Inverse editor Raymond Wong’s 14 favorite tech products of 2022
As 2022 draws to a closewe want to share with you the devices, software and services that have done Reverse gear team’s life both professionally and personally better throughout the year. Nothing here is sponsored, although our parent company BDG will receive a commission if you purchase something through affiliate links. For the most part, this is just the team’s personal favorite tech of the year – all in one place.
Who is Ray?
My name is Raymond Wong — call me Ray! I’m the deputy manager of reviews and guides here at Reverse. You may know me from Input data or Mashable for. I run our gear section where we live and breathe cutting edge consumer technology. Whether it’s new phones, laptops, cameras, drones, electric cars, AR/VR, gaming systems or whatever constitutes a gadget, I have the privilege of trying out the latest innovations that are changing (or will change) our lives.
I am what many people accurately call: a gadget head. Obsessed with technology since my earliest childhood and teenage years, my understanding of technology has only grown over the past 12 years of reporting and reviewing devices, software and services.
My mission throughout my career has been to first, inform, and second, entertain through my content. If I’ve helped you make a shopping decision — I’ve done my job. Or if I’ve made you feel something — like thinking about your relationship with technology, for example — then I’m fulfilled.
MacBook Pro (14-inch, M1 Max)
This is hands down the best non-gaming laptop I’ve ever owned. My specific MacBook Pro is a 14-inch model with an M1 Max chip (10-core CPU and 32-core GPU) and 64GB of unified memory. One year after launch, the MacBook Pro continues to impress me. The 120Hz ProMotion screen is gorgeous; the controversy on the notch was greatly exaggerated. It almost never freezes or crashes; I have so much fast RAM that I never worry about apps using it up. I think I only heard the fans once or twice – when I exported an hour vlog from vacation in Hawaii. The speakers are phenomenal. And, yes: I used the hell out of the SD card slot and the HDMI port. The only two downsides to my specific model are: the battery drains faster than the M1 Pro version (I really wish the M1 Max was more efficient for less intensive apps) and keycaps finish is quite cheap.
Fashion Designs Sonnet
Every artist has their preferred tool. Jimi Hendrix loved his Fender Stratocaster. Agatha Christie used a Remington No. 2 typewriter. A mechanical keyboard is a must for me. I’ve gone between a 65 percent Keychron Q2 and 80 percent Q3 mechanical keyboard, but always returned to Mode’s 75 percent Sonnet. The layout sits perfectly between the two Keychrons and the build quality is the finest I have ever seen and used on a mechanical keyboard. Mine is a hot-swappable model configured with a silver top, silver mirror base and accent, brass wave internal weight, plate foam and black silicone base – a deliberate match to my laptop and monitor setup. The switches are pre-lubricated Mode Linear Reflexes and the keycaps are from GMK. It’s keyboard heaven – for me.
I take a lot of smartphone photos — 32,912 this year according to the Photos app in the iPhone 14 Pro. But nothing beats grabbing a camera with an interchangeable lens and turning the wheels to adjust the picture settings just the way I want them. The X-T3 isn’t new (it came out in 2018), but the retro-looking camera has reignited my love for street photography. Along with a fast f/2.0 prime I picked up mid-year, I’ve been trying to bring the X-T3 with me more often. Portrait shots taken with phones are fine, but can’t compare to the natural bokeh of a fast lens.
Xiaomi electric precision screwdriver
In my spare time I like to open my gadgets. Upgrading, repairing, cleaning – it’s a therapeutic process for me. I bought a $27 tool set with 111 screwdriver bits two years ago and opened up all my old Game Boys and game consoles. With the world back to normal, my time is crunched again, so I picked up this electric screwdriver from Xiaomi. It has 24 bits that snap into place with magnets, two rotation modes at up to 200 rpm and USB-C charging. The whole package is packed in an elegant aluminum case. I’ve used it to open my PC more times than I can count. Perhaps the best part is that it has reduced the number of times I have to remove screws.
Of all the apps I tried out this year, Arc has been the most transformative. Arc is built by The Browser Company, Chromium (it’s the open source code base that many modern browsers like Chrome are built on) with a brand new twist. Ever since my colleague Ian “gifted” Arc to me (the browser is still in invite beta for Mac and in development for Windows), I’ve barely touched Chrome. Features like split view (you’ll never act the same way again with tabs open side by side), tab previews (great for peeking into Gmail and Google Calendar), and quick command line shortcuts — they all are how delightful. The last time I gushed this hard about a browser was when Google introduced Chrome in 2008. It’s still early days with new features and tweaks rolling out weekly, but damn, Arc has already changed the way I use the internet. There is no going back to regular Chrome for me.
Samsung T7 Shield SSD
I’ve been a fan of Samsung’s credit card-sized solid-state storage drives ever since the original T1 SSD. The T7 Shield SSD caught my eye earlier this year thanks to its fast data transfer speeds, reasonable prices and rugged chassis. I picked up a pair of T7 Shield SSDs on sale throughout the year in 1TB and 2TB capacities to back up all the data I had stored on my old non-bus driven external hard drives (my goodness, the transfer speeds on those are slow). I now have quick access to over 15 years of files. Their small size also means they fit in a fireproof bag, unlike my book-shaped Western Digital hard drives.
Belkin Boost Charge Pro
Everyone has their favorite multi-device charging dock – mine is the Belkin BOOST↑CHARGE PRO 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Pad with MagSafe. This is actually the whole name. The second I get home, I drop my iPhone on the MagSafe pad, AirPods Pro 2 in the middle, and Apple Watch in fast magnetic charger. No misplacing my devices and they charge ASAP. The fast Apple Watch charger has been invaluable, charging my smartwatch quickly so it has enough juice for sleep tracking at night. Mophie released a foldable 3-in-1 charger that I love for travel, but as the Belkin Boost Charge Pro gets more use, it deserves the spotlight.
Apple Studio screen
I’ll be honest: Apple’s Studio Display has a terrible webcam, and no, the firmware update didn’t fix it. It’s also ridiculously expensive. Most people shouldn’t buy it; it’s not a good deal. However, I’m a sucker for design and I couldn’t resist it. Along with my MacBook Pro, Studio Display has been my window to the internet for almost the entire year. All my accessories connect to the USB-C ports and then a single Thunderbolt 3 USB-C cable to the laptop. While it’s far from perfect – I wish it had a higher refresh rate than 60Hz and the stand was removable in case I want to VESA mount it in the future – the 5K resolution is amazing (I also wish it was OLED or mini-LED for deeper blacks) and the six-speaker system is outstanding. I intend to use this thing until the backlight burns out.
Spotify’s first and last hardware releases were considered completely pointless…for cars. But a YouTuber found a way to breathe new life into the knob-equipped Spotify controller as a desktop companion, and I’ve been obsessed. Is Car Thing super responsive? Not really. Does it duplicate features that I already have with an app like Soft Player? It certainly does. But I love the tactility; I love a satisfying knob to control software.
My active noise-cancelling (ANC) wireless over-ear headphones have been a three-way toss between the Bose 700, Sony WH-1000XM4, and Surface Headphones 2. Sony’s WH-1000XM5 kicked all three pairs to the curb. with superior ANC and comfort. You’ll find the WH-1000XM5 on many best tech lists, and for good reason: they’re the best wireless ANC headphones money can buy. I’m sure they protected my ears from early hearing loss to earn the sticker price.
Shout out to Quinn Nelson aka Snazzy on YouTube for highlighting Dropover. In my never-ending quest to find actually good, useful free Mac apps, I came across Dropover, and let me tell you, organizing my files has never been the same. It’s not often that I like a free version of a Mac app so much that I pay to unlock the whole thing, but this one was an instant buy for $5. With a small shake of the mouse, you can place selected files in a holding area, which you can then move to a suitable folder later. As someone who never took to Finder’s tabs and struggled to manage multiple folder windows, Dropover was just the thing to save me from daily stress.
iPhone 14 Pro
My longtime followers already know this, but I have two phones: the latest iPhone and the latest Android phone I’m testing. I thought I’d go for the iPhone 14 Pro Max this year, but I couldn’t give up the more pocket-friendly dimensions of the iPhone 14 Pro. My model is Space Black (long live Jet Black) with 1 TB of storage — plenty of room for all the 48 megapixel ProRAW images I now take. I have Apple’s official MagSafe leather wallet on the back. And FYI: there is no cover on my iPhone. I like to live dangerously – and without AppleCare.
FlexiSpot Kana Pro
I have yet to invest in an ergonomic chair that will save my spine down the road, but having a standing desk at least helped improve my posture. Mine is a FlexiSpot Kana Pro with a roomy bamboo top, but there are so many options at so many price points that there’s really no excuse not to invest in a standing desk. It has changed my relationship with my desk – making me more aware of sitting for too long – and the adjustable height has come in handy for product photography at home.
Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo
Another Fujifilm camera? Yes, only this is an instant camera. Never mind that I took the Instax Mini Evo up in a helicopter to capture New York City on a freezing day, this camera is pure fun for me and anyone I give it to take a photo. Everyone loves it; everyone smiles at that. I took it to Hawaii and discovered that releasing a snapshot as a keepsake was the easiest way to break the ice with strangers. The 4.92 megapixel image quality leaves a lot to be desired, but when you can print better photos taken with your phone or real camera (X-T3 in my case), the Mini Evo’s drawbacks disappear pretty quickly.