What is the MobileLabs team hoping for in 2023? Top/flop of the past year

What is the MobileLabs team hoping for in 2023? Top/flop of the past year

After the traditional binges of the Christmas period, the time has finally come to say goodbye to 2022 and welcome the new year. Like last year, the MobileLabs team wanted to tell about the tops and flops of the last 12 months. Products, services or simply events concerning the world of smartphones that we liked or that we watched from our position (a little privileged, we admit) turning up our noses a little.

We also wanted to give a first looking to the future , imagining what 2023 may have in store for us and hoping to see our wishes for the new year come true!

Each of the editors gave their opinion about those which he considers to be the personal "tops" and "flops" of 2022, thinking back to the most interesting and most disappointing products of the year which ended yesterday.

We invite you to leave us in the comments those which according to you were the points s aliens of 2022 and which products or announcements disappointed you, imagining what the industry could do during 2023 to capture your attention!

Rossella Pastore

It is a bit difficult to identify a real "top" for the year 2022, a year without very big news in the smartphone sector, as some colleagues also affirm. Or rather: it was a year with a lot of new releases – far too many! – but all more or less resembling each other. The only smartphones to have slightly distinguished themselves were some mid-range models such as Vivo V23 5G, Oppo Reno8 Lite 5G and obviously Nothing Phone (1), from which a little more was also expected. What do these three smartphones have in common?

Simple: they are all characterized by particular rear shells, with LEDs or photochromic. In general, it seems that the OEMs have aimed to stand out above all starting from the design and the design of the rear in particular, while there has been no great news regarding the technical data sheet.

We underlined that the changes they were mostly cosmetic and limited to the rear; this was not the case only in the case of ZTE Axon 40 Ultra, a very nice high-end smartphone that however went a bit unnoticed (a bit like its invisible camera, after all!).

Android aside, I also appreciated Apple's solution, which didn't completely eliminate the hole in the display, but at least was able to… make sense of it. It's just a pity that the Dynamic Island is only found on the iPhone 14 Pro and not also on the basic model, which also costs over a thousand euros.

♥ Top Flop ♠ We mentioned the price increase of the new iPhones, but in the 2022 this trend has affected all smartphones, including those of a notoriously "affordable" brand such as Xiaomi. Nothing to say about the quality per se, but about the quality in relation to the price there would be some remarks to be made. Too bad also for the non-arrival in Italy of Xiaomi 12S Ultra, which with its super camera could even have competed for the top.

Speaking of poor distribution, I'm really sorry for Sony, which at the beginning of the year disappeared from the main online stores. Sony is a brand with a great personality, coherent and also capable of going against the tide, as we have known it in recent years. But it is precisely his lack of ability to follow fashions that has contributed to increasingly reducing its popularity, together with – and this is what I reproach him for – a decidedly non-aggressive marketing, indeed almost non-existent.

Hopes for 2023: Hopes for the future are almost all placed in a brand, Nothing, which has already presented its Phone (1) as the real alternative to the "usual smartphones". As we said before, however, I expected and continue to hope for something more than a simple luminous body, some more substantial changes like the one already dared by ZTE. In 2023, then, it would be nice to see at least one of the new extravagant foldables promised at CES by Samsung, and maybe some other compact foldables like Oppo Find N, hoping that at the same time the international distribution of this and other Chinese brands will also improve.

» Read the articles written by Rossella for MobileLabs «

Francesca Fenaroli

Years of living with medium-high-end smartphones are not easily forgotten, which is why I elect as top of 2022 a photographic sensor which, not surprisingly, has depopulated in this sector. That's right, I'm talking about the Sony IMX766, the "parsley" of the photographic departments of this year's Android smartphones.

The excellent rendering of light and colors of the shots, which reduces the gap between top of the range and devices closer to the mid-range, makes the decision to implement it on board so many devices well understood.

♥ Top Flop ♠ Thinking about the burning technological disappointments of 2022, the iPhone 14 is certainly the first on the list . You pass the increasingly marked difference between the Pro and the "basic" model and you also pass the inclusion of an iPhone 14 Max in the line-up.

Not even Apple's marketing department was able to convince us of the choice of propose a device not only almost identical to that of the previous year, but which mounts the same A15 Bionic chip inside, albeit slightly enhanced. Not everything comes to silver, however: at the end of 2022 the iPhone 13, which not surprisingly has become my new daily driver, is more attractive than ever.

Hopes for 2023: Let's stay in the area Apple to talk about hopes for 2023. With the Dynamic Island on board the iPhone 14 Pro, in fact, a path has opened up that we desperately need in the world of technology and which I hope other brands will follow too: that of designing creative solutions to limitations that still exist today at the hardware level. If necessary, walking around it, literally.

» Read the articles written by Francesca for MobileLabs «

Marco Cagliero

This year has been marked by continuity rather than featuring transformations and innovations that leave you speechless. Not a bad thing given the high general level reached in every price range but certainly bad news for all fans of the smartphone market like me, always looking for the first fruits and novelties. Despite the lack of innovative drive, there have been some proposals that deserve honorable mentions. Among the many I decide to indicate Google that finally with its Pixel line seems to have decided to push hard on the accelerator making its smartphones available to an ever wider and general public. Pixel 6a and the new Pixel 7 are in fact products that in their respective price ranges are considered to be the best in terms of value for money.

♥ Top Flop ♠ More than a real flop product, objectively increasingly difficult to indicate given the quality level reached even in the entry range, one can only indicate the price increase trend as the real flop in this 2022. Of course, these are increases linked to costs not directly attributable to direct choices by companies, which they suffer a bit like all the reflections of the increases in raw materials and more, but the fact that some brands have managed to maintain the "pre-crisis" price lists (see Google) indicates that perhaps something more could have been done. Alternatively, with costs out of control and energy issues increasingly present even in the tech sector, wouldn't it have been better not to present products and skip a generation (iPhone 14 to cite one example among many) to give a signal to the market?

Hopes for 2023: My hope for 2022 was related to an increase in the foldable market. Although this market niche is trying to emerge, these 12 months have not yet been able to mark the real turning point and maturity for the segment, still seen as far from the needs of ordinary users. However, my love for these products hasn't changed and 12 months later I continue to have this hope for the coming year, with the desire to see more and more brands challenge each other in what I refer to as the real innovative field of the smartphone world. However, I also want to indicate a second hope, inextricably linked to the flop 2022 of the paragraph above. In fact, I hope that in the next year we could see a serious awareness of the producers, with product portfolios with fewer proposals but with more sense (both in terms of positioning and technical characteristics). If this were to join also a renewed software support, well we could be facing one of the best mobile tech years ever!

» Read the articles written by Marco for MobileLabs «

Leonardo Mazzone

2022 was a thriving year in the world of smartphones, many manufacturers have created interesting flagship devices that reduce the gap between one brand and another. In my opinion, Google is certainly among the best with its Pixel 7 which, apart from the quality in all respects, has maintained a fairly affordable price when we are talking about a top of the range. I'm also feeling interested in Oppo devices that I've never tried yet, the Find X5 Pro teased me a lot, we'll see.

♥ Top Flop ♠ I use both Android (Pixel 6 Pro and Galaxy S22) and Apple (iPhone 14 Pro), a disappointment of 2022 was certainly seeing the price of the iPhone 14 Pro skyrocket. I can understand the global economic crisis, the microchip crisis, etc., but I find such a high increase on both smartphones and all other products, even accessories, absolutely unjustified.

Hopes for 2023: Hopes for 2023 are to see a price adjustment, especially from Apple, and not see new increases. In the Android panorama I will be very curious about Oppo's strategy which is growing a lot, maybe it will be the year in which I will try one of their top of the range for the first time. I expect (or rather I would like) that there is not too much static in the other brands; it almost seems that they present the next model that is right for practice and marketing without however bringing any real innovations or "revolutions".

» Read the articles written by Leonardo for MobileLabs «

Luca Zaninello

In this 2022 full of top-of-the-range products of all kinds, there really was a flagship for everyone. Those who wanted to approach the high-end smartphone market were most likely satisfied, a little less happy with the users who by will or necessity aimed at saving.

Personally, as a lover of photography and as a person who always wants with it the best possible camera for every need, there are two products that I adored and that I want to indicate as top for this year: Vivo X80 Pro and Huawei Mate 50 Pro.

The first was my smartphone favorite for taking pictures and has accompanied me, as a primary or secondary smartphone, throughout the course of the year. The second, despite the limitations of Huawei products that I just can't ignore being strongly linked to the Google ecosystem, has completely changed my opinion on the quality of the photos of the top of the range from the house. For years I have emphasized in my reviews that, however high quality, I did not like Huawei's photo processing. This Mate 50 Pro, on the contrary, produces accurate images, with practically flawless color grading and is extremely versatile. Huawei with the new XMAGE photographic system has definitely hit the mark!

♥ Top Flop ♠ Speaking of less positive things, however, I want to give Qualcomm a friendly tug on the ear. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, while extremely powerful and manageable in my experience in the first half of 2022, is a chip that in hindsight fails to show its true potential, due to inefficient manufacturing.

A demonstration of this has arrived Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, practically the same chip, however, manufactured by TSMC and extremely less "incandescent" than the model that preceded it. And again, spoiler, we already have in our hands a product with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC under the body which demonstrates how the American company has learned from its mistakes but which we cannot tell you about for a few more days.

Hopes for 2023: The smartphone market seems, in my opinion, to have found new life in 2022. Especially if we talk about more “extreme” or expensive products, there is really a lot to be excited about technologically speaking for the year ahead. There will be more and more products with 100/200+ Watt fast charging, GPUs with Ray Tracing support, cameras with variable aperture and gigantic sensors, bodies with never-before-seen workmanship or sparkling finishes, foldable smartphones for every pocket (both in terms of size than budget) and much more. If for some it's about extra features for which it doesn't make sense to empty your wallet, I'm the first to queue up to experiment with technologies that until a few years ago we considered bordering on science fiction!

» Read the articles written by Luca for MobileLabs «

Opening photo based on the image created by callmetak

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