Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


Don't waste your money on these Apple products: January 2022 edition

2022 is here, and let's start the year with a list of Apple products you shouldn't buy, along with a list of products that I recommend.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

2022 is here. A fresh new year awaits.  

This is that time of year where sales of consumer electronics takes a bit of a dip following the holiday period, but with coronavirus still dominating the news and working (and learning) from home looks like it's going to be a thing for the foreseeable future, there's going to be people looking to buy things.

And a sizable chunk of those products will be Apple products.

Apple is an interesting company. Some products go through a regular refresh cycle (the iPhone being the one that most people know), while other products are left to wither and rot. This means that there are products that are fresh and those that are not.

Here is my list of products to avoid, along with a list of Apple products that I recommend.

The "Avoid" list:

  • iPhone SE: The SE was a superb handset when first released, but didn't see a refresh this year. And now that it's over a year old, it's not the super deal that it was when it first launched in 2020, especially since the price is unchanged.
  • HomePod: No. Mini is okay to buy, though.
  • Apple Watch SE/Series 3: I'd give both of these a wide berth. The SE is a year old, and the Series 3 is still hanging on after four years. Both feel overpriced compared to the Series 7. The 3 Series seems like a particularly bad buy, and mostly what I hear from people who still use one is bad things.
  • Mac Pro: With the transition to Apple Silicon underway, this huge monetary investment just doesn't make sense at this point in time. 
  • iPod touch: Don't touch that! I think that this product is long overdue for a refresh, and it might get one later this year, or Apple will finally toss it on the recycling heap and call the iPod dead.

The "Recommended" list:

Blowing away the competition, Apple's AirTags are the perfect gift for someone who constantly loses things.

Well made, robust, and with a replaceable battery, these will make lost keys or wallets a thing of the past.

The best earbuds out there, and they integrate so well with the rest of the Apple ecosystem. Great sound, super comfortable, and great battery life. 

Two years on from their release, these are still my favorite earbuds.

Without a doubt, this is the best smartphone out there. 

The display is beautiful, the camera is superb, and the battery life is far ahead of the competition.

This is a great alternative to a laptop (especially for those in the Apple ecosystem). Powered by Apple's M1 chip, it's a huge upgrade compared to earlier iPad Pro tablets.

Paired with the beautiful XDR display and camera array featuring a 12MP wide camera, 10MP ultra-wide camera, and even a LiDAR scanner, this is a great product for both work and play.

This is a super-powerful laptop in a small, 13.3-inch form factor. 

The M1 chip blows away anything that Intel could bring to a Mac, and it allows for incredible performance combined with unprecedented battery life.

My top tips for buying Apple products

  • Shop around -- Apple is not the cheapest place to buy Apple products (although for some products, it could be the only place).
  • Order early -- The global chip shortage is causing longer than usual shipping times for some products, so plan ahead!
  • Make sure you know what you are buying -- For example, the latest AirPods are the 3rd-generation model, not the 2nd-generation versions (which I still see for sale for a premium price in a lot of places).
  • Warranties -- Apple has no problems with new, genuine products bought from third-parties, so don't feel that you're tied to buying direct from Apple.

Have I missed anything off the list? Drop me a note and let me know in the comments!

Editorial standards