The 7 Products That Left a Mark in 2022

7 Impactful Products in 2022
Some of the products that made an impact in 2022 include an e-bike, a drone and a smart oven. TYLER HAYES

There is never a shortage of wonderful products released by the end of each year. Almost always, however, the ones that stick with you and make the greatest impact are the ones you never saw coming. As I began to corral a list of the 25 best gadgets, devices and items that were reviewed here at Newsweek in 2022, a few stood out to me much more than others. These were the ones that, for better or worse, really left a mark on me.

Most of these products had a positive impact, but not all of them. T-Mobile's Home Internet, the ZTE Axon 40 Ultra and Pixy were all teetering between sentiments. Sometimes it's frustrating when a product doesn't fulfill its potential, especially when it's so close—such as in the case of a little drone. Some products keep popping into your mind while others fade away, for whatever the reason, but these are the ones that I couldn't get out of my head this year.

Snap Pixy

Snap Pixy
Pixy is a small self-flying drone made for taking photos and videos. TYLER HAYES

When Snap acquired a drone manufacturer a few years ago, it was anyone's guess as to why it was interested in the company. Maybe it had technology or patents that Snap wanted or maybe it was the employee talent. Fast-forward to the release of Pixy during the summer of 2022 and it turns out Snap just wanted to build its own drones for consumer photography.

Pixy presented a tantalizing promise of simplified drone photography that could then be shared easily on social media platforms. It worked well enough to capture my imagination, but it wasn't without its flaws. Although Pixy was largely a surprise when it was announced by the company, the biggest shock came a few months later when Snap suddenly discontinued the product. This one left a mark on me both coming and going in whiplash fashion.

Super73-R Brooklyn

Super73 R Brooklyn
The R Brooklyn is the latest e-bike from Super73. TYLER HAYES

Super73 isn't a new company, but its products are becoming more popular and trendy—which is why I was curious about its beefy, motorcycle-looking electric bikes. I wasn't quite sure what to make of the new R Brooklyn initially, but it only took a few rides before I was completely sold on this speedy, comfortable e-bike.

In fact, I haven't been able to get this bike out of my mind since I returned the review unit. The long padded seat, thick tires and springy suspension made the bike a joy to cruise around on. While I only tried this particular model, I assume my favorable sentiment applies to most of the company's vehicles. The only thing stopping me from taking the plunge on one of these e-bikes? The steep price. But maybe someday.

June Oven

June Oven
The June Oven includes a host of smart features, including being able to send a notification when your food is almost done. TYLER HAYES

It's not often that a widely advanced device ends up delivering on its promise. The June Oven not only did, but it exceeded my expectations for what a smart home kitchen product could be. It wasn't released in 2022, but I did finally get to try it this year.

The June is a connected countertop oven that will also help you prepare meals. It has Wi-Fi and can be started remotely from your phone, and it also has a camera inside. Want to take a peek in the oven for a live view of your food when you're upstairs? You can do that. Better yet, the camera is also used for food detection, so if you place frozen waffles in the June, it will see them and automatically offer up a temperature and time to cook them.

I've loved using the built-in temperature probe for chicken, which I'm paranoid is always going to be undercooked. My kids and wife have all taken to the oven's touchscreen and various smart features. Even the cooking pans it comes with are some of the nicest I've used. All around, it's hard to see other smart ovens currently on the market as anything but woefully inferior.

T-Mobile Home Internet

T-Mobile Home Internet
T-Mobile's Home Internet service uses the company's 5G and LTE data to provide customers internet throughout their house. TYLER HAYES

Cable internet companies are scared of T-Mobile and other cellular networks entering the home internet space. I know this because Cox Cable, for one, has large text on its site that claims it provides better internet than 5G can. In June, I tried T-Mobile's Home Internet service and have been using it since. My initial month with it was a positive experience. Speeds were consistently in the 200 Mbps range. I was only being charged $50 per month and didn't have any data caps.

Since then, some of my enthusiasm has worn off. There are days or times when speeds dip to the point that streaming services continually buffer. At some point, I may switch to fiber in my area to gain truly faster speeds, but either way, this experiment using a cellular network for home internet has been mostly successful. It's been enlightening how the modem can be placed wherever it gets the best reception in the house. Plus, for people not in locations with fast internet, it opens up new possibilities.

Schlage Encode Plus

Schlage Encode Plus
The Schlage Encode Plus can be unlocked using Apple's home keys and a tap of your Apple Watch. TYLER HAYES

I haven't carried any physical keys with me since about 2020. Part of the reason is because of smart locks. This year, the Schlage Encode Plus was the first to support Apple's home key, which allows iPhones and Apple Watches to unlock a door within very close proximity.

When I come home from a run, still slightly out of breath, with only my Apple Watch, all I have to do is hold it up to the Encode Plus. It's a magical experience. The feature will eventually come to cars and spread to more lock manufacturers to become commonplace, but it's certainly been a game-changer this year.

ZTE Axon 40 Ultra

ZTE Axon 40 Ultra
This ZTE Axon 40 Ultra Android phone positioned its camera under the screen. TYLER HAYES

Most people won't buy the ZTE Axon 40 Ultra. In fact, I'd be surprised if a significant number of people have even heard of the mobile phone. Still, as the iPhone 14 Pro got a redesigned cutout for its front-facing camera—called the Dynamic Island—it was hard to forget the Android phone that positioned its camera under the screen.

This was the first opportunity I've had to spend some real time with a phone that was all screen. I was surprised by how much I didn't notice that the front camera wasn't visible. It gave me a new perspective on whether the notch or any of these other phone cameras really need to get smaller and disappear from sight. So far, the software isn't taking advantage of that top-center real estate on the screen.

Apple Watch Ultra

Apple Watch Ultra
The Apple Watch Ultra can show how deep you dive and the amount of time you spend underwater, along with the water temperature. TYLER HAYES

A high-end, bigger Apple Watch was rumored in the lead-up to the Ultra's debut. One of the Ultra's surprises is its mostly reasonable $799 price. The Apple Watch Ultra comes with cellular and a titanium case, helping to justify its price point in the product lineup. Even more surprising is that the Ultra's 49-millimeter size didn't feel too outrageous on my wrist. I was not expecting to switch from a Series 7 watch to the Ultra, but after wearing the latter for a week, I decided to make the jump.

I instantly enjoyed its long battery life and Action button, which can bring up workout tasks, for example. The Ultra is a smartwatch for anyone who wants a big one. Another item to note is that now that Apple has branched out and tweaked the physical design of the Apple Watch, the cat might be out of the bag for even more variations to come.

Newsweek may earn a commission from links on this page, but we only recommend products we back. We participate in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites.