We’re already two months into 2022 — I know, it’s flying by — and now that February is about to be in the rearview, we look back to all the coolest gadgets that dropped in the tech world this month.
(For the best announcements of last month, January 2022, click here.
Pro-Ject Automat A1 Turntable
Pro-Ject, the Austrian hi-fi company is best known for its high-end yet affordable turntable, announced its first-ever fully automatic turntable: the Automat A1. It’s decked out with high-quality components — including an Ortofon OM10 cartridge, 8.3-inch aluminium tonearm, metal platter, wooden chassis and a built-in phono preamp (switchable) — but, because it’s fully automatic, it’s so simple that a vinyl neophyte can easily get it up and running. It’s available for purchase now.
Joby Wavo Pod
Best known for its tripods and mobile photography accessories, Jobyis announced its first line of microphones this week — with the Wavo Pod being the standout. The USB microphone is designed for streamers, podcasters and remote workers building out their desktop setup. It connects to your laptop or desktop via USB-C, supports high-resolution recording (up to 24bit/48kHz), and comes with a strikingly red pop filter attachment. Available now.
Peloton Heart Rate Band
Peloton’s newest accessory, the Heart Rate Band, is a heart rate monitor that’s meant to be worn on your forearm, work with company’s companion app and give you even more fitness data while exercising on the company’s bike, treadmill and upcoming free weights. It’s works similarly to the company’s existing chest strap accessory, but wrist-bound rather than chest-bound, most people will likely find it more comfortable to wear. It’s available now.
Sony Bravia XR A75K
The Bravia XR A75K is the Sony’s upcoming 4K OLED TV and it’s big selling point is price. Sony hasn’t announced its exact price yet, granted, but it’s poised to be its most affordable OLED TV to date. It will still pack two HDMI 2.1 ports and 120Hz rate rate, making it a prime fit for next-gen console gamers. But won’t have the same built-in speaker and as-nice aesthetic as Sony’s more expensive OLED TVs. The Bravia XR A75K will come in two sizes, 55″ and 65″, and is expected to be available later this year.
Motorola Moto G Stylus
Motorola announced a 2022 version of its Moto G Stylus that’s been improved in a couple key ways. It has a similar design to its predecessor, but Motorola gave it a substantially bigger battery (5,000mAh vs the previous 4,000mAh), a display with higher refresh-rate (now 90Hz) and a higher-resolution rear camera (50MP vs the previous 48MP). And, like before, it’s one of the most affordable smartphones you can buy with a built-in stylus. It’s available for preorder now.
BenQ EX3410R Ultrawide Curved Monitor
BenQ announced its newest ultra-wide curved monitor for gaming: the BenQ EX3410R. The 34-inch monitor has 1000R of curvature — which is intense, and really wraps around you — to create an extremely immersive experience. It also is packed with a gaming-specific features: 4K (3440X1440) resolution, super-fast 144Hz refresh rates, support for 1ms MPRT (for motion blur) and AMD FreeSync Premium technology (for low latency mouse control). It’s available now.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is the company’s new “best of the best” flagship smartphone. It has the most top-of-the-line features of any new Samsung smartphone, plus it adds the power and productivity features that were previously reserved for Samsung’s Note line. That’s right — it comes integrated with a new low-latency S Pen. (This also likely means Samsung is fully abandoning its Note line.) Compared to all of Samsung’s new smartphones, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is decked out the largest AMOLED display (6.8 inches), the biggest battery (5,000mAh), the best and most capable camera system (now with 108-megapixel wide lens, capable of shooting 8K video, 100x zoom and a bunch AI-driven features) and the best built-in speakers, with support for Dolby Atmos.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra is available for pre-order starting today (February 9) and be everywhere on February 25. (Samsung’s other two flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S22 ($800+) and S22+ ($1,000), are also both available for pre-order now.
Samsung Tab S8 Ultra
Samsung announced three new tablets this week — the Galaxy Tab S8, Tab S8+ and Tab S8 Ultra — but the “Ultra” is the standout. Thanks to a 14.6″ AMOLEDdisplay, a thin design, a super fast 4nm processor (same as the new Galaxy smartphones) and a really advanced camera system, it’s by far the most impressive tablet that Samsung has ever created. Throw in capabilities with an S Pen and attachable keyboard, and the Tab S8 Ultra looks to be a true competitor to Apple’s high-end iPad Pro.
The Galaxy Tab S8, S8+ and S8 Ultra are all available pre-order beginning today.
McIntosh MA9500 and MA8950 Integrated Amplifiers
McIntosh announced two new super-high-end integrated amplifiers, the MA8950 (pictured) and MA9500, which are new-and-improved versions of its previous MA8900 and MA9000, respectively. Both 2022 models have been upgraded with improved dynamic performance, more power and integrated with the company’s newest DA2 module (which adds a quad-balanced 32-bit DAC) for even higher-resolution playback. They’re also Roon ready. If you’re an uber-audiophile with deep pockets, both these components will be available to order this month.
Price: $9,000 — $12,000
CalDigit TS4 Thunderbolt 4 Dock
CalDigit’s latest Thunderbolt 4 Dock, the TS4, is for designed for the ultimate Mac power user. It connects via USB-C and is decked out with 14 ports, which is the the most ports that CalDigit has ever put in dock. It has 98-watts of pass through power, meaning it connect and power most of your peripherals. And it supports dual 4K monitors at 60fps. It’s a true productivity beast. And it’s available to order now.
The Sony LinkBuds are new wireless earbuds with an innovative design: there’s a physical hole to let outside sounds in. The idea is that it’s like an always-on transparency mode, so you can hear your music while also the world around you. Additionally, the LinkBuds are among the smallest wireless earbuds you can buy. They’re available now in either white or black.
Olympus OM System OM-1
Olympus (recently acquired by OM Digital Solutions) announced its first-ever Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera: the OM System OM-1. The compact shooter packs a 20-megapixel stacked CMOS sensor, an advanced autofocus system with high-speed shooting capabilities (up to 120fps), as well as 4K video (at 60fps) capture. It also has a IP53 weather-resistance rating. It’s available for preorder now, with shipping expected to start in March.
Price: $2,199 (body); $2,799 (w/12-40mm f/2.8 PRO II lens kit)
Marantz Model 40n
Marantz announced a new integrated amplifier, the Model 40n, that’s designed to drive high-end loudspeakers — it can deliver 70-watts per channel at 8 ohms — and be the central hub of your new-age hi-fi system. The Model 40n supports most a wide variety of connectivities, both wireless (including Spotify Connect, AirPlay 2, Tidal Connect and Bluetooth) and analog (HDMI ARC, phono, optical and coaxial). It’ll be available in two finishes (black or silver) this March.
Sumiko Wellfleet Phono Cartridge
The Sumiko Wellfleet is the company’s newest MM phono cartridge that’s designed for hi-fi tinkerers who are looking to upgrade their current turntable. The Wellfleet has a nude elliptical diamond stylus that, according to Sumiko, eliminates the bonding between the stylus tip and shank and reduces tip mass, resulting in even more accurate signal. It’s available now.
Audio-Technica announced a new pair of wireless earbuds with a standout feature: truly killer battery life. Each ATH-CKS50TW earbuds has a 20-hour battery life. Add in the case and they can deliver a total of 50 hours of juice. (For context, Apple’s newest and longest-lasting AirPods 3 get up to six hours per earbud and a total of 30 hours with the charging case.) This impressive battery life of Audio-Technica’s newest wireless earbuds is with active noise-cancellation turned off, however; when turned on, the ATH-CKS50TW is still get a pretty awesome 15 hours per earbud.
McIntosh MX180 A/V Processor
The McIntosh MX180 is no ordinary AV receiver. It’s a super high-end component designed for people who are spending a small fortune on home theater system(s). It’s 4K- and 8K-ready, so you know it’s ready for a current or future entertainment system (optimized for either 15.1 or 9.1.6 surround sound speaker configurations). It supports all the new-age surround sound formats including Dolby Atmos, DTS:X Pro and Auro-3D. And it’s got the typical black and silver finish, with illuminating blue and green lights that all high-end McIntosh components are known for.
LG CineBeam HU715Q
The LG CineBeam HU715Q is the company’s newest short-throw projector that’s capable of delivering a 120-inch picture (huge) with 4K resolution while just being a few inches away from your wall. The CineBeam HU715Q comes with built-in webOS (so it works access your favorite streaming apps just like with a smart TV) and it packs a built-in 2.2 speaker system so you might not even need a soundbar. It’ll be available in the coming months.
Epson Pro Cinema LS12000
The Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 is the company’s newest long-throw project that’s optimized for gaming. It comes with a single HDMI 2.1 port and is able to deliver a 4K picture at up to 120fps, making it ideal for the Xbox Series X or PS5. And even though its expensive, its $5K price tag actually makes it considerably more affordable that the competition.
Sonus Faber Omnia
Sonus Faber, an Italian high-end audio company, announced its newest all-in-one wireless speaker: the Omnia. It’s essentially a newer and more affordable of the company’s $10,000 SF16 that was released in 2016. The Omnia has a similar shape and wood-and-aluminum design as the SF16, but it’s smaller, less powerful (490 watts vs 1,400 watts) and lacks SF16’s fantasy motorized arms (aka wings) that widen the sound stage. The good news is that at $2,000, the Omnia is quite a bit more affordable. Plus, it packs a lot more wired and wireless connectivity options so you can listen to music basically however you want.
Spotify Car Thing
Spotify announced Car Thing — its first-ever gadget and dashboard accessory for controlling Spotify in your car — in April 2021, but only a very small number of people who signed up for waitlist were able to get one. Now, almost ten months later, Spotify is making Car Thing available to anybody to buy. It costs $90 and you must be a Spotify subscriber for it to work for you.
Astell&Kern ACRO BE100
Best known for its beautiful portable hi-fi players, Astell&Kern has announced its first-ever Bluetooth speaker. To be clear, theAcro BE100 is a powered Bluetooth speaker. It isn’t portable as it doesn’t have a battery. And it lacks Wi-Fi connectivity, so there’s no smart assistant support or multi-room capabilities. Instead, the Acro BE100 is meant as a beautifully-designed speaker that’s easy to use (just connect via Bluetooth) and, as it supports aptX HD and Sony’s LDAC, it’s able to stream higher-resolution audio compared to other Bluetooth-only speakers.
Acer Swift 3 and Swift 5
Acer announced its latest lightweight laptops. Both the Swift 3 and Swift 5 are decked out with the Intel’s latest CPUs (12-generation Alder Lake processors), more storage, an upgraded port selection and a new two-tone aluminum design. The Swift 5 is also significant because it is Acer’s first laptop with a taller display that has a 16:10 aspect ratio. The Swift 3 and Swift 5 cost $850 and $1,499, respectively, and will be available in the US this June.
Plugable Graphics Adapters
Plugable announced three new graphics adapters designed to add multiple external displays to either your Mac or Windows workstation — and do so relatively affordably. There’s the USB 3.0 and USB-C to Dual HDMI Adapter ($69), which adds two additional HDMI ports; the USB 3.0 and USB-C to HDMI Adapter ($63), which adds an additional HDMI port; and the USB 3.0 and USB-C to DisplayPort Adapter ($66), which adds an additional DisplayPort. All three new adapters are available now.
Price: $63 — $69
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