Top 10 commute gear gift guide that give a much-needed boost to your daily travel experience

There has always been a love-hate relationship between myself and my office commutes. I’ve always had the misfortune of having a very long commute (sometimes over 2 hours!) and while I enjoy having that time and space for myself, I’m always mindful of ways to make the most of this time with minimal products to carry. To add to my troubles, there would be a mix of my travel sources – using a public transit train plus a bike till the train station, I know one thing – keeping the bags light is a must! If this sounds like you or someone you know, then be ready as we have a list of products that are unique and multifunctional in design just for us. From bottles that convert into a travel mug, some kick ass bike accessories to even an alternate mode of travel (which makes going to office so much cooler), we have your back to get you fun and stylish for your commute time.

1. ForeverPen™

Ever had to do a self patdown in a public place to search for that ever-elusive pen right when the idea strikes you? Or looking for the box cutter all over the house when your most awaited parcel is finally here? This tiny inkiness pen brings you all those qualities in a size so small, it barely adds any weight with those mighty responsibilities it brings! Forever solving the ‘where is my pen’ conundrum, the forever pen writes without actually writing. Made from a unique silver composite that can oxidise surfaces, leaving behind a mark that you can write with without ever running out! Fit it on your keychain, your bag or even around your neck – once you place it, you won’t lose it. Write it on a variety of surfaces, in any orientation (very handy when traveling with your hands full) and even use it as a box cutter when you can’t find your 100th box cutter that you’re sure was in that drawer. 

Click Here to Buy Now: $32 $39 ( offer added at checkout )

2. Hitch – Bottle and Cup In One

Hitch is the first full-size water bottle with a removable barista-approved cup hidden inside! This smart design features not only a full-sized bottle but a full-size cup as well, completely eliminating the need for disposable water bottles or to-go coffee cups. Double-walled, vacuum insulated, stainless steel, leak-proof, and BPA-free, Hitch will keep you hydrated all day long, help you go zero waste, and protect your drink with the help of a stashable leakproof slider lid. The cup holds 12oz of liquid, while the bottle holds 18oz – both are impressive quantities. The liquid can be kept hot for 6 hours, and cold for 12 hours. Hitch’s patent-pending technology makes it extremely easy to carry the bottle and cup together, as well as to separate them as needed. All you have to do is turn the crossbar at the bottom, and the cup is released from the bottle.

Click Here to Buy Now: $68

3. Haylou Bone-Conduction Headphones

Don’t you wish you could wear your earphones and still listen to the world around you? No, I don’t mean transparency mode (which doesn’t work when the earphones are off), I mean just being able to hear the world around you! Meet the Haylou PurFree, a pair of bone-conducting headphones that sit in front of your ear instead of inside it. The earphones deliver audio vibrations to your upper cheekbone, sending music directly to your brain instead of through the ear. This means your ears stay open, and can still hear the world around you! A winner of both the Red Dot Design Award as well as the German Design Award, the Haylou PurFree comes with a spectacularly sleek design featuring a titanium alloy neck-band and a IP67 waterproof build. The earphones run Bluetooth 5.2 for a stunningly reliable connection, and feature a state-of-the-art Qualcomm 3044 chip that performs vocal noise cancelation to make sure that your voice doesn’t get lost in the noise around you while you’re talking on calls or asking Siri or Google questions!

Click Here to Buy Now: $79.99 $99.99 (20% off with coupon code “20YANKOD”). Hurry, deal ends Nov 21.

4. Gamma – Graphene Heated Jacket

Say hello to Gamma…the ultimate all-climate jacket that you’ve been searching for! Lightweight, durable, breathable, and insulated – these are just a few of Gamma’s fantastic traits. Whether you’re skiing in the Alps or heading out for a quick bite, this Graphene-infused jacket with its 10 smart pockets and anti-odor properties is all you need. Graphene allows Gamma to function as a winter jacket, a cool-weather jacket, a windbreaker, a rain jacket, and activewear all at once. Despite being a nano-lattice, which is just one atom thick, Graphene is stronger than diamond, and is popularly called ”supreme graphene”. It functions as a second skin, moving heat through its latticed structure, and evenly distributing it all over your body. Essentially it keeps you cool when it’s warm outside, and keeps you warm when it’s cold outside! Irrespective of your location, Gamma will keep you at your ideal temperature, keeping you comfortable and cozy, despite the external weather conditions.

Click Here to Buy Now: $395 $500 ( 21% off ). Additional $79 at Checkout for Early Access BFCM Sale.

5. Lumos Ultra Helmet

A winner of the James Dyson Award for its brilliant design and underlying idea, the Lumos Ultra helmet protects you in more ways than one. Sure, it acts as a physical protection device, guarding your head against impact and injury, but it also comes embedded with lights on the front and back that help make you visible in the dark, so riders and drivers around you are aware of your presence. The bright light panels on the front and back wrap around the helmet in a way that makes them visible from all angles, and the Lumos Ultra even has indicator lights built in that can either be activated using a simple remote that straps to your handlebar, or an Apple Watch. The helmet itself is a marvel of engineering too, with a lightweight design and multiple air-vents that keep your head breezy. It’s still designed to be incredibly sturdy, with a crash-test certified construction and the option to add MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) as an extra feature that adds yet another layer of protection to the helmet’s design. The Lumos Ultra weighs a mere 0.8 lbs, is made to be IPx6 waterproof, comes in 3 sizes, and across a range of colors!

Click Here to Buy Now: $162 $189.95 ( 15% off )

6. Radiant Urban Sling Bag

The Radiant Urban Sling promises to be more than just a sling! The versatile and expandable pack is ideal for carrying your essentials with you everyday. Perfectly sized between a tote and a backpack, this modern and minimal sling is exactly what urban travellers need. Measuring 15 cm x 22 cm x 32 cm, the sling expands when needed and can fit in a 12″ iPad Pro. A magnetic flip closure provides quick and easy access to the main compartment. You can also access the external storage from both sides. The Radiant Urban Sling features suitable padding, rapid-retract shoulder strap and sufficient ventilation. A YKK Zipper, water-repellant eco fabric, premium hardware and slipknot closure are other noteworthy features of the urban sling. Radiant is perfect for modern day creators who need to fit all their gadgets into one compact and expandable body!

Click Here to Buy Now: $99.99 $139.99 ( 28% off ). Additional 10% off with coupon code “niid10”.

7. Onewheel GT

Our ancestors invented the wheel, Henry Ford put the wheel to great use, and the folks at Onewheel distilled and perfected the idea of motorized transportation. The Onewheel GT basically does what a two or four-wheeled transport device does, but with less. Designed as a motorized skateboard that has just one wheel at its center, the Onewheel GT is perfect for in-city commutes and for leisurely skateboarding. Operated simply by standing on the board and shifting your CG to accelerate or decelerate, the GT comes with a 20mph top speed and up to 32 miles or 51 kilometers of range on a full charge. The GT comes with a bespoke, almost F1 racecar-inspired rounded tire that gives it the handling and maneuverability of a two-wheeler, and you can even choose a treaded tire for riding on uneven terrain like dirt roads. LEDs on the front and the back help you ride comfortably at night, while griptape-lined concave footpads make sure you’re always in control. Speaking of control, each Onewheel GT also pairs along with the Onewheel smartphone app that lets you customize the way your board rides, check your battery status, connect with friends and more.

Click Here to Buy Now: Starting from $2200

8. Layover™ Travel Blanket

Called the Layover, this travel blanket is perfect for comfortable + cozy traveling! The Layover promises to make those long uncomfy flights, hectic transits, and bumpy road trips super comfy owing to its breathable nylon shell, and insulated core, which will make you feel as if you’re in your bed at home. The insulation is created using 100% recycled PET plastic (like water bottles) and keeps you warm no matter where you are. A leg pocket and an insulated foot pouch protect your lower body from those annoyingly cold drafts on flights!  While a little kangaroo pocket keeps your hands warm. The Layover is travel-friendly and packs down to the size of your fists. It’s 35% lighter than a pair of Nike Free shoes. You can stuff it in the corner of your suitcase, or clip it onto your backpack, and completely forget its presence! Stuffing the blanket into the attached stuff sack that comes along with it, COULD have been an issue, if the designers hadn’t added 3″ of extra material for easy grip and stuffing.

Click Here to Buy Now: $129

9. Arclight Bike Pedals

More than 50% of bicycle accidents occur because of reduced visibility… the Arclight Bike Pedals fix that. Designed as a unique pair of retrofittable LED pedals that attach onto any existing bicycle, the Arclight dramatically help increase rider visibility. Each pedal comes with a rugged aluminum body with two slots that let you securely snap LED modules in. Begin riding and the modules come to life, with the front module shining white and the rear one shining red. The modules instantly know when you’re riding versus when you’ve parked, turning on or off accordingly and automatically. They can even sense orientation, so the front-facing light is always white, and the rear one always red. Attach the Arclight to your existing bike and they brighten the road as well as make you more visible to people around you (especially when they move in circles as you pedal). The LED lights have 360° visibilty and come with 3 shining modes. They’re IP64 water-resistant so you can use the Arclight pedals in the rain, and the modules charge via USB, offering up to 36 hours worth of lighting on a single charge!

Click Here to Buy Now: $39.99

10. Omega Graphene Integrated Pants

Levi Strauss was credited with inventing denim as a fabric for miners and labourers who needed clothes that could withstand rigorous work without scraping or tearing. Over a hundred years later, denim jeans are still the most popular form of bottomwear… but are they still the most durable? Not quite. Meet the OMEGA pants – full-length pants that are made from actual graphene fabric. Not only are they hundreds of times stronger than denim, they’re practically tear-proof and waterproof, have incredible breathability and thermoregulation properties, are anti-bacterial, and come witha 4-way stretch that gives you more maneuverability to do everything from going to work or climbing mountains. With a design that has the best of all worlds, the OMEGA pants look rather stylish, but also put performance on a pedestal. The pants come with an abundance of pockets, lined with zippers that keep them waterproof. The graphene fabric is abrasion-resistant, protecting itself (and you) from damage, while taped seams ensure the pants never rip or tear. The cloth has a 4-way stretch, is windproof and waterproof, blocks UV light, repels stains, and prevents bacteria growth. My favorite part? The zippers around the knees that let you turn the full-pants into shorts!

Click Here to Buy Now: $349

The post Top 10 commute gear gift guide that give a much-needed boost to your daily travel experience first appeared on Yanko Design.

The best wireless earbuds for 2022

Companies continue to find new ways to impress with true wireless earbuds. There’s no doubt the popularity of Apple’s AirPods helped make them a mainstay, but plenty of others offer reliable connectivity, great sound and active noise cancellation (ANC) in increasingly smaller form factors. You can also get features that used to be reserved for premium models on mid-range devices. Of course, the popularity means that new earbuds are popping up all the time and the list of options is longer than ever. To help, we’ve compiled the best wireless earbuds you can buy right now, including noteworthy features for each selection.

Engadget's picks

Best overall: Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony keeps its top spot on our list for its combination of great sound, powerful active noise cancellation and a long list of features no other company can compete with. Just like its headphones, Sony manages to pack a ton of handy tools into its flagship true wireless model. The basics like wireless charging and battery life improvements are covered, but company-specific features like Speak-to-Chat automatic pausing, Adaptive Sound Control adjustments based on movement or location, 360 Reality Audio and a customizable EQ are icing on the cake. Plus, DSEE Extreme upscaling helps improve compressed tunes over Bluetooth.

Runner up: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3

If sound quality is your primary concern, the Momentum True Wireless 3 is your best bet. You won’t get the truckload of features that Sony offers, but Sennheiser does the basics well at a lower price than the previous Momentum earbuds. A new Adaptive Noise Cancellation setup continuously monitors ambient sounds to suppress them in real time. Inside, the company’s True Response transducer is paired with 7mm dynamic drivers for top-notch audio.

Best noise cancellation: Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

When it comes to blocking out the world, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II are the best at the task. Bose introduced a redesigned set earlier this year and the smaller buds deliver a more comfy fit. The company also managed to improve ambient sound and maintain its track record of solid audio quality. However, the real star here is the ANC performance which is hands-down the best you can get right now. The QC Earbuds II don’t have some basic features like multipoint connectivity and wireless charging, so that might factor into your decision.

Best budget pick: Jabra Elite 3

Jabra packs a lot into a set of earbuds for under $100. The Elite 3 don’t have ANC, automatic pausing or wireless charging, and the EQ changes are limited to presets. However, these affordable buds have impressive sound quality, good battery life, reliable on-board controls and a very comfy fit. If you’re looking for something that just gets the job done, the Elite 3 is more than capable.

Best for iOS: Apple Airpods Pro (2nd-gen)

Apple’s latest AirPods Pro are a huge improvement over the 2019 model. The company managed to improve the sound quality and ANC performance while keeping all of the conveniences that make AirPods the best option for iOS and Mac. To me, the most impressive feature is the transparency mode, which is more natural sounding than any other earbuds by a mile. You can leave these in during a conversation and it’s like you’re not even wearing them. Of course, fast pairing, hands-free Siri and wireless charging (MagSafe or Apple Watch chargers) will also come in handy.

Best for Android: Google Pixel Buds Pro

Google has hit its stride when it comes to true wireless earbuds. Every new model the company introduces is an improvement after its first attempt failed to impress. With the Pixel Buds Pro, Google offers deep, punchy bass, solid ANC performance, reliable touch controls and wireless charging. Plus, there are added convenience features for Android and Pixel devices including Google Translate Conversation Mode.

Best for workouts: Beats Fit Pro

Most of the best AirPods features in a set of workout earbuds? That’s the Beats Fit Pro. Thanks to Apple’s H1 chip, these buds offer one-touch quick pairing, hands-free Siri and Find My tools. They’ll also allow you to use Audio Sharing with an Apple device and another set of AirPods or Beats headphones for tandem listening or viewing. Balanced and punchy bass will keep the energy up during workouts while good noise cancellation and a comfy fit make these a solid option outside of the gym too. And there’s plenty of support for Android, so these aren’t just a good buy for iOS users either.

Honorable mention: Sony LinkBuds S

One of the biggest surprises this year wasn’t Sony’s unique open-wear LinkBuds, it was the more mainstream follow-up. With the LinkBuds S, the company debuted a more “traditional” design akin to its premium WF-1000XM4, only this model is much smaller and lighter which leads to a much more comfy fit. These tiny buds muster some punch when it comes to sound quality too and support for high-res listening (LDAC and DSEE Extreme) are both onboard. Capable ANC lends a hand with environmental noise and transparency mode can keep you tuned in when needed. What’s more, handy Speak-to-Chat is here and Adaptive Sound Control can automatically change settings based on activity or location. That’s a lot of premium for features at a mid-range price.

How to buy a vlogging camera in 2022

With the explosion of TikTok and the growth of video on YouTube, Twitch, Instagram and other platforms, interest in vlogging has increased exponentially since we last updated our guide. If you’re one of those vlog creators and a smartphone is no longer good enough, it may be time to upgrade to a purpose-built vlogging camera.

Some models are specifically designed for vlogging, like Sony’s ZV-E10 mirrorless camera that launched last year, or Panasonic’s compact G100. Others, like the new Panasonic GH6, Sony A7S III and Canon EOS R6 are hybrid cameras that offer vlogging as part of a larger toolset.

All of them have certain things in common, like flip-around screens, face- and/or eye-detect autofocus and image stabilization. Prices, features and quality can vary widely among models, though. To that end, we’ve updated our guide with all the latest models designed for every vlogger from novice to professional, in all price ranges. Engadget has tested all of these to give you recommendations for the best vlogging cameras, and we’ll even discuss a few rumored upcoming models.

One caveat to this year’s best camera guide is that a parts shortage has limited production of many cameras, causing shortages and higher prices. Sony, for one, halted production of the aforementioned ZV-E10 for a time, and models from Fujifilm and others are also hard to find. The good news is that the shortage appears to be easing, so hopefully we’ll see normal supply levels in the near future. 

What do you need in a vlogging camera?

Vlogging cameras are designed for filmmakers who often work alone and either use a tripod, gimbal, vehicle mount or just their hands to hold a camera. It has to be good not just for filming yourself, but other “B-roll” footage that helps tell your story.

The number one requirement is a flip-around screen so you can see yourself while filming. Those can rotate up, down or to the side, but flipping out to the side is preferable so a tripod or microphone won’t block it.

How to buy a vlogging camera in 2020
Steve Dent/Engadget

Continuous autofocus (AF) for video with face and eye detection is also a must. It becomes your camera “assistant,” keeping things in focus while you concentrate on your content. Most cameras can do that nowadays, but some still do it better than others.

If you move around or walk a lot, you should look for an action camera with built-in optical stabilization. Electronic stabilization is another option as long as you’re aware of the limitations. You’ll also need a camera with a fast sensor that limits rolling shutter, which can create a distracting jello “wobble” with quick camera movements.

4K recording is another key feature for video quality. All cameras nowadays can shoot 4K up to at least 24 fps, but if possible, it’s better to have 4K video recording at 60 or even 120 fps. If you shoot sports or other things involving fast movement, look for a model with at least 1080p at 120 fps for slow-motion recording.

Video quality is another important consideration, especially for skin tones. Good light sensitivity helps for night shooting, concerts, etcetera, and a log profile helps improve dynamic range in very bright or dark shooting conditions. If you want the best possible image quality and can afford it, get a camera that can record 4K with 10-bits (billions) of colors. That will give you more options when you go to edit your vlog.

Don’t neglect audio either — if the quality is bad, your audience will disengage. Look for a camera with an external microphone port so you can plug in a shotgun or lapel mic for interviews, or at least one with a good-quality built-in microphone. It’s also nice to have a headphone port to monitor sound so you can avoid nasty surprises after you’ve finished shooting.

You’ll also want good battery life and, if possible, dual memory card slots for a backup. Finally, don’t forget about your camera’s size and weight. If you’re constantly carrying one while shooting, especially at the end of a gimbal or gorillapod, it might actually be the most important factor. That’s why tiny GoPro cameras are so popular for sports, despite offering lower image quality and fewer pro features.

The best action and portable cameras

If you’re just starting out in vlogging or need a small, rugged camera, an action cam might be your best bet. In general, they’re easy to use as you don’t have to worry about things like exposure or focus. Recent models also offer good electronic stabilization and sharp, colorful video at up to 4K and 60 fps. The downsides are a lack of control; image quality that’s not on par with larger cameras; and no zooming or option to change lenses.

DJI Pocket II

DJI Pocket 2
DJI

Last time around we recommended the original Osmo Pocket, but the Pocket II (no more “Osmo”) has some big improvements. As before, it’s mounted on a three-axis gimbal and has impressive face tracking that keeps your subject locked in focus while video recording. However, the new model has a larger, much higher resolution 64-megapixel sensor, a faster lens with a wider field of view and improved microphones. As before, you can get accessories like an extension rod, a waterproof case and more.

What really makes the Pocket II great for vlogging are the follow modes combined with face tracking. If you’re working solo, you can simply set it up and it’ll rotate and tilt to follow you around. That also applies for walk-and-talk vlogging, so you don’t have to worry about focus or even pointing the camera at yourself. For $346, it’s not only good for beginners, but is a handy tool for any vlogger.

Buy DJI Pocket II at Amazon - $349

GoPro Hero10 Black

The GoPro Hero 10 Black is $100 off at Amazon
Engadget

The Hero10 Black is what we called a “big, invisible upgrade” over the Hero9, itself a much improved camera over the Hero8 Black we recommended last time. That’s largely due to the new processor that unlocks features like higher-resolution 5.3K 60p and 4K 120fps video, much improved Hypersmooth 4.0 stabilization, an improved front-screen and more. All of that makes the GoPro Hero10 Black ideal to mount on a drone, vehicle, helmet, bicycle and more, at a very manageable $350 price with a 1-year GoPro subscription.

Buy Hero 10 Black bundle at GoPro - $350

DJI Action 2

Someone holds up the new DJI Action 2 camera against a dingy monotone background.
DJI

DJI took a much different approach compared to GoPro with its latest Action 2 camera – no with more Osmo branding. Rather than being a standalone camera, it’s a modular system with a magnetic mount that lets you add a touchscreen module with a secondary OLED display and three additional microphones, or a battery module for longer life and an extra microSD slot. As with the Pocket 2, it offers tons of accessories like a 3-in-1 extension rod and more. It’s a versatile option if you do more than just action shooting, and is priced well starting at $399.

Buy DJI Action 2 at Amazon - $399

The best compact vlogging cameras

Compact cameras are a step-up option from smartphones or action cameras, with larger sensors and much better image quality. At the same time, they’re not quite as versatile as mirrorless or DSLR cameras (and not necessarily cheaper) and they lack advanced options like 10-bit video. For folks who want the best possible quality without needing to think too much about their camera, however, it’s the best option. 

Sony ZV-1

How to buy a vlogging camera in 2020
Steve Dent/Engadget

Sony’s ZV-1 came out in 2020 and it’s still the best compact vlogging camera available. Based on the RX 100 V, it has a decently large 1-inch 20.1-megapixel sensor and fixed 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8mm equivalent lens. Based on the RX100 V, it has a 1-inch 20.1-megapixel sensor and fixed 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8mm (equivalent) lens. It also offers a lightweight body, built-in high-quality microphone (plus a microphone port), flip-out display, best-in-class autofocus and excellent image quality. It also has vlogging specific features like “product showcase” and background blur.

While the $799 ZV-1 can’t shoot 10-bit video, it comes with Sony’s S-Log picture profiles that give you increased dynamic range for shooting in challenging lighting conditions. The flaws include a lens that’s not quite wide enough when you’re using electronic stabilization, mediocre battery life and the lack of a true touch display and headphone port. That aside, if you’re looking to step up from a smartphone, it does the job nearly perfectly.

Buy Sony ZV-1 at Amazon - $799

Canon G7 X Mark III

Canon G7X Mark III vlogging
Engadget

Canon’s G7 X Mark III should also be front of mind for vloggers looking for a compact option. It also packs a 20-megapixel 1-inch sensor, but has a 24-100 mm f/1.8-2.8 35mm equivalent zoom — quite a bit longer than the ZV-1 at the telephoto range. It can shoot 4K at up to 30 fps, while offering optical image stabilization, a microphone input (though no headphone jack) and even the ability to livestream directly to YouTube. The downsides are contrast-detect only autofocus and a screen that tilts up but not to the side. For $749, it’s still a great option, though.

Buy Canon G7 X Mark III at Amazon - $749

The best mirrorless/DSLR vlogging cameras

This is the class that has changed the most over the past couple of years, particularly in the more affordable price categories. Interchangeable lens cameras give you the most options for vlogging, offering larger sensors than compact cameras with better low-light sensitivity and shallower depth of field to isolate you or your subject. They also offer better control of your image with manual controls, log recording, 10-bit video and more. The drawbacks are extra weight compared to action or compact cameras, extra complexity and higher prices.

Fujifilm X-S10

Fujifilm X-S10 APS-C mirrorless camera
Jonas Dyhr Rask/Fujifilm

Fujifilm’s X-S10 has displaced the X-T4 as the best vlogging camera out there, thanks particularly to the more affordable price. It ticks all the boxes for vloggers, offering in-body image stabilization, 10-bit 4K external video with F-Log recording (at up to 30fps) along with 1080p at a stellar 240 fps, a screen that flips out to the side and easy-to-use controls. It also comes with a headphone jack and USB-C port that doubles as a headphone jack. The main downside is the limited touchscreen controls, but you get a lot of camera for just $1,000.

Buy Fujifilm X-S10 at Adorama - $999

Sony ZV-E10

Sony suspends orders for the new ZV-E10 because of chip shortages
Sony

The best Sony APS-C camera for vlogging is now the ZV-E10. While using many of the same aging parts as the A6100, including the 24.2-megapixel sensor, it has a number of useful features for self-shooters. High on the list is Sony’s excellent autofocus, which includes the same background defocus and Product Showcase features found on the ZV-1 compact. It also offers electronic SteadyShot, a fully articulating display and more. The biggest drawback is rolling shutter that can get bad if you whip the camera around too much. If you can find one, it’s priced at $700 for the body or $800 in a bundle with Sony’s 16-50mm F/3.5-5.6 power zoom lens.

Buy Sony ZV-E10 at B&H - $698

Panasonic GH6 and GH5

Panasonic GH6 review: A vlogging workhorse and improved camera
Steve Dent/Engadget

Panasonic’s GH5 was an incredibly popular vlogging camera for a very long time and was actually replaced by two cameras, the $2,200 GH6 and more budget-oriented $1,700 GH5-II. The GH6 is a large upgrade in nearly every way, offering 5.7K at 60 fps and 4K at up to 120 fps, along with ProRes formats that are easy to edit. It also comes with the best in-body stabilization on any camera and great handling. The downside is sub-par contrast-detect autofocus and battery life that’s not amazing.

It’s also worth a look at the GH5 Mark II, which is not only $500 cheaper but particularly well suited for live-streamers. It’s not a huge upgrade over the GH5, but does more than most rival cameras for the price, offering 4K 10-bit 60p video, a fully articulating display and excellent in-body stabilization. As with the GH6, the main drawback is the contrast-detect autofocus system.

Buy Panasonic GH6 at Amazon - $2,200Buy Panasonic GH5 at Amazon - $1,700

Panasonic G100

Panasonic G100 vlogging camera
Panasonic

Panasonic’s G100 is purpose built for vlogging like the ZV-1, but also allows you to change lenses. It has a fully-articulating flip-out screen, 5-axis hybrid (optical/electronic) stabilization, 4K V-Log-L video at up to 30 fps (though sadly cropped at 1.47X for 4K video), 1080p at up to 60 fps, and contrast detect AF with face/eye detection. The coolest feature is the Nokia OZO system that can isolate audio to a specific person via face-detection tracking — something that can theoretically improve audio quality. Best of all, you can grab it right now with a 12-32mm lens for $750.

Buy Panasonic GH100 at Amazon - $750

Canon EOS M50 Mark II

Canon EOS M50 Mark II APS-C mirrorless camera
Canon

Another good buy if you’re on a budget is Canon’s EOS M50 Mark II, particularly if you’re okay with 1080p video only. While not a huge upgrade over the original M50, Canon has made it more compelling for vloggers with a fully-articulating display, continuous eye-tracking in video and live streaming to YouTube. It does support 4K, but with a heavy 1.5 times crop and contrast-detect autofocus only. Still, it’s a good option for folks on a budget, selling for $699 with a 15-45mm lens.

Buy Canon EOS M50 Mark II at B&H - $699

Canon EOS R6

Canon EOS R6 camera
Steve Dent / Engadget

If you’ve got the budget for it, Canon’s EOS R6 offers nearly every feature you need in a vlogging camera. You can shoot 10-bit 4K video at up to 60 fps, and the Dual Pixel autofocus with eye and face tracking is incredibly reliable. It also offers 5-axis optical stabilization, a flip-out display and a relatively compact size. As you may have heard, overheating can be an issue, but firmware updates have improved that issue and it only applies to the more demanding video settings.

Buy Canon EOS R6 at Amazon - $2,500

Fujifilm X-T4

Fujifilm X-T4 mirrorless camera review
Steve Dent/Engadget

The Fuijfilm X-T4 is a great all-around mirrorless camera for vlogging. It has everything you need, including a fully-articulating display, continuous eye- and face autofocus, 10-bit 4K log recording at up to 60 fps, 5-axis in-body stabilization, microphone and headphone jacks (the latter via USB-C) and lower noise in low light.

Image quality, especially in the skin tones, is lifelike and the sensor has minimal rolling shutter. It also offers good battery life and comes with dual UHS-II card slots. Finally, it’s fairly light considering all the features, and Fujifilm has a good selection of small lenses ideal for vlogging. What I don’t like is an autofocus system not quite as fast or accurate as Sony’s and the fairly steep $1,700 asking price for the body only.

Buy Fujifilm X-T4 at Amazon - $1,700

Nikon Z fc

The Nikon Z FC camera seen from head on.
Nikon

If you want to look great while vlogging, check out Nikon’s stylish Z fc. It’s largely identical to the Z50, with features like a 20.9-megapixel APS-C sensor, 4K at 30 fps and a reliable phase-detect autofocus system with face detection. However, the Z fc brings a vari-angle touchscreen to the party and has a beautiful vintage body covered with convenient manual controls. It doesn’t have built-in optical stabilization, but you can get that via a lens. The best feature, though, is the price – you can get one for $1,100 with a 16-50mm lens.

Buy Nikon Z fc at B&H - $1,100

Upcoming cameras

If you’re not quite ready to buy, there are some interesting options on the horizon. Canon just announced the EOS R7, a mirrorless EOS R version of its popular EOS 7D DSLR. It has an APS-C sensor and all-new RF-S lenses, meaning that it might replace Canon’s current M-series cameras. Specs include a 32.5-megapixel APS-C sensor, 4K 60 fps video, an articulating display and more. All of that will make it a top vlogging option, if our upcoming review confirms the hype.

On top of that, Canon also announced a cheaper EOS R10 model with a 24.2-megapixel sensor that could also be an ideal vlogging camera. Both cameras are coming out towards the end of 2022.

In addition, Fujifilm just launched the X-H2S, its new $2,500 flagship mirrorless camera. With a 26.2-megapixel stacked and backside-illuminated sensor, it offers a raft of impressive features. Some of the highlights include 40 fps blackout-free burst shooting, faster autofocus, 6.2K 30fps video, a flip-out display and 7-stop in-body stabilization. If you’ve got the budget, this could be a solid vlogging choice when it arrives on July 7th.

The best smart home devices and kitchen gadgets that make great gifts

Everyone wants their home tidy, organized and safe, but it’s not always easy to keep it that way. Fortunately, there are gadgets that can help make all of it a little easier. We often review smart speakers, robotic vacuums and more here at Engadget, and for the holiday season we’ve compiled a list of favorites that will make excellent gifts for you or your loved ones. Plus, they don’t need to be super tech savvy to use these either – most of our suggestions are simple enough for those new to the smart home world.

Instant Vortex Plus

Instant Vortex Plus air fryer
Engadget

Air fryers might seem like just glorified convection ovens, but in our tests, we found that they do produce astoundingly crisp foods, with results that are either better or comparable to convection toaster ovens. The Instant Vortex Plus is easily our favorite, thanks to its clear viewing window so your giftee can see the food while it’s cooking, plus there’s an odor-removing filter that helps reduce cooking smells. It’s roomy enough to fit four large chicken thighs and it heats up much faster than a conventional oven. Best of all, clean-up is near effortless – the rack is dishwasher-safe and the non-stick drawer basket can be washed with soap and water.

Buy Instant Vortex Plus at Amazon - $133

Arlo Essential Video Doorbell

Arlo Essential Video Doorbell
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

If your loved one frequently complains about stolen packages or simply wants a way to see who’s at the front door without opening it, consider gifting them a video doorbell. Our favorite is the Arlo Essential Video Doorbell, which is compatible with Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and Apple Homekit. They’ll be able to get a 180-degree view of their visitor from head to toe, plus it alerts your phone with a video call whenever someone rings the bell. It comes with a three-month trial to Arlo’s Smart subscription service right out of the box, which also includes motion detection that differentiates between a person, package, vehicle or animal.

Buy Arlo Essential Video Doorbell at Amazon - $150

Google Nest Hub (2nd gen)

Google Nest Hub (2nd gen)
Google

Google’s Nest Hub smart display is a great device to have around the home — especially if your gift recipient already uses the Google Assistant. It works as a digital photo frame and they can use it to watch YouTube and Netflix. It can also make calls via Google Duo and offers recipe videos along with step-by-step cooking instructions. If the user so chooses, they can track their sleeping patterns if they place the device next to their bed. Additionally, if they already have a Nest Doorbell camera, they can easily use the display to see who’s at the front door.

Buy Nest Hub at B&H - $100

Amazon Echo Show 8

Amazon Echo Show 8
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

For those who prefer Alexa over the Google Assistant, the Echo Show 8 is a great alternative to the Nest Hub. It also works as a digital photo frame and its 8-inch display is a good size for streaming shows from Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu while prepping dinner. It can also be used to keep up with the news, check the weather and control smart home devices. Since Amazon has a partnership with Allrecipes and Food Network Kitchen, users can find assorted recipes and instructional videos as well.

Buy Echo Show 8 at Amazon - $130

Blink Indoor camera

Blink Indoor camera
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

Blink’s indoor camera offers the gift of peace of mind in a compact and affordable package. Your loved one will appreciate the fact that Blink is wireless and battery-powered; since they don’t have to place it near an electrical outlet, it can sit almost anywhere. They also won’t have to worry about recharging the camera since it can last up to two years on its two included AA batteries. Aside from just letting them monitor their home, it also features customizable motion alerts so they’ll only get alerted when they want to. There’s also two-way audio so they can hear and speak to the person (or pet) on the other end.

Buy Blink Indoor at Amazon - $80

iRobot Roomba 694

iRobot Roomba 694
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

Maybe you have someone in your life who could use a little help cleaning up after themselves. For that, we recommend getting them one of our favorite robot vacuum cleaners, the iRobot Roomba 694. It can suck up dirt and debris from both hardwood and carpeted floors, with an edge-sweeping brush taking care of dusty corners. The companion app lets them control it remotely, or they can set up a cleaning schedule so the little robot can do its thing at a set time. It even automatically docks and recharges itself if it’s low on battery.

Buy Roomba 694 at Amazon - $274

August WiFi smart lock

August Smart Lock 4th gen
Engadget

Smart locks are a great way to add security and convenience to any home. We recommend August’s WiFi smart lock because it’s easy to use, and since it fits over an existing deadbolt, it’s great for homeowners and renters alike. It lets your loved ones unlock the door completely hands-free, which is handy if they have their arms full of groceries. They can set it so that it automatically locks once the door is closed, or after a set period of time. If someone’s at the door but they’re at the office or in the backyard, they can easily let them in with a single finger tap. They can also grant access for specific friends or family members, which means they might never need to put the key under the doormat ever again.

Buy August WiFi smart lock at Amazon - $230

Mila air purifier

Mila air purifier
Mila Cares

Air purifiers are great gifts for anyone who has allergies, lives in a polluted area or just wants to breathe easier at home. And if you want to give someone a smarter air purifier, consider the Mila Air. It ships with one of seven pre-configured HEPA filters that can filter out particles and allergens like pollen and dust. It also has a ton of customization options: There’s a “Housekeeping Service” mode that goes full blast when no one’s in the room, a “Sleep Mode” that turns the lights off and reduces the fan speeds at night, plus a “White Noise” option that mimics soothing sounds like waterfalls. The Mila also has a bevy of sensors that can tell you if there’s carbon monoxide in the air, or if the humidity is too high.

Buy air purifier at Mila - $349

TP-Link Kasa smart plug

TP-Link Kasa Smart Plug
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

With a smart plug, any appliance can be part of a connected home for not a lot of money. TP-Link’s Kasa smart plug is a particularly good one because it is both affordable and incredibly compact (and if you’re really short on space, there’s a mini version that’s even smaller). Together with its companion app, they can schedule a timer to turn on and off anything from Christmas lights to a coffee maker. It’s also compatible with both Alexa and Google Assistant, which lets them add voice control to any outlet.

Buy Kasa smart plugs at Amazon - $30

Eero 6 WiFi Mesh router

Eero 6 WiFi Mesh router
Eero

With most of us having so many gadgets and smart home devices, perhaps the best thing you can give your loved one is the gift of better WiFi to keep things running smoothly. Amazon’s Eero routers will deliver just that. The latest models support WiFi 6, the latest and fastest WiFi standard, and will support 75-plus devices simultaneously. It also covers up to 1,500 square feet with WiFi speeds up to 900 Mbps, so it’s unlikely they’ll ever have to deal with dead spots or buffering again. The Eero 6 also comes with a built-in Zigbee smart home hub that lets them connect compatible devices without having to purchase a separate device.

Buy Eero 6 at Amazon - $89

Philips LED Smart Bulb starter kit

Philips LED Smart Bulb starter kit
Engadget

Add some color to your loved one’s life with the Philips LED smart bulb starter kit, which comes with four multi-color bulbs plus a Hue Hub that connects them all together. The bulbs can fill the room with millions of different colors so they can choose from warm moody lighting for a cozy atmosphere or rainbows for parties. In the companion app, they can create timers and routines so that their lights gradually turn on in the morning or off in the evening. And it’s scalable: They can eventually have up to 50 lights connected to one Hue Hub, giving them the freedom to outfit their whole home with smart lights if they wish.

Buy Philips Hue starter kit at Amazon - $200

The best earbuds, headphones and speakers to give as holiday gifts in 2022

The holidays are a good time to upgrade an audio setup, whether it's for yourself or for someone on your shopping list. We’ve compiled a group of the best audio gear that ranges from noise-canceling headphones to true wireless earbuds and speakers. There are also a range of prices for each product type, so you don’t necessarily have to break the bank unless you’re really looking to splurge this year.

Sony WH-1000XM5

Sony WH-1000XM5
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

If you’re shopping for the complete package in a new set of headphones, there’s one clear best choice. No other company packs in as many features as Sony does on the WH-1000XM5, and they’re combined with a stellar sound and effective ANC. With this model, Sony redesigned its flagship headphones, making them way more comfortable to wear for long periods of time. The company also made noticeable improvements to the active noise cancellation, adding a separate V1 chip in addition to the QN1 that was inside the M4. The 1000XM5 still has all of the features that typically make Sony’s premium headphones so good. 30-hour battery life, a combo of touch controls and physical buttons, Speak-to-Chat automatic pausing when you talk, and the ability to change noise modes based on your activity or location. — Billy Steele, Senior News Editor

Buy WH-1000XM5 at Amazon - $398

Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2

Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

If sound quality is the primary factor in your next set of headphones, Bowers & Wilkins pair impressive audio quality with solid ANC performance. The Px7 S2 are my favorite headphones I’ve reviewed this year in terms of sound. There’s also a more refined design that doesn’t look overly plasticky and the headphones fit comfortably even after hours of use. Call quality, ambient sound and automatic pausing need some refining, but they get the job done. At the end of the day, the design, sound quality and noise cancellation make the Px7 S2 a strong pick in the current field. Plus, they’ll last way beyond the stated 30 hours of battery life. — B.S.

Buy Px7 S2 at Amazon - $399

Sennheiser Momentum 4

Sennheiser Momentum 4
Engadget

When picking the best-sounding headphones from 2022, it’s difficult to choose between the Px7 S2 and the Momentum 4. However, Bowers & Wilkins gets the edge in terms of design, but they’re evenly matched on sound quality and the rest of the competition isn’t close. Sennheiser does have an impressive 60-hour battery life in its favor and improved ANC performance. Those two items alone might be enough for you to overlook the very generic design for the music lover on your list this year. — B.S.

Buy Momentum 4 at Amazon - $350

Audio-Technica M20xBT

Audio-Technica M20xBT
Engadget

Audio-Technica’s affordable wireless headphones have consistently offered solid performance that would make a great gift, even with the lack of noise cancellation. The company’s latest are the M20xBT, a Bluetooth version of the A-T’s popular M20x wired cans. A comfy fit and up to 60 hours of battery life will cost you just $79. Connect to multiple devices at once with Bluetooth multipoint connectivity and reliably control tunes with physical buttons. The design isn’t as refined as the company’s pricer models like the M50xBT2, but you get the bulk of what makes Audio-Technica’s cheaper options so good. — B.S.

Buy M20xBT at Amazon - $79

Sony LinkBuds S

Sony LinkBuds S
Engadget

Sony’s first set of LinkBuds were a unique open-wear concept, but they weren't for everyone. To expand the lineup with more universal appeal, the company debuted the LinkBuds S back in the spring. These earbuds may be tiny but they still offer active noise cancellation and the smaller size means they’re more comfortable to wear for long periods of time. That’s the entire point of the LinkBuds S as Sony built them to be worn all the time, although you can expect up to six hours of use with ANC enabled. Transparency mode makes this possible and features like Speak-to-Chat and Adaptive Sound Control highlight the list of additional features. — B.S.

Buy LinkBuds S at Amazon - $198

Beats Fit Pro

Beats Fit Pro
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

If you're shopping for a set of workout earbuds this year, the best option is the Beats Fit Pro. These offer a lot of handy features from AirPods thanks to Apple's H1 chip. The overall size is smaller than a lot of earbuds, which leads to a comfy fit. Plus, the added wing helps keep them in place during physical activity. Punchy bass brings energy to cardio sessions but the low-end tone remains balanced, rather than overpowering, and six-hour battery life should be enough to get you through the bulk of the day. — B.S.

Buy Beats Fit Pro at Amazon - $200

JLab Go Air Pop

JLab Go Air Pop
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

Thanks to JLab, you can give a decent set of true wireless earbuds as a stocking stuffer. For $20, the Go Air Pop covers most of the basics. Eight-hour battery life, on-board controls, EQ presets, IPX4 moisture protection and the ability to use just one earbud at a time are all on the features list. The Go Air Pop is smaller than its predecessor, the Go Air, and this model comes with a case that completely closes. What’s more, the company kept the integrated USB on the charging case, so you don’t have to worry about looking for a cable when you’re out of power. — B.S.

Buy JLab Go Air Pop at Amazon - $25

UE Wonderboom 3

UE Wonderboom 3
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

If you’re shopping for a Bluetooth speaker this year, the UE Wonderboom 3 is an affordable, tiny option that still packs a punch. It’s adventure-proof thanks to an IP67 rating, audio quality is bright and an outdoor mode boosts treble and bass so sound can be heard over a greater distance. You can also easily pair two Wonderboom 3 units for stereo sound, which won’t cost you a fortune thanks to the low price. And with up to 14 hours of battery life, you should be able to keep the tunes going for a while. — B.S.

Buy Wonderboom 3 at Amazon - $100

Marshall Tufton

Marshall Tufton
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

If someone on your list asked for a Bluetooth speaker but has a more refined audio taste, perhaps the Marshall Tufton will fit the bill. It’s pricey, but the investment gets you up to 20 hours of battery life and the option of a wired connection via 3.5mm aux jack. As is the case with all of the Marshall wares, the Tufton carries the look of the iconic guitar amps and this model has an audio quality that’s equal parts dynamic, warm and almost analog in its performance. On-board treble and bass knobs are also there to assist with any adjustments. — B.S.

Buy Tufton at Marshall - $450

Marshall Acton III

Marshall Acton III
Engadget

While portable Bluetooth speakers are great on-the-go, there are benefits to the set-it and forget-it options like Marshall’s Acton III wired model. It’s ideal for someone’s bedroom, living room or kitchen and offers 60-watts of power for just $280. Marshall’s classic amp-styled exterior looks great too, with its fabric grille and soft-touch exterior made up of 70-percent recycled materials. On top, you’ll find backlit physical controls so you can adjust settings in the dark and won’t always need a phone to control playback.

The Acton III delivers a rich and dynamic sound across a wider soundstage than previous models, with a bass response that’s also hefty for its size. On top of the sound quality, you get app support with EQ controls, OTA updates and a placement compensation feature to adjust for the acoustics in your space.

The overall build quality and sound makes it a gift anyone can appreciate, even as a stationary companion to a small portable speaker. There are two larger options as well, if you know someone who likes it loud. Either way, you’ll be a shoe-in for the party that will inevitably follow. – Jon Turi, Homepage Editor

Buy Acton III at Marshall - $280

High-res streaming subscriptions

Wireless white headphones on yellow pastel background.
DBenitostock via Getty Images

If you’re unsure of what to give the music lover in your life this holiday season, why not allow them to give high-resolution streaming a shot. Several services offer the option of higher quality audio, but unfortunately not many of them allow you to gift a subscription. Instead, you’ll simply need to purchase a gift card that your recipient can apply to a high-res plan. Gift cards are available for Apple Music, Amazon Music Unlimited, Tidal and others, although you may just need to buy a generic gift card for the company in cases like Amazon and Apple. I’d also suggest giving an App Store or Google Play gift card for someone to apply to a Nugs.net plan to unlock a vault of high-resolution live performances from Bruce Springsteen, Jack White, Pearl Jam, Dead & Company and more. — B.S.

Shop Apple Music gift cardsShop Amazon gift cardsShop Tidal gift cards

The best board games to give as gifts in 2022

Board games are great gifts for anyone who wants to spend time with friends and family and disconnect from technology. They’re interactive, fun, and you get to tell everyone to put away their phones for a while. But instead of pulling out the same old classics like Monopoly and Scrabble, we recommend giving some new titles a try. Here, we’ve compiled a list of games that you might not have heard of, but will still make excellent gifts this holiday season. From games with swashbuckling pirates to those with haunted mansions, we’re sure at least one of these will be a hit with friends and family.

Trekking Through History

Trekking Through History
Engadget

Whether your gift recipient is a serious history buff or a more casual one, they’ll find something to like in Trekking Through History. In this game, players go on a three-day tour of human history in a time machine, visiting historical settings and trying to witness momentous events before the clock runs out. There, they’ll check off items on their itinerary to earn points and, importantly, Time Crystals that they can use to bend the space-time continuum on future turns. As a bonus, they’ll score additional points if they visit these historical events in chronological order. With colorful illustrations and easy-to-understand instructions, this game is perfect for gamers and non-gamers alike.

Buy Trekking Through History at Amazon - $50

Betrayal at House on the Hill (3rd Edition)

Betrayal at House on the Hill (3rd Edition)
Engadget

Fans of horror stories will adore Betrayal at House on the Hill, where three to six players explore a haunted mansion, uncovering its secrets and hidden rooms. At first they’ll work together, but midway through the game, someone will reveal themselves as a – gasp! – traitor! The turncoat will join the dark side while the rest of the team has to figure out how to beat their former ally. The third edition of the game comes with 50 different haunting scenarios, which is more than enough to keep your loved ones entertained for several fun and spooky evenings.

Buy Betrayal at House on the Hill at Amazon - $56

Clank! Catacombs

Clank! Catacombs
Clank!

In Clank! Catacombs, you and your loved ones take on the role of treasure hunters exploring the catacombs of the skeletal dragon Umbrok Vessna. As you plumb the dungeon’s depths, you’ll uncover portals, shrines, ghosts, prisoners pleading you to free them, and, of course, treasure. You can grab the first prize you see and try to make it out alive, or you can go deeper for even more riches, but risk the wrath of the dreaded dragon.

Buy Clank! Catacombs at Direwolf - $60

Ark Nova

Ark Nova
Ark Nova

Remember that movie (and book) We Bought A Zoo? Whether you do or not, here’s a game that helps your loved ones live out that fantasy. In Ark Nova, up to four players will compete against each other to plan and design the most successful zoo. They’ll have to build enclosures, acquire animal attractions from around the world, and support conservation projects to ensure the survival of animal habitats. With over 125 unique animal cards, your loved ones will almost never play the same game twice.

Buy Ark Nova at Amazon - $75

Marvel Dice Throne

Marvel Dice Throne
Marvel

Marvel fans are sure to enjoy Marvel Dice Throne, a game where each player gets to be one of eight famous characters (Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Loki, Thor, Doctor Strange and Miles Morales’ Spider-Man). They then compete in a 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, 2v2v2 or free-for-all battle where they play cards and roll dice in order to thwart the other players. In addition to attack moves, players can also activate unique abilities and upgrade their characters over time. Gameplay is relatively quick – just 20 to 40 minutes.

Buy Marvel Dice Throne at Amazon - $48

Planted

Planted
Engadget

If your giftee likes gardening, Planted is the ideal game for them. In it, two to four players compete against each other to grow the best collection of houseplants. Not only will they need to acquire the right plants, but they’ll also need to feed and nurture them with the right combination of light, water and plant food. The game comes with 42 varieties of popular and exotic houseplants, each with their own requirements to grow. The plant parent that ends up scoring the most points wins. Planted was designed from the ground up to be beginner friendly and easy to learn, so even those who are new to board games will pick this up fairly quickly.

Buy Planted at Target - $30

Star Wars: Villainous

Star Wars: Villainous
Star Wars

Jedi Knights and the Rebel Alliance are the heroes in Star Wars, but sometimes it’s fun to play the bad guy. In Star Wars: Villainous, each player takes control of one of five Star Wars villains: Darth Vader, Asajj Ventress, Kylo Ren, Moff Gideon, or General Grievous. Their goal is to see who can accomplish their evil plans first. Each villain has their own unique goal; for example, Darth Vader wins if he defeats Luke Skywalker, while Gideon must capture Baby Yoda. This game is perfect for the Star Wars fan in your life, especially if they’re intrigued by the dark side.

Buy Star Wars: Villainous at Amazon - $40

Forgotten Waters

Forgotten Waters
Engadget

Sail the open seas as swashbuckling pirates in Forgotten Waters, a story-filled board game that’s essentially a choose-your-own-adventure tale but a lot more fun. Three to seven players get to be pirates sailing together on a ship, each with their own goals and attributes. Your loved one will have a variety of missions to choose from, be it discovering a sunken treasure or hunting a legendary sea monster. The game comes with five scenarios already, but there’s a DLC you can get online that adds a new scenario and over 100 new events, which bodes well for the game’s replayability.

Buy Forgotten Waters at Amazon - $60

The Chameleon

The Chameleon
Chameleon

The Chameleon is a party game for three to eight players where one person is given the role of the Chameleon, while the rest tries to figure out who they are. A Secret Word is then revealed to everyone, except the Chameleon, who must play along so that they don’t get discovered. Each player will have to say a word relating to the Secret Word, while the Chameleon has to make an educated guess based on the available clues. This bluffing-deduction game only takes 15 minutes per round, which makes it ideal for parties or family gatherings.

Buy The Chameleon at Amazon - $20

Azul

Azul
Engadget

Named after the Moorish decorative tiles of the Alhambra palace in Spain, Azul is a game where players compete against each other to create beautiful tiled mosaics. Two to four players take turns drafting colored tiles to their player boards with the goal of scoring as many points as possible while also preventing their opponents from doing the same. Extra points will be given to those who create particular patterns or collect sets of the same color. Easy to learn but tough to master, Azul is a great gift for those who are new to gaming or just anyone who enjoys strategic puzzles.

Buy Azul at Amazon - $40

Wingspan

Wingspan
Wingspan

Perhaps you have a loved one who wouldn’t mind playing tabletop games, but isn’t into nerdy themes like fighting monsters or defeating zombies? Or maybe he or she is simply a fan of nature? Then Wingspan could very well be the gateway board game for them. This game has been on our list in the past, but we still recommend it as it’s a long-time favorite. In it, players are bird enthusiasts looking to discover and attract the best birds to their wildlife preserve. It comes with a super helpful quick start guide to help new players start playing without having to go through the whole rulebook (which, itself is pretty easy to understand).

The game is one of the most gorgeous we’ve seen, with beautiful pastel-colored egg miniatures, a dice tower that looks like a bird house, and thoughtfully arranged components; it even comes with a bird-decorated card holder. Plus, the game can be educational, as players learn a thing or two in the process about bird species, from the burrowing owl to the scissor-tailed flycatcher.

Buy Wingspan at Amazon - $65

Tech gifts under $50 that make great stocking stuffers in 2022

It’s easy to assume that the best gadget gifts are the most expensive things. But there are plenty of options out there for the techie in your life that don’t require you to empty your wallet. If you’re struggling to come up with the right present for an early adopter or a tech obsessive, we’ve gathered some of our favorite things that are both small and affordable. The best part: Everything comes in at $50 or less.

Chromecast with Google TV

Chromecast with Google TV
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

If you’re at a loss when it comes to a good, cheap gift for the techie in your life, you can’t go wrong with a Chromecast. Google has two models available now: the $50 4K Chromecast with Google TV and the new, $30 model that supports FHD streaming. Like previous Chromecasts, these let you stream movies and TV shows from major services like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu andHBO Max, among many others.

The Google TV interface has always been pretty easy to navigate, but it’s simpler than ever thanks to the remote that comes included with both Chromecasts. It has an Assistant button, giving you quick access to voice commands, plus a circular D-pad, shortcut buttons for YouTube and Netflix, and support for HDMI-CEC and IR, allowing you to control your entire TV with it. And, unlike larger set-top boxes or smart TVs that your recipient may already have, the Chromecast is portable, so they can take it with them to make binge-watching their favorite shows easier when they’re not at home.

Buy Chromecast with Google TV at Amazon - $50

8BitDo Lite 2

8BitDo Lite 2
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

The best gifts for the Nintendo Switch lover in your life are those that let them play games anywhere and everywhere more easily. 8BitDo’s Lite 2 controller does exactly that by giving them a more convenient controller to use with their Switch, or an extra option or two to play with friends while on the go. It’s small enough to fit in a pocket, but that doesn’t mean it compromises on ergonomics. The Lite 2 has joysticks and shaped trigger buttons, things that are often left off of ultra-compact and super affordable controllers. Plus, it supports customizable turbo functionality. It also pairs wirelessly with the Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite, and it works with Android devices and Raspberry Pi, too. Lastly, it powers up via USB-C, so chances are your giftee already has a charging cable ready to use with their new controller.

Buy 8Bitdo Lite 2 at Amazon - $35

Anker 511 Power Bank

Anker 511 Power Bank
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

Every new phone claims to have better battery life than the one that came before it, and that may be true in some cases, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be enough juice for everyone every day. If you know someone who constantly uses their phone until it reaches one percent, Anker’s 511 Power Bank would make a great gift for them. It’s a 5,000 mAh portable battery and a power adapter in one, so they can use it in two ways: to fast-charge their phone when they’re near a wall outlet or recharge the device when they’re out and about. It has a built-in plug for wall usage, but it folds down into the device when you’re not using it, keeping the whole thing pretty compact. We like that it’s basically a little bit bigger than a tube of lipstick, and all your giftee needs on hand to use it is a USB-C cable.

Buy Anker 511 Power Bank at Amazon - $40

Apple AirTags

Apple AirTags
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

Most of us have someone in our lives who misplaces everything — their keys, wallet, purse or backpack, the list goes on. If that person happens to also own an iPhone, AirTags make great gifts and you can buy one for only $30. (You could even throw in an AirTag case for them and still spend less than $50.) These quarter-sized Bluetooth trackers pair almost immediately with iOS devices and can then be tracked using the Find My app.

You can use them to keep track of nearly anything, but they work best on items that take clips or keyrings or things like backpacks that have small pockets. In addition to showing their location, the Find My app also lets you force the AirTag to play a loud chime so you can more easily find it in your home. And if you’re close enough to the missing item, Apple’s Precision Finding feature can literally guide you to it using the tech in your iPhone’s U1 chip.

Buy Apple AirTag at Amazon - $29

Peak Design Packable tote

Peak Design Packable tote
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

It never hurts to have an extra bag with you whenever you go out. Whether you’re going to pick up groceries and know you’ll need one, or you’re heading out with friends and unexpectedly pick up a few things, a lightweight tote bag is crucial. There are thousands of options out there, but we like Peak Design’s Packable tote because it doesn’t have the typical reusable bag design and it remains fairly affordable at only $20.

The bag is made of 100-percent recycled ripstop nylon, which is resilient and as well as water resistant, and it has a zip closure, which is something most other reusable bags don’t have. It’ll keep your items more secure thanks to that, and it’s easier to carry in different ways thanks to its single shoulder/hand strap that sports microfiber padding for extra comfort. We also like that it has an interior pocket that can hold a phone, wallet or keys, and it takes up a surprisingly little amount of space when it’s packed into itself.

Buy Packable tote at Peak Design - $20

Logitech Signature M650 mouse

Logitech Signature M650 mouse
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

There are dozens of mice out there, and if you’re buying gifts on a budget, it can be easy to get distracted by the ultra-cheap options from unfamiliar brands on sites like Amazon. But Logitech, a leader in this space, has some budget-friendly options as well and we like the Signature M650 mouse for most people. Not only is it lightweight and made of recycled materials, but you have a number of ergonomic options to choose from. It comes in regular and large sizes, plus you can pick from right- or left-hand orientation, which really just changes the placement of the device’s customizable side buttons. It has Logitech’s SmartWheel scrolling technology, which provides more precision when you need to scroll line by line, and it connects to computers via Bluetooth or a Logi Bolt receiver. But the best part might be its two-year battery life; your giftee will only have to replace the mouse’s two AA batteries once in a blue moon.

Buy Logitech M650 mouse at Amazon - $40

Sony PS5 Media Remote

Sony PS5 Media Remote
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

If someone you love recently got their hands on a PS5, it’s probably the only thing they care about at the moment. Gifting them the PS5 Media Remote can take their experience using their new console to the next level. It essentially gives them a better way to control the device when they want to use it as an entertainment portal. The compact remote has dedicated media controls that let them easily play/pause, fast forward and otherwise navigate, along with quick-launch buttons for services like Netflix and YouTube. Those service-specific buttons even work when the console is powered off, too. Plus, if they have a compatible TV, they’ll be able to use the Media Remote to turn it on and off and adjust the volume.

Buy PS5 Media Remote at Amazon - $29

Anker Nano 3 30W charger + cable bundle

Anker Nano 3 30W charger + cable bundle
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

Whether your loved one just picked up a new iPhone 14 or is still running on an older model, an extra charger will be of use to them. Anker’s latest bundle that includes its new Nano 3 30W charger and bio-base USB-C to Lightning cable will give them everything they need to power up their phone, tablet, earbuds and even their MacBook Air. The 30W output allows this tiny adapter to charge a variety of devices, plus it’s foldable so it’ll disappear into their bag. We also like that it uses GaN technology to keep it compact, but also for better heat management.

As for the cable, it’s one of Anker’s newest and it’s made out of plant-based materials rather than petroleum-based plastic like many others. While this may not seem like the most exciting gift, it’ll definitely be one of the most useful your loved one receives. Charging accessories are often things we buy at the last minute, like right before you board a plane as you remember you forgot your cable or adapter at home. A gift like this one might prevent them from feeling that panic in the future.

Buy Anker Nano 3 bundle at Amazon - $38

Blink Mini

Blink Mini
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

If someone you love just moved into their own place, a Blink Mini would make a thoughtful housewarming gift. The compact camera plugs into a regular wall outlet and monitors activity inside the home, detecting motion and sound and delivering alerts to their phones via the Blink mobile app. It records in 1080p and supports two-way talk as well, so they can soothe their overly-excited pets even when they’re not home. We also like that the Blink Mini works with Alexa devices, so if they have an Echo Show 5 or similar device at home, they can use it to see the Blink Mini’s video feed without even opening the mobile app.

Buy Blink Mini at Amazon - $35

TP-Link Kasa Smart Plug Mini

TP-Link Kasa Smart Plug Mini 4 pack
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

Maybe you have a tech lover in your life or someone who just wishes their home could be a bit smarter – if so, TP-Link’s Kasa smart plugs would make a great gift for them. Building up a smart home ecosystem from scratch can be intimidating, but starting off with smart plugs like these is a convenient and mostly stress-free way of doing it. These blocks plug into standard wall outlets and then turn whatever they plug into them into app-controllable gadgets. That means they can set a schedule for their coffee maker to turn on at the precise time each morning so it’s ready to go for them when they need to make a new pot. They could also use Away Mode to automatically turn on and off lights when they’re on vacation to make it seem like they’re actually home. Those are just a few things these smart plugs let you do with otherwise “dumb” items around your home, so your giftee can go as deep with it as they want.

Buy Kasa smart plugs (4 pack) at Amazon - $50

Yubico Yubikey 5 NFC

Yubico Yubikey 5 NFC
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

It’s important to keep your dozens of accounts safe with two-factor authentication whenever possible, and Yubico’s Yubikey NFC 5 is a good way to do so. It’s a physical key that you can use to authenticate when you’re trying to log in to accounts like Dropbox, Lastpass, Gmail and others. It uses the USB-A port on your device or NFC to validate your login attempt, and it’s small enough to fit on a keychain and come with you wherever you go. This model specifically works with USB-A connections, but if you’re willing to spend slightly more than $50, you can get the USB-C version that has all the same features.

Buy Yubikey NFC 5 at Amazon - $45

Panasonic Eneloop

Panasonic Eneloop
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

There are few things worse for a gamer than their controller running out of battery in the middle of a session. Whether they have a backup ready to go or not, it’s a stumble that can totally throw them off their game – especially if they have to fumble around for another option while also looking for the charger for the dead peripheral. Panasonic’s Eneloop rechargeable batteries can be a big help for them in times like this by providing an easily accessible power swap for Xbox controllers and the like that run on AA or AAA cells. These also come with a quick charger that has level indicators for each battery, plus it’s capable of fully powering up four AA batteries in only three hours.

Buy Eneloop rechargeable batteries at Amazon - $28

Phone cases

Smartish Gripmunk iPhone 14 Pro case
Smartish

Maybe someone you love just got a new phone and can’t stop talking about it, showing it off, and coming very close to dropping it on a regular basis. You can help them protect it by gifting them a case that not only provides extra cushion against falls and scratches, but also expresses their personality a bit. There are hundreds of phone case brands out there, but a few that we constantly turn to are Incipio, Case-Mate, Speck, Spigen and Smartish. Speck and Spigen are great for no-frills kind of people; most of their phone cases are slick, protective and come in a variety of attractive colors. Incipio is similar, but they also have their excellent Organicore line of compostable cases that make thoughtful gifts for the eco-conscious. Case-Mate and Smartish are great options for those who would like something more fun. Think: psychedelic flowers, outer space prints, glitter explosions and other similar designs.

Shop Incipio phone casesShop Case-Mate phone casesShop Speck phone casesShop Spigen phone casesShop Smartish phone cases

Top 10 men’s gear gift guide that are the ultimate must-have for every guy

Often we have heard the phrase, what women really want. While we may not know the answer to it, we surely have the answer to what men truly want! The answer lies in this collection of cool and curated designs – ranging from outerwear to EDC designs, big and small. Men want products that are unique in design, that are functional yet fun and can make them easily stand out in the crowd of neutral gear that floods the market. While we traditionally think that buying a gift for men can be boring and limit ourselves to the usual watch, wallet or belt, the curated designs here will show that men’s gear is not only cool, but also will make you want these designs for yourself as well as your crew!

1. Vollebak’s Solar Charged Jacket

When we say this is a Solar Charged Jacket, it is not a gimmick. Winner of TIME’s Best Inventions award, this jacket looks like something straight out of a sci-fi movie and lights you up, anytime, anywhere! The Solar Charged jacket is a highly light sensitive and responsive jacket which means the jacket acts like a regular windbreaker during the day, but when the darkness begins, it can shine with enough intensity to convert its wearer into a beacon!

The applications for this are endless – be it a hiker, biker or basically anyone who enjoys being out in the night, the jacket uses a special phosphorescent coating that captures light during the day. The fun part is, the light source can range from your phone’s flash to the sun – so indoor lights work as well. The jacket comes with a 3-layer fabric that protects the phosphorescent layer under a transparent waterproof membrane, making the jacket safe to wash as well!

Click Here to Buy Now: $495

2. Polar Pen

The Polar Pen is where the fun meets functional! Made from a series of silver plated high power neodymium magnets, the Polar Pen unleashes its form factor to become a multi-functional beast that can go from a compass mode which allows you to draw a circle just right, to a fun mode, which holds a fidget spinner for those meetings where sitting still is just not easy.

The power of the rare earth magnets is what lets you turn the humble pen into various forms such as a levitating fidget spinner or simply a way to calm yourself by playing with the magnets. This is not just a pen, this is your pocket-sized sidekick!

Click Here to Buy Now: $29 $44

3. Groove Belt

Imagine the clean, stress-free living of having a belt you never have to adjust…that is the promise the Groove Belt brings to the table. How often has it happened that you end up adjusting your belt when you go from a morning of sitting at your desk to post lunch scenes? Or every time you go from walking to hiking in one day? The requirement of your belt changes as the day progresses and the Groove Belt lets you do just that, with ease.

The magic to the Groove Belt is the Neodymium magnets – allowing you to snap the buckle using just one hand. The belt’s material has a stretch, that keeps you comfortable and flexible throughout the challenges we face daily. Even thought the belt is flexible, it comes with Stiff-Tech which means the back of your belt does not fold and retains it’s form. Lastly, literally, the end of the belt neatly tucks behind the belt, giving the wearer a clean, minimal finish minus all the flapping. And if you do manage to break this belt, which you won’t given its 94 year guarantee, you’ll have a new one sent to you!

Click Here to Buy Now: $59.95 $64.95

4. Xeric Leadfoot Automatic

Automotive and racing lovers will always hold the ’60s and ’70s as the golden years – the years that gave the underdogs the best chance to win given the minimal safety and design regulations. It was in this era where the lines were easily blurred and bold moves were made. The Leadfoot Automatic is designed to recreate and treasure those memories as this watch too, challenges the norm.

This vintage driver watch comes with a side-viewing display, allowing the wearer to read his watch with ease while driving the car and without leaving the steering wheel. The twin dials allow you to track your home and the destination time zone in true hardcore adventurer style! The single hour/minute hand encircles the hour while sweeping across the minutes arc. In a cheeky homage to the fuel gauge, the power reserve indicator lets you know the levels of mechanical energy stored in the watch. History has always cherished the oddballs that succeeded and if you appreciate or know someone who appreciates the intricacies of car racing with the crazy edge you get when you know you’re gunning for the impossible but you just can’t help yourself – it is that thrill and spirit the watch holds close to the wearer’s watch.

Click Here to Buy Now: $899 onwards

5. STORM 2

When someone says power bank, the first image in our mind is a boring rectangular block that does the job well, but that’s about it…until now! The Storm 2 comes with a transparent design and a display that clearly shows the metrics on the IPS display.

Armed with 2 USB-C, 1 USB-A and 1 DC output ports, the Storm 2 comes with an adjustable voltage – giving the users complete control over the charging of their devices. With a 25600 mAh density battery that charges in just 1.5 hours, the power bank is capable of charging via electric campers, coolers, drones, camp lights and more. With it’s Cyberpunk style see-through design, the intricate circuit board (including the 32-bit M3 ARM MCU chip) is beautifully displayed, showcasing the contrast between electronic components and the virtual world that it connects – the Storm 2 is not just a power bank, it is your ultimate power solution!

Click Here to Buy Now: $229 onwards

6. Tiny Pump 2X

I don’t exactly know what created this image in our heads – that pumps need to be big and a hassle to carry but the TINY PUMP 2X is here to bust all our myths with its tiny size and maximum capabilities. The 3-in-1 design is waterproof and combines an air pump, a vacuum pump and a camping lantern, making it hard for us to believe when you look at the sheer size of it!

Weighing only 96 grams and a 1300mAh rechargeable batteries, use it to inflate various products rapidly or use as a lantern for upto 10 hours. The TINY PUMP 2X also works in reverse, by deflating the air products and vacuum bags – making it a space-saving saviour on your travels as well as at home. And, its outdoor ready – by being IP44 level waterproof, drop resistance – its safe from water and dust and ready to brave the wilderness with you!

Click Here to Buy Now: $39.99

6. Kinetic Driver

To put it simply, the Kinetic Driver is a screwdriver…but that’s like saying Batman is just another guy! If you’re someone who enjoys working with wood, metal, 3d printing, cooking, or just enjoy high-quality products, the Kinetic Driver is a must have in your arsenal. The driver comes with a brass cylinder with a low CG, creating a flywheel effect that feels revolutionary.

The weight of the Kinetic Driver is just enough to create the right pressure on the screw, so you don’t have to manually figure that out. The design also holds a ceramic bearing in the head, giving a finish so smooth, it feels like the driver is levitating in your hands. With a grip that means business, the driver also comes in a sleek case that is a platform to hold your bits and the tiny parts that you are usually working with that go missing…well not anymore!

Click Here to Buy Now: $76.23

7. Skinners 2.0

When you think of outdoor footwear, what is the first thing that crosses your mind? More often than not, we oscillate between sneakers and shoes, until now. The Skinners 2.0 has created its own niche in the footwear industry with its 4-in-1 design that merges the comfort of socks with the protection of shoes! Finding it hard to believe? The Skinners are made using StretchKnit, a material that combines artificial and natural filers to create a fast moisture-wicking technology that retain its fit. Well, its even lightweight, travel-friendly, waterproof, washable, minimalistic and comes with its own patented design.

The Skinner 2.0 comes with a perforated insole, long-lasting polymer sole and functional filers all designed to keep you going with your activity or adventure. Given its wide-toe based design, it ensures your feet are not squished during longer journeys. Skinners will feel like the perfect second skin, supporting you as you do sports or just keep them as a backup shoe for a rainy day, literally!

Click Here to Buy Now: $47.80 $56.66

8. Manmower

Manmower

If you happen to discuss this idea with someone, the instant reaction you would get is a laugh, followed by a thoughtful pause, can we actually do this? That is exactly the reaction we had when we heard the name Manmower. Designed to be a lawn mower but for your jaw, this product actually has a lot of pros than we could imagine, making it the perfect travel buddy.

The Manmower operates without electricity, shaving foam, water or generally no prep. Take the Manmower and start running it across your jaw and the internal blade slices away at your facial hair, leaving behind an evenly trimmed stubble. It works only on the hair, without damaging or cutting the face under your beard. Once done, just run the mower under water and you’re good to go! For those who love to stay effortlessly maintained, the Manmower is the craziest and easiest tool to have in your kit – just try it out!

Click Here to Buy Now: $114.71

9. Sitpack Zen

Horizontal surfaces inspire us to lean and sit. Keeping that in mind, the Sitpack Zen is your horizontal surface that you carry with you at all times! Simply put, the Sitpack Zen is an extremely functional one-legged portable stool. The design comes to be used both indoors as well as outdoors and best of all, it helps improve your posture so you can relax without harming your back.

The Sitpack Zen can be adjusted from 25cm to 90 cm at 5 cm intervals. So whatever your height, the Sitpack Zen adjusts to you. This stool is the answer to the question we never asked – what if we can carry our seating with us that helps us correct our posture with just 30 mins of use? Well, we have an answer and the result is a product that is compact, stronger, lighter, more adjustable and just so much more comfortable!

Click Here to Buy Now: $79

10. CLIPIT 2.0

Wallet, phone stand, and a clip – if one design could do it all, it is the CLIPIT 2.0. Traditionally speaking, this tool so unique, there is no way to define it except showing you what all it does. To begin with, it is a money clip but with an elastic strap that allows you to tie in your notes as well as cards. Given its metallic design, we can easily suspend or mount things onto your clip and given its clip-inspired shape, its easy to mount the clip anywhere!

The fun doesn’t stop there – the elastic band gives added friction so your bag strap won’t slip off your shoulders. Use the CLIPIT 2.0 to organise your belongings – be it holding multiple straps together, hold your bills in place or even use it with a card as an instant phone stand. As versatile as this product is, there is a set of accessories that can make it more useful – such as a a cable holder, a magnetic holder or even a tiny portable fan! The possibilities are endless – start experimenting with yours right away!

Click Here to Buy Now: $19 $30

The post Top 10 men’s gear gift guide that are the ultimate must-have for every guy first appeared on Yanko Design.

The best Apple Watch accessories for 2022

It didn’t take long for the Apple Watch to become perhaps the most ubiquitous wearable. Even more so than the iPhone, the Apple Watch is a device you can truly make your own with the right accessories. It is, after all, a watch, and like traditional timepieces it’s meant to reflect your personal style. While the most obvious way to customize your Apple Watch is with funky bands, there are cases, stands, wireless chargers and other accessories you can buy that can inject a bit of you into all aspects of Apple Watch ownership. We tested out a bunch of Apple Watch accessories to see which are worth your money.

Engadget's picks

Spigen Thin Fit case

Spigen Apple Watch case
Valentina Palladino / Engadget

While plenty of us use cases to protect our smartphones from drops and scrapes, you may not think to use a protective case for your smartwatch. After all, a device that’s literally strapped to your body isn’t as prone to accidental drops as a device that moves in and out of your pocket all day. Chalk it up to me being clumsy, but I’ve knocked my Apple Watch on more door frames than I’d like to admit. For less than $25, a case is a good option if you don’t want to take any chances with that $279-plus smartwatch on your wrist.

“Cases” are basically bumpers that surround the edges of the Apple Watch, and some of them even cover the screen. I personally prefer a bumper-style case because, if I’m going to cover the display, it’ll be with a dedicated screen protector. Spigen’s line of Apple Watch cases are solid and they come in two different levels of bulk. The Rugged Armor series has a shock-absorbent layer and raised bezels, making it especially well suited for those who prioritize protection over fashion. Spigen’s Thin Fit series is more my speed: It sits flush against the Watch’s display, but still gives you an extra layer of protection. You can even choose a color that matches your Watch to help it blend in. Two added perks of Spigen’s cases are that they snap on quickly and easily, and they’re quite affordable at around $14 a piece.

Buy Spigen Thin Fit at Amazon - $14

Zagg InvisibleShield screen protector

Zagg Invisible Shield Screen Protector
Zagg

If you don’t want the extra bulk that comes with a case, a screen protector will give you at least a bit more of a safeguard than sporting a naked Watch. Zagg’s InvisibleShield line is a reliable one that provides shatter protection, clarity and enhanced touch-sensitivity. When installed properly (Zagg gives you clear instructions and all the tools you need to do so), you’ll probably forget you have a screen protector on your Watch. This accessory blends in almost seamlessly with the Watch’s hardware, and if you do accidentally ding the screen, the protector should take all of the damage.

Buy Invisible Shield screen protector at Amazon - $15

Anker Nano Pro 20W charger

Anker Nano Pro charger
Anker

The latest Apple Watches don’t come with power adapters, so you’ll have to dig one out of your drawer or get a new one to charge it up. Choosing the latter is probably best since Series 7 owners will get a new, USB-C-toting cable, so you’ll need an appropriate adapter to get all of that fast-charging goodness. Anker’s 20W Nano Pro is a good pick because it’s compact and has a few safety features built in. Inside is a dynamic temperature sensor that helps prevent overheating, plus a power tuner chip that helps adjust output based on your device. That second feature is likely more important than the first if you’re primarily using this tiny brick with your Apple Watch, but both will be handy if you ever need to use it with your iPhone. What’s more, the Nano Pro can fast charge iPhone 13s, providing a 50-percent top-up in only 25 minutes, and you can get one that matches the color of your handset if you wish.

Buy Anker Nano Pro 20W at Amazon - $18

Apple MagSafe Duo charger

Apple MagSafe Duo charger
Apple

Apple makes one of the more elegant solutions to charging your iPhone and Apple Watch while traveling. The $129 MagSafe Duo has spaces to wirelessly charge both devices and folds up into a neat square when not in use. The Apple Watch pad flips upward as well, allowing you to use the gadget in Nighttime mode while it’s charging. While this wireless charger does come with a USB-C to Lightning cable to provide power to the system, it does not come with an AC adapter so you will have to remember to pack your own.

Buy MagSafe Duo at Amazon - $129

Belkin Boost Charge Pro portable fast charger

Belkin Boost Charge Pro Portable Fast Charger for Apple Watch
Valentina Palladino / Engadget

Apple Watch chargers are a bit different than Lightning cables in the sense that you probably have only one of the former and many of the latter. Those who travel or commute often should consider getting a second Apple Watch charger, that way you’re not stuck if you forget to pack your one and only before a long weekend trip. Belkin’s Boost Charge Pro portable fast charger is a great option, particularly for those who have a Series 7. The square pad uses Apple’s new fast wireless-charging module, so it’ll be able to power up the Series 7 from 0 to 80 percent in roughly 45 minutes.

You can simply sit your timepiece on the module to charge, but it also flips up so you can use the Watch in Nightstand mode while it’s powering up on your bedside table. To support different Watch sizes and protective cases, the pad also has a dial on its underside that lets you adjust the height of the charging module. Plus, the attached USB-C cable that tucks away on the bottom of the pad is four feet long, giving you a bit more placement flexibility than other chargers.

The main drawback is its $60 list price, but those strapped for cash should consider Anker’s version, which is very similar to Belkins and only $43. It won’t fast-charge the Series 7, but it will power up the device just like it would a Series 6 or earlier. I also prefer how the attached USB-C cable coils up into the base on this one – it’s a bit neater than Belkin’s solution.

Buy Boost Charge Pro at Belkin - $60Buy Anker Foldable Charging Dock at Amazon - $43

Bellroy Compact Tech Kit

Bellroy Compact Tech Kit
Bellroy

You’ll likely have your Apple Watch strapped to your wrist while traveling, but it’s a good idea to have a pouch or case that can hold the gadget along with any accessories you need when you’re not wearing it. Bellroy’s Compact Tech Kit is an attractive option not only because of its minimalist design, but the multiple loops and pockets on the inside. It can easily hold your Apple Watch charging cable, an AC adapter and a few extra bands, and you’ll still have space for things like AirPods, a Lightning cable for your iPhone and even a larger power adapter for your laptop. If you don’t mind something a bit more utilitarian, Bagsmart’s small travel organizer is a good option that also costs just $22.

Buy Compact Tech Kit at Bellroy - $55Buy Bagsmart small travel organizer at Amazon - $22

Apple Watch stands

Elago Apple Watch charging stand
Valentina Palladino / Engadget

If you want to use the Apple Watch’s handy Nightstand mode while it’s charging, I’ve found that Watch holders can make the experience much better. My Watch often topples over or rolls about when I simply trust it to sit on its side next to my bed, but that’s easily fixed with a stand. Elago’s stands may be simple, but they have a lot of personality, coming in colorful dome shapes and in the forms of retro tech. The biggest problem with them, particularly the dome stands, is that they can be prone to sliding around on your desk or nightstand if there’s any tension on your charging cable. But they hold the Apple Watch well and, at under $15, they’re affordable ways to inject more personality into your accessory game.

We previously recommended Spigen’s $12 S350 charging stand as another basic option, but we’d now opt to upgrade to the PowerArc ArcField wireless charger. Coming in at $50, this one looks almost identical to the S350 stand but it comes with an Apple Watch charging module built in, plus an attached, 6.6-foot USB-C cable. It also comes with a few rubber pads of different heights, allowing you to adjust the stand to the right height based on your Watch’s size and if you have a case protecting it. While it costs more than a standard silicone charging stand for your Apple Watch, it’s worth it for the additional charging power – plus if it does become your main home charger, that frees up the charging cable that came with the Apple Watch to be your on-the-go option.

Buy Elago dome charging stand at Amazon - $10Buy Elago W6 charging stand (iPod) at Amazon - $15Buy Spigen PowerArc ArcField wireless charger at Amazon - $50

Apple Watch bands

Apple Watch bands
Valentina Palladino / Engadget

You probably made your way to this guide because you are an Apple Watch owner and want to deck it out. But if you haven’t made the purchase yet, consider using the Apple Watch Studio to customize the timepiece's watch band to your liking. Doing so will let you choose the precise band style and color you want, and there are definitely a few that are worth getting directly from Apple. Both the Sport Band and the Sport Loop are good basic strap options for everyday and exercise use, but you can find alternatives for much less elsewhere.

Apple’s Solo Loop is a good one if you just want to slip your Watch on in the morning without worrying about notches or buckles — just make sure you get the right size when you order. I’m also partial to the Nike Sport Band because its carefully placed holes make it breathable and extra comfortable for working out. But if you want that one, you’ll have to buy the Apple Watch Nike edition, which is just a regular Watch with the Nike+ Run Club app preinstalled.

But if you or your loved one already have an Apple Watch, it’s easy to find additional bands, from leather to stainless steel, across the web. When it comes to basic silicone straps, you can find packs of three to six bands for less than $20 but the quality may be questionable. Look for brands with many high ratings on Amazon if you insist on getting the best bang for your buck. You can also use FakeSpot’s Amazon integration to get an idea for how trustworthy a product’s reviews are.

A few reputable brands that make Apple Watch bands are Spigen, Elago and Casetify. Spigen’s Silicone Fit band feels the most similar to Apple’s Sport Band. The strap material is soft, comfortable and it’s a hair thinner than Apple’s watch strap. The biggest difference is that you’ll pay around $10 for one of Spigen’s bands as opposed to $50 for one of Apple’s.

Buy Apple Watch bands (5 pack) at Amazon - $20Buy Spigen Silicone Fit band at Amazon - $7

Elago’s Sport Bands are made of fluoro-rubber material, so they’re a bit thicker and more substantial than Apple’s standard silicone watch band. They also have traditional buckle closures, giving them a style that better transitions from workouts to workplaces. They are a good option if you like the simplicity of Apple’s own bands but don’t want to shell out $50 for one.

Casetify occupies the opposite end of the spectrum, offering printed and customizable Apple Watch straps that truly stand out. They come in metal, leather, silicone and recycled plastic and you can get as specific as you want. There are plenty of solid colors to choose from as well as dozens of floral and animal prints. Casetify also has trendy collaborations with Disney, Netflix’s Squid Game and other pop-culture heavyweights, and even bands you can personalize with your recipient’s name or initials. While Casetify’s straps are on the expensive side, ranging from $40 to $72, it’s a price worth paying if you absolutely must have a band that fits your style to a tee.

Buy Elago sport band at Amazon - $19Shop Casetify Apple Watch bands

The best monitors for 2022

Computer monitors keep evolving rapidly, with new technology like OLED Flex, QD-OLED and built-in smart platforms just in the last year alone. That’s on top of big improvements in things like color accuracy, size and resolution.

The choice is nice but overwhelming, as there are a lot of products in this market and a lot of features. Buyers now have to consider things like HDR, brightness, color accuracy, type of display technology, input lag and more. And then there are the usual considerations like size, adjustability, inputs and so on.

To help you with all that, we’ve researched the latest models for all kinds of markets, whether you’re a gamer, business user or content creator. Read on to find out which model is the best for you and, especially, your budget.

The basics

Panel type

The cheapest monitors are still TN (twisted nematic), which are strictly for gaming or office use. VA (vertical alignment) monitors are also relatively cheap, while offering good brightness and high contrast ratios. However, content creators will probably want an IPS (in-plane switching) LCD display that delivers better color accuracy, image quality and viewing angles.

If maximum brightness is important, a quantum dot LCD display is the way to go — those are typically found in larger displays. OLED monitors are now available and offer the best blacks and color reproduction, but they lack the brightness of LED or quantum dot displays. Plus, they cost a lot. The latest type of OLED monitor, called QD-OLED from Samsung, just came out this year. The most notable advantage is that it can get a lot brighter, with monitors shown at CES 2022 hitting up to 1,000 nits of peak brightness.

MiniLEDs are now widely used in high-end displays. They’re similar to quantum dot tech, but as the name suggests, it uses smaller LED diodes that are just 0.2mm in diameter. As such, manufacturers can pack in up to three times more LEDs with more local dimming zones, delivering deeper blacks and better contrast.

Screen size, resolution and display format

In this day and age, screen size rules. Where 24-inch displays used to be more or less standard (and can still be useful for basic computing), 27-, 32-, 34- and even 42-inch displays have become popular for entertainment, content creation and even gaming these days.

Nearly every monitor used to be 16:9, but it’s now possible to find 16:10 and other more exotic display shapes. On the gaming and entertainment side, we’re also seeing very wide and curved monitors with aspect ratios like 21:9. If you do decide to buy an ultrawide display, however, keep in mind that a 30-inch 21:9 model is the same height as a 24-inch monitor, so you might end up with a smaller display than you expected. As a rule of thumb, add 25 percent to the size of a 21:9 monitor to get the vertical height you’d expect from a 16:9 model.

4K is nearly a must for content creators, and some folks are even going for 5K or all the way up to 8K. Keep in mind, though, that you’ll need a pretty powerful computer to drive all those pixels. And 4K should be paired with a screen size of 27 inches and up, or you won’t notice much difference between 1440p. At the same time, I wouldn’t get a model larger than 27 inches unless it’s 4K, as you’ll start to see pixelation if you’re working up close to the display.

One new category to consider is portable monitors designed to be carried and used with laptops. Those typically come in 1080p resolutions and sizes from 13-15 inches. They usually have a lightweight kickstand-type support that folds up to keep things compact.

Samsung Smart Monitor M5
Samsung

HDR

HDR is the buzzy monitor feature to have these days, as it adds vibrancy to entertainment and gaming – but be careful before jumping in. Some monitors that claim HDR on the marketing materials don’t even conform to a base standard. To be sure that a display at least meets minimum HDR specs, you’ll want to choose one with a DisplayHDR rating with each tier representing maximum brightness in nits.

However, the lowest DisplayHDR 400 and 500 tiers may disappoint you with a lack of brightness, washed out blacks and mediocre color reproduction. If you can afford it, choose a model with DisplayHDR 600, 1000 or True Black 400, True Black 500 and True Black 600. The True Black settings are designed primarily for OLED models, with maximum black levels at .0005 nits.

Where televisions typically offer HDR10 and Dolby Vision or HDR10+, most PC monitors only support the HDR10 standard, other than a few (very expensive) models. That doesn’t matter much for content creation or gaming, but HDR streaming on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and other services won’t look quite as punchy. In addition, most models supporting HDR600 (and up) are gaming, rather than content creation monitors – with a few exceptions. 

Refresh rate

Refresh rate is a key feature, particularly on gaming monitors. A bare minimum nowadays is 60Hz, and 80Hz refresh rates and up are much easier on the eyes. However, most 4K displays top out at 60Hz with some rare exceptions and the HDMI 2.0 spec only supports 4K at 60Hz, so you’d need at least DisplayPort 1.4 (4K at 120Hz) or HDMI 2.1. The latter is now available on a number of monitors, particularly gaming displays. However, it’s only supported on the latest NVIDIA RTX 3000- and 4000-series, AMD RX 6000-series GPUs.

Inputs

There are essentially three types of modern display inputs: Thunderbolt, DisplayPort and HDMI. Most monitors built for PCs come with the latter two, while a select few (typically built for Macs) will use Thunderbolt. To add to the confusion, USB-C ports may be Thunderbolt 3 and by extension, DisplayPort compatible, so you may need a USB-C to Thunderbolt or DisplayPort cable adapter depending on your display.

Color bit depth

Serious content content creators should consider a more costly 10-bit monitor that can display billions of colors. If budget is an issue, you can go for an 8-bit panel that can fake billions of colors via dithering (often spec’d as “8-bit + FRC”). For entertainment or business purposes, a regular 8-bit monitor that can display millions of colors will be fine.

Color gamut

The other aspect of color is the gamut. That expresses the range of colors that can be reproduced and not just the number of colors. Most good monitors these days can cover the sRGB and Rec.709 gamuts (designed for photos and video respectively). For more demanding work, though, you’ll want one that can reproduce more demanding modern gamuts like AdobeRGB, DCI-P3 and Rec.2020 gamuts, which encompass a wider range of colors. The latter two are often used for film projection and HDR, respectively.

Console gaming

Both the Xbox Series X and Sony’s PS5 can handle 4K 120Hz HDR gaming, so if you’re into resolution over pure speed, you’ll want a monitor that can keep up. 4K resolution, HDR and at least 120Hz is the minimum starting point, but fortunately there are 27-inch displays with those specs starting at well under $1,000.

Pricing and parts shortages

Though the pandemic has eased, monitor supply is still a bit tighter than pre-pandemic levels due to supply and demand issues. To that end, you may have trouble finding monitors at Amazon, B&H or elsewhere for the suggested retail price. For our guide below, we’re basing our picks on the MSRP, as long as the street price doesn’t exceed that by more than $25.

Engadget picks

Best monitors under $200

Samsung T35F

Samsung T35F
Samsung

The monitor with the best balance of size, refresh rate and color accuracy is Samsung’s $160 27-inch 1080p T35F. It’s good for business or light gaming and content work, thanks to the IPS panel and 75Hz refresh rate. Plus, it’s fairly attractive and modern looking. There are some things you don’t get at that price, of course – it can only tilt and has an HDMI 1.4 connection.

Buy Samsung T35F at Amazon - $160

LG 24GL600F

If you’re fine with a smaller display and are more into gaming, another solid option is LG’s 24-inch 24GL600F. It offers a high 144Hz refresh rate with AMD FreeSync support, a 1ms response time and low input lag. You also get HDMI and DisplayPort inputs, but like the T35F, there’s no height adjustment.

Buy LG 24GL60F at Amazon - $200

Best monitors under $350

HP U28 4K HDR Monitor

HP U28 4K HDR Monitor
HP

The $33028-inch HP U28 4K HDR monitor is a great all around choice, especially for content creators. The 60Hz IPS panel and factory calibration delivers excellent color accuracy and it’s a nice size for creative or business work. It comes with DisplayPort, HDMI and three USB 3.0 ports, along with a USB-C port with 65W of charging for a laptop or tablet. And it’s easy to set just right, thanks to height, swivel and pivot adjustment.

Buy HP U28 4K HDR monitor at Amazon - $330

Gigabyte G27QC

If gaming is more your thing, the $300 Gigabyte G27QC is a top pick. The 27-inch, 1440p curved panel has an ideal size and resolution for gaming, and it has a quick 165Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time. You can connect via HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.2 connections and get HDR support – albeit, without DisplayHDR certification.

Buy Gigabyte G27QC at Amazon - $300

Best monitor under $400

BenQ 27-inch QHD HDR Monitor

BenQ 27-inch QHD HDR Monitor
BenQ

The $400 BenQ 27-inch 2K QHD HDR model is ideal for creative work, particularly photo editing and graphic design. While resolution is limited to 1440p, it covers 100 percent of the sRGB color gamut with a “Delta E” accuracy value of less than 3 for consistent color performance. You also get height, pivot and swivel adjustment (a full 90 degrees), with HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.4 and USB-C daisy chaining and 65W power delivery.

Buy BenQ 2K QHD HDR monitor at Amazon - $400

Best monitors under $500

LG 32UN650-W

LG 32UN650-W
LG

The 32-inch LG 32UN650-W is a great 4K monitor for entertainment, creative chores and gaming. The 31.5-inch, 60Hz IPS panel covers an excellent 95 percent of the DCI-P3 gamut with 10-bit color, but also supports AMD FreeSync for gaming. It also supports HDR, albeit with just 350 nits of maximum brightness. It has HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.4 ports, tilt and height adjustments and even built-in speakers.

Buy LG 32UN650-W at Amazon - $500

ASUS ROG Swift PG259QN

Sometimes speed rules over size and resolution, and the $500 24.5-inch 1080p ASUS ROG Swift PG256QN is fast. It maxes out at a 360Hz refresh rate (with NVIDIA G-Sync support) and 1ms GtG response time. At the same time, you get 1.07 billion colors with HDR support (up to 400 nits brightness) so you can see your enemies quickly and clearly. Other niceties include a fully adjustable stand, ASUS’s GamePlus Hotkey Enhancements and a large heatsink.

Buy ASUS ROG Swift PG259QN at Amazon - $500

Gigabyte M28U

Gigabyte’s M28U 28-inch 144Hz 4K gaming monitor sure does a lot. It has an IPS panel with a 2ms (MPRT) response time, 94 percent DCI-P3 coverage, DisplayHDR 400 certification, 2 HDMI 2.1 ports and FreeSync Premium Pro support. It comes in a little bit more expensive than $500, but we've often seen it on sale for $480.

Buy Gigabyte M28U at Amazon - $480

Best monitors under $1,000

ViewSonic ColorPro VP2786-4K

Viewsonic ColorPro VP2786-4K
ViewSonic

In this price range you can have resolution, color accuracy or brightness, but not all three. The one with the best balance is ViewSonic’s $1,000 ColorPro VP2786 27-inch 4K HDR Monitor. The true 10-bit IPS panel covers 98 percent of the DCI-P3 color palette with an excellent Delta <2 accuracy figure, and is certified for soft-proofing by the demanding Fogra print industry. At the same time, it offers HDR10 support, albeit with a limited 350 nits of output. It even includes a “ColorPro” wheel control compatible with Adobe or Capture One apps.

Buy ViewSonic ColorPro at Amazon - $1,000

Dell G3223Q

The best 4K gaming monitor under $1,000 is Dell’s G3223Q 4K 32-inch HDR 144Hz monitor because of the speed, brightness and compatibility. It has an IPS panel with a 144Hz refresh rate, 1ms GtG response time, 95 percent DCI-P3 coverage and DisplayHDR 600 certification. Plus, it comes with a pair of HDMI 2.1 ports and is both FreeSync and G-Sync compatible.

Buy Dell G3223Q at Amazon - $1,000

Dell P3223QE

Dell’s P3223QE 4K USB-C Hub monitor is productivity-oriented, thanks to the wired Ethernet connectivity and USB-C ports that offer up to 90W of power delivery for laptops. It’s a 4K IPS panel with a 178-degree viewing angle and 350 nits of brightness and support for a billion colors (8-bit + FRC). It offers height, pivot, swivel and tilt adjustment, a VESA mounting interface and DisplayPort/HDMI inputs.

Buy Dell P3223QE at Amazon - $850

Best monitor for Mac users

Apple Studio Display

Apple Studio Display
Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

In general, monitor compatibility issues with MacBooks and Macs are a thing of the past, though you can still experience issues with things like refresh rates, particularly on M1 Macs. If you’d prefer to stay within the Apple family, the most cost-effective option is still the $1,600 27-inch Apple Studio Display. It supports 5K resolution (5,120 x 2,880) with up to 600 nits of brightness, so it can handle creative chores with ease. It even includes a 12-megapixel UltraWide camera that keeps you in frame via Center Stage, along with a three-mic array.

Buy Apple Studio Display at Amazon - $1,600

LG Ultrafine 4K and 5K

LG Ultrafine 5K
LG

The best third-party option is LG’s $700 UltraFine 4 display, also sold on Apple’s Store. With a 24-inch 4K panel, you not only get very high resolution but also 500 nits of brightness (albeit, without HDR capability). It’s color-accurate out of the box, making it great for video- and photo-editing work on a Mac or MacBook. Finally, it supports Thunderbolt 3 with daisy chaining and power delivery, all of which is very useful for Mac users who may want multiple displays.

Buy LG Ultrafine 5K at Apple - $1,300Buy LG Ultrafine 4K at Apple - $700

Best Ultrawide monitor

LG 34GP950G-B

LG 34GP950G-B ultrawide monitor
LG

Ultrawide 21:9 monitors are a great option for some types of content creation, games (particularly driving and flight sims) and productivity work. The best model this year is LG’s 34GP950G-B, a 34-inch 3,440 x 1,440 curved monitor. The curved IPS panel supports HDR10 with 400 nits of brightness and maximum (via overclocking) 180Hz refresh rate. It’s also G-Sync and FreeSync compatible (the latter over DisplayPort only).

Buy LG 34GP950G-B at B&H Photo - $997

Best portable monitor

LePow C2S

LePow C2S portable monitor
LePow

For the best balance of performance and price, LePow’s 15.6-inch, 1080p $200 C2S is a solid option. It offers decent brightness (220 nits), solid contrast and a very respectable 96.1-percent sRGB gamut coverage. You get a generous selection of ports (one mini-DisplayPort, one mini-HDMI port and two USB-C ports, along with a headphone jack. The metal stand is solid and practical, and it even has built-in speakers of decent quality.

Buy LePow C2S at Amazon - $200

Best luxury monitor

ASUS ProArt PA32UCG-K

ASUS ProArt PA32UCG-K
ASUS

ASUS still holds the prize for best luxury monitor, but it discontinued the previous mini-LED $4,000 ProArt PA32UCX monitor and replaced it with the $5,000 PA32UCG-K display. It uses the same mini-LED tech, but ups the ante with 1,600 nits of brightness via 1,152 backlight zones, an HDMI 2.1 port, 4K 120Hz resolution, 10-bit, 98 percent DCI-P3 coverage and an impressive 85 percent Rec.2020 coverage. Oh, and it’s one of the few monitors out there that supports Dolby Vision, along with HDR10 and HLG.

You’re probably doing it wrong if you’re using a $5K monitor for gaming. However, it does support AMD FreeSync (good for gaming creation) and has a 5-millisecond response time, very respectable for a display essentially designed for professional colorists. And to that end, color accuracy is calibrated to Delta E < 1 and it’s a true 10-bit panel delivering billions of colors. To verify that, it even comes with an X-rite i1 Display Pro color calibrator, normally sold separately for around $500.

On top of this model, ASUS now makes several slightly less bright and less expensive variants, namely the $4,180 PA32UCX-PK, (plus -P, and -K variants with slightly different features), offering 1,200 nits of brightness and a 60Hz (not 120Hz) refresh rate. Specs are nearly identical otherwise.

Buy ASUS ProArt PA32UCG-K at Amazon - $5,000