What we bought: Our favorite small kitchen essentials

While we at Engadget are blessed with a passion for cooking, most of us are not blessed with spacious kitchens. But that doesn’t stop us – we use every inch of our tiny apartment kitchens as efficiently as possible. In doing so, we’ve found that some of the most useful cooking tools are the small things – items hiding deep in your drawers or sitting humbly on your countertop that you turn to often and may end up taking for granted. We wanted to highlight some of our favorite small kitchen essentials to remind everyone (including ourselves) that you don’t need to add the latest ultra-convenient unitaster to your kitchen to make great food. Ultimately, it’s the small stuff that matters, both when it comes to recipe ingredients and the tools you keep in your cupboards.

Thermapen One

The ThermoWorks Thermapen One thermometer taking the temperature of a piece of meat on a grill.
ThermoWorks

If there was ever an essential kitchen gadget, an instant-read thermometer is certainly it. Not only does it help you cook things correctly, but aso safely. No one wants to serve their guests undercooked chicken. If you’re in the market, Thermapen’s One is the best your money can buy. It’s more expensive than your run-of-the-mill probe, but the One gets its name from its speed: it can provide readings in one second.

What’s more, the One is accurate to within half a degree and the IP67 waterproof housing means it will hold up to any accidents. The display auto rotates so you’re never twisting your neck to read the numbers. It’s also equipped with a motion sensor so that display automatically comes on when you pick up the thermometer. The Thermapen One will serve you well in the kitchen, at the grill and for many other things, making it a go-to for a variety of culinary tasks. – Billy Steele, Senior News Editor

Buy Thermapen One at ThermoWorks - $105

Instant Pot

Instant Pot Ultra
Engadget

I was late to hop on the Instant Pot train. I picked up the three-quart Instant Pot Ultra on Prime Day in 2020, and even as I waited for it to arrive, I was slightly skeptical about how much I’d really use it. Fast-forward more than a year and the multi-cooker has become one of the most used gadgets in my laughably small kitchen. If I had enough counter space, it would stay out all the time – next to my other cooking MVP, my Vitamix – but sadly it has to sit in a lower cabinet when not in use. But I pull it out often to make soups and stews, to meal-prep large batches of dried beans and even to whip up rice. I grabbed the three-quart model because I mainly cook for myself and my fiancé, but since we always have leftovers, that leads me to believe that the smallest Instant Pot could make a decent-sized meal for up to four people or a big batch of our favorite side dish. While the Ultra model can be difficult to find right now, the newer Instant Pot Pro Plus has many of the same cooking modes along with a fancier display, plus app connectivity. — Valentina Palladino, Commerce Editor

Buy Instant Pot Pro Plus at Amazon - $200

Microplane

Microplane
Microplane

I bought my Microplane after taking an in-store cooking class at Sur La Table where, admittedly, the hosts had an agenda to sell us stuff on our way out. I treated myself to this $15 hand grater, having just been introduced to it in my cooking demo. Today, I use it for everything from mincing garlic, to zesting citrus to grating parmesan over my pasta. The Microplane takes up less cabinet space than my box grater – and it’s never sliced my finger like traditional models either. The only annoying thing about my workflow is that the Microplane is often sitting dirty in the dishwasher when I need it. But at this price, with such a small footprint, it wouldn’t kill me to get a spare. – Dana Wollman, Editor In Chief

Buy Microplane Classic at Amazon - $16

Amazon Basics scale

Food scale
Engadget

I love to cook, but I can’t say I’m terribly precise when it comes to following recipes. If something calls for a tablespoon of oil or a half cup of stock, I’m more likely to just dump it straight in than measure it out. So if you had told me a few years ago that one of my most-used kitchen gadgets would be a cheap kitchen scale, I probably would have laughed.

Then the pandemic hit and I quickly realized my lackadaisical approach would not cut it when it comes to baking. Baking bread, or just about anything else, requires precisely-measured ingredients, and a kitchen scale is far and away the easiest and most reliable way to measure out your ingredients.

I like this one because it’s compact, but can handle up to 11 pounds of weight. And it’s easy to quickly switch between pounds, grams and fluid ounces. And even though my pandemic baking hobby was short lived, I’ve found having a scale handy is actually quite useful. From brewing the perfect cup of pour-over, to weighing out the cat’s food, to managing my own portion sizes, this little scale has earned a permanent place on my counter. – Karissa Bell, Senior Reporter

Buy food scale at Amazon - $10

Cosori gooseneck electric kettle

Cosori gooseneck electric kettle
Cosori

There are very few items that have earned a permanent spot on my painfully tiny countertop, and my Cosori electric kettle is one of them. I’ve written about it before, about how I finally decided to move on from the dark ages of heating up water for tea in the microwave to something more civilized. But the kettle has proven itself useful in many other ways, like prepping stock by using Better Than Bouillon and boiling water, and making the occasional quick cup of ramen. I like that Cosori’s model has different built-in temperature settings for different types of drinks, and its gooseneck design makes it easy to use for Chemex-made coffee. I’ve thought about upgrading to a new kettle recently, but I always ask myself, why? Cosori’s is still going strong, just the same as the day I bought it. — V.P.

Buy Cosori electric kettle at Amazon - $70

Cuisinart DLC-2ABC mini food processor

Cuisinart mini food processor
Cuisinart

According to my Amazon records, I purchased this small-batch Cuisinart food processor for about $28 on Amazon Prime Day 2017, correctly surmising that I didn’t need anything larger or pricier. For small kitchens and occasional use, the size is right – and so is the price, even if you pay closer to the $40 MSRP. And don’t be fooled by the name “mini” either – the three-cup capacity is enough to whip up pesto, hummus and various other dips and sauces. The only time recently I had to work in batches was when I was grinding up Oreos for the cookie layer of an ice-box cake. No big deal, and certainly not a dealbreaker.

When it comes to cleanup, I like that the plastic cup and lid can go in the dishwasher, though I need to wash the blades and wipe down the base by hand. Fortunately, too, it’s short enough in stature that it can sit even in a cabinet with just 9.5 inches of clearance. And, because it’s so lightweight, pulling it down from above my head never feels like a safety risk. – D.W.

Buy Cuisinart mini food processor at Amazon - $40

Victorinox Fibrox 8-inch chef's knife

A Victorinox Chef Knife on a cutting board next to a sliced squash.
Victorinox

I have put this knife through hell.

According to my Amazon orders archive (a testament to how much I have, in my own small way, enriched an awful company) I purchased this knife in January of 2016. It had good reviews and was, I believe, less than $40 — my assumption being this would be a cheap, workhorse knife that, were it stolen or destroyed by inconsiderate roommates, would be no great spiritual or financial loss. I have chopped and diced with it; I've hacked into gourds, coconuts and lobsters; I've used it to cleave straight through chicken bones; I regularly run it through the dishwasher.

Over six years later, it remains the best knife in my kitchen — and with the help of a chef's steel, the easiest to cut with too. And no, I have never once given it a proper resharpening either. An 8-incher from trendy upstart Misen which retails for almost twice the price failed to take its place. (Personally I think the weight distribution is off.)

There's no fancy damascus patterning to the steel, and the handle is plastic. I absolutely do not know (or care!) if it features a full tang or what the edge geometry is supposed to be. It's an utterly proletarian knife that, in my many years of use, remains both irreplaceable and indestructible. – Bryan Menegus, Senior News Editor

Buy Victorinox Fibrox chef's knife at Amazon - $54

Magnetic Measuring Spoons

Magnetic measuring spoons stuck to a stove.
Prepworks

I’ve accumulated lots of measuring spoons over the years – plastic, metal, some with a key ring attached – but these are the only ones I bother to use anymore. This set, which includes five spoons ranging in size from a quarter-teaspoon to tablespoon, has a magnetic nesting design, ensuring the spoons take up as little space as possible. (I also never find myself ransacking the drawer to find the one missing spoon that I really need at that moment.) Equally important: Each spoon is two-sided, so if I need to use the tablespoon, say, for both wet and dry ingredients, I can keep the two separate and throw just the one spoon in the dishwasher when I’m done. – D.W.

Buy magnetic measuring spoons at Amazon - $28

A magazine rack

Magazine rack
Engadget

Look, don't ask me exactly which one is hanging off the pegboard I installed in my kitchen — I don't remember and frankly, you're buying bent pieces of wire, so any distinction between different brands is likely trivial. The point is that, while I have the utmost respect for printed media, the best use for a magazine rack is for storing pot lids, a very necessary and otherwise extremely annoying-to-store kitchen object.

What kind you look for depends mostly on what sorts of pot lids you're trying to stash away. Handle-style (is there even nomenclature for this type of thing? I'm talking about these ones) lids work best with a straight rail. For those with knob-type handles, ideally seek out one like this that features a slight concavity in the middle of each rail, as it'll keep the lids from sliding around too much. This is also the best bet if you — like me, and probably most people — have a set of pots and pans cobbled together from a variety of manufacturers and your lid handles are a mix of both varieties.

The only word of caution I'll offer is that, while pot lids might not be as heavy as, say, a cast iron skillet, install your magazine rack securely, either off a pegboard (which I cannot recommend highly enough for its versatility) or make sure it's screwed down into a wall stud. Cleaning up broken glass and buying an entirely new set of lids is no one's idea of a good time. — B.M.

Buy magazine rack at Amazon - $25

Nespresso Barista Recipe Maker

Nespresso Barista Recipe Maker
Nespresso

Those puny stick frothers do not cut it. Beyond the fact you have to heat the milk yourself – yeah, I was out already – it doesn’t have the oomph to offer that thick velvety milk needed for your daily flat white. There are several more substantial milk frothers available now, but I swear by Nespresso’s Aeroccino series or its Bluetooth-connected Barista Recipe Maker. I have the latter, because, well, I work at Engadget.

The Barista can whip up hot and cold milk, depending on your selection. It uses induction tech to both heat up the dishwasher-safe milk jug and magnetically spin the whisk inside, which is substantial and also thankfully dishwasher-safe. The results are consistent and ideal for at-home caffeination – which is not a word, apparently.

It turned out to be the final piece of my homemade coffee puzzle, ensuring my brews more closely approximate the espresso-based delights I get in West London’s cafes. While the touch-sensitive buttons and ability to replicate recipes are nice, I could survive without them.

Nespresso has recently introduced its fourth-generation Aeroccino, which is designed to look like a Moka pot, which is cute. It’s also a touch cheaper than my Barista Recipe Maker. – Mat Smith, U.K. Bureau Chief

Buy Barista Recipe Maker at Nespresso - $169

Chemex

Chemex
Engadget

If you love coffee, you probably already know all the reasons why a pour-over setup will produce a better cup. But even occasional coffee drinkers will benefit from ditching a bulky drip machine for a sleek glass Chemex. In small kitchens, you need all the counterspace you can get, and Chemex’s three or six-cup carafe takes up a lot less space than the typical drip machine. It’s also easier to clean and stash away in a cupboard when not in use (and easier on the eyes if you do leave it out).

Most importantly, it brews a far better cup than any machine. To the uninitiated, pour-over setups can seem intimidating, but a Chemex makes it reasonably foolproof: add grounds to a filter (you can use bonded paper filters or get a reusable one), add hot, but not-quite-boiling, water, wait a few minutes and you’ll have a surprisingly smooth cup of coffee. What’s great about a Chemex is you can put as little or as much effort in as you want. Like other pour-over setups, there’s room for endless experimentation: you can change up the grind size, water temperature and coffee to water ratio to get the “perfect” cup. Or, if you’re less fussy, you can do what I do most mornings and eyeball it — as long as you don’t pour your water too quickly even a hastily made Chemex cup will have a lot more flavor than whatever is coming out of your drip machine. – K.B.

Buy Chemex at Amazon - $50

The best work-from-home and office essentials for graduates

After they’re done celebrating their academic accomplishments, your grad might already have a new job or internship lined up, or they may be very close to a new opportunity. If so, they’ll want a few essentials that will ease them into the working world, whether they’re dealing with a daily commute or logging on from home. Here are a few gift ideas that they’ll appreciate regardless of where they find themselves doing most of their work.

LARQ Bottle PureVis

A LARQ Bottle PureVis on a desk next to someone working on a laptop.
LARQ

Carrying a reusable water bottle on your commute is a smart idea, but what’s even smarter is a bottle that cleans itself. The LARQ Bottle PureVis claims to neutralize up to 99.99 percent of odor-causing bacteria using UV-C light, which means there’s less chance of it stinking up between refills. Either press the button at the top to trigger the clean, or simply wait; it automatically cleans itself once every two hours. The PureVis model also has thermal insulation that can keep drinks either cold or hot.

If they don’t mind cleaning their bottle, however, the Contigo Autoseal transit mug is a more affordable alternative. It’s wide enough to fit most cup holders and it has a handy Autoseal button which lets them drink out of the bottle when held down. As a bonus for coffee aficionados, both an Aeropress and a drip filter cone fits nicely over it, so you can brew your cup of joe directly into the mug. — Nicole Lee, Commerce Writer

Buy Bottle PureVis at LARQ - $95Buy Contigo Autoseal at Amazon - $20

Everlane Renew Transit 

The Everlane Renew Transit backpack worn on one shoulder by a female model.
Everlane

A good backpack is essential for commuting, especially if your grad has to tote their laptop back and forth each day. One of our favorites is the Everlane Renew Transit Backpack thanks to both its exterior 15-inch laptop sleeve and assortment of interior and exterior pockets. It also has two water bottle holders and a pass-through strap that attaches to rolling luggage, so they can use it as their main travel pack during their next trip. And, as a bonus, it’s made from 100 percent recycled polyester, has a water-resistant finish and comes in three neutral colors that will pair well with any outfit. — N.L.

Buy Renew Transit bag at Everlane - $85

LumeCube Edge Desk Light

A man adjusting the position of the LumeCube Edge lamp next to a computer monitor.
LumeCube

Even if your graduate already has an upgraded webcam, bad lighting can prevent them from putting their best face forward when virtually speaking with colleagues. The LumeCube Edge Desk Light can fix that with its multiple brightness and warm-light settings, plus a bendable neck that makes it easy to adjust the light’s position. Since it’s quite flexible, they can use it for other things, too, including note-taking and live streaming. And we know they’ll appreciate its built-in USB-C and USB-A charging ports, which will let them conveniently power up their phone, earbuds and more while getting all of their work done. — N.L.

Buy LumeCube Desk Light at Amazon - $120

Logitech MX Anywhere 3

The Logitech MX Anywhere 3 sits atop a notebook next to sunglasses and a tablet.
Logitech

Today’s office life is more on-the-go than ever, with workers switching between home, office and maybe the occasional coffee shop in between. But being mobile doesn’t mean having to settle for an unresponsive trackpad. The MX Anywhere 3 is a comfy mouse that can easily slip into a bag, though not as easily as it connects via the included receiver or Bluetooth. And it really does work anywhere — including on glass surfaces. — Kris Naudus, Commerce Writer

Buy Logitech MX Anywhere 3 at Amazon - $80

27-inch Dell UltraSharp U2720Q monitor

Dell Ultrasharp U2720Q monitor.
Dell

An external monitor is essential for anyone who works from home most of the time. Not only is it ergonomically better than hunching over a laptop all day, but the additional screen real estate is invaluable, too. We especially like the Dell UltraSharp U2720Q thanks to its 4K screen resolution, adjustable height stand and array of ports that they can use to charge their laptop as well as other accessories. It comes with an HDMI socket, two USB-C connections, a DisplayPort, a 3.5mm headphone jack and two USB-A ports. One more feature that’s especially useful if they plan on coding: the monitor can rotate 90 degrees so it can be used vertically as well as horizontally. — N.L.

Buy 27-inch UltraSharp U2720Q monitor at Dell - $380

Anker PowerCore Slim 10K

A hand gripping a cellphone that's connected to the Anker PowerCore Slim 10K portable power bank via a cable.
Anker

Anyone with a busy schedule can appreciate the convenience of a portable battery pack – you’ll never have to worry about an unexpected dead phone, tablet, pair of earbuds or another essential gadget. One of our favorites is Anker’s PowerCore Slim 10000PD because it has a lightweight design and yet packs a 10,000 mAh battery inside. That’s enough to charge a smartphone up to three times, and it won’t take up too much space in your bag. Plus, we like that it comes with a couple of Anker’s safety features like overcharge protection and temperature control. — N.L.

Buy PowerCore Slim 10K at Amazon - $27

Logitech C920S Pro HD

The Logitech C920S Pro webcam atop a monitor.
Logitech

In the age of Zoom calls and Google Meet video conferences, webcams have become essential. Like many of us, graduates have probably relied on their machine's built-in camera until now, but that just won't cut it if you're video conferencing multiple times a day and also care about looking good. An external webcam can make all the difference — our favorite is the Logitech C920s Pro HD webcam, which has 1080P video quality, autofocus capabilities and decent white balance adjustment. It also has a large 78-degree field of view plus a lens cover that will help protect your privacy when it’s not in use. On top of that, it has a solid pair of built-in microphones, and you can adjust settings like autofocus, brightness and contrast via Logitech’s Camera Settings companion app. — N.L.

Buy Logitech C920S Pro HD - $70

Microsoft Surface Ergonomic Keyboard

A man sitting at a desk in front of a computer with his hands on the Microsoft Surface Ergonomic Keyboard.
Microsoft

The grad in your life probably wrecked their hands and wrists writing all those term papers on a dinky laptop keyboard, so why not get their working life started off right with something better? The Surface Ergonomic Keyboard is a treat to type on, thanks to its soft but responsive keys and split design that places your hands in a more natural position. The soft Alacantra wrist rest is pretty great too, and it certainly makes this a classy addition to a work area for under $100. — K.N.

Buy Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard at Amazon - $130

Google Nest Audio

The Google Nest Audio smart speaker sitting on a blue table.
Engadget

When setting up a home office, audio isn’t always first and foremost on your mind. But when it comes time for your grad to start work, they’ll wonder how they lived without it. A Nest Audio is great for setting reminders like when it’s time to do laundry or check the mail, turn on lights remotely when it gets dark and, of course, play music or podcasts as they work. If they’re not into the Google ecosystem, an Amazon Echo is also a great gift with the same capabilities. — K.N.

Buy Nest Audio at B&H - $100Buy Echo at Amazon - $100

  

The best self-care gifts for graduates

Graduates have spent the past couple of years hustling. Between coursework, jobs, family responsibilities and, of course, the pandemic, they likely haven't had a ton of time to devote to themselves. Now that they've donned their cap and gown, it's time for them to enjoy some well deserved rest and relaxation. If you want to get the grad in your life a treat that can help them do that, we at Engadget have some ideas based on how we like to treat ourselves when we need a break.

Theragun Mini

Theragun Mini
Theragun

With many gyms and exercise facilities still closed, you might be dabbling in some workouts from home alongside working from home. You might also have overextended yourself, leading to tender shoulders, thighs and calves. I may have done just that (several times over) but have been able to ease some of the soreness — or at least make myself feel better — with my trusty Theragun Mini.

We’ve already covered Theragun’s flagship percussive therapy “gun,” the Elite, but you might find the Theragun Mini does almost as much for far less. It’s also less bulky. The $200 gun is a solid triangle but is small enough to grasp with a single hand, directing the vibrations to that one part of your hammies that needs some TLC. There are three speed settings, and the Mini benefits from Theragun’s quieter motors so it doesn’t sound like you’re drilling a shelf to anyone nearby. It’s definitely not quiet, but you can still hear the TV or hold a conversation over the massaging.

If you’re looking to upgrade, Theragun also offers a peripheral that doubles the number of heads on any of its massage guns. The Duo Adapter offers a wider spread, meaning it feels like it takes me less time to hammer out the aches. It does reduce the sheer force of a single massage head, but if you have any particularly knotty areas, you can easily take the adapter off to really hammer it out. This all being said, these devices aren’t a panacea to everything that aches after physical exertion. Don’t forget hydration, sleep and nutrition, which are all, sadly, sold separately. — Mat Smith, U.K. Bureau Chief

Buy Theragun Mini at Amazon - $159

Bearaby weighted blanket

Bearaby weighted blanket
Bearaby

Weighted blankets have been proven to reduce anxiety-causing cortisol while increasing sleep-friendly serotonin, but most of them are filled with tiny glass beads. Not only did that scare me off, but I’ve also heard that the beads might shift over time, which could lead to uneven weight distribution down the road. Plus, most weighted blankets have a bland design.

The Bearaby weighted blankets are different. Instead of filling a duvet with micropellets or beads, Bearaby blankets are handmade from a gorgeous chunky-knit material that’s more reminiscent of a cozy sweater than a comforter. It also comes in beautifully luscious colors like Cloud White to Evening Rose. After weeks of using one, I’ve found that I’m nodding off faster and staying asleep longer, which is a big deal for someone plagued by chronic insomnia. — Nicole Lee, Commerce Writer

Buy Bearaby weighted blankets starting at $139

Cosori Electric Kettle

Cosori Electric Kettle
Cosori

I believe one of the best things anyone can do for themselves on a regular basis is pause. We're all busier than ever with kids, partners, jobs and more and it's worth taking a break during the day to do something for yourself — in my case, that's often making a cup of tea after lunch. Now, I'm no tea connoisseur but I've definitely upped my brewing game as I've tried more loose leaf teas (my current favorites are from Harney & Sons and Adagio). I bought a Cosori electric kettle last year to help with my tea- and coffee-making routines and it's become one of the most used items in my kitchen. It heats water to the precise temperature I need for a strong black tea or a subtle green, and it does so in a relatively speedy fashion. The "keep warm" function also helps keep water at the right temperature when I, inevitably, get distracted by Slack messages. — Valentina Palladino, Commerce Editor

Buy Cosori electric kettle at Amazon - $70

Headspace subscription

Headspace meditation service
Headspace

You might think that things are going to get easier and less stressful now that you've graduated. But, oh boy, are you wrong. Now that you're out in the so-called "real world," taking care of your mental health is going to be more important than ever. Headspace can be a great resource for a little self care. It has a ton of guided meditations and mindful exercises that claim to help you relax, build self control and boost your creativity. But there's also playlists of ambient music and soundscapes to help you focus, including some curated by big name artists like Arcade Fire, St. Vincent and Sudan Archives.

You’ll also quickly learn that there’s plenty of other things to lose sleep over, beyond cramming for a final. And for that, Headspace has Sleepcasts. These combine guided relaxation exercises with soundscapes and soothing narration to help lull you to sleep. Honestly, the Sleepcasts alone are worth the price of an annual subscription. — Terrence O'Brien, Managing Editor

Subscribe to Headspace - $70/year

Dyson Hot & Cool Bladeless Fan and Heater

Dyson AM09 hot + cool fan
Dyson

Sometimes upgrading your living environment can be the best form of self care. I've learned how true that is since I began working from home most of the time (pre-pandemic). One of the best home improvements I've made as of late was investing in a Dyson Hot & Cool fan. The decision ultimately came down to necessity — the heating in our apartment isn't the greatest, and New York winters can be tough. I picked up the AM09 Hot & Cool Bladeless Fan and Heater when I found it on sale last fall and it made all the difference. It not only cut the chill in our bedroom, a space that often feels 10 degrees colder than other areas of the apartment, but it made the room enjoyable to be in even on the coldest days. And on the weekends when my partner and I parked ourselves in our living room, it was easy to pick up the Dyson and tote it to where we were. The remote control is super handy, too, letting us adjust the temperature, oscillation and timer functions without getting up from the couch. While you can't find the AM09 now, Dyson has upgraded most of its Hot & Cool fans to also be air purifiers, so you'll essentially get a 3-in-1 device. — V.P.

Shop Dyson Air Purifiers

MoonPod

MoonPod
MoonPod

As a self-care gift for your grad, consider getting them a MoonPod. It’s especially useful for those who might find themselves working from home, as it provides a break from sitting on a stiff office chair and is a more comfortable alternative to a couch. According to the company, sitting on the MoonPod can help reduce stress and anxiety as it mimics the sensations of flotation therapy.

I’m no flotation expert, but I can definitely attest to the fact that it is extremely comfortable. I also love that the MoonPod is so malleable; you can stand it upright to use as a slouchy armchair or lay it flat so you can lie down on it. Your grad will appreciate that they can use it while working and for when they need a quick nap in between meetings. — N.L.

Buy MoonPod starting at $399

  

The best gifts for the new grads in your life

Surviving years of college is no small feat, so the graduates in our lives deserve rightful praise and celebration. Whether your graduate is going out into the world to get their first job or continuing with their education, there are a number of gadgets you can gift them that will make them smile and also come in handy on a daily basis. If you’re stumped on what to give to the tech-savvy grad in your life, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite tech for you to consider.

Chromecast with Google TV

A blue Chromecast with Google TV and its remote on a white background.
Google

Recent graduates moving into a new place may not want to shell out money for cable or a satellite subscription. But just because they’ve cut the cord doesn’t mean they can’t watch quality content. Thanks to streaming sticks like Chromecast with Google TV, watching content on various streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and more is super easy, regardless of what kind of TV they have.

The latest Chromecast with Google TV works especially well for those with a YouTube TV subscription as its “Live TV” tab works as a channel guide for the service. Just like previous Chromecasts, they can also use it to “cast” their computer screen to the TV, too.

Another benefit over other streaming sticks is that it has Google Assistant integration. Your grad can ask it to display the five-day weather forecast, show the live feed from their Nest camera, turn their Philips Hue lights on or off, or play their favorite Spotify playlist. As a bonus, they can use Google Assistant to find shows to watch or to launch apps. — Nicole Lee, Commerce Writer

Buy Chromecast with Google TV at Walmart - $50

YouTube TV subscription

YouTube TV
YouTube

Regardless of whether you gift a Chromecast with Google TV, we think a YouTube TV subscription will make an excellent present for them. The service essentially replaces cable or satellite, and your graduate can easily use their phone, laptop or connected TV to access it. The platform offers pretty much all the standard network and cable offerings including sports channels like ESPN, so they won’t have to worry about missing their favorite team’s game. You can either pay for the subscription directly or buy them a Google Play gift card. — N.L.

Subscribe to YouTube TV - $65/month

Apple Watch Series 7

Apple Watch Series 7
Engadget

Watches make great graduation gifts, and the Apple Watch is arguably the best one to get for the iPhone fan in your life. As Apple’s latest flagship wearable, the Series 7 is packed with features both basic and advanced. On a daily basis, most will use the Watch for tracking activity, recording workouts, buying coffees with Apple Pay and checking iMessage alerts on the fly. But the Watch also has perks like blood oxygen tracking, ECG measurements and fall detection that your grad may only use now and again, but will appreciate in crucial moments. Plus, the Series 7 has the largest screen of any Apple Watch to date, as well as the best battery life and a faster charging time, too. And if your grad prefers the style of more traditional timepieces, they can customize their Watch with bands that give them that look. — Valentina Palladino, Commerce Editor

Buy Apple Watch Series 7 at Amazon - $399

Instant Pot Duo Plus

An Instant Pot Duo Plus multicooker on a green and orange background.
Engadget

Once they leave dorm life behind, graduates should learn how to make something other than instant ramen. For newbies, we recommend an appliance like the Instant Pot Duo Plus. This trendy kitchen device can be used as a slow cooker, yogurt maker, rice cooker and, of course, a pressure cooker.

Not only is it easy to use, it can be a huge time saver: just set it, do other chores (or just rest up) and your meal will be ready when it beeps. It’s a wonderful solution if your grad has a tiny stovetop in their first apartment, and it cuts down on dishwashing if you use the Instant Pot for a lot of one pot meals.

If you do get your loved one this excellent kitchen gadget, we suggest you send them a link to our Instant Pot guide so they’ll get the most out of their new toy. There are also a bunch of dedicated Instant Pot recipe sites and cookbooks that will keep them busy for a while – Rainbow Plant Life’s Instant Pot page and Dinner in an Instant are a couple of our favorites. — N.L.

Buy Instant Pot Duo Plus at Amazon - $120

Logitech Streamcam

Logitech Streamcam clipped to a computer monitor with a cork board in the background.
Valentina Palladino / Engadget

While laptops’ built-in webcams are getting better, most of them still don’t quite cut it for all of the Zoom calls many of us continue to have nowadays. Your graduate will likely have to take calls like this on a regular basis and the Logitech Streamcam is a gadget that can help them put their best face forward. The webcam shoots sharp video in 1080p/60fps and its handy auto-exposure feature helps make dark rooms less cave-like on screen. It also has built-in microphones with noise reduction, so your grad should sound as good as they look on these calls. Additionally, the Streamcam was designed with game streamers and content creators in mind, and that makes it a great all-purpose webcam that your graduate can use for both work and play. — V.P.

Buy Logitech Streamcam at Amazon - $170

Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones
Billy Steele / Engadget

There’s a good chance that your graduate will be working from a few different locations when they start their first job. Maybe they’ll spend half of their time in an office and the other half at home, but you can help them stay focused anywhere by gifting them the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones. These are our current favorite high-end cans thanks to their excellent sound quality and equally stellar active noise cancellation. Their Adaptive Sound Control feature automatically changes the level of noise cancellation depending on your location and what you’re doing, blocking out as much of the world as necessary without the user needing to do much work. With this iteration, Sony also added multi-device connectivity, too, so your graduate can seamlessly go from listening to music on their laptop to taking a call from their smartphone. — V.P.

Buy WH-1000XM4 at Amazon - $348

OXO Brew 8-cup coffee maker

Stainless steel coffee maker with pot on a white background.
OXO

Who doesn’t want a caffeine hit in the morning before they head into work? For that we recommend the OXO Brew 8-Cup Coffee Maker. OXO typically makes excellent tasting coffee, and since this one is certified by the Specialty Coffee Association, it will certainly meet your grad’s standards as well. This model is easy to use, has a thermal carafe to keep their brew hot for hours, and has an option to brew directly into a mug. — N.L.

Buy OXO coffee maker at Amazon - $200

Lenovo Smart Clock Essential

The Lenovo Smart Clock Essential on a gray table.
Engadget

Why settle for a boring ol’ alarm clock when you can gift your grad a smarter option? The Lenovo Smart Clock Essential comes in both Google Assistant and Alexa varieties, and does a lot more than just tell time. These compact gadgets can give them the weather forecast, play a Spotify playlist or simply display their appointments for the day.

Which you choose depends on the virtual assistant your grad prefers – we generally recommend the Google version for Android users and those that rely on Google services like Calendar and Drive for their personal and professional duties. Everyone else is likely safe getting the Alexa version. And if you want to step it up a bit, the $90 Lenovo Smart Clock 2 comes with a docking area with a wireless charging pad, so they can power up their phones more easily overnight. — N.L.

Buy Lenovo Smart Clock Essential at Walmart - $50Buy Lenovo Smart Clock Essential (Alexa) at Amazon - $50

Apple AirTag

Apple AirTag with Belkin Secure Holder and Strap
Valentina Palladino / Engadget

We could all use a little help finding our stuff sometimes – new graduates especially. With new internships, jobs, side hustles and more, grads have a ton to keep track of and an AirTag can give them peace of mind by digitally locating their most important items. AirTags can attach to keys, wallets, handbags and more with the right accessories, and then your grad can check out the location of their stuff using the Find My app on iOS. They can program their contact information into the AirTag, in case a stranger needs to return their things, and those with newer iPhone can use the Precision Finding feature to be led directly to their stuff. For those who often misplace their belongings, Bluetooth trackers like these can be crucial. — V.P.

Buy AirTag at Amazon - $29

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite on a light blue background.
Engadget

Voracious readers will appreciate an e-reader like Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite. The latest model has a larger, 6.8-inch display that has 17 front lights and an adjustable warm light setting that reduces eye strain. The design is compact and sleek, and the robust battery lasts for weeks between charging. And if they like reading in the tub or by the pool, the Paperwhite is also waterproof.

If you want to give your grad something even more special, however, consider gifting them the Paperwhite Signature Edition. It has 32GB of storage, wireless charging support and a light sensor that can automatically adjust the screen brightness according to their surroundings. It’s about $50 more than the regular Paperwhite, but they will certainly appreciate it. — N.L.

Buy Kindle Paperwhite at Amazon - $140

Beats Studio Buds

Beats Studio Buds
Billy Steele/Engadget

One of the great things about Beats’ Studio Buds is that both Android and iOS users can wear them and get a fairly similar experience. These Beats aren’t just for iPhone users, as those with Android devices have access to convenient features like Find My and fast pairing. The brand has come a long way when it comes to sound quality, too. These buds are well-tuned with a punchy bass, and iOS users will be able to get Spatial Audio on select tracks. The Studio Buds also have solid ANC with transparency mode, plus a compact, comfortable design that transitions well from study sessions to workout routines. — V.P.

Buy Beats Studio Buds at Amazon - $150

Anker 633 MagGo 2-in-1 Wireless Charging Station

A person touching the screen of an iPhone that's propped up on Anker's 633 MagGo 2-in-1 Wireless Charging Station.
Anker

Anker’s MagGo 2-in-1 wireless charging station is the gadget to give if you want to set your grab up with basically everything they’d need to never run out of power again. The bundle includes a wireless charging stand that can power both a phone and a pair of earbuds at the same time, and the phone portion detaches into a portable, magnetic, 5,000 mAh battery pack. The MagGo lineup is MagSafe-compatible, so if your grad has a newer iPhone, they’ll be able to take the slim pack with them by snapping it to the back of their smartphone. Also included is a 25W USB-C adapter, which can power the whole system with the proper speed. — V.P.

Buy MagGo 2-in-1 charging station at Amazon - $120

Yeti Rambler 20oz Tumbler with MagSlider lid

Blue insulated cup on a white background.
Yeti

If your grad needs coffee or tea to stay productive throughout the day, a Yeti Rambler is an excellent gift for them. These classic tumblers have a double-walled, insulated design that keeps hot drinks hot for hours, while also being BPA-free. The latest versions have Dracut color coatings, which won’t fade, peel or crack with age (or when you put them in the dishwasher), so their favorite color will come through for years to come. Plus, the Ramblers now come with MagSlider lids, which, while not spill-proof, use magnets to make opening and closing (and cleaning) the lid super easy. — V.P.

Buy Yeti Rambler at Amazon - $35

Gadgets that make great Mother’s Day gifts

Your mom might not be as up to date as you on the latest tech trends, but that doesn't mean a carefully chosen gadget wouldn't make her life easier. While flowers and breakfast in bed remain lovely Mother's Day gifts, you may want to try a different tack this year and get your mom something she'll use long after the holiday is over. To help, we've collected a list of some of our favorite gadgets and services that any mother, tech-savvy or not, will love.

Apple iPad mini

Apple iPad mini 2021
Valentina Palladino / Engadget

We consider the iPad mini to be the best small tablet for most people, and that includes parents who could use a slightly larger screen to watch videos, read text messages and check out photos of their children (or grandchildren) on Facebook. The 2021 model with the A15 Bionic chip runs smoothly even when using more than one app in Split View, so mom can stream her favorite show on Netflix while quickly replying to messages without any issues. We appreciate the design updates Apple made to this model, making the mini look more like a smaller iPad Air than ever before. Its compact size makes it easy to throw in a bag and take with you, and it’ll last the whole day, too, thanks to its 12-hour battery. Not to mention, its new Center Stage front-facing cameras will keep Mom in the frame as she FaceTimes for the third time today. — Valentina Palladino, Commerce Editor

Buy iPad mini at Amazon - $499

Belkin UV Sanitizer + Wireless Charger

Belkin UV Sanitizer + Wireless Charger
Belkin

Your mom might have become a clean freak over the past year (who can blame her?) and Belkin’s UV sanitizer and wireless charger is a good device to give her to keep right near her doorway. It uses UV rays to get rid of 99 percent of bacteria on keys, cards, rings and other small items that your mom might bring with her wherever she goes. Yes, that also includes her smartphone and once it’s completely sanitized, your mom can set the handset on top of the lid to power up thanks to its built-in 10W wireless charging pad. The device is silent while sanitizing and as a bonus, it comes with its own cable and wall adapter so you can use it straight out of the box. — V.P.

Buy UV Sanitizer + Wireless charger at Belkin - $80

Ember Mug 2

Take your mother’s morning coffee routine up a notch with the Ember Mug, a self-heating smart mug that keeps beverages at just the right temperature for up to 1.5 hours or all day if the mug is kept on its charging coaster. It has a temperature range between 120 and 145 degrees Fahrenheit, which lets your mom dial in just how hot she wants her brew. There’s also a companion app which lets her save preset temps for her favorite drinks, track her caffeine intake, customize the color of the LED light on the front of the mug and more. The latest version comes in a pretty rose gold color as well as white, black, gold, silver and copper. — Nicole Lee, Commerce Writer

Buy Ember Mug 2 at Amazon - $130

Fitbit Inspire 2

Fitbit Inspire 2 fitness tracker
Fitbit

After the past few years, your mom is likely excited to get out of the house more often – especially as the weather improves – and maybe she wants to take more regular walks and runs in her neighborhood. The Fitbit Inspire 2 is a low-cost and easy-to-use way to track her steps and sleep, along with other stats that indicate our overall fitness level. New users can also snag a free year of Fitbit Premium to add even more fitness guides and meditation features to the already-great app. — Kris Naudus, Commerce Writer

Buy Inspire 2 at Amazon - $100

Instant Pot Duo

Instant Pot Duo
Instant Pot

For busy moms who love to cook but are short on time, an Instant Pot makes for a thoughtful gift. While it can be used as a slow cooker, rice cooker or yogurt maker, it’s particularly useful as a pressure cooker. It can shave hours off the cooking time of a lot of dishes, particularly braises and stews. Also, unlike its stovetop equivalent, the Instant Pot can come to pressure and stay there without having to be babysat the whole time. A built-in timer means it turns off on its own, while a Keep Warm function does exactly what you'd expect. Thanks to the popularity of the Instant Pot line, there’s also a vast array of recipes online that your mom will be able to make with her new cooking gadget. For more on how to make the most of it, check out our Instant Pot guide. — N.L.

Buy Instant Pot Duo at Amazon - $90

Apple Watch SE

Apple Watch SE review
Cherlynn Low / Engadget

The Apple Watch is arguably the most sought-after accessory for iPhone users, and the Apple Watch SE is a good starter option for moms who want a more convenient way to stay in the loop. It has all of the essential features you’d expect a smartwatch to have, including smart alerts, activity and workout tracking, built-in GPS and Apple Pay. The SE’s Retina display is 30 percent larger than that of the Series 3 and, in addition to a water-resistant design, it has features like fall detection, high and low heart rate notifications and Emergency SOS. While the SE doesn’t have ECG capabilities or blood oxygen tracking like the Series 7 does, it remains a good gift for mom that will let her keep in touch with those she loves without whipping out her iPhone every second. — V.P.

Buy Apple Watch SE at Amazon - $279

Mpix photo book

Mpix photo book
Mpix

So many of us take hundreds of photos with our phones and then never do anything with them. They’re left to languish in our camera rolls, only to be uncovered when you have to scroll back months to find that one image you’re searching for. If you want to give mom a more polished way to look back at her favorite photos, an album from Mpix will do the trick. You can customize your photo book from the ground up, choosing the best images of her family and friends and laying them out on each page in a neat way. You can also pick from different types of cover options and paper weights, making the final product as premium as you want it to be. With options starting at $20 per book, it’s pretty easy to make mom a gift she’ll want to revisit long after Mother’s Day is over. – V.P.

Shop Mpix photo books

Anker PowerCore 10,000 Redux

https://curate.publishing.oath.com/story/engadget_us/afcdcea9-a025-478c-925c-8ebaee9bf675
Anker

While it sounds like an impersonal gift, a power bank can really help your mom if her smartphone dies while she’s out. Anker’s PowerCore Redux is an improvement on the typical lipstick-sized portable batteries thanks to its slightly larger frame that houses a 10,000mAh cell. That capacity can power up an iPhone XS more than two times over, plus it can charge two devices simultaneously thanks to its USB-A and USB-C output ports. The LED light wheel will show mom how much battery power is left in the accessory and she’ll be able to throw it into any bag she owns thanks to its compact, 6.8-ounce design. – V.P.

Buy Anker PowerCore Redux at Amazon - $42

Beats Studio Buds

Beats Studio Buds review
Billy Steele/Engadget

Your mom probably spends her day juggling a lot of responsibilities. A good pair of earbuds can make her busy days more enjoyable by letting her listen to her favorite playlists, podcasts or audiobooks while she’s getting it all done. The Beats Studio Buds are small, comfortable and stylish, plus they now work better with Android than ever before. Since Apple owns Beats, iPhone users get perks like hands-free Siri access, quick-pairing and Find My support, but now Android users also have access to the latter two features as well. That means your mom can make the most of these earbuds regardless of the smartphone she has. Plus, she’ll be able to take calls without picking up her handset by using the buds’ five built-in microphones. – V.P.

Buy Beats Studio Buds at Amazon - $150

iRobot Roomba 694

iRobot Roomba 694
Valentina Palladino / Engadget

While a robot vacuum won’t eliminate all the cleaning your mom might already do around the house, it definitely makes one portion of it easier. The Roomba 694 is one of our favorite budget robot vacuums in part because it provides a ton of value for its $274 price. Most importantly, it does a great job cleaning both hard and carpeted floors and it runs long enough that it should get to most areas in your home before needing to recharge. It connects to WiFi so you can control it either with its companion mobile app, or using Alexa or Google Assistant voice commands. Your mom can even use the mobile app to set a cleaning schedule, so she doesn’t even have to think about the machine — it’ll scurry around the house, sucking up dirt and debris, all on its own time. — V.P.

Buy Roomba 694 at Amazon - $274

Breville Smart Oven Air

Breville Smart Oven Air
Breville

If your mom is a cook and has the counter space for it, we highly recommend getting her a toaster oven like the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro. She can use it to toast bread, bake dishes or reheat food. Sure, a full-size oven can do the same thing, but firing it up can often warm up the whole house, which isn’t so great in the summer months. It’s also a lot more efficient. While a regular oven might need 20 or so minutes to preheat, a toaster oven can often get to temperature in just five or 10 minutes.

We also like this model for its 1-cubic-foot capacity. (In lay terms, it can fit a 9-by-13-inch casserole or a 14-pound turkey.) It can handle air frying (thanks to a “super convection” mode) and it comes with an air fryer basket that’s large enough to fit a dozen chicken wings. The oven also has several preset modes designed for specific functions such as toasting bagels or baking pizzas.

The Smart Oven Air is the classic model, but if your mom is extra adventurous in the kitchen (or extra tech-savvy), Breville’s latest tabletop appliance, the Joule Oven Air Fryer Pro, is a good step up. It does everything the Smart Oven Air does, but it adds WiFi connectivity so you can control the machine from your phone. Mom will get alerts when it’s time to put her dish in the oven after the preheat cycle, and when her food finished cooking to perfection. There are even recipes she can try out in the app, including some that have an “autopilot” feature, which automatically adjusts the oven’s temperature during cooking to make things like perfectly golden croissants and bread loaves. — N.L.

Buy Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro at Amazon - $350Buy Joule Oven air Fryer Pro at Breville - $500

LEGO Bouquet

A women inspects a bouquet of LEGO flowers in glass vase.
LEGO

Flowers die. Sure, they’re pretty and they smell nice but in the end they wilt, which is always kind of a bummer. So why not get your mom something just as beautiful that will stay that way? This LEGO bouquet is lovely to behold but also a great way to spend an evening putting together. As a bonus, it’s cheaper than a lot of flower arrangements you’d buy around Mother’s Day, and if she ever tires of it she can take it apart and build something else with the 756 pieces. — K.N.

Buy LEGO Bouquet at Amazon - $76

Audible gift membership

Examples of Audio audio book covers laid out in a slanted grid.
Audible

If your mom loves reading but doesn’t have a ton of time to sit down and crack open a book, an Audible membership can give her a new way to enjoy reading anywhere. Gift memberships range from one month for $8 to one year for $230 and include a certain number of book credits that she can use on any title. Members also get access to exclusive sales and Audible has been experimenting with original content like podcasts recently, so there’s a ton of listening options to choose from. But the best part is being able to read anywhere at any time, be it in the car on the way to work, around the house while tidying up or at the beach on a lazy summer day. — V.P.

Buy Audible membership starting at $8/month

Nintendo Switch Lite

An over-the-shoulder view of someone playing a Nintendo Switch Lite portable gaming device.
Engagdet

Women play games too, even if a lot of games marketing still says otherwise. In a house dominated by behemoths like the PlayStation 5 or a gigantic gaming PC, mom might appreciate having something that’s just for her, a handheld console she can sneak away with into the bedroom or yard whenever she needs some alone time. The Switch Lite is small enough to hide in a pocket or purse and, while there are plenty of great games she’d enjoy like Breath of the Wild, Untitled Goose Game and Animal Crossing: New Horizons, we recommend snagging an eShop card so she can choose her own adventures. — K.N.

Buy Switch Lite at Amazon - $200

Winc Wine Club membership

Front view of wine bottles and wine glasses ready for tasting with gourmet snacks, wine sale leaflet template
Fattyplace via Getty Images

Forget giving your mother a bottle of wine she might not even like. Instead, give her a subscription to a wine club. There are many available today, including hyper-curated boxes, all-natural boxes and even celebrity-branded ones like Martha Stewart's club. If you’d rather take the guesswork out of choosing one, Winc is a good option. All mom has to do is fill out a short six-question survey about her tastes and then Winc chooses the wines for her. She can then rate the wines she receives, so Winc will get a better idea of what she wants, offering up more personalized selections the next time around. Winc is also great for you, the gifter, since gift subscriptions start at only $60. — N.L.

Shop Winc Wine Club

The 2022 Sundance Film Festival projects we’re still thinking about

Another Sundance Film Festival has come and gone, and with it we've gotten a close look at some of the films and interactive experiences that'll be the talk of 2022. After Yang, the profound story of a family dealing with the loss of their beloved android, has all the makings of an awards contender. And we have a feeling we'll be hearing more about We Met in Virtual Reality once it's released, as it manages to capture some moving portraits of relationships formed over VRChat.

There were some disappointments too, like TikTok, Boom, which tried and failed to tackle one of the fastest growing social platforms. We didn't have time to cover every single project we encountered at Sundance, but just like last year, we've put together some quick impressions of other films and experiences that stood out.

Cosmogony

I went on quite the trip watching Cosmogony. It was screened in Sundance’s virtual cinema, where my stick figure avatar found a seat in the middle of the third row beside some other journalist. As we waited for the show to start, we could see the artists in motion-capture suits walking around and warming up in a studio in Geneva. This behind-the-scenes glimpse was helpful to keep in mind as the show progressed, reminding me it was just three individual dancers of average height putting on the performance.

That’s because the characters in Cosmogony get replicated, resized and reskinned throughout the approximately 30-minute live digital performance. The dancers’ movements are projected in real time to digital avatars in virtual 3D environments, placing them in scenes like mountains and cities. At first, I thought Cosmogony a little cheesy, especially when the performers took turns jumping off a fake cliff and roaming around some scenic areas.

But about five minutes in, Cosmogony got wild. The avatars took on strange heat-map-looking skins, grew to hundreds of feet tall, then played with tiny replicated versions of themselves. They later morphed into what looked like aggressive Pokemon thugs, before turning into what I can only describe as statues dripping golden showers in space.

It’s a ride and a visual spectacle that ended up being an unexpectedly entertaining experience that’s also a rumination on what physical boundaries might (or might not) exist in the metaverse. In a space where the laws of physics perhaps don’t matter, how might we interpret ourselves? Free from the limits of the real world, how would you express yourself or choose to appear to others? It’s an intriguing concept, and I appreciate that the team behind Cosmogony never once uttered the word “metaverse,” leaving it up to you to make your own connections. In a Sundance where the words “metaverse” and “NFT'' appeared far too often for my liking, the freedom that Cosmogony affords its viewers is liberating. — Cherlynn Low, Deputy Editor

Neptune Frost

Part musical, part Afro-cyberpunk fairy tale, Neptune Frost presents a unique vision of the future via Africa, a continent typically ignored by traditional science fiction. The film follows a transgender hacker, who comes across a mystical commune filled with other people who find comfort in technology. That's not to say they shun humanity. Instead, through its characters clad in keyboards and old motherboard components, Neptune Frost shows us a techno-utopia that celebrates community while also railing against Big Tech and a dystopian government dubbed The Authority.

"Death surrounds us," a coltan miner says during a poetic moment at the beginning of the film. "The worker pays the price it seems. Metal precious currency. Third and first world currency. Black market currency. Drum-beat heartbeat currency. That old black body currency. Every martyr currency. All that you pay not to see."

Co-directed by Saul Williams and Anisia Uzeyman, Neptune Frost's experimental narrative isn't always easy to parse, but its inventive costume design and gorgeous visuals make it truly memorable. It's no surprise that Lin-Manuel Miranda is among the film's producers: It's ultimately about a group of disenfranchised people shouting for recognition through music and art. — Devindra Hardawar, Senior Editor

Neptune Frost will be released by Kino Lorber globally, but it doesn't yet have a release date.

The State of Global Peace

Sundance 2022 State of Global Peace
Sundance

In this Oculus Quest VR experience, you play the role of a prime minister who's gearing up to deliver a speech at the United Nations. But as you struggle to read some generic fluff from the teleprompter (something you're asked to do aloud in VR), your presentation is hacked by a group of students. Their mission: to force you to recognize the devastating impact of climate change, income inequality, and rising militarism.

As I was going through the experience, I couldn't help but think of how I'd eventually explain the sad state of the world to my own daughter. How could things go so fundamentally wrong? And did I do enough to help, when I had the chance? While The State of Global Peace isn't exactly subtle, its strong message is the sort of thing every leader and so-called titan of industry should be forced to confront. — D.H.

Seven Grams

Seven Grams was one of only two New Frontier projects at Sundance this year that involved AR and it honestly didn’t need to be in that format. The experience, which you can download as an app on iOS and Android, shows you where some mineral components are in your phone, while director Karim Ben Khelifa takes you through how they’re mined. It’s an eye-opening piece that sheds light on the “conditions under which the rare materials needed to make [smartphones] are extracted, particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).”

I appreciated seeing an iPhone and its exploded bits float in front of me, as well as being able to move around to see it from other angles through my camera, but I quickly grew tired of having to hold up my phone. Whenever I placed my device down with the camera obstructed, the app paused, only resuming when I picked it up again. I could have just as easily been shown where the components are through an onscreen diagram.

Thankfully, only part of the experience was in AR, and I could put my phone down to watch the rest, which was told through animations. Ben Khelifa shared a gripping tale of a boy named Chance, who spent six years against his will as a child soldier for militia groups in the DRC. He was also forced to mine for gold and cassiterite, having to sleep in claustrophobic underground holes.

The project ends by calling the viewer to pledge to “repair, recycle and buy refurbished smartphones,” as well as to demand ethically manufactured smartphones with transparent and clean supply chains. It’s an important call to action and a message that more people and companies need to hear. — C.L.

The 2022 Sundance Film Festival projects we’re still thinking about

Another Sundance Film Festival has come and gone, and with it we've gotten a close look at some of the films and interactive experiences that'll be the talk of 2022. After Yang, the profound story of a family dealing with the loss of their beloved android, has all the makings of an awards contender. And we have a feeling we'll be hearing more about We Met in Virtual Reality once it's released, as it manages to capture some moving portraits of relationships formed over VRChat.

There were some disappointments too, like TikTok, Boom, which tried and failed to tackle one of the fastest growing social platforms. We didn't have time to cover every single project we encountered at Sundance, but just like last year, we've put together some quick impressions of other films and experiences that stood out.

Cosmogony

I went on quite the trip watching Cosmogony. It was screened in Sundance’s virtual cinema, where my stick figure avatar found a seat in the middle of the third row beside some other journalist. As we waited for the show to start, we could see the artists in motion-capture suits walking around and warming up in a studio in Geneva. This behind-the-scenes glimpse was helpful to keep in mind as the show progressed, reminding me it was just three individual dancers of average height putting on the performance.

That’s because the characters in Cosmogony get replicated, resized and reskinned throughout the approximately 30-minute live digital performance. The dancers’ movements are projected in real time to digital avatars in virtual 3D environments, placing them in scenes like mountains and cities. At first, I thought Cosmogony a little cheesy, especially when the performers took turns jumping off a fake cliff and roaming around some scenic areas.

But about five minutes in, Cosmogony got wild. The avatars took on strange heat-map-looking skins, grew to hundreds of feet tall, then played with tiny replicated versions of themselves. They later morphed into what looked like aggressive Pokemon thugs, before turning into what I can only describe as statues dripping golden showers in space.

It’s a ride and a visual spectacle that ended up being an unexpectedly entertaining experience that’s also a rumination on what physical boundaries might (or might not) exist in the metaverse. In a space where the laws of physics perhaps don’t matter, how might we interpret ourselves? Free from the limits of the real world, how would you express yourself or choose to appear to others? It’s an intriguing concept, and I appreciate that the team behind Cosmogony never once uttered the word “metaverse,” leaving it up to you to make your own connections. In a Sundance where the words “metaverse” and “NFT'' appeared far too often for my liking, the freedom that Cosmogony affords its viewers is liberating. — Cherlynn Low, Deputy Editor

Neptune Frost

Part musical, part Afro-cyberpunk fairy tale, Neptune Frost presents a unique vision of the future via Africa, a continent typically ignored by traditional science fiction. The film follows a transgender hacker, who comes across a mystical commune filled with other people who find comfort in technology. That's not to say they shun humanity. Instead, through its characters clad in keyboards and old motherboard components, Neptune Frost shows us a techno-utopia that celebrates community while also railing against Big Tech and a dystopian government dubbed The Authority.

"Death surrounds us," a coltan miner says during a poetic moment at the beginning of the film. "The worker pays the price it seems. Metal precious currency. Third and first world currency. Black market currency. Drum-beat heartbeat currency. That old black body currency. Every martyr currency. All that you pay not to see."

Co-directed by Saul Williams and Anisia Uzeyman, Neptune Frost's experimental narrative isn't always easy to parse, but its inventive costume design and gorgeous visuals make it truly memorable. It's no surprise that Lin-Manuel Miranda is among the film's producers: It's ultimately about a group of disenfranchised people shouting for recognition through music and art. — Devindra Hardawar, Senior Editor

Neptune Frost will be released by Kino Lorber globally, but it doesn't yet have a release date.

The State of Global Peace

Sundance 2022 State of Global Peace
Sundance

In this Oculus Quest VR experience, you play the role of a prime minister who's gearing up to deliver a speech at the United Nations. But as you struggle to read some generic fluff from the teleprompter (something you're asked to do aloud in VR), your presentation is hacked by a group of students. Their mission: to force you to recognize the devastating impact of climate change, income inequality, and rising militarism.

As I was going through the experience, I couldn't help but think of how I'd eventually explain the sad state of the world to my own daughter. How could things go so fundamentally wrong? And did I do enough to help, when I had the chance? While The State of Global Peace isn't exactly subtle, its strong message is the sort of thing every leader and so-called titan of industry should be forced to confront. — D.H.

Seven Grams

Seven Grams was one of only two New Frontier projects at Sundance this year that involved AR and it honestly didn’t need to be in that format. The experience, which you can download as an app on iOS and Android, shows you where some mineral components are in your phone, while director Karim Ben Khelifa takes you through how they’re mined. It’s an eye-opening piece that sheds light on the “conditions under which the rare materials needed to make [smartphones] are extracted, particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).”

I appreciated seeing an iPhone and its exploded bits float in front of me, as well as being able to move around to see it from other angles through my camera, but I quickly grew tired of having to hold up my phone. Whenever I placed my device down with the camera obstructed, the app paused, only resuming when I picked it up again. I could have just as easily been shown where the components are through an onscreen diagram.

Thankfully, only part of the experience was in AR, and I could put my phone down to watch the rest, which was told through animations. Ben Khelifa shared a gripping tale of a boy named Chance, who spent six years against his will as a child soldier for militia groups in the DRC. He was also forced to mine for gold and cassiterite, having to sleep in claustrophobic underground holes.

The project ends by calling the viewer to pledge to “repair, recycle and buy refurbished smartphones,” as well as to demand ethically manufactured smartphones with transparent and clean supply chains. It’s an important call to action and a message that more people and companies need to hear. — C.L.

The best Super Bowl TV deals we could find

Game day is right around the corner, which means it’s one of the best times of the year to upgrade your TV. Aside from the holiday shopping season, the few weeks leading up to the Super Bowl have some of the best TV deals you’ll find throughout the year. Sets from Samsung, LG, Hisense and others can be hundreds of dollars off and you can even find devices like soundbars and streamers for less, too.

Just keep in mind that often the best discounts will be on more expensive TVs. That’s great if you’re looking for a high-end or very large television for your living room, but not ideal if you’re on a strict budget. But retailers like Amazon and Best Buy still have a bunch of TVs under $500 that are worth considering if you don’t want to spend too much — and it's possible to save money on those, too.

If you’re going to upgrade this year and plan to order online, we recommend doing so soon so you can have the new tube delivered and set up before game day arrives. Here are the best Super Bowl TV deals we could find, plus a few other home entertainment sales that are worth considering.

50-inch Samsung Class 7 4K smart TV

This highly-rated 50-inch Samsung 4K TV is $80 off and down to $400. This Tizen set has a crystal display plus support for HDR, Motion Rate 120 and Game Enhancer.

Buy 50-inch Samsung Class 7 4K TV at Best Buy - $400

55-inch Hisense U7G Quantum Dot 4K smart TV

Hisense's 55-inch Quantum Dot 4K TV is 30 percent off and down to just under $600. It packs a lot of value into a relatively affordable TV — the set supports a 120Hz native refresh rate, Dolby Vision and Atmos, 1,000 nits of peak brightness and Game Mode Pro, the latter of which makes use of HDMI 2.1, low latency mode, variable refresh rates and more.

Buy 55-inch Hisense Quantum Dot 4K TV at Amazon - $600

55-inch Samsung QN90A Neo 4K smart TV

Samsung's 2021 55-inch Neo QLED smart TV is $300 off and down to $1,300. It uses Quantum Mini LED technology to improve details in both dark and bright scenes, and it supports things like 4K AI upscaling, Quantum HDR, 120Hz refresh rates, FreeSync Premium Pro and more.

Buy 55-inch Samsung QN90A 4K TV at Amazon - $1,300Buy 55-inch Samsung QN90A 4K TV at Best Buy - $1,300

65-inch Samsung The Frame 4K smart TV

65-inch Samsung The Frame LED 4K TV
Samsung

Samsung's 65-inch Frame set is down to a record low fo $1,500, which is $500 off its normal price. In addition to 4K support and Quantum Dot technology, the Frame TVs have Art Mode, which lets you show pieces of art on the screen when you're not using it.

Buy 65-inch Samsung Frame 4K TV at Amazon - $1,500Buy 65-inch Samsung Frame 4K TV at Best Buy - $1,500

65-inch LG C1 OLED 4K smart TV

LG's 65-inch C1 OLED set is on sale for $1,800, or $300 off its normal price. In addition to excellent contrast, intense colors and webOS 6.0, it supports HDMI 2.1, NVIDIA G-Sync and FreeSync Premium for a better gaming experience along with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice commands.

Buy 65-inch LG C1 OLED TV at Amazon - $1,800Buy 65-inch LG C1 OLED TV at Best Buy - $1,800

75-inch Hisense E9DG Dual-Cell 4K smart TV

This 75-inch Hisense set is down to $2,000, or $1,000 off its normal price. It uses a luminance control panel behind the 4K screen to manage color more accurately, plus it has high contrast and up to 1,000 nits of peak brightness. The set also supports HDR, Dolby Vision, 120Hz refresh rates, low latency mode, VRR and more.

Buy 75-inch Hisense E9DG 4K TV at Amazon - $2,000Buy 75-inch Hisense E9DG 4K TV at Best Buy - $2,000

77-inch Sony Bravia XR A80J OLED 4K smart TV

This large Sony OLED smart TV has been discounted by $600, bringing it down to $2,900. It uses Sony's Cognitive Processor XR for strong performance and Acoustic Surface Audio+ for immersive sound, plus it supports 4K AI upscaling, XR Motion Clarity, HDMI 2.1 and more.

Buy 77-inch Sony XR A80J OLED TV at Amazon - $2,900Buy 77-inch Sony XR A80J OLED TV at Best Buy - $2,900

Apple TV 4K

The latest Apple TV 4K is on sale for $160, or $20 off its normal price. While the 2021 version isn't drastically different from the previous model, its new Siri remote is a big selling point. We gave it a score of 90 for its speedy performance, HomeKit integration and the easy of use that comes with the improved Siri remote.

Buy 2021 Apple TV 4K at Amazon - $160

Roku Streambar Pro

Roku Streambar Pro
Roku

The Streambar Pro is $30 off and down to an all-time low of $150. It has all of the features that the standard Streambar does along with four 2.5-inch full range drivers, private listening and a lost remote finder in the Roku mobile app.

Buy Streambar Pro at Amazon - $150

Fire TV Stick 4K

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
Amazon

Amazon's Fire TV Stick 4K has been discounted to $30, which is 40 percent off its normal price. This gives you 4K streaming with Dolby Vision in an ultra-compact package, and the stick also supports Dolby Atmos audio and Alexa voice commands.

Buy Fire TV Stick 4K at Amazon - $30

Fire TV Cube

Amazon Fire TV Cube streaming device.
Nicole Lee / Engadget

The Fire TV Cube is down to $85, or only $10 more than its record-low price. Despite being a few years old, it's still a strong set-top box and the most powerful in Amazon's lineup. It supports 4K HDR streaming, Dolby Vision and Atmos, HDR10+ and Alexa controls for both your TV and compatible smart home gadgets.

Buy Fire TV Cube at Amazon - $85

Optoma CinemaX P2

Optoma CinemaX P2
Steve Dent / Engadget

Optoma's CinemaX P2 projector is $800 off, bringing it down to $2,499. This earned a spot in our best projectors guide thanks to its 3,000 lumen brightness, improved color accuracy and 80 percent DCI-P3 coverage.

Buy CinemaX P2 at Amazon - $2,499

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

The best of CES 2022

You all know what they say about the best-laid plans. Though Engadget intended to send a few editors to cover CES in person, we later decided amid surging covid cases that it would be best if our entire staff just stayed home and covered the show remotely. In the end, too, we also decided it would be easiest, under these very fluid circumstances, to do our own thing for our annual CES Awards, which since 2014 we have produced in partnership with the Consumer Technology Association, the trade group that organizes CES itself. Though we can’t hand out awards in person this year, we do still have opinions. And we're about to share them with you.

What follows are all of our favorites from CES 2022 which, despite some stormy press, turned out to be a surprisingly busy show (if not in foot traffic, then certainly in hard news). As in years past, we arrived at these picks by first asking the editors who cover these categories year-round to weigh in on a shortlist. Then our wider team voted using a ranked-choice system. Maybe one day we'll also tell you about the dark-horse favorites that almost, but didn't quite, make the cut. — Dana Wollman, Editor-in-Chief

Best Accessibility Product

OrCam MyEye Pro

OrCam MyEye Pro
OrCam

For people with low vision or difficulty reading, camera-based gadgets with object recognition can make life a little easier. OrCam’s MyEye Pro is a wearable camera module that can be attached to any pair of glasses. Like previous generations, the MyEye Pro can read text, identify objects and faces and tell the wearer what it sees via an onboard speaker or paired Bluetooth headphones. In addition to a touch-sensitive control panel, OrCam offers voice control via the company’s own assistant with the “Hey OrCam” hotword. The Pro also features a faster processor than older models, an additional microphone, stronger magnets and improved tactile cues. It has a new interactive “Smart Reading” feature that lets users ask their MyEye to quickly find specific information like phone numbers, the total on a bill, a particular word on a page and more.

MyEye Pro is one of a few assistive devices built specifically to help people with vision impairments or reading disabilities. Though smartphones can arguably perform similar tasks, the fact that the OrCam can be mounted on spectacles makes it easier for extended reading or all-day use. The company needs to address some usability issues, and like most assistive devices the MyEye is very expensive starting at $3,990. But with greater awareness of the existence of such products, perhaps more insurance providers will consider covering some of the cost. — Cherlynn Low, Deputy Editor / Reviews

Best Health and Fitness Product

Withings Body Scan

Withings Body Scan
Withings

Withings has been doing all it can to push the boundaries of what a bathroom weighing scale can do for a long while now. This year at CES, the company unveiled the Withings Body Scan, which aims to bring a number of new health-monitoring technologies into your home. The Body Scan’s most obvious new feature is the pull-out handlebar that you’ll hold in front of your waist while you’re standing on the deck. This allows the device to run an ECG to check on your heart health, offer up sequential body composition data and, most intriguing, analyze your nerve activity.

It’s not just the breadth of data the Body Scan promises to analyze, but the claimed depth that impressed us. Withings says that its six-lead ECG will produce medical-grade results and that its output can easily be read by a cardiologist. Meanwhile, the nerve activity tracking will look for signs of nerve degeneration, which can be caused by obesity (and treated with appropriate remedial action). It’s a hell of a lot of tech to pack into one consumer device, and if Withings makes good on its promises, it may become the bathroom scale of choice for anyone who wants to keep tabs on their health. — Daniel Cooper, Senior Editor

Best Wearable

Razer Zephyr Pro

Razer Zephyr Pro
Razer

In a year where many CES attendees decided to stay home amid rising COVID cases, it feels fitting that our favorite wearable at the show was a smart mask. Tech companies had already started to put their spin on face coverings, with Razer’s original $100 Zephyr mask and LG’s PuriCare Mask. With a gamer steampunk-inspired design, the first–gen Zephyr combined N95 filters, dual-fan active air filtration system and (of course) RGB lighting all in one striking device.

Razer followed up this year with the Zephyr Pro and one new feature in particular is worth highlighting: the ability to amplify your voice by 60 decibels up to one meter away. It solves a problem most of us have experienced at some point over the past couple of years: You try to order a coffee and the barista behind the counter can't hear you over your mask, not to mention the protective plastic wall separating you both. In theory, if you're wearing the Zephyr Pro, you shouldn't have this problem. Whenever you don't want to use the feature (or maybe just want to conserve battery), you can turn off voice amplification.

We don't know exactly when the Zephyr Pro will come out, but Razer has said it will cost $150, or $200 for the starter pack with 100 days worth of filters. Is the Zephyr Pro a bit excessive? Yes. Will the RGB lighting make you look ridiculous? You bet. But even so, we have to hand it to Razer for making masked interactions just a little easier. — Valentina Palladino, Commerce Editor

Best Transportation Tech

Chevrolet Silverado EV

Chevrolet Silverado EV
Chevrolet

2022 is already shaping up to be the year of the electric pickup, so it was no surprise that GM CEO Mary Barra took to the CES stage on Wednesday to officially unveil the American automaker’s second electrified truck, the Chevrolet Silverado EV. We shouldn’t need to explain why Chevy’s best-selling vehicle going electric is a big deal.

The new Silverado joins the Hummer EV in GM’s burgeoning electric truck lineup (soon to be accompanied by Blazer and Equinox EVs) and will arrive in two versions: the RST First Edition, a limited-run production with an MSRP just north of $100,000, followed by the far more affordable WT fleet edition and standard RST – both of which start at around $39,900.

Positioned to compete directly with Ford’s forthcoming F-150 Lightning, the Silverado EV RST will offer a GM-estimated 400 mile range, up to 664 horsepower and 811 ft-lb of torque with the ability to tow up to 10,000 pounds. The WT version will be slightly less powerful but still boasts 510 hp, 615 lb-ft of torque and 8,000 pounds of towing capacity. Both the RST and WT versions will enter production alongside the Hummer EV line at GM’s new Factory ZERO electric vehicle production facility in 2023. — Andrew Tarantola, Senior Editor

Best Home Theater Product

Samsung Eco Remote (2022)

Samsung Eco Remote
Samsung

At CES last year, Samsung debuted an Eco Remote that uses indoor or outdoor light to recharge via a solar panel. This year, the company took things a step further. The 2022 model brings back the solar panel and adds the ability to recharge using radio frequency (RF) signals from your WiFi router. Since you don’t need to replace the battery, this eliminates the need to hunt for AAAs (which would eventually be destined for a landfill).

Using energy that otherwise goes to waste, the new Eco Remote’s low power requirements make it a good choice for harvesting RF waves. The device, available with either a black or white finish, is also equipped with dedicated buttons for streaming services to give you one-touch access. Sure, you’ll need a Samsung TV to use it, but the greener power sources certainly help the device live up to its name. And hopefully, Samsung’s clever use of RF waves can serve as inspiration for other TV manufacturers. — Billy Steele, Senior News Editor

Best Smart Home Product

TP-Link Archer AXE200 Omni

TP-Link Archer AXE200 Omni
TP-Link

It wouldn’t be CES if we didn’t see some crazy routers, and TP-Link delivered this year. The TP-Link AXE200 Omni router has the over-the-top design that the company typically saves for its most expensive and powerful devices, but this model has a trick we’ve never seen before. It packs four mechanical antennas that can rotate automatically based on the placement and location of devices using your WiFi connection.

Sure, this feature looks cool in action (almost anthropomorphic, even), but TP-Link’s history-making top-flight routers means this likely isn’t a gimmick. And the rest of its specs are top of the line, too. It has tri-band WiFi 6E, capable of delivering speeds of up to 11 Gbps. There are also 10 Gigabit ethernet ports for wired connections. Given how many devices most households have these days, having a powerful, reliable router is crucial to keeping everything online. TP-Link’s latest should be able to do that no matter how many gadgets you need to connect. — Nathan Ingraham, Deputy Editor / News

Best Phone or Tablet

Asus ZenBook 17 Fold

Asus ZenBook 17 Fold
Asus

There was no shortage of mobile devices at CES this year, ranging from OnePlus’ new flagship to Samsung’s latest value-for-money phone. If the award should go to the most memorable, though, there was one clear pick. We’ve chosen ASUS’ ZenBook 17 Fold for attempting to redefine tablets, foldables and laptops in one fell swoop.

The foldable tablet category isn’t exactly novel, given past entries like Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Fold. ASUS’ offering is decidedly bolder, though, with a 17.3-inch OLED screen that offers a huge canvas and various usage possibilities (think: a book-like reader or a desktop PC). You’ll even have a usable laptop thanks to an included Bluetooth keyboard that allows the folded tablet to function as a 12.5-inch Windows laptop. All told, this is one of the most versatile tablets we’ve seen, and it could replace more than just your notebook depending on how you use it. — Jon Fingas, Weekend Editor

Best TV Tech

Samsung QD-Display

Samsung QD-Display
Samsung Display

We've praised LG's OLED TVs for years, mainly because they represent a huge upgrade over LCDs in almost every way. Their one big weakness is brightness: LCDs rely on backlights that can reach far beyond a single OLED, which can't burn too hot or they risk failure. OLEDs also lose a bit of color accuracy the brighter they get. Now Samsung believes it has a solution: QD-Display, an updated OLED technology that relies on quantum dots to supercharge colors and deliver more brightness. On paper, it seems like the biggest advancement in TV technology we’ve seen in years.

While Samsung isn't showing off its own QD-Display TVs yet, Sony leapt at the chance to adopt the technology for its new A95K premium TV. That proves it’s more than just an expensive tech demo for the super rich, like Samsung's MicroLED-equipped "The Wall." It's certainly ironic that Samsung is heralding OLED now, after downplaying the technology in TVs for years and pushing QLED sets instead. But no matter: It's better for consumers, and the industry overall, if there's more than one company producing OLED TVs. — Devindra Hardawar, Senior Editor

Best Gaming Product

Sony PlayStation VR2

Sony PlayStation VR2
Sony

Among the souped-up graphics cards, laptop chips, desktop concepts and console accessories on display at CES 2022, the most exciting gaming announcement involved no actual product at all. Sony revealed the name, logo and specs for its next virtual reality headset, PlayStation VR2, and even though the device didn’t make an appearance, the details were enough to get us excited about the upcoming headset.

The PS VR2 has a display resolution of 2,000 x 2,040 for each eye, a 110-degree field of view, 4K HDR capabilities and frame rates of 90Hz or 120Hz. The new device has upgraded eye-tracking software and it also supports foveated rendering, a gaze-based feature common in high-end PC headsets. The addition of inside-out tracking means it doesn’t require an external camera – a nice step up from the original PS VR. The most surprising detail about the PS VR2 is the fact that it includes an internal motor that can make the headset vibrate, providing a new level of haptic feedback (or maybe just a headache).

In addition to all those details, Sony confirmed an original game in the Horizon universe is heading exclusively to the headset, and developer Guerrilla gave us a quick tease of first-person robot-dino hunting. Console gaming news at CES is a rarity, which makes Sony’s showing this year stand out, even without any actual hardware. — Jessica Conditt, Senior Editor

Best Laptop

Lenovo ThinkPad Z Series

Lenovo ThinkPad Z Series
Lenovo

Come for the lid; stay for the sustainability. Or maybe it’s the other way around. When we first saw the ThinkPad Z series at a private demo ahead of CES, we were immediately charmed by its lid, which is designed to be openable with just one hand. But as we learned more about these sleek laptops, available with 13- and 16-inch screens, we were impressed with their focus on sustainability, including materials like recycled aluminum and vegan leather, and a charger made of 90 percent recyclable material. Even the packaging is 100 percent recyclable, thanks to compostable materials like bamboo and sugarcane.

We haven’t even talked about the potentially solid performance. The Z13 and Z16 are the result of a collaboration with AMD. In fact, these are among the first machines with AMD’s high-performance Ryzen PRO 6000 Series laptop processors. On the outside, the Z13 boasts a 2.8K OLED display while the 16 has a 4K screen, also OLED. Both machines support Dolby Vision, along with Dolby Atmos and Dolby AI noise cancellation. We look forward to reviewing them closer to when they go on sale in May. — Dana Wollman, Editor-in-chief

Best Sustainable Product

Goodyear 70% Sustainable-Material Tire

Goodyear 70% Sustainable-Material Tire
Goodyear

Whether it’s powered by an internal combustion engine or an electric battery, a vehicle’s tires remain one of its least eco-friendly components. Traditional tires are resource intensive to produce and difficult to dispose of, with only a small fraction of them ending up actually being recycled. As such, Goodyear two years ago set an ambitious goal for itself: develop a 100-percent sustainable tire by 2030. Two years into this project, the company is already well on its way toward meeting that goal.

Earlier this week, the company unveiled its 70-percent sustainable concept tire, which features 13 ingredients across nine different tire components that were formerly made with petroleum and other non-renewable resources. For example, carbon black and other petrol-based rubbers are typically used as filler materials to enhance a tire’s durability and usable lifespan. Goodyear has substituted these with more eco-friendly methane, carbon dioxide and plant-based oil, all of which are produced in ways that generate fewer greenhouse gasses than carbon black. Additionally, Goodyear employs silica, which increases a tire’s grip on the road, that has been derived from rice husk ash, a common by-product of the rice milling process.

Whether Goodyear releases a tire utilizing all of its sustainable technologies by 2030, or simply works individual materials into upcoming models, the environment still stands to benefit. — Andrew Tarantola, Senior Editor

Best Wildcard

BMW iX Flow featuring E Ink

BMW iX Flow featuring E Ink
BMW

When it comes to CES, there are so many left-field products on display that it can sometimes be hard to define a “wildcard.” Is it a futuristic concept, a bizarre novelty, or simply something you had no idea would be good until it was presented to you? This year, BMW’s iX Flow featuring E Ink ticked the “well, we didn’t expect that” box the hardest, and it’s certainly a striking concept. Essentially, BMW coated the skin of its iX car with the same electrophoretic coating you’ll find in most e-readers. The pitch being that, at the touch of a button, you can change the color of your vehicle to reflect your current mood. You know, as one does.

Of course, while the BMW iX itself is a road-ready car, the E Ink coating isn’t something you can expect to buy in the near future. But even being able to switch from black to white makes plenty of sense in these more energy-conscious times. In warm weather, you can paint the car white and help reflect some of the sun’s heat, reducing the drain on your AC. And when it gets cold, you can reverse the process, helping to store up more warmth to keep you, and your battery, nice and cozy. Even better, if the company gets a color E Ink version working, then we never need to worry about being stuck with someone else’s idea of a good paint job. — Daniel Cooper, Senior Editor

Best of the Best

Chevrolet Silverado EV

Chevrolet Silverado EV
Chevrolet

CES 2022 brought us a bevy of innovative announcements from the automotive industry, from chameleon-skinned BMWs to a sun-soaked 600-mile electric Mercedes. But as ranked-choice systems are wont to do, there can be only one overall winner. This year, the king of the CES hill is Chevrolet’s Silverado EV, an electrified pickup that is sure to give both global warming and rival EV, the Ford F-150 Lightning, a run for their money.

The Silverado is already one of America’s most popular pickup models, having sold more than half a million US units in 2021 alone. Pickups and SUVs in general are far and away the best selling vehicle types in the US but those same buyers have historically been reticent to adopt more eco-friendly alternatives to conventional internal combustion cars and trucks — heck, just a few years ago many diesel owners were giddily “rolling coal” for the social media clout. But as fuel prices and sea surface temperatures continue to rise, the prospect of driving up to 400 miles (or more!) using nothing but a battery has become a compelling feature for drivers and automakers alike.

GM has already pledged to sell “30 new global electric vehicles by 2025” starting with the Hummer EV, which is already being delivered to early buyers. The Chevy Silverado, Blazer, Equinox and GMC Sierra all poised for production runs of their own starting in 2023. And once these EVs roll off their respective assembly lines, they’ll be faced with stiff competition from Ford, Tesla, Rivian, Toyota and other car makers eager to cash in on America’s newfound love affair with electrified pickups. — Andrew Tarantola, Senior Editor

The best of CES 2022

You all know what they say about the best-laid plans. Though Engadget intended to send a few editors to cover CES in person, we later decided amid surging covid cases that it would be best if our entire staff just stayed home and covered the show remotely. In the end, too, we also decided it would be easiest, under these very fluid circumstances, to do our own thing for our annual CES Awards, which since 2014 we have produced in partnership with the Consumer Technology Association, the trade group that organizes CES itself. Though we can’t hand out awards in person this year, we do still have opinions. And we're about to share them with you.

What follows are all of our favorites from CES 2022 which, despite some stormy press, turned out to be a surprisingly busy show (if not in foot traffic, then certainly in hard news). As in years past, we arrived at these picks by first asking the editors who cover these categories year-round to weigh in on a shortlist. Then our wider team voted using a ranked-choice system. Maybe one day we'll also tell you about the dark-horse favorites that almost, but didn't quite, make the cut. — Dana Wollman, Editor-in-Chief

Best Accessibility Product

OrCam MyEye Pro

OrCam MyEye Pro
OrCam

For people with low vision or difficulty reading, camera-based gadgets with object recognition can make life a little easier. OrCam’s MyEye Pro is a wearable camera module that can be attached to any pair of glasses. Like previous generations, the MyEye Pro can read text, identify objects and faces and tell the wearer what it sees via an onboard speaker or paired Bluetooth headphones. In addition to a touch-sensitive control panel, OrCam offers voice control via the company’s own assistant with the “Hey OrCam” hotword. The Pro also features a faster processor than older models, an additional microphone, stronger magnets and improved tactile cues. It has a new interactive “Smart Reading” feature that lets users ask their MyEye to quickly find specific information like phone numbers, the total on a bill, a particular word on a page and more.

MyEye Pro is one of a few assistive devices built specifically to help people with vision impairments or reading disabilities. Though smartphones can arguably perform similar tasks, the fact that the OrCam can be mounted on spectacles makes it easier for extended reading or all-day use. The company needs to address some usability issues, and like most assistive devices the MyEye is very expensive starting at $3,990. But with greater awareness of the existence of such products, perhaps more insurance providers will consider covering some of the cost. — Cherlynn Low, Deputy Editor / Reviews

Best Health and Fitness Product

Withings Body Scan

Withings Body Scan
Withings

Withings has been doing all it can to push the boundaries of what a bathroom weighing scale can do for a long while now. This year at CES, the company unveiled the Withings Body Scan, which aims to bring a number of new health-monitoring technologies into your home. The Body Scan’s most obvious new feature is the pull-out handlebar that you’ll hold in front of your waist while you’re standing on the deck. This allows the device to run an ECG to check on your heart health, offer up sequential body composition data and, most intriguing, analyze your nerve activity.

It’s not just the breadth of data the Body Scan promises to analyze, but the claimed depth that impressed us. Withings says that its six-lead ECG will produce medical-grade results and that its output can easily be read by a cardiologist. Meanwhile, the nerve activity tracking will look for signs of nerve degeneration, which can be caused by obesity (and treated with appropriate remedial action). It’s a hell of a lot of tech to pack into one consumer device, and if Withings makes good on its promises, it may become the bathroom scale of choice for anyone who wants to keep tabs on their health. — Daniel Cooper, Senior Editor

Best Wearable

Razer Zephyr Pro

Razer Zephyr Pro
Razer

In a year where many CES attendees decided to stay home amid rising COVID cases, it feels fitting that our favorite wearable at the show was a smart mask. Tech companies had already started to put their spin on face coverings, with Razer’s original $100 Zephyr mask and LG’s PuriCare Mask. With a gamer steampunk-inspired design, the first–gen Zephyr combined N95 filters, dual-fan active air filtration system and (of course) RGB lighting all in one striking device.

Razer followed up this year with the Zephyr Pro and one new feature in particular is worth highlighting: the ability to amplify your voice by 60 decibels up to one meter away. It solves a problem most of us have experienced at some point over the past couple of years: You try to order a coffee and the barista behind the counter can't hear you over your mask, not to mention the protective plastic wall separating you both. In theory, if you're wearing the Zephyr Pro, you shouldn't have this problem. Whenever you don't want to use the feature (or maybe just want to conserve battery), you can turn off voice amplification.

We don't know exactly when the Zephyr Pro will come out, but Razer has said it will cost $150, or $200 for the starter pack with 100 days worth of filters. Is the Zephyr Pro a bit excessive? Yes. Will the RGB lighting make you look ridiculous? You bet. But even so, we have to hand it to Razer for making masked interactions just a little easier. — Valentina Palladino, Commerce Editor

Best Transportation Tech

Chevrolet Silverado EV

Chevrolet Silverado EV
Chevrolet

2022 is already shaping up to be the year of the electric pickup, so it was no surprise that GM CEO Mary Barra took to the CES stage on Wednesday to officially unveil the American automaker’s second electrified truck, the Chevrolet Silverado EV. We shouldn’t need to explain why Chevy’s best-selling vehicle going electric is a big deal.

The new Silverado joins the Hummer EV in GM’s burgeoning electric truck lineup (soon to be accompanied by Blazer and Equinox EVs) and will arrive in two versions: the RST First Edition, a limited-run production with an MSRP just north of $100,000, followed by the far more affordable WT fleet edition and standard RST – both of which start at around $39,900.

Positioned to compete directly with Ford’s forthcoming F-150 Lightning, the Silverado EV RST will offer a GM-estimated 400 mile range, up to 664 horsepower and 811 ft-lb of torque with the ability to tow up to 10,000 pounds. The WT version will be slightly less powerful but still boasts 510 hp, 615 lb-ft of torque and 8,000 pounds of towing capacity. Both the RST and WT versions will enter production alongside the Hummer EV line at GM’s new Factory ZERO electric vehicle production facility in 2023. — Andrew Tarantola, Senior Editor

Best Home Theater Product

Samsung Eco Remote (2022)

Samsung Eco Remote
Samsung

At CES last year, Samsung debuted an Eco Remote that uses indoor or outdoor light to recharge via a solar panel. This year, the company took things a step further. The 2022 model brings back the solar panel and adds the ability to recharge using radio frequency (RF) signals from your WiFi router. Since you don’t need to replace the battery, this eliminates the need to hunt for AAAs (which would eventually be destined for a landfill).

Using energy that otherwise goes to waste, the new Eco Remote’s low power requirements make it a good choice for harvesting RF waves. The device, available with either a black or white finish, is also equipped with dedicated buttons for streaming services to give you one-touch access. Sure, you’ll need a Samsung TV to use it, but the greener power sources certainly help the device live up to its name. And hopefully, Samsung’s clever use of RF waves can serve as inspiration for other TV manufacturers. — Billy Steele, Senior News Editor

Best Smart Home Product

TP-Link Archer AXE200 Omni

TP-Link Archer AXE200 Omni
TP-Link

It wouldn’t be CES if we didn’t see some crazy routers, and TP-Link delivered this year. The TP-Link AXE200 Omni router has the over-the-top design that the company typically saves for its most expensive and powerful devices, but this model has a trick we’ve never seen before. It packs four mechanical antennas that can rotate automatically based on the placement and location of devices using your WiFi connection.

Sure, this feature looks cool in action (almost anthropomorphic, even), but TP-Link’s history-making top-flight routers means this likely isn’t a gimmick. And the rest of its specs are top of the line, too. It has tri-band WiFi 6E, capable of delivering speeds of up to 11 Gbps. There are also 10 Gigabit ethernet ports for wired connections. Given how many devices most households have these days, having a powerful, reliable router is crucial to keeping everything online. TP-Link’s latest should be able to do that no matter how many gadgets you need to connect. — Nathan Ingraham, Deputy Editor / News

Best Phone or Tablet

Asus ZenBook 17 Fold

Asus ZenBook 17 Fold
Asus

There was no shortage of mobile devices at CES this year, ranging from OnePlus’ new flagship to Samsung’s latest value-for-money phone. If the award should go to the most memorable, though, there was one clear pick. We’ve chosen ASUS’ ZenBook 17 Fold for attempting to redefine tablets, foldables and laptops in one fell swoop.

The foldable tablet category isn’t exactly novel, given past entries like Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Fold. ASUS’ offering is decidedly bolder, though, with a 17.3-inch OLED screen that offers a huge canvas and various usage possibilities (think: a book-like reader or a desktop PC). You’ll even have a usable laptop thanks to an included Bluetooth keyboard that allows the folded tablet to function as a 12.5-inch Windows laptop. All told, this is one of the most versatile tablets we’ve seen, and it could replace more than just your notebook depending on how you use it. — Jon Fingas, Weekend Editor

Best TV Tech

Samsung QD-Display

Samsung QD-Display
Samsung Display

We've praised LG's OLED TVs for years, mainly because they represent a huge upgrade over LCDs in almost every way. Their one big weakness is brightness: LCDs rely on backlights that can reach far beyond a single OLED, which can't burn too hot or they risk failure. OLEDs also lose a bit of color accuracy the brighter they get. Now Samsung believes it has a solution: QD-Display, an updated OLED technology that relies on quantum dots to supercharge colors and deliver more brightness. On paper, it seems like the biggest advancement in TV technology we’ve seen in years.

While Samsung isn't showing off its own QD-Display TVs yet, Sony leapt at the chance to adopt the technology for its new A95K premium TV. That proves it’s more than just an expensive tech demo for the super rich, like Samsung's MicroLED-equipped "The Wall." It's certainly ironic that Samsung is heralding OLED now, after downplaying the technology in TVs for years and pushing QLED sets instead. But no matter: It's better for consumers, and the industry overall, if there's more than one company producing OLED TVs. — Devindra Hardawar, Senior Editor

Best Gaming Product

Sony PlayStation VR2

Sony PlayStation VR2
Sony

Among the souped-up graphics cards, laptop chips, desktop concepts and console accessories on display at CES 2022, the most exciting gaming announcement involved no actual product at all. Sony revealed the name, logo and specs for its next virtual reality headset, PlayStation VR2, and even though the device didn’t make an appearance, the details were enough to get us excited about the upcoming headset.

The PS VR2 has a display resolution of 2,000 x 2,040 for each eye, a 110-degree field of view, 4K HDR capabilities and frame rates of 90Hz or 120Hz. The new device has upgraded eye-tracking software and it also supports foveated rendering, a gaze-based feature common in high-end PC headsets. The addition of inside-out tracking means it doesn’t require an external camera – a nice step up from the original PS VR. The most surprising detail about the PS VR2 is the fact that it includes an internal motor that can make the headset vibrate, providing a new level of haptic feedback (or maybe just a headache).

In addition to all those details, Sony confirmed an original game in the Horizon universe is heading exclusively to the headset, and developer Guerrilla gave us a quick tease of first-person robot-dino hunting. Console gaming news at CES is a rarity, which makes Sony’s showing this year stand out, even without any actual hardware. — Jessica Conditt, Senior Editor

Best Laptop

Lenovo ThinkPad Z Series

Lenovo ThinkPad Z Series
Lenovo

Come for the lid; stay for the sustainability. Or maybe it’s the other way around. When we first saw the ThinkPad Z series at a private demo ahead of CES, we were immediately charmed by its lid, which is designed to be openable with just one hand. But as we learned more about these sleek laptops, available with 13- and 16-inch screens, we were impressed with their focus on sustainability, including materials like recycled aluminum and vegan leather, and a charger made of 90 percent recyclable material. Even the packaging is 100 percent recyclable, thanks to compostable materials like bamboo and sugarcane.

We haven’t even talked about the potentially solid performance. The Z13 and Z16 are the result of a collaboration with AMD. In fact, these are among the first machines with AMD’s high-performance Ryzen PRO 6000 Series laptop processors. On the outside, the Z13 boasts a 2.8K OLED display while the 16 has a 4K screen, also OLED. Both machines support Dolby Vision, along with Dolby Atmos and Dolby AI noise cancellation. We look forward to reviewing them closer to when they go on sale in May. — Dana Wollman, Editor-in-chief

Best Sustainable Product

Goodyear 70% Sustainable-Material Tire

Goodyear 70% Sustainable-Material Tire
Goodyear

Whether it’s powered by an internal combustion engine or an electric battery, a vehicle’s tires remain one of its least eco-friendly components. Traditional tires are resource intensive to produce and difficult to dispose of, with only a small fraction of them ending up actually being recycled. As such, Goodyear two years ago set an ambitious goal for itself: develop a 100-percent sustainable tire by 2030. Two years into this project, the company is already well on its way toward meeting that goal.

Earlier this week, the company unveiled its 70-percent sustainable concept tire, which features 13 ingredients across nine different tire components that were formerly made with petroleum and other non-renewable resources. For example, carbon black and other petrol-based rubbers are typically used as filler materials to enhance a tire’s durability and usable lifespan. Goodyear has substituted these with more eco-friendly methane, carbon dioxide and plant-based oil, all of which are produced in ways that generate fewer greenhouse gasses than carbon black. Additionally, Goodyear employs silica, which increases a tire’s grip on the road, that has been derived from rice husk ash, a common by-product of the rice milling process.

Whether Goodyear releases a tire utilizing all of its sustainable technologies by 2030, or simply works individual materials into upcoming models, the environment still stands to benefit. — Andrew Tarantola, Senior Editor

Best Wildcard

BMW iX Flow featuring E Ink

BMW iX Flow featuring E Ink
BMW

When it comes to CES, there are so many left-field products on display that it can sometimes be hard to define a “wildcard.” Is it a futuristic concept, a bizarre novelty, or simply something you had no idea would be good until it was presented to you? This year, BMW’s iX Flow featuring E Ink ticked the “well, we didn’t expect that” box the hardest, and it’s certainly a striking concept. Essentially, BMW coated the skin of its iX car with the same electrophoretic coating you’ll find in most e-readers. The pitch being that, at the touch of a button, you can change the color of your vehicle to reflect your current mood. You know, as one does.

Of course, while the BMW iX itself is a road-ready car, the E Ink coating isn’t something you can expect to buy in the near future. But even being able to switch from black to white makes plenty of sense in these more energy-conscious times. In warm weather, you can paint the car white and help reflect some of the sun’s heat, reducing the drain on your AC. And when it gets cold, you can reverse the process, helping to store up more warmth to keep you, and your battery, nice and cozy. Even better, if the company gets a color E Ink version working, then we never need to worry about being stuck with someone else’s idea of a good paint job. — Daniel Cooper, Senior Editor

Best of the Best

Chevrolet Silverado EV

Chevrolet Silverado EV
Chevrolet

CES 2022 brought us a bevy of innovative announcements from the automotive industry, from chameleon-skinned BMWs to a sun-soaked 600-mile electric Mercedes. But as ranked-choice systems are wont to do, there can be only one overall winner. This year, the king of the CES hill is Chevrolet’s Silverado EV, an electrified pickup that is sure to give both global warming and rival EV, the Ford F-150 Lightning, a run for their money.

The Silverado is already one of America’s most popular pickup models, having sold more than half a million US units in 2021 alone. Pickups and SUVs in general are far and away the best selling vehicle types in the US but those same buyers have historically been reticent to adopt more eco-friendly alternatives to conventional internal combustion cars and trucks — heck, just a few years ago many diesel owners were giddily “rolling coal” for the social media clout. But as fuel prices and sea surface temperatures continue to rise, the prospect of driving up to 400 miles (or more!) using nothing but a battery has become a compelling feature for drivers and automakers alike.

GM has already pledged to sell “30 new global electric vehicles by 2025” starting with the Hummer EV, which is already being delivered to early buyers. The Chevy Silverado, Blazer, Equinox and GMC Sierra all poised for production runs of their own starting in 2023. And once these EVs roll off their respective assembly lines, they’ll be faced with stiff competition from Ford, Tesla, Rivian, Toyota and other car makers eager to cash in on America’s newfound love affair with electrified pickups. — Andrew Tarantola, Senior Editor