9to5Toys’ Favorite Things of 2022: Anker Charger, iPad Air 5, GoTrax Scooter, more

This year is coming to a close, which has all of the writers here at 9to5Toys getting a bit retrospective on all of the gear we’ve taken a look at in 2022. Alongside all of the tech, toys, and fashion we’ve reviewed since January, there is a selection of things each of us bought for ourselves that weren’t covered. Ranging from must-have charging tech for your everyday carry to electric scooters, M1 iPads, and more, you’ll find all of 9to5Toys’ Favorite Things of 2022 down below.

This marks the first installment of 9to5Toys’ Favorite Things, a yearly roundup that takes a look at the purchases our team made throughout 2022 that are worth highlighting before the new year – not necessarily things that were released this year. We have a wide range of favorites to check out down below.

Rikka’s favorite thing of the year – Anker PowerCore 24K 

Throughout 2022, I have reviewed a lot of gear. From power banks to MacBook stands, networking upgrades, and so much more. I’ve also bought a lot of tech for myself, alongside countless collectibles and toys that haven’t made their way onto 9to5Toys. But the thing I keep coming back to is something I’ve talked about time and time again on the site. It’s something my friends are tired of hearing about me praise, but of course always thankful for when I have it on hand. A mainstay here at 9to5Toys, Anker makes some of our favorite chargers and one of its latest releases has won our hearts over time and time again this year.

Having just launched earlier in the fall, the new Anker PowerCore 24K delivers one of its most capable on-the-go solutions with a 24,000mAh internal battery. It also packs a 140W USB-C PD output that lets it effortlessly refuel an M1 Pro MacBook, as well as iPhones, iPads, and more without breaking a sweat. There’s also a built-in display for monitoring charging stats in real time. 

It might have a $150 MSRP that’s on sale for $100 right now, but the Anker PowerCore 24K is by far the most versatile charger I have ever owned and is something I use every single day. It doesn’t matter if the person on your list has a million chargers already, this will easily be the final one they need for quite some time. I have reviewed countless power banks and the like over the years here at 9to5Toys, and there has yet to be one that is as useful as Anker’s latest. Our hands-on review also covers the full feature set in a little more detail, too.

Justin’s favorite thing of the year – iPad Air 5

Apple somehow changed the iPad game in a major way for me this year without actually changing all that much. Enter the fifth-generation iPad Air – a sleek, svelte, and powerful tablet that’s about as familiar as it is a value-packed upgrade. It gives the pro model machines a run for their money at lower price point while hitting that sweet spot between the miniature model and the 12.9-inch form-factor – the size, shape, and performance are right on point for me. 

While much of the feature set, including the fingerprint scanner built-in to the power button, Center Stage action of the front camera, and overall design are indeed brought back from the previous-generation Air variant, you’re scoring Apple’s M1 power for less here. Delivering one of the most affordable ways to bring home the in-house Apple silicon found in last year’s pro-grade tablets, MacBook Pro, iMac, and other far more expensive machines, the iPad Air 5 is the best Apple Pencil 2 companion on the market and a particularly powerful Apple tablet for the $599 MSRP. 

Sure, there’s no face ID and again there’s not a whole lot that really stands out as brand new, most of the enhancements and value are hidden under the hood and on the checkout screen here. 

If you’re not a mobile tablet power user that really needs the iPad Pro, but are looking for something that takes it up a notch from the base models, the iPad Air 5 is the best option on the market from any brand. 

Simon’s favorite thing of the year – GoTrax’s G4 Electric Scooter

Not too long after I moved to a city with plenty of sidewalks and bike trails, finding a modern and fun way to get around town was front of mind. Instead of opting for an e-bike, I took a slightly different path with GoTrax’s G4 Electric Scooter. Having spent well over six months scooting around town, to the beach, and more, this handy vehicle has easily become one my favorite purchases yet.

With a top speed of 20 MPH, it’s a blast to ride. Even better, the battery allows me to travel around 15 miles and still has a bit of juice to spare. These days it has a list price of $649, but shoppers can often take advantage of on-page coupons at Amazon and generally spend about $100 less. And if this model isn’t for you, GoTrax has an extensive lineup of other options for you to pick from.

Jared’s favorite thing of the year – Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 lens

I picked up Tamron’s 70-200mm f/2.8 lens for my Nikon cameras sometime this spring because I have been taking pictures for my former high school’s orchestra and needed good low-light performance. I also do astrophotography occasionally, and having a fast lens like this would help. I couldn’t be happier with the performance this lens brought to my arsenal.

While low-light level photography is always tricky, even with faster glass, the image stabilization hardware built-in here is rock solid. Even other photographers I hang out with were impressed by how it seemed to lock in place, even on a rocking boat. Trying to figure out what my favorite item of the year is was tricky, but considering this lens helped to capture one of the biggest events in recent spaceflight history, the choice was clear.

Patrick’s favorite thing of the year – 14-inch M1 Pro MacBook Pro

It’s been a while since Apple has released a laptop that truly got me excited. I’ve enjoyed seeing the progression of the line since 2016 when Apple overhauled it, but the launch of the 14-inch MacBook Pro finally delivered the laptop that I’ve been wanting for over a decade. Since I got my first 13-inch MacBook back in 2012, I’ve wanted an ultra-powerful, yet compact laptop. Fast forward and I migrated from 13- to 15-inch models and upgraded in power, but also added extra size and weight. I eventually moved to the 15-inch 2016 MacBook Pro and then onto the 16-inch 2019 MacBook Pro with all the power I could ever want, but abysmal battery life and a massive footprint. After eventually selling that and trying to move to a 13-inch MacBook Pro at the time, I had to go back to the 15-inch for the added horsepower… Apple’s smaller laptops just never did cut it for me.

That is, until the 14-inch series. With the launch of the M1 chip, and eventual M1 Pro/Max chips in the 14- and 16-inch lineup of computers, Apple finally made the laptop that I had been wanting forever. While I landed on the 14-inch M1 Max with 32GB of RAM and 1TB of storage because of a refurbished deal we found, really the entire 14-inch lineup is a fantastic powerhouse for the majority of users. There’s more than enough juice to handle your day to day tasks, and with the extra encoding/decoding cores, it even chews through video editing with ease, something Apple’s smaller laptops never used to be able to achieve.

Another thing that the 14-inch MacBook Pro excels at is battery life. With my monster 15- and 16-inch laptops, I could never get more than 90-120 minutes of battery life when using them at full tilt. Now, with the M1 Max on a 14-inch, I can legitimately go 3-6 hours or more depending on whether I have some Intel apps running in Rosetta or not. This is something that I never expected to be able to do on a smaller laptop, but am so glad that Apple finally delivered.

One final thing that really sealed the deal for me on the 14-inch MacBook Pro is Apple finally brought back the ports I’ve been missing for so long. Now, I can use SD cards and HDMI without having to carry a dongle! While I’d love to have Ethernet back, it’s a compromise I’m willing to make to be able to use SD cards and HDMI without a secondary device, as I utilize those far more than Ethernet when on-the-go and away from my Thunderbolt hub.

9to5Toys Readers favorite thing of the year – AirPods Pro 2

To wrap up our Favorite Things of the year spotlight, we’ll highlight something of a readers’ choice from the 9to5Toys audience. Going off of our Amazon Affiliates insights, shoppers this year have gravitated towards one item that earns a place in our list of top purchases. As our most recommended item, the Apple AirPods Pro 2 earns the title for 2022.

Having just launched back in October, Apple’s latest flagship earbuds quickly rocketed to the top of the charts after just a few months on sale. It was a close race this year, as Samsung’s T7 portable SSD was a very close second. But thanks to some sizable price cuts going live through the holiday season, it seems that the Apple influence of our readers continues to reign supreme.

What is your favorite thing of 2022? Let us know in the comments below!

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