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20 cozy, comfy cardigans to snuggle up in all fall and winter

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(CNN) —  

It’s official: Sweater weather is here. As we all collectively say “buh-bye” to our beloved summer wardrobes, the good news is that a fall season brings with it the opportunity to throw on a big ol’ sweater and get cozy. And we’re not just talking any sweater — we’re talking cardigans, people.

The workhorse of the sweater category, cardigans are everyone’s favorite because they’re just so versatile. With limitless designs on the market — cropped and bulky, soft as butter and buttoned up, knit and ultra long — cardigans can be worn solo or layered, making them a sure bet when you just don’t know what the day’s weather will have in store…which is fall in a nutshell.

More good news: Cardigans are a great way to look professional when working from home. Throw one over pajamas and your appearance will go from sleepy to snappy in a second. To help you navigate your sweater journey this season, we’ve rounded up 20 great cardigans, from luxe cashmere options (read: splurge time!) to more affordable alternatives that are equally adorable (and so cheap you can afford to buy a few). The hardest part is going to be deciding how many you need as we head into the winter months.

Old Navy Long-Line Open-Front Sweater for Women (starting at $28, originally starting at $39.99; oldnavy.com)

Old Navy Long-Line Open-Front Sweater for Women
Old Navy Long-Line Open-Front Sweater for Women
PHOTO: Old Navy

Ultra soft and lightweight to boot, this cotton/rayon cardigan has a lovely long-line silhouette that’s super versatile. Available in six colors, the sweater has two cute front pockets and venting, making it the perfect option to layer over a T-shirt and leggings.

Barefoot Dreams CozyChic Lite Circle Cardigan ($116; nordstrom.com)

Barefoot Dreams CozyChic Lite Circle Cardigan
Barefoot Dreams CozyChic Lite Circle Cardigan
PHOTO: Nordstrom

Nearly 3,500 Nordstrom customers agree that this Barefoot Dreams cardigan, which has a 4.7-star rating, is worth the purchase. Raving that it’s the “coziest, softest sweater ever” and “comfy, cuddly perfection,” reviewers also note that shoppers should size down. Available in seven colors, the lightweight knit sweater has hidden welt pockets too. Looking to spend a bit less? Check out this much cheaper Amazon lookalike.

Zesica Open-Front Leopard Print Cardigan (starting at $24.64; amazon.com)

Zesica Open-Front Leopard Print Cardigan
Zesica Open-Front Leopard Print Cardigan
PHOTO: Amazon

We told you all about the Amazon nightgown dress, the Amazon coat and the Amazon pajamas — now it’s time to dish on the Amazon cardigan. With more than 3,200 positive reviews and a 4.5-star rating, this super-cute, oversize cardi comes in 20 hues, though the A-beige leopard print is the one you’ve probably spotted on influencers time and again. The best part? It costs only 25 bucks.

Prologue Puff Button-Front Cardigan ($34.99; target.com)

Prologue Puff Button-Front Cardigan
Prologue Puff Button-Front Cardigan
PHOTO: Target

Bursting with cool-girl style, this fuzzy cardigan features a V-cut neckline, puffy sleeves and at-hip length. The black hue is currently sold out, but that’s OK because we preferred the totally fall-approved cream and camel colors anyways.

AE Oversized Cardigan ($49.95; ae.com)

AE Oversized Cardigan
AE Oversized Cardigan
PHOTO: American Eagle

Remember that big ol’ sweater we talked about throwing on earlier? Well, this is it. Oversized to perfection, this rib-knit cardigan looks like you grabbed it out of your grandpa’s closet — it’s just a wee bit too long and just a wee bit too baggy, making it absolutely right for lounging around on chilly days this winter. We love the pine and pink hues, but don’t worry, it comes in black, gray and cream as well.

Cropped Cable-Knit Cardigan ($175; naadam.co)

Cropped Cable-Knit Cardigan
Cropped Cable-Knit Cardigan
PHOTO: Naadam

Naadam, the brand known for its fairly priced cashmere sweaters, has a cardigan we’ve fallen head over heels for this season. In this bright purple color that would pair beautifully with your favorite black or gray coat (or even a slinky slip dress underneath), it’s perfectly cropped and features a lovely cable knit, plus it’s ultra cozy in a fabric that’s 90% wool and 10% cashmere.

Old Navy Pointelle-Knit V-Neck Button-Front Cardigan Sweater for Women ($40, originally $44.99; oldnavy.com)

Old Navy Pointelle-Knit V-Neck Button-Front Cardigan Sweater for Women
Old Navy Pointelle-Knit V-Neck Button-Front Cardigan Sweater for Women
PHOTO: Old Navy

Chock-full of sweet details — from the pointelle stitching to the blouson sleeves and the rib-knit cuffs — this cardi will look just as great layered over a tank or tee as it will worn solo or over a sexy cami. Available in dark gray and marled burgundy, this sweater is thin enough to be tucked in too.

Athleta Pranayama Wrap (starting at $71.99; athleta.com)

Athleta Pranayama Wrap
Athleta Pranayama Wrap
PHOTO: Athleta

Crisp and clean, this beloved wrap-style cardigan from Athleta is a customer favorite — it has more than 3,000 reviews, 2,700 of which gave the sweater 5 stars. Available in nine colors, the super-soft wrap is lightweight and breathable too, making it perfect for some post-workout warmth.

A New Day Colorblock Open-Front Cozy Cardigan ($27.99; target.com)

A New Day Colorblock Open-Front Cozy Cardigan
A New Day Colorblock Open-Front Cozy Cardigan
PHOTO: Target

If you’re looking for a basic medium-length cardigan to get you through the colder months, look no further than this option from Target brand A New Day. Available in nine colors and patterns and in sizes XS to 4X, the ultra-versatile sweater is totally soft and has some stretch in it too.

AE Cropped Balloon-Sleeve Button-Up Cardigan ($33.71, originally $44.95; ae.com)

AE Cropped Balloon-Sleeve Button-Up Cardigan
AE Cropped Balloon-Sleeve Button-Up Cardigan
PHOTO: American Eagle

It’s official: Cropped cardigans are having a moment. This one, with its slouchy silhouette and boxy frame, is perfection.

Italic Office Cashmere Cardigan ($80; italic.com)

Italic Office Cashmere Cardigan
Italic Office Cashmere Cardigan
PHOTO: Italic

Paper thin and light as air, this chic cashmere cardigan from members-only brand Italic is notable for two reasons — first, it’s gorgeous in real life. And second, it’s a steal at this price. The sweater would normally retail for triple the cost, but Italic’s direct-to-consumer model eliminates retailer fees and brand markups. Whether you wear it loose or cinched at the waist with a belt, you’re going to love this pick.

H&M Rhinestone-Button Cardigan ($29.99; hm.com)

H&M Rhinestone-Button Cardigan
H&M Rhinestone-Button Cardigan
PHOTO: H&M

We’re just going to go ahead and declare this cardi to be red carpet-ready, thanks to its glam rhinestone buttons and pretty lavender hue. Drape it over a little black dress on a chilly night and you’ll be good to go — alternatively, pair it with distressed denim for an adorable high/low look.

Banana Republic Cropped Cardigan Sweater (starting at $47, originally $79.50; bananarepublic.gap.com)

Banana Republic Cropped Cardigan Sweater
Banana Republic Cropped Cardigan Sweater
PHOTO: Banana Republic

Part cardigan sweater, part adorable top, this piece comes in five cute colors and is perfect for pairing with jeans for a night out.

Athleta Spirit Wool Cashmere Wrap ($199; athleta.com)

Athleta Spirit Wool Cashmere Wrap
Athleta Spirit Wool Cashmere Wrap
PHOTO: Athleta

Splurge alert: This lovely cashmere wrap from Athleta is a total dream of a sweater, perfect for throwing on after a yoga sesh, on your way out the door or as an extra layer of warmth while you binge-watch some TV this winter. Available in three neutral tones (black, gray and taupe), the incredibly soft cardigan has easy-access pockets, side slits and some upper shoulder ribbing details that add some detail to the simple silhouette.

Banana Republic Merino Long Cardigan Sweater in Responsible Wool ($50, originally $84.50; bananarepublic.gap.com)

Banana Republic Merino Long Cardigan Sweater in Responsible Wool
Banana Republic Merino Long Cardigan Sweater in Responsible Wool
PHOTO: Banana Republic

Part of Banana Republic’s new responsible wool collection — knitwear composed of wool compliant with the global standard that protects both the sheep and the land they graze on — this easy, breezy cardigan is light enough to wear in the spring and summer but also warm enough for chilly nights. Machine-washable, the sweater comes in seven colors (we’re smitten with the gray!) and has a loose cut perfect for layering over a tank and jeans or leggings.

Old Navy Cozy Long-Line Open-Front Sweater for Women ($35, originally $39.99; oldnavy.com)

Old Navy Cozy Long-Line Open-Front Sweater for Women
Old Navy Cozy Long-Line Open-Front Sweater for Women
PHOTO: Old Navy

Similar in design to the above cardigan from Old Navy, this version is made of an acrylic/nylon yarn that is definitely heavier and warmer (and cozier too!). Available in a brown and gray and an adorable striped pattern (teal is available in limited sizes), this sweater is a staple your closet needs.

Madewell Bobble Cardigan Sweater ($98; nordstrom.com)

Madewell Bobble Cardigan Sweater
Madewell Bobble Cardigan Sweater
PHOTO: Nordstrom

If you’re looking for a statement cardigan, this is it. Ultra cozy, the “bobble” sweater from Madewell features adorable pompoms on the balloon sleeves and a shawl-collar design that makes it perfect for layering over a button-down shirt on Zoom calls. More to know: Ample sizes are available, from XXS to 3X.

Maeve Makaya Cardigan ($148; anthropologie.com)

Maeve Makaya Cardigan
Maeve Makaya Cardigan
PHOTO: Anthropologie

Fun personified, this cardigan is busy and loud, and that’s exactly why we love it. Featuring multiple animal prints — yes, that’s zebra and leopard — as well as pops of bright pink, this sweater is also super cozy and perfect for layering over jeans or sweatpants.

Nenona V-Neck Button-Down Knit Cardigan (starting at $19.99; amazon.com)

Nenona V-Neck Button-Down Knit Cardigan
Nenona V-Neck Button-Down Knit Cardigan
PHOTO: Amazon

Another Amazon favorite is this thin cardigan that has racked up more than 4,000 positive reviews. Featuring a dozen dainty buttons, the cotton/polyester blend has ribbed detailing and comes in 26 colors and patterns.

H&M Long Cardigan ($19.99; hm.com)

H&M Long Cardigan
H&M Long Cardigan
PHOTO: H&M

Don’t let this cardigan’s price fool you; it’s much more expensive-looking (and -feeling) in person, thanks to its crisp, clean design. Available in five colors, the classic cardigan is a wardrobe staple that can be dressed up or down.

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All the products we found to be the best during our testing this year

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(CNN) —  

Throughout the year, CNN Underscored is constantly testing products — be it coffee makers or headphones — to find the absolute best in each respective category.

Our testing process is rigorous, consisting of hours of research (consulting experts, reading editorial reviews and perusing user ratings) to find the top products in each category. Once we settle on a testing pool, we spend weeks — if not months — testing and retesting each product multiple times in real-world settings. All this in an effort to settle on the absolute best products.

So, as we enter peak gifting season, if you’re on the hunt for the perfect gift, we know you’ll find something on this list that they (or you!) will absolutely love.

Coffee

Best burr coffee grinder: Baratza Virtuoso+ Conical Burr Grinder With Digital Timer Display ($249; amazon.com or walmart.com)

Baratza Virtuoso+ Conical Burr Grinder
Baratza Virtuoso+ Conical Burr Grinder

Beginner baristas and coffee connoisseurs alike will be pleased with the Baratza Virtuoso+, a conical burr grinder with 40 settings for grind size, from super fine (espresso) to super coarse (French press). The best coffee grinder we tested, this sleek look and simple, intuitive controls, including a digital timer, allow for a consistent grind every time — as well as optimal convenience.

Read more from our testing of coffee grinders here.

Best drip coffee maker: Braun KF6050WH BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker ($79.95; amazon.com)

Braun KF6050WH BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker
Braun KF6050WH BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker

During our testing of drip coffee makers, we found the Braun KF6050WH BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker made a consistently delicious, hot cup of coffee, brewed efficiently and cleanly, from sleek, relatively compact hardware that is turnkey to operate, and all for a reasonable price.

Read more from our testing of drip coffee makers here.

Best single-serve coffee maker: Breville-Nespresso VertuoPlus ($165; originally $179.95; amazon.com)

Breville-Nespresso VertuoPlus
Breville-Nespresso VertuoPlus

Among all single-serve coffee makers we tested, the Breville-Nespresso VertuoPlus, which uses pods that deliver both espresso and “regular” coffee, could simply not be beat for its convenience. Intuitive and a snap to use right out of the box, it looks sleek on the counter, contains a detached 60-ounce water reservoir so you don’t have to refill it with each use and delivers perfectly hot, delicious coffee with a simple tap of a lever and press of a button.

Read more from our testing of single-serve coffee makers here.

Best coffee subscription: Blue Bottle (starting at $11 per shipment; bluebottlecoffee.com)

Blue Bottle coffee subscription
Blue Bottle coffee subscription

Blue Bottle’s coffee subscription won us over with its balance of variety, customizability and, most importantly, taste. We sampled both the single-origin and blend assortments and loved the flavor of nearly every single cup we made. The flavors are complex and bold but unmistakably delicious. Beyond its coffee, Blue Bottle’s subscription is simple and easy to use, with tons of options to tailor to your caffeine needs.

Read more from our testing of coffee subscriptions here.

Best cold brewer coffee maker: Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffeepot ($25; amazon.com)

Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffeepot
Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffeepot

This sleek, sophisticated and streamlined carafe produces 1 liter (about 4 1/4 cups) of rich, robust brew in just eight hours. It was among the simplest to assemble, it executed an exemplary brew in about the shortest time span, and it looked snazzy doing it. Plus, it rang up as the second-most affordable of our inventory.

Read more from our testing of cold brew makers here.

Kitchen essentials

Best nonstick pan: T-fal E76597 Ultimate Hard Anodized Nonstick Fry Pan With Lid ($39.97; amazon.com)

T-fal E76597 Ultimate Hard Anodized Nonstick Fry Pan With Lid
T-fal E76597 Ultimate Hard Anodized Nonstick Fry Pan With Lid

If you’re a minimalist and prefer to have just a single pan in your kitchen, you’d be set with the T-fal E76597. This pan’s depth gives it multipurpose functionality: It cooks standard frying-pan foods like eggs and meats, and its 2 1/2-inch sides are tall enough to prepare recipes you’d usually reserve for pots, like rices and stews. It’s a high-quality and affordable pan that outperformed some of the more expensive ones in our testing field.

Read more from our testing of nonstick pans here.

Best blender: Breville Super Q ($499.95; breville.com)

Breville Super Q
Breville Super Q

With 1,800 watts of motor power, the Breville Super Q features a slew of preset buttons, comes in multiple colors, includes key accessories and is touted for being quieter than other models. At $500, it does carry a steep price tag, but for those who can’t imagine a smoothie-less morning, what breaks down to about $1.30 a day over a year seems like a bargain.

Read more from our testing of blenders here.

Best knife set: Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17-Piece Knife Block Set ($119.74; amazon.com)

Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17-Piece Knife Block Set
Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17-Piece Knife Block Set

The Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17-Piece Knife Block Set sets you up to easily take on almost any cutting job and is a heck of a steal at just $119.97. Not only did the core knives included (chef’s, paring, utility and serrated) perform admirably, but the set included a bevy of extras, including a full set of steak knives. We were blown away by their solid construction and reliable execution for such an incredible value. The knives stayed sharp through our multitude of tests, and we were big fans of the cushion-grip handles that kept them from slipping, as well as the classic look of the chestnut-stained wood block. If you’re looking for a complete knife set you’ll be proud of at a price that won’t put a dent in your savings account, this is the clear winner.

Read more from our testing of knife sets here.

Audio

Best true wireless earbuds: AirPods Pro ($199, originally $249; amazon.com)

Apple AirPods Pro
Apple AirPods Pro

Apple’s AirPods Pro hit all the marks. They deliver a wide soundstage, thanks to on-the-fly equalizing tech that produces playback that seemingly brings you inside the studio with the artist. They have the best noise-canceling ability of all the earbuds we tested, which, aside from stiff-arming distractions, creates a truly immersive experience. To sum it up, you’re getting a comfortable design, a wide soundstage, easy connectivity and long battery life.

Read more from our testing of true wireless earbuds here.

Best noise-canceling headphones: Sony WH-1000XM4 ($278, originally $349.99; amazon.com)

Sony WH-1000XM4
Sony WH-1000XM4

Not only do the WH-1000XM4s boast class-leading sound, but phenomenal noise-canceling ability. So much so that they ousted our former top overall pick, the Beats Solo Pros, in terms of ANC quality, as the over-ear XM4s better seal the ear from outside noise. Whether it was a noise from a dryer, loud neighbors down the hall or high-pitched sirens, the XM4s proved impenetrable. This is a feat that other headphones, notably the Solo Pros, could not compete with — which is to be expected considering their $348 price tag.

Read more from our testing of noise-canceling headphones here.

Best on-ear headphones: Beats Solo 3 ($119.95, originally $199.95; amazon.com)

Beats Solo 3
Beats Solo 3

The Beats Solo 3s are a phenomenal pair of on-ear headphones. Their sound quality was among the top of those we tested, pumping out particularly clear vocals and instrumentals alike. We enjoyed the control scheme too, taking the form of buttons in a circular configuration that blend seamlessly into the left ear cup design. They are also light, comfortable and are no slouch in the looks department — more than you’d expect given their reasonable $199.95 price tag.

Read more from our testing of on-ear headphones here.

Beauty

Best matte lipstick: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick ($11, originally $22; amazon.com or $22; nordstrom.com and stilacosmetics.com)

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick
Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick

The Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick has thousands of 5-star ratings across the internet, and it’s easy to see why. True to its name, this product clings to your lips for hours upon hours, burritos and messy breakfast sandwiches be damned. It’s also surprisingly moisturizing for such a superior stay-put formula, a combo that’s rare to come by.

Read more from our testing of matte lipsticks here.

Best everyday liquid liner: Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner ($22; stilacosmetics.com or macys.com)

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

The Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner is a longtime customer favorite — hence its nearly 7,500 5-star reviews on Sephora — and for good reason. We found it requires little to no effort to create a precise wing, the liner has superior staying power and it didn’t irritate those of us with sensitive skin after full days of wear. As an added bonus, it’s available in a whopping 12 shades.

Read more from our testing of liquid eyeliners here.

Work-from-home essentials

Best office chair: Steelcase Series 1 (starting at $381.60; amazon.com or $415, wayfair.com)

Steelcase Series 1
Steelcase Series 1

The Steelcase Series 1 scored among the highest overall, standing out as one of the most customizable, high-quality, comfortable office chairs on the market. At $415, the Steelcase Series 1 beat out most of its pricier competitors across testing categories, scoring less than a single point lower than our highest-rated chair, the $1,036 Steelcase Leap, easily making it the best bang for the buck and a clear winner for our best office chair overall.

Read more from our testing of office chairs here.

Best ergonomic keyboard: Logitech Ergo K860 ($129.99; logitech.com)

Logitech Ergo K860
Logitech Ergo K860

We found the Logitech Ergo K860 to be a phenomenally comfortable keyboard. Its build, featuring a split keyboard (meaning there’s a triangular gap down the middle) coupled with a wave-like curvature across the body, allows both your shoulders and hands to rest in a more natural position that eases the tension that can often accompany hours spent in front of a regular keyboard. Add the cozy palm rest along the bottom edge and you’ll find yourself sitting pretty comfortably.

Read more from our testing of ergonomic keyboards here.

Best ergonomic mouse: Logitech MX Master 3 ($99.99; logitech.com)

Logitech MX Master 3
Logitech MX Master 3

The Logitech MX Master 3 is an unequivocally comfortable mouse. It’s shaped to perfection, with special attention to the fingers that do the clicking. Using it felt like our fingers were lounging — with a sculpted ergonomic groove for nearly every finger.

Read more from our testing of ergonomic mice here.

Best ring light: Emart 10-Inch Selfie Ring Light ($25.99; amazon.com)

Emart 10-Inch Selfie Ring Light
Emart 10-Inch Selfie Ring Light

The Emart 10-Inch Standing Ring Light comes with a tripod that’s fully adjustable — from 19 inches to 50 inches — making it a great option whether you’re setting it atop your desk for video calls or need some overhead lighting so no weird shadows creep into your photos. Its three light modes (warm, cool and a nice mix of the two), along with 11 brightness levels (among the most settings on any of the lights we tested), ensure you’re always framed in the right light. And at a relatively cheap $35.40, this light combines usability and affordability better than any of the other options we tested.

Read more from our testing of ring lights here.

Home

Best linen sheets: Parachute Linen Sheet Set (starting at $149; parachute.com)

Parachute Linen Sheets
Parachute Linen Sheets

Well made, luxurious to the touch and with the most versatile shopping options (six sizes, nine colors and the ability to order individual sheets), the linen sheets from Parachute were, by a narrow margin, our favorite set. From the satisfying unboxing to a sumptuous sleep, with a la carte availability, Parachute set the gold standard in linen luxury.

Read more from our testing of linen sheets here.

Best shower head: Kohler Forte Shower Head (starting at $74.44; amazon.com)

Kohler Forte Shower Head
Kohler Forte Shower Head

Hands down, the Kohler Forte Shower Head provides the best overall shower experience, offering three distinct settings. Backstory: Lots of shower heads out there feature myriad “settings” that, when tested, are pretty much indecipherable. The Forte’s three sprays, however, are each incredibly different and equally successful. There’s the drenching, full-coverage rain shower, the pulsating massage and the “silk spray” setting that is basically a super-dense mist. The Forte manages to achieve all of this while using only 1.75 gallons per minute (GPM), making it a great option for those looking to conserve water.

Read more from our testing of shower heads here.

Best humidifier: TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier (starting at $49.99; amazon.com)

TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier
TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier

The TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier ramped up the humidity in a room in about an hour, which was quicker than most of the options we tested. More importantly, though, it sustained those humidity levels over the longest period of time — 24 hours, to be exact. The levels were easy to check with the built-in reader (and we cross-checked that reading with an external reader to confirm accuracy). We also loved how easy this humidifier was to clean, and the nighttime mode for the LED reader eliminated any bright lights in the bedroom.

Read more from our testing of humidifiers here.

Video

Best TV: TCL 6-Series (starting at $579.99; bestbuy.com)

TCL 6-Series
TCL 6-Series

With models starting at $599.99 for a 55-inch, the TCL 6-Series might give you reverse sticker shock considering everything you get for that relatively small price tag. But can a 4K smart TV with so many specification standards really deliver a good picture for $500? The short answer: a resounding yes. The TCL 6-Series produces a vibrant picture with flexible customization options and handles both HDR and Dolby Vision, optimization standards that improve the content you’re watching by adding depth to details and expanding the color spectrum.

Read more from our testing of TVs here.

Best streaming device: Roku Ultra ($99.99; amazon.com)

Roku Ultra
Roku Ultra

Roku recently updated its Ultra streaming box and the 2020 version is faster, thanks to a new quad-core processor. The newest Ultra retains all of the features we loved and enjoyed about the 2019 model, like almost zero lag time between waking it up and streaming content, leading to a hiccup-free streaming experience. On top of that, the Roku Ultra can upscale content to deliver the best picture possible on your TV — even on older-model TVs that don’t offer the latest and greatest picture quality — and supports everything from HD to 4K.

Read more from our testing of streaming devices here.

Travel

Best carry-on luggage: Away Carry-On ($225; away.com)

Away Carry-On
Away Carry-On

The Away Carry-On scored high marks across all our tests and has the best combination of features for the average traveler. Compared with higher-end brands like Rimowa, which retail for hundreds more, you’re getting the same durable materials, an excellent internal compression system and eye-catching style. Add in smart charging capabilities and a lifetime warranty, and this was the bag to beat.

Read more from our testing of carry-on luggage here.

Best portable charger: Anker PowerCore 13000 (starting at $31.99; amazon.com)

Anker PowerCore 13000
Anker PowerCore 13000

The Anker PowerCore 13000 shone most was in terms of charging capacity. It boasts 13,000 mAh (maH is a measure of how much power a device puts out over time), which is enough to fully charge an iPhone 11 two and a half times. Plus, it has two fast-charging USB Type-A ports so you can juice a pair of devices simultaneously. While not at the peak in terms of charging capacity, at just $31.99, it’s a serious bargain for so many mAhs.

Read more from our testing of portable chargers here.

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Trump’s misleading tweet about changing your vote, briefly explained

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Open Sourced logo

Searches for changing one’s vote did not trend following the recent presidential debate, and just a few states appear to have processes for changing an early vote. But that didn’t stop President Trump from wrongly saying otherwise on Tuesday.

In early morning posts, the president falsely claimed on Twitter and Facebook that many people had Googled “Can I change my vote?” after the second presidential debate and said those searching wanted to change their vote over to him. Trump also wrongly claimed that most states have a mechanism for changing one’s vote. Actually, just a few states appear to have the ability, and it’s rarely used.

Twitter did not attach a label to Trump’s recent tweet.
Twitter

Trump’s claim about what was trending on Google after the debate doesn’t hold up. Searches for changing one’s vote were not among Google’s top trending searches for the day of the debate (October 22) or the day after. Searches for “Can I change my vote?” did increase slightly around the time of the debate, but there is no way to know whether the bump was related to the debate or whether the people searching were doing so in support of Trump.

It was only after Trump’s posts that searches about changing your vote spiked significantly. It’s worth noting that people were also searching for “Can I change my vote?” during a similar period before the 2016 presidential election.

Google declined to comment on the accuracy of Trump’s post.

Trump also claimed that these results indicate that most of the people who were searching for how to change their vote support him. But the Google Trends tool for the searches he mentioned does not provide that specific information.

Perhaps the most egregiously false claim in Trump’s recent posts is about “most states” having processes for changing your early vote. In fact, only a few states have such processes, and they can come with certain conditions. For instance, in Michigan, voters who vote absentee can ask for a new ballot by mail or in person until the day before the election.

The Center for Election Innovation’s David Becker told the Associated Press that changing one’s vote is “extremely rare.” Becker explained, “It’s hard enough to get people to vote once — it’s highly unlikely anybody will go through this process twice.”

Trump’s post on Facebook was accompanied by a link to Facebook’s Voting Information Center.
Facebook

At the time of publication, Trump’s false claims had drawn about 84,000 and 187,000 “Likes” on Twitter and Facebook, respectively. Trump’s posts accelerated searches about changing your vote in places like the swing state of Florida, where changing one’s vote after casting it is not possible. Those numbers are a reminder of the president’s capacity to spread misinformation quickly.

On Facebook, the president’s post came with a label directing people to Facebook’s Voting Information Center, but no fact-checking label. Twitter had no annotation on the president’s post. Neither company responded to a request for comment.

That Trump is willing to spread misinformation to benefit himself and his campaign isn’t a surprise. He does that a lot. Still, just days before a presidential election in which millions have already voted, this latest episode demonstrates that the president has no qualms about using false claims about voting to cause confusion and sow doubt in the electoral process.

Open Sourced is made possible by Omidyar Network. All Open Sourced content is editorially independent and produced by our journalists.


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Nearly 6,000 civilian casualties in Afghanistan so far this year

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From January to September, 5,939 civilians – 2,117 people killed and 3,822 wounded – were casualties of the fighting, the UN says.

Nearly 6,000 Afghan civilians were killed or wounded in the first nine months of the year as heavy fighting between government forces and Taliban fighters rages on despite efforts to find peace, the United Nations has said.

From January to September, there were 5,939 civilian casualties in the fighting – 2,117 people killed and 3,822 wounded, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a quarterly report on Tuesday.

“High levels of violence continue with a devastating impact on civilians, with Afghanistan remaining among the deadliest places in the world to be a civilian,” the report said.

Civilian casualties were 30 percent lower than in the same period last year but UNAMA said violence has failed to slow since the beginning of talks between government negotiators and the Taliban that began in Qatar’s capital, Doha, last month.

An injured girl receives treatment at a hospital after an attack in Khost province [Anwarullah/Reuters]

The Taliban was responsible for 45 percent of civilian casualties while government troops caused 23 percent, it said. United States-led international forces were responsible for two percent.

Most of the remainder occurred in crossfire, or were caused by ISIL (ISIS) or “undetermined” anti-government or pro-government elements, according to the report.

Ground fighting caused the most casualties followed by suicide and roadside bomb attacks, targeted killings by the Taliban and air raids by Afghan troops, the UN mission said.

Fighting has sharply increased in several parts of the country in recent weeks as government negotiators and the Taliban have failed to make progress in the peace talks.

At least 24 people , mostly teens, were killed in a suicide bomb attack at an education centre in Kabul [Mohammad Ismail/Reuters]

The Taliban has been fighting the Afghan government since it was toppled from power in a US-led invasion in 2001.

Washington blamed the then-Taliban rulers for harbouring al-Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden. Al-Qaeda was accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks.

Calls for urgent reduction of violence

Meanwhile, the US envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, said on Tuesday that the level of violence in the country was still too high and the Kabul government and Taliban fighters must work harder towards forging a ceasefire at the Doha talks.

Khalilzad made the comments before heading to the Qatari capital to hold meetings with the two sides.

“I return to the region disappointed that despite commitments to lower violence, it has not happened. The window to achieve a political settlement will not stay open forever,” he said in a tweet.

There needs to be “an agreement on a reduction of violence leading to a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire”, added Khalilzad.

A deal in February between the US and the Taliban paved the way for foreign forces to leave Afghanistan by May 2021 in exchange for counterterrorism guarantees from the Taliban, which agreed to sit with the Afghan government to negotiate a permanent ceasefire and a power-sharing formula.

But progress at the intra-Afghan talks has been slow since their start in mid-September and diplomats and officials have warned that rising violence back home is sapping trust.

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