The Most Disappointing Gadgets of 2022

The Most Disappointing Gadgets of 2022

Every year brings with it some stinkers. Here are 2022's.

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Disappointing Gadgets
Graphic: Twemoji

Consumer tech is a big umbrella, and as many great innovations as 2022 saw, the law of averages means there’s going to be some that don’t quite live up to their potential. Whether something had a lot of promise and didn’t fully deliver, or instead was just kind of sketch the whole time, there’s a lot of things that could land it a spot in our “most disappointing” list. If you see your product here, we’re not mad. We just know you can do better.

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2 / 10

Nothing Phone (1)

Nothing Phone (1)

A photo of the Nothing Phone 1 with one glyph lit up
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

I wanted to like the Nothing Phone (1). The hype machine was enough to get me to pay attention, and I wasn’t willing to dismiss its unique LED-based Glyph lights, which flash in tandem with the ringtone, right off the bat. But the Phone (1) turned out to be nothing more than a mid-range device with a mediocre camera system. The $475 price point certainly nets you a cool-looking device, but it’s not directly available in the U.S. There are much better options available for less than what importing the Nothing Phone (1) will cost you.

- Florence Ion

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3 / 10

Logitech G Cloud

Logitech G Cloud

Photo of the Logitech G Cloud
Photo: Gizmodo

Although reviews have been mixed, we actually like the Logitech G Cloud. It’s an Android-powered handheld designed to play AAA titles through game-streaming services, in addition to mobile games. You can even play retro titles through emulators like RetroArch. The controls are solid, the hardware feels great, the battery life is astounding, and the seven-inch, 1080P screen is easy on the eyes. The handheld feels a little under-powered, though, and struggles with some of the more processor intensive mobile games currently available, even if your phone would have no issue with them. At $349, it’s only $50 cheaper than Valve’s entry-level Steam Deck. If Logitech knocks the price down a bit for 2023, the G Cloud would definitely be worth considering.

- Andrew Liszewski

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4 / 10

Panic Playdate

Panic Playdate

Photo of the Panic Playdate
Photo: Gizmodo

With the Playdate, Panic (which published Untitled Goose Game) succeeded in delivering a compelling alternative to many other non-PC handheld devices, which are mostly focused on playing retro titles through emulation. The Playdate, developed in collaboration with Teenage Engineering, offers developers an entirely new platform for developing games, with the option of using a quirky crank on the side to drive gameplay. Gamers get access to a library of mostly original games released on a set weekly schedule, many of which come from big names like Bennett Foddy. Unfortunately, not all the games officially released for the $179 Playdate were compelling enough to frequently revisit, and the Playdate’s monochromatic, unlit screen is often very hard to see without a very bright light source, which often ends up producing too much glare to see what you’re playing.

- Andrew Liszewski

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5 / 10

Google Pixel Watch

Google Pixel Watch

A photo of a person holding up the Pixel Watch
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

The Pixel Watch isn’t a total wash. It’s a grand first entry from Google, which is finding its footing–yet again–with its wearables platform. So far, brands like Samsung and Fossil have been the torchbearers for Android’s smartwatches. But as Google worked to establish its hardware lineup, it was time to release a flagship smartwatch that could serve as a benchmark for those other partners. Unfortunately for Google, Samsung still sets the standard. The Galaxy Watch 5 is the best Android smartwatch worth wearing, if only because it almost does everything the Apple Watch does. Google’s Pixel Watch isn’t bad; I’d suggest you check it out if you find it on sale and are keen on the Fitbit app for health tracking. But the $350 price tag isn’t worth it for a smartwatch with a contentious design and that launched with some missing features.

- Florence Ion

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6 / 10

Amazon Kindle Scribe

Amazon Kindle Scribe

Photo of the Amazon Kindle Scribe
Photo: Gizmodo

Given Amazon’s web services and cloud servers power a big chunk of the internet, we were ultimately let down by Amazon’s first stylus-compatible e-note device: the Scribe. The hardware is actually very good, with the pen on paper experience nearly perfectly recreated electronically. The device also has a lovely 10.2-inch, 300 PPI screen that E Ink created specifically for the Scribe. Where the Scribe disappointed was when it came to making documents—either notebooks, digital sticky notes on ebooks, or marked up PDFs—easily available on other devices. Figuring out how to get your own documents on and off the Scribe can be confusing and often requires documents to be emailed all over the place. With a company like Amazon behind it, the experience should be much smoother, and hopefully a few software updates from now, it will be.

- Andrew Liszewski

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7 / 10

Dell XPS 13 Plus

Dell XPS 13 Plus

Dell XPS 13 Plus
Photo: Mark Knapp / Gizmodo

We’re used to putting the Dell XPS 13 on our best list. But this year, it’s here. Apple’s purposely dropped the baton on the “nobody asked for this” touch-based function row, but for whatever reason, Dell’s decided to pick it up. Combine that with a near-invisible touchpad and an unnervingly low profile edge-to-edge keyboard with little space in-between keys, and the Dell XPS 13 Plus is way harder to use than it needs to be. Unfortunately, if you want the classic design, you’re gonna have to settle for worse specs— the Dell XPS 13's old design is still available in non-Plus versions, but Dell isn’t letting you kit them out as high as you can the Plus.

- Michelle Ehrhardt

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8 / 10

Google Stadia

Google Stadia

A photo of Stadia
Image: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

Google told us Stadia wasn’t going anywhere and that things would pan out. And then, one day this year, Google announced it was done and issuing refunds. Granted, the writing was on the wall earlier in the year that Stadia would soon face its expiration date, but it was a bummer for folks sold on the premise of cloud gaming. I’m one of those people who wanted a way to play the latest games without having to shell out for the whole console or PC tower setup. It seemed possible through Stadia, which granted me access to my favorite games through the Android/Chrome ecosystem. But I’ve since had to jump to other cloud gaming services. In the end, all I can do is look back and consider what could have been. There is no doubt that many Google fans will also be pretty skeptical the next time the company attempts to get them on board with something new.

- Florence Ion

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9 / 10

Grell Audio TWS/1

Grell Audio TWS/1

Photo of Grell Audio TWS/1
Photo: Gizmodo

Although not a household name, amongst headphone aficionados, Axell Grell, who designed headphones for Sennheiser for 27 years (including the $55,000 Orpheus headphone system) is about as big a celebrity name as you can get. So we were expecting big things when Grell left Sennheiser to start his own company, with its first product being the Grell Audio TWS/1 wireless earbuds. They sound great, but with a $200 price tag, they don’t outperform the competition enough to justify leaving your AirPods Pro behind. They’re also a bit large as far as modern wireless earbuds go, with finicky touch controls. But the biggest disappointment might be the fact that the left and right earbuds aren’t located in the left and right slots in their charging case, which can be confusing when you take them out and stick them in your ears.

- Andrew Liszewski

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10 / 10