Score points by gifting some of 2022’s finest
By Marc Saltzman
Tis the season to treat your best friends and family to what’s on our list of “hot” favourites.
Readers tell me they often have trouble picking from a seemingly endless number of choices and options… Doesn’t matter whether they’ve been naughty, or nice, let’s find the right present for everyone.
From a stunning television and premium audio equipment to virtual reality gaming and bleeding-edge laptops, here’s what we’ve got for you to give to those on your naughty and nice list.
Seeing the big picture
Go big or go home—or rather, go back at home
Make space on the wall for the LG G2 83-inch 4K OLED evo Gallery Edition with ThinQ AI ($9,999), a stunning—and stunningly thin—OLED display that delivers AI upscaling (to intelligently upconvert HD content to near 4K quality) and High Dynamic Range (HDR) with Dynamic Tone Mapping to optimize every scene. For gamers, it boasts a 120Hz refresh rate and G-Sync compatibility for smooth motion.
Powered by webOS, this Smart TV can also make content recommendations, while integrated Wi-Fi 6 ensures fast, lag-free streaming. Built-in Bluetooth 5.0 allows you to connect wireless devices such as Bluetooth headphones, speakers, and hearing aids, and more.
And if you’re a fan of art, consider the 75-inch Samsung The Frame 2022 ($3,999), which shows high-quality art when you‘re not watching TV, and has customizable bezel options that really make the television look like a canvas. In fact, this model benefits from an embossed “matte” display, therefore is an anti-glare, low reflection panel that also avoids fingerprints and smudges. A Slim Fit Wall Mount is included with purchase for the TV to be flush with your wall.
As a television, this quantum dot-based QLED TV offers brilliant images at 100 percent colour volume, along with Quantum HDR for an expanded range of colour and contrast, and a Tizen-based operating system that supports several hundred downloadable apps. You can also connect a compatible camera to this television and enjoy video calls via Google Duo for up to 32 people.
Gamers why not advantage of the Gaming Hub platform, that lets you stream Xbox games—no console required.
Speaking of games, PlayStation 5 (PS5) owners can jazz up their beloved console with one of the five PS5 Console Covers ($69.99) and matching DualSense wireless controllers (sold separately; $89.95 to $94.95). Simply snap on one of these covers onto the PS5 or PS5 Digital Edition, with one of these colour options: Cosmic Red, Starlight Blue, Galactic Purple, Nova Pink, or Midnight Black.
Also from Sony Interactive Entertainment, fingers crossed the PlayStation VR2 will be out by the holidays. This next-generation virtual reality headset will plug into the PS5 and deliver immersive 360-degree content displayed in up to 4000 x 2040 HDR video, running at a smooth 90Hz/120Hz frame rate.
View your surroundings while wearing the headset with a see-through feature, which lets you easily check where your PS VR2 Sense controllers without even taking off your headset.
For something more unique, the WOWCube Entertainment System (from $299.99 USD) may resemble a Rubick’s Cube at first blush, but features 24 little screens on it (four per side) for you to twist, tilt and shake for gaming, learning, and other content. For example, when on its charging base, you can have it on your desk at work to show you the time, calendar appointments, social media notifications, and more. It also doubles as a “fidget” toy.
A WOWCube app store features more than 40 free and paid games covering several genres—such as arcade, maze, puzzle, and educational games—including ones based on familiar brands like Cut the Rope, Space Invaders, 2048, Snake, and Classic Cube, which resembles the original 3-D cube puzzler from the ‘80s.
Music lovers can be the envy of fellow audiophiles after laying their ears on the Klipsch ProMedia Heritage 2.1 ($549.99), a high-performance desktop speaker system available in Walnut or Black Ash.
Featuring both wired ports (USB-A and stereo analog RCA) and wireless Bluetooth connectivity (to connect a smartphone, tablet laptop, TV or gaming console), this beautifully crafted multimedia system features 1-inch soft dome tweeters on Tractrix horns—the proprietary technology behind Klipsch’s precise acoustics—along with a 3-inch long-throw woofer in each speaker for dynamic, powerful midrange detail. The 8-inch subwoofer packs a 100-watt amplifier for deep, cinematic bass.
For private listening, Apple AirPods Max ($779.00) sound as good as they look. While the company isn’t known for its professional-grade over-ear headphones, reserve judgement until you slip these on and get a taste of its custom-built drives (with ultra-low distortion), active noise cancellation (via six outward-facing microphones, plus two inward-facing microphones to measure what you’re hearing).
Available in Silver, Space Grey, Sky Blue, Pink and Green, the stainless-steel frame is wrapped in soft material to fuse strength with flexibility and comfort.
The Digital Crown lets you precisely control volume, skip between tracks, answer phone calls and activate Siri.
Lap it up
Whether it’s for work or play, the ASUS Zenbook Pro 16X OLED ($3999.99) is for those who don’t want to settle for second best.
Featuring an ASUS Active Aerodynamic System Ultra (AAS Ultra) hinge, which lifts the keyboard to an ergonomic viewing angle and enhances the thermal performance, this top-of-the-line laptop also features a new ASUS Dial, an intuitive physical controller that provides users instant and precise fingertip control over settings in content creation apps such as Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Lightroom, After Effects and Illustrator, and any other app that supports shortcut functions.
The 16-inch 4K OLED touchscreen is a sight to behold, with plenty of power under the hood, including an Intel Core i9 processor (12900H), 32-gigabytes of system memory (RAM), a 1-terabyte solid state drive, and Nvidia RTX3060 graphics.
Cool and calming
Available in black or cream, the Homedics drift ($499 for 16-inch version, $599 for 21-inches) may resemble a Zen garden at first glance, but instead of a rake, these circular bowls house a magnetic ball that automatically creates a variety of mesmerizing patterns within the sand.
After joining your Wi-Fi, an app (iOS, Android) lets you choose from several patterns and coloured light options, plus you can also adjust the speed, brightness, and more. But all this control is optional, if you simple prefer to lose yourself in a meditate state by watching the silver ball carve out a beautiful design before your eyes.
Or perhaps a personal massager is what you need to relax?
The Theragun Mini ($249.00) is a pocket-sized device for muscle treatment anytime, anywhere—thanks to its QX35 motor with Quiet Force tech, up to 150 min-utes of battery life, and three speed settings (1750, 2100 or 2400 percussions per minute).
With its patented triangle design for more of an ergonomic grip, tackle knots, cramps and tension with Therabody’s smallest and quietest gun—whether you’re at home or on the go.
Includes a soft case, standard ball attachment (but works with all others), and power adapter. Colour selection includes basic white or black as well as desert rose or red.
The insiders guide to what to not even consider gifting: A framed picture of yourself, the biggest popcorn machine money can buy, a weight-loss/fitness gift basket, his and hers matching oven mitts and a blue tooth bathroom scale.
For the past 25 years, Marc Saltzman has been a recognized expert in consumer electronics, business tech, social media, and automotive trends. You can see him on CTV, Global TV, and as a keynote speaker across North America. Follow him on Twitter @ marc_saltzman.