Editors' Choice

Top Newsmakers 2022: Activision, Apple, and Elon

2022 was pretty noisy

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To say the least about this year, 2022 was noisy. After a relatively tepid 2020 and 2021 owing to the pandemic, a lot of big companies and personalities made sure that this year was going to be a memorable one. While the past two years saw subtle geopolitical moves, 2022 features earth-shaking changes and revolutions in and out of the tech space.

As the year winds itself to a close, let’s go through 2022’s best noise- and newsmakers.

Microsoft buys Activision Blizzard

The year wasted no time. It began with a bang. Only a few days after the holiday season, Microsoft announced that it was purchasing the entirety of Activision Blizzard. The news was nothing to shrug off. Besides the acclaimed Blizzard library, the purchased company also owns the Call of Duty franchise. Microsoft’s purchase means that one company holds all the rights to several of the world’s most popular gaming franchises.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the move ruffled some feathers, too. Just recently, the American government made moves to block Microsoft from completing its purchase, citing anti-competition claims.

Regardless of where it ends up, the move heralded a trend this year. For example, Tencent purchased Black Shark. Soon after, Sony acquired Bungie Studios, the creator of the Destiny franchise, the next month. Both then conjunctively purchased a chunk of Game of the Year developer FromSoftware.

Netflix says no to password sharing

Netflix hasn’t been having a great year. For the first time, the platform is bleeding for subscribers, losing significant chunks to competitors. As a result, viewers saw a lot of changes and additions coming to the platform in 2022.

Obviously, the one that made the most noise is Netflix’s crackdown on sharing passwords. Though Netflix hasn’t shared how it will enforce new policies, the platform has introduced new ways to encourage people to sign up for their own account, including an option to kick people from an existing account.

The platform has also experimented with more ways to entice new subscribers. One new solution is the introduction of a cheaper, ad-supported tier for those who don’t want to pay the full price of a subscription. Another addition is a gaming section, which now includes widely acclaimed mobile titles from popular and indie developers.

The end of the notch

Not every newsmaker is about a groundbreaking move that changes the entire landscape of the industry. Some revolve around only one company, but its effect resounded far beyond its intended audience. Look at Apple’s year, for example.

While the new iPhone 14 series naturally made headlines, one specific aspect made more than most: the death of the camera notch. After controversially terrorizing the world for years, the camera notch finally started its retirement.

In the premium Pro duo, the iPhone 14 featured the Dynamic Island, a pill-shaped hole that expands to show notifications. Though a pill-shaped hole isn’t exactly revolutionary, it was certainly a breath of fresh air for those who didn’t like the old camera notch. It showed the possibility of melding hardware and software, potentially paving the way for other brands to create their own versions of the Dynamic Island. Regardless, the notch’s controversial history and unceremonious sacking earns it a spot on this year’s list of newsmakers.

Apple versus Europe

While the last entry is certainly good news for both the company and its fans, this one isn’t as forthcoming. Apple isn’t exactly enjoying peaceful waters in Europe. Throughout this year, the European Union set its sights on the tech industry, carefully eyeing potential anti-competition violations.

One of the most affected by Europe’s crackdown is Apple. Earlier this year, the continent declared a sweeping policy which will require all tech companies operating in the area to adopt a single standard for their devices. It’s no surprise that the glory fell to the universally accepted USB-C standard.

Among the best of the best in the industry, Apple remains a stalwart against adopting the standard, opting instead for the proprietary Lightning cable. Well, after Europe’s announcement, Apple will have no choice but to switch to the universal standard. The company even confirmed as much. We can hope that the adoption will affect other territories outside of Europe, too. (Brazil might also join the club, as the country recently banned Apple from selling boxes without USB-C.)

Also, just this month, Europe also called Apple out for forcing app developers to use the App Store to distribute their software. As a result, it’s now possible that Apple might even allow users to install software from third-party app stores and the web directly. The Apple versus Europe isn’t over yet.

Elon Musk buys Twitter

As the year started with a surprising acquisition, the year ends with an even more surprising one. After teasing for a greater part of 2022, billionaire Elon Musk finally bought Twitter. Indeed, if you scroll through the headlines from October through December, you might not go by a week — or even a day — without hearing about Musk or Twitter. There was no greater newsmaker than the controversial duo.

Late last year, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey stepped down from his seat as CEO, potentially sparking this year’s move. Earlier this year, Musk proposed sweeping changes for the platform in a quest to privatize the company. Both Musk and Twitter then went on a back-and-forth exchange, counteroffering one moment and threatening legal action the next.

Eventually, both parties agreed to a deal after heavy negotiations. Now, we’re living in a Musk-owned Twitter landscape. The new owner wasted no time in implementing crazy changes to the platform. To start, Twitter experimented with a new Twitter Blue subscription program, allowing users to pay for a blue checkmark (which was once coveted by popular personalities). The platform also tried out laxer moderation policies (except against parodies), resulting in the end of its misinformation policy and the reinstatement of formerly banned accounts. And we’re just getting started; undoubtedly, Musk has more plans in store for the platform come the new year.

Conclusions in 2023

Despite how noisy the industry was in 2022, all newsmakers in this list lack a conclusion. Will Microsoft buy Activision Blizzard after all? How will Netflix and Twitter evolve even further? Is Apple adopting Europe’s standards everywhere? Will the Dynamic Island make an appearance elsewhere? Stay tuned for the conclusions to these stories next year.

Editors' Choice

Best of 2022: Lifestyle Favorites

Which one matches your lifestyle?

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This year, the GadgetMatch team found another set of gizmos that fit perfectly in our lifestyle. These lifestyle favorites proved that technology, when done right, can elevate the way you live.

Travel accessory: instax mini Link 2

The instax mini Link 2 may be a rehash of an already modernized novelty, but it still tops our favorite gizmos that we love to have in our lives.

It can print your favorite moments using your smartphone and even personalize all the film prints. Turn your memories into something tangible!

True wireless earbuds: Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro

The Galaxy Buds2 Pro exhibited an already excellent product refined to be better. It’s now a pair of true wireless earbuds celebrated by fitness enthusiasts, audiophiles, and the everyday consumer.

Styling device: Dyson Airwrap 308c

The Dyson Airwrap has got to be one of the most talked-about hairstyling tools in the market, probably because it can give you quick, pro-blow-out at home and an efficient way to look stylish any way you want it, wherever you are.

Device feature: Apple’s iOS 16 Visual Look Up

Visual Look Up has just got a new trick on its sleeves this year, and we’re certainly lovin’ how useful the feature has been. With iOS 16, the feature lets you select a subject on a photo, cutting it out as if it was done in Photoshop or Canva.

You can copy, share, or save the image, and even make stickers out of it. The possibilities are endless!

App: Disney+

Disney changed the streaming game when it unveiled Disney+ across more countries, allowing access to hundreds of films and TV series from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, National Geographic, and more.

It certainly created a buzz, captivating the youth and young-at-hearts as they bonded among classics, modern adaptations, and unique shows.

Gaming accessory: JBL Quantum Stream

There’s a reason why JBL bagged an award for the Quantum Stream, a dual-condenser microphone with a reversible 360-degree stand.

With its proprietary technology that helps bridge crystal-clear communication among callers along with its features that make everything simple and easy, it’s undoubtedly an excellent pick for anyone looking for a microphone.

Form factor: Huawei Mate Xs 2

The Huawei Mate Xs 2, for what it’s worth, showcased how elegantly refined a foldable can be. Thanks to the marriage of engineering, technology, and design, Huawei was able to put up an innovative marvel that isn’t just pleasing to look at, but comfortable enough to use, too.

Home appliance: Dyson V15

For comparison: (L-R) The Dyson Omniglide, V11 Absolute Extra Pro (EU release), and the V15 Detect Absolute.

Dyson has been a champ when it comes to cordless vacuums. With the V15 Detect Absolute, Dyson delved into making the best cordless vacuums into something even better that got a lot of vacuum owners smitten.

It’s complete with technology, ergonomic design, and the right attachments that make cleaning easier.

TV: Samsung The Premiere

You never know if you want a high-end projector until you got one. Samsung’s The Premiere may come with an exorbitant price tag, but the technology it packs makes it one of the best ultra-short-throw projectors you can get in the market right now.

Imagine building your home theater dream. Yes, Samsung The Premiere can make it happen.

Smartwatch: Samsung Galaxy Watch5

The Galaxy Watch5 proves to be the best Android smartwatch yet. It has a better battery life that accompanies athletes, and even fitness enthusiasts, in their quest to improve their bodies and performance.

Add to that is a holistic set of health and fitness features that sync exceptionally within the Samsung ecosystem.

Wellness device: Arcwave Voy

Arcwave Voy offers men a unique technology and mechanism that elevates pleasure using a toy. With an adjustment system that works seamlessly to fit all kinds of penis, an ergonomic design to make it easy to grip and hold, and a compact design that allows it to be stored just anywhere, Arcwave Voy may be the toy to help take care of your sexual health and wellness wherever you go.

Vehicle: Ford Territory

The Ford Territory delivers the right power you’ll need for your short and long drives. It’s filled with creature comforts that keep all riders entertained throughout a trip.

It’s like a gift of adventure to anyone who’ll handle this vehicle as a daily driver.

Speaker: JBL PartyBox Encore Essential

JBL

The JBL PartyBox Encore Essential made every occasion memorable. With a 100-watt speaker, a compact design, and seamless connectivity — it’s not difficult not to love and make the device a part of every moment in your life. Through highs or lows, it’s a worthy companion.

Tablet: HONOR Pad 8

The HONOR Pad 8 is an affordable gateway for students and young professionals looking for a well-rounded tablet that caters to productivity and entertainment. It’s a supersized device packed with multimedia excellence, all at a price tag that won’t break the bank.

Smartphone case: Mujjo

Mujjo continued to top as our favorite smartphone case, thanks to its elegant cases that get refined each year. The Dutch label retains all the best things from its last line of cases while adding nifty improvements to adapt to the latest iPhone design.

It’s simply an accessory that looks and feels gorgeous and lasts enough to accompany your iPhone before your next upgrade.

Color: Bora Purple

2021 was all about the different shades of Green, and 2022 is all about all shades of Purple. With Samsung taking on the posh color as part of its signature shade across all its smartphones and other bespoke devices, we found ourselves falling in love with Bora Purple.

It’s adorable, and majestic, and offers the right amount of sophistication that you can be proud to wear.

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Editors' Choice

Best Games of 2022

Because every year, the gaming gods bless us

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Another year has passed, and we are continuously spoiled with brand new games to keep us sane and occupied. From remastered old favorites to entirely new concepts, this year had its fair share of bangers and here’s a list of what we thought were a cut above the rest.

Without further ado, let’s look back at some of the best games 2022 had to offer:

Elden Ring

Ever need another FromSoft game to give you headaches to roughly start off 2022? At first glance, Elden Ring basically gave players literal chills the moment they started the game — and for good reason. Once again, FromSoft managed to create a game that is monumentally difficult for the common man, with impeccable visuals, an open-world experience unlike any other, and non-stop death at every corner.

Dubbed as arguably the hardest game of 2022, Elden Ring takes players through rather desolate worlds in search of the missing pieces of a literal ring that grants you god-like powers. The end goal of your arduous journey is an opportunity to claim power for yourself and rule the world, with multiple enemies coming to stop you dead in your tracks. It’s as riveting and difficult as everyone makes it out to be, and welcomes anyone to the challenge of absolute power.

Gran Turismo 7

As a PlayStation exclusive and the first one since 2013, Gran Turismo 7 revisits driving styles and mechanics that everyone will enjoy in a modern format. Essentially, this game takes racers back to their roots, from the feel of the engine to the terrain players will be racing on. Also, Gran Turismo 7 features a massive collection of cars all at your disposal, with the goal of collecting as much as you can to race with.

With its rather beginner-friendly settings and different modes, it comes with its own set of variety that makes it unique against another racing simulation game on the greener side. When you want to ease yourself into the game and its mechanics, you can do so quite easily without thinking of crashing your expensive car. Accompanied by fantastic visuals left and right, it feels right at home as a next-gen racing game.

God of War: Ragnarok

God of War Ragnarök | Best Games 2022

The fact that the God of War series finally received its own next-gen title and did not miss a beat makes this game a no-brainer for this list. God of War: Ragnarok basically improved the storytelling, fine-tuned the gameplay and combat mechanics the series was known for, and the presentation of everything to make the game as immersive as possible. Best of all, it even added some form of customization at your disposal.

Everything in this game was aligned to provide the best experience possible with zero compromises in between. It even provided players with different sets of challenges to keep the gameplay itself varied and interesting enough, too. All of this is tied into a story of a father and son yearning to go through life answering the world’s greatest mysteries and a prophecy to fulfill.

NBA 2K23

NBA 2K23 | Best Games 2022

While it is just a relatively more refined version of the previous years, NBA 2K23 provides the usual feel of a basketball simulation game with a bit more refinements. From the shot timing to the pace of the games, it feels like the whole core of the gameplay received minor yet significant tweaks to improve the overall experience.

This iteration of the game also brought in new game modes such as The Jordan Challenge and MyNBA Eras, along with several major changes to existing game modes like MyCareer, The W, and MyTeam. These were great enough to provide a different and long-lasting experience that, even if it isn’t totally out of this world, still cements NBA 2K23 as the go-to basketball game.

OlliOlli World

OlliOlli World | Best Games 2022

If you wanted to experience a relatively easy-peasy tutorial to skateboarding, OlliOlli World definitely gives off that kind of vibe. Although this is the third game in the franchise, it has improved from its predecessors significantly, from the visuals to the customization options for your skater. Along with some of the best music you will hear in a cartoon-style skateboarding game, it’s a welcomed improvement to the series.

Gameplay-wise, it doesn’t steer away too far from its predecessor with the addition of tougher obstacles and a chance to compete with your friends or other players. It’s still quite a fast-paced, timing-based skateboarding game with not much of a story to particularly analyze. Of course, the addition of Void Raiders DLC took this game to an interstellar skateboarding trip, which is an easy recommendation to try out.

Overwatch 2

Overwatch 2 | Best Games 2022

We know, it feels like a big patch update of the original Overwatch game from a few years back, but hear us out. Overwatch 2, essentially, follows the story and lore of its predecessor and even fine-tunes the gameplay a little bit. Of course, this game just brings everything from Overwatch, including the maps, champions, and even game modes for both casual and competitive players.

However, Overwatch 2 does bring (and will continuously bring) new champions like Kiriko, Sojourn, and Junker Queen into the fold. Also, this game expanded group play to be a 5v5 affair, which is especially good for those who have a lot of friends to five-stack with. Although it ain’t a perfect game and it’s just like its predecessor in many other ways, it’s still an improvement.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus

Best Games 2022

One of 2022’s earlier game releases saw the Pokémon franchise shift in an entirely new direction, gameplay-wise. Pokémon Legends: Arceus became the franchise’s first purely open world title, straying away from the traditional formula that was linear to a tee. In this game, although you still progress with the main story in a rather linear and more logical sense, you’re free to explore the region of Hisui and challenge yourself every step of the way.

Even as you complete the main story, there is much to do in between and after that through side quests and post-main content. Also, this game introduced some of the key changes to the open world catching mechanics that would later on make its way to the Generation 9 games. It had set the stage for what the Pokémon franchise is bringing to all their future games – basically, setting the standard.

Stray

Stray | Best Games 2022

Honestly, what’s not to love about a game that sees you going around the street as a cat? The basic premise of Stray sees players be a literal stray cat, going around the overworld and interacting with its environment. In this game, you had obstacles to jump over, puzzles to solve, machines to operate, and enemies to evade to kill – pretty standard for an adventure game in an underground city.

Yet what makes Stray particularly riveting was the storyline. As you are a stray cat that wandered into an abandoned facility, you find yourself in an underground city with no signs of human life. Progressing further, you’ll learn the truth of humanity’s downfall and must work your way to get back up to the surface to salvage whatever legacy they have for the world. It’s a simple storyline to progress through and through, partnered with great visuals and simple game mechanics.

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Editors' Choice

Favorite Gadgets of 2022

Another year, another tech frenzy

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There will never be any shortage of new tech. Year after year, the innovations keep getting better. In 2022, we got refinements in foldables, stunning smartphone camera tech, and more. 

Like we always say, every person has a GadgetMatch. So, here are the favorite gadgets of the team — specifically those that came out this year. 

Rodneil — LG C2 TV 

Favorite Gadgets 2022 – LG C2

I started reviewing Smart TVs in 2019. Since then, I have developed a desire to elevate the way I consume media. I’m a big fan of TV shows and movies. This year, I even started taking notes of the stuff I watched. That’s why when I saw that the LG C2 was on sale, I knew I just had to get one. 

The LG C2 is easily one of the best TVs of 2022. LG is a leader in OLED TV panel technology and the C2 is a testament to that. However, they go beyond just providing you with a high quality panel. The C2, which still runs on WebOS, has a slew of customization options to cater to your wants and needs. The picture modes are robust and the audio options are plenty. The audio-visual experience continues to astound me and I’ve already been with it for close to three months now.

But what really pushed me to buy one are the four HDMI 2.1 ports and its set of gaming features. One activity I use to destress is gaming. And the LG C2 might just be the best TV for it. It’s compatible with multiple variable refresh rates and has both FreeSync and GSync. This means that even if I was on Resolution mode in God of War: Ragnarok, I was still getting a consistent 119-120fps. 

If you’re a gamer and a TV show and movie enjoyer, the LG C2 is worth every damn penny. 

Vincenz — Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4

Favorite Gadgets 2022 – Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4

Ever since I joined GadgetMatch, I’ve held numerous smartphones with enormous display sizes between 6.5-inches up ‘til the 7-inch “phablet” territory. My big hands just mean I’m meant to hold big-ass smartphones. It even came to a point where the team offered me the Galaxy Z Fold4 for review. But I instead firmly opted for its smaller foldable counterpart for a big change.

The Galaxy Z Flip4 is the first foldable I’ve ever reviewed. What made it more intriguing? It felt like I was slowly going into a commitment. For three months, I ditched my gargantuan iPhone 13 Pro Max in favor of this lightweight and compact wonder.

Its biggest compromises are its so-so battery life and conventional charging speeds, the Good Parts outweigh the Impurities. Its bright and fast AF Dynamic AMOLED display paired with the decent set of speakers are enough for binge-watching K-dramas + non-stop jamming to K-Pop music videos and live performances. 

Moreover, its pair of wide and ultra-wide plus selfie cameras do more than enough for day-to-day usage. Performance-wise, it’s smooth like butter like a criminal undercover. Lastly, its quirky and compact design makes it stand out from the crowd full of “boring” slabs.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 is, hands-down, the best device I’ve ever tried in 2022. If at all possible, I wouldn’t return it to Samsung. 

Apple — Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro 

At the time that most of my friends were already using smartwatches, I was still not a fan. So, I kept using analog watches. That changed when I got the Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro. 

Unlike the previous ones I’ve tried, this smartwatch screams premium quality and has that classy, versatile and sleek look. There’s also a myriad of watch faces that I can download and use. It’s perfect with any of my OOTDs and anywhere I need to go. 

I also hustle a lot at work and stay busy for long hours but I was still able to keep track of my health and fitness thanks to the GT 3 Pro’s Health Living feature, ECG analysis and other health monitoring apps. Last but not the least, I was also able to squeeze in some workout that I can easily monitor with this watch’s wide array of workout modes.

The Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro definitely changed my perception on smartwatches and made me do the big smartwatch switch. 

Andre — Xiaomi 12T Pro

Xiaomi 12T Pro

I have a great appreciation for gadgets that provide great value for money. The Xiaomi 12T Pro may not be the best smartphone out in the market but it reminded me that we don’t really need to spend a lot to get a great smartphone experience.

Get to enjoy games with top-end specs, enjoy binge watching your series on a vibrant and fast display and show it off to people with its beautifully crafted design. There’s also the ability to get fully charged in just a few minutes.

To top it all off, the 200MP camera has been a conversation piece among my friends after snapping their photo. I always get compliments that my phone makes them look fresh while I enjoy the look on their faces after they find out how many megapixels this packs.

It has most of what we are longing for in flagship devices and in my opinion, a flagship killer contender for this year.

Carol — Dyson V15 Detect

It was time to upgrade to a new vacuum and the Dyson V15 Detect was the best choice. The new cordless offering from Dyson’s floor care line is a clean home’s secret weapon. 

It doesn’t just pick up visible dirt and dust but even micro particles that affect the air quality in the home. This model also comes with the Laser Slim Fluffy cleaner head that illuminates hard floors as you clean, making dirt more visible. The new Hair Screw tool and the Digital Motorbar are also easier to clean than their previous iterations as hair and fur don’t get tangled on to the brushes anymore. The V15 is powerful enough to deal with corgi fur here at home and even in the car.

An upcoming attachment – set to be released around the first quarter of 2023 – is the pet grooming tool. It’s something I’m really excited about. It will make brushing our dog a breeze while getting rid of dander before it gets released into our furniture and indoor air.

MJ — ​​JBL PartyBox Encore Essential

JBL

I never cared about speakers nor any audio device since I inherently believe I’m just here to enjoy the music. Having access to different sound technology made me realize how a teeny change can produce an experience worth remembering.

That’s how I felt when I had my hands on JBL’s PartyBox Encore Essential. It’s a compact 100-watt speaker that can fit inside a motorcycle’s insulated bag, sit nicely on top of my shelf, and carry around on road trips.

I used the Encore Essential during a pool party, at a community outreach event, and celebrating festivities at home. My loved ones had a good time as I blasted our favorite playlists, and the speaker allowed others to connect easily too — whether through the app, USB connection, and aux.

At times when we’ve used all the juices of the Encore Essential, we simply plugged it to keep the party going. I never realized how a party speaker would greatly benefit me not just on vibrant days, but even on days when I feel low. The light, beat, and its presence are somewhat comforting as a companion.

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