfortably say that I’ve not used anything comparable in terms of a well-rounded package of features in such a comfortable, stylish, design.

Yes, the XM5s aren’t able to fold up like their predecessors, but that’s the only questionable decision by Sony.

The XM5s can cancel everything, from aircraft noise to voice, have four microphones on each to keep out more high- and mid-frequency sounds than their predecessors. Making things even better, the noise cancelling is automatically optimised, thanks to the Auto NC Optimiser, based on conditions and environment.

The headphones have a specially designed 30mm driver unit with light and rigid dome, using carbon fibre composite material that Sony says “improves high frequency sensitivity for more natural sound quality”.

If you’re using them with a compatible device and audio platform you’ll be able to enjoy the High-Resolution Audio and High-Resolution Audio Wireless supported by the XM5s, which are powered by Sony’s LDAC codec which transmits about three times the amount of data in Bluetooth audio.

Throw in a carrying case, a connection cable, smart features, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa compatibility, Google Fast Pair and quick charge compatibility that can provide up to 3 hours of battery in just 3 minutes of charging, and you have an incredibly well-rounded pair of headphones.

An honorary mention goes to the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX in-ear wireless headphones. Sporting an AirPod-like design, these premium buds boast a luxurious titanium-and-glass design with a metal charging case.

They offer impressive sound and a comfortable design, but the noise cancellation is a bit of a let-down.

Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones.
Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones.
Image: Supplied



  • 83-inch LG C2 OLED evo TV 

  • 48-inch LG C2 OLED evo TV

Having watched way too much TV this year (all in the name of research), there are an unprecedented number of 4K offerings at various prices and screen sizes. Still bearing in mind that many of us use our TVs for gaming as well as watching our favourite streaming platform, there can be only one winner: the 83-inch C2 series LG OLED evo TV with Nvidia G-Sync.

With a razor-thin design and unbelievably slim bezels, the C2 OLED is all screen — and that’s a great because it showcases the best OLED technology available with excellent contrast levels, unparalleled brightness and vivid colours.

The 2022 model includes a new Alpha a9 Gen 5 processor, which offers improved object enhancement and dynamic tone mapping to its predecessor. You also get virtual surround sound, with the TV capable of upscaling stereo content into 7.1.2-channel sound. While that might not rival the surround sound created by, say, Sonos (if you’re starting out in your surround sound journey) it is relatively good audio performance for a flat-screen TV.

LG’s upgraded webOS 22 smart TV platform has all the streaming services you need in an easy-to-navigate home screen that can be personalised.

Packing a 120Hz refresh rate and HDMI 2.1, gamers are able to get the maximum resolution and frame rate from their favourite console. FreeSync, G-Sync and standard VRR are included in the box. If you’re a high-end PC owner, the ability to connect it to the TV via HDMI means that you won’t be left out.

If an 83-inch TV is a bit too much, then you’ll be happy to know there’s a 48-inch version that packs all the same features.

LG C2 OLED evo TV.
LG C2 OLED evo TV.
Image: Supplied
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