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Protect your iPhone 12 with these stylish, durable cases

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(CNN) —  

There are four new iPhone models on the way: 12 Mini, 12, 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max. From a camera upgrade to a durable screen, your new iPhone will be one epic device. That being said, we want you to keep your newest device protected and stylish while highlighting the phone’s greatest features.

But first, with Apple no longer including wall plugs in the box, in order to reduce its carbon footprint, we have a few replacements to recommend. If you need one, we like the Anker Nano ($19.99; amazon.com) or the Belkin Boost Charge ($34.95, originally $49.99; amazon.com). Both can fast charge your iPhone and will work with the included USB-C to Lightning cable. You can check out our other recommendations for Apple MFi-certified Lightning cables.

Whether you’re opting for a bold new color (like Pacific Blue or green) or choosing a sleek metallic finish, we’ve found cases that will work perfectly. Plus, we’ve picked out our top screen protectors to ensure that screen is scratch- and crack-free.

Leather cases

Rugged Case ($49.95; nomadgoods.com)

Rugged Case
Rugged Case
PHOTO: Nomad Goods

Nomad’s leather accessories look classic and get better over time. This light brown Horween leather case has an internal shock bumper to protect from drops. It’s also available for the iPhone 12 Pro Max and 12 Mini.

Rugged Leather Folio Case ($69.95; nomadgoods.com)

Rugged Folio
Rugged Folio
PHOTO: Nomad Goods

This case covers your entire phone with a folio that keeps your screen clear and doubles as a wallet. Boasting the ability to hold three cards and cash, it’s available for the 12 Pro Max and 12 Mini.

Leather Custom iPhone Case ($50; casetify.com)

 Leather Custom iPhone Case
Leather Custom iPhone Case
PHOTO: Casetify

This customizable option from Casetify pairs leather with a personalized monogram. If you want to show off your personal style in sleek leather, this is the option.

Clear cases

iPhone 12 Pro Max Clear Case With MagSafe ($49; amazon.com)

iPhone 12 Pro Max Clear Case With MagSafe
iPhone 12 Pro Max Clear Case With MagSafe
PHOTO: Apple

Apple’s own clear case will show off the beautiful finish of your phone while keeping it protected. And, of course, it’s MagSafe-compatible, making charging a breeze. It’s available for the iPhone 12/12 Pro and iPhone 12 Mini.

Custom iPhone Case ($45; casetify.com)

Personalize your case with your name or monogram. Choose between different fonts and colors to create a case that’s every bit as exciting as your new phone.

Tough Groove for iPhone 12 Pro Max ($40; case-mate.com)

Tough Groove for iPhone 12 Pro Max
Tough Groove for iPhone 12 Pro Max
PHOTO: Case-Mate

This iridescent case adds a fun dose of color to the back of your iPhone. It also offers 10-foot drop protection, and the raised groove provides a tactile feel for a nice grip.

Soap Bubble for iPhone 12 & 12 Pro ($40; case-mate.com)

Soap Bubble for iPhone 12 & 12 Pro
Soap Bubble for iPhone 12 & 12 Pro
PHOTO: Case-Mate

Another iridescent option, the Soap Bubble case highlights your iPhone with swirls of color. It’s also equipped with MicroPel, Case-Mate’s antimicrobial protection.

Crystal Palace Case ($39.99; zagg.com)

Crystal Palace Case
Crystal Palace Case
PHOTO: Zagg

This slim option offers drop protection up to 13 feet, is soft to the touch and adds a chic iridescent flair.

Totallee Thin iPhone Case for iPhone 12 & 12 Pro ($35; amazon.com)

Totallee Thin iPhone Case for iPhone 12 & 12 Pro
Totallee Thin iPhone Case for iPhone 12 & 12 Pro
PHOTO: Amazon

A super-slim option with a rubbery finish for added grip, this case pick from Totallee will show off your device while keeping it safe from accidents. It’s available for the 12 Pro Max and 12 Mini.

Environmentally friendly cases

Organicore for iPhone 12 & 12 Pro ($39.99; incipio.com)

Organicore for iPhone 12 & 12 Pro
Organicore for iPhone 12 & 12 Pro
PHOTO: Incipio

This 100% compostable case is derived from plant-based material and provides drop protection up to 8 feet.

Honey Bee Edition Wallet Case ($54.95; pelacase.com)

Honey Bee Edition Wallet Case
Honey Bee Edition Wallet Case
PHOTO: Pela

This 100% compostable case is eco-friendly, protective and functional, with a wallet that can carry two cards. The material is soft and durable to protect your phone.

Clear Eco-Friendly iPhone Case ($44.95; pelacase.com)

Clear Eco-Friendly iPhone Case
Clear Eco-Friendly iPhone Case
PHOTO: Pela

If you want a case that will highlight your bold iPhone color but also provide protection, this case from Pela deserves a look. Choose from a variety of border colors paired with a clear back for a clean look (and, of course, the case is 100% compostable).

Wake Case for iPhone 12 Mini ($39.99; lifeproof.com)

Wake Case for iPhone 12 Mini
Wake Case for iPhone 12 Mini
PHOTO: Lifeproof

Lifeproof’s Wake is crafted from over 85% of ocean-based recycled plastics. It’s a case that repurposes plastic to help the Earth while protecting your phone.

Next Case for iPhone 12 and 12 Pro ($79.99; lifeproof.com)

Next Case for iPhone 12 and 12 Pro
Next Case for iPhone 12 and 12 Pro
PHOTO: Lifeproof

This case is made with more than 50% recycled materials and is clear with a colorful siding. It’s a super-durable case that will protect your device while showing it off in the best way possible.

FRE Case for iPhone 12 and 12 Pro ($89.99; lifeproof.com)

FRE Case for iPhone 12 and 12 Pro
FRE Case for iPhone 12 and 12 Pro
PHOTO: Lifeproof

While on the pricier side, this case is 100% waterproof and made of over 60% recycled materials. It’s a slim profile with a simple modern design that’s sealed off everywhere so you’re ready to take on adventures.

Solid-color cases

iPhone 12/12 Pro Silicone Case With MagSafe ($49; amazon.com)

Available in a variety of colors, this simple silicone case keeps your phone protected while adding a nice pop of color. It’s also available for the iPhone 12 Pro Max and the iPhone 12 Mini.

Battersea Case for the iPhone 12 Mini ($49.99; zagg.com)

Battersea Case for the iPhone 12 Mini
Battersea Case for the iPhone 12 Mini
PHOTO: Zagg

Upping its game, Gear4 offers drop protection up to 16 feet with the Battersea Case. It features a grooved back and a slim profile.

Wrap Case for iPhone 12 & 12 Pro ($49.99; incipio.com)

Wrap Case for iPhone 12 & 12 Pro
Wrap Case for iPhone 12 & 12 Pro
PHOTO: Incipio

The Wrap case features a soft touch interior that won’t scratch your phone and a premium black crumb finish. It’s available for the 12 Pro Max and 12 Mini.

Duo for iPhone 12 & 12 Pro ($29.99; incipio.com)

Duo for iPhone 12 & 12 Pro
Duo for iPhone 12 & 12 Pro
PHOTO: Incipio

The Duo offers 12-foot drop protection and is scratch-resistant. The soft touch finish is sleek, and the color options range from subtle to bold. It’s available for the 12 Pro Max and 12 Mini as well.

Aneu Series Case With MagSafe ($49.95; otterbox.com)

Aneu Series Case With MagSafe
Aneu Series Case With MagSafe
PHOTO: Otterbox

Another new series from OtterBox, the Aneu cases support MagSafe. If you’re looking for a simpler design, this comes in four solid colors. It’s available for the 12 Mini and 12 Pro Max.

Kung Fu Grip ($14.99; smartish.com)

Kung Fu Grip
Kung Fu Grip
PHOTO: Smartish

This simple case has grippy sides to help you hold onto your device. If you happen to drop it, though, there are protective air-pocket corners that will provide a nice cushion.

Wembley Palette ($29.99; zagg.com)

Wembley Palette
Wembley Palette
PHOTO: Zagg

The reinforced top, bottom and corners on this case make it extra durable and protective. It’s available in three color options: smoke, a chic navy blue and a bold saffron yellow. It’s available for the 12 Pro Max and 12 Mini.

Wallet Slayer Vol. 2 ($24.99; smartish.com)

Wallet Slayer Vol. 2
Wallet Slayer Vol. 2
PHOTO: Smartish

The wallet built into this case can fit up to three cards and cash. It also has a credit card kickstand and high grip textured sides for a case that provides ultimate functionality at a relatively low price.

Presidio Perfect-Mist for iPhone 12 Pro Max ($44.95; speckproducts.com)

Presidio2 Grip
Presidio2 Grip
PHOTO: Speck Products

The soft-touch matte finish of this case resists discoloration and has anti-yellowing materials so it always looks frosty and flawless. It’s available for the iPhone 12/12 Pro and 12 Mini.

Presidio2 Grip ($44.95; speckproducts.com)

Presidio Perfect-Mist for iPhone 12 Pro Max
Presidio Perfect-Mist for iPhone 12 Pro Max
PHOTO: Speck Products

This case is a classic Speck design with no-slip grips on the side and Amour Cloud technology to keep your phone protected from falls up to 13 feet. It’s available for the 12 Pro Max and 12 Mini.

Patterned cases

Symmetry Series Graphics Case ($49.95; otterbox.com)

Symmetry Series Graphics Case
Symmetry Series Graphics Case
PHOTO: Otterbox

This one-piece case features a black marble design with pops of gold that gives it a very chic look. Plus, you’re getting OtterBox’s durable protection from bumps, drops and other accidents. It’s available for the 12 Pro Max and 12 Mini.

Camo Light Blue ($45; casetify.com)

Camo Light Blue
Camo Light Blue
PHOTO: Casetify

A simple camouflage pattern in muted blue tones makes this case stylish. It comes on Casetify’s Impact Case, which is lightweight while also adding protection to your device.

Figura Series Case With MagSafe ($49.95; otterbox.com)

Figura Series Case with MagSafe
Figura Series Case with MagSafe
PHOTO: Otterbox

The Figura series launched with the announcement of the iPhone 12 and is designed to interact with MagSafe. It’s made of a flexible soft-touch material and comes in a variety of colors to show off your artistic side. It’s available for the 12 Pro Max and 12 Mini.

Razer Artech Pro for iPhone 12 & 12 Pro ($44.99; razer.com)

Razer Artech Pro for iPhone 12 & 12 Pro
Razer Artech Pro for iPhone 12 & 12 Pro
PHOTO: Razer

The iPhone’s gameplay is optimized in the new models, and this case from Razer pairs perfectly. It features Thermaphene technology to keep your phone cool while your game heats up.

Sunset by Ali Yeadon Case ($55; casetify.com)

Sunset by Ali Yeadon Case
Sunset by Ali Yeadon Case
PHOTO: Casetify

This case has a sunset design on the back for a dreamy vibe. We like this case paired with the new gold iPhone color option for a look that’s perfectly Insta-worthy.

Harmony Case With Unequal Technology ($44.95; bodyguardz.com)

Harmony Case with Unequal Technology
Harmony Case with Unequal Technology
PHOTO: Bodyguardz

A transparent ombre design on the back adds fun color in an eye-catching way with this case. It has shock-absorbing bumpers to keep your phone protected from drops up to 10 feet.

Screen protectors

Glass Elite Privacy+ ($44.99; zagg.com)

Glass Elite Privacy+
Glass Elite Privacy+
PHOTO: Zagg

Smooth aluminosilicate is treated with a two-way filter that provides full-screen privacy when viewed from the side to keep your phone screen private when using this screen protector. It’s available for the 12 Pro Max and 12 Mini.

Glass Elite Vision Guard+ ($49.99; zagg.com)

Glass Elite Vision Guard+
Glass Elite Vision Guard+
PHOTO: Zagg

This option has reinforced edges to protect the corners of your screen to prevent chips and cracks. It also features a blue light filter to prevent digital eye strain. It’s available for the 12 Pro Max and 12 Mini.

Glass Elite Anti-Glare+ ($44.99; zagg.com)

Glass Elite Anti-Glare+
Glass Elite Anti-Glare+
PHOTO: Zagg

The matte finish on this screen protector reduces glare from direct light so you can use your phone anywhere. It’s available for the 12 Pro Max and 12 Mini.

Pure 2 Eyeguard ($39.96, originally $49.95; bodyguardz.com)

Pure 2 Eyeguard
Pure 2 Eyeguard

This screen protector filters out up to 43% of harmful blue light. It will also cover your screen from edge to edge for protection all around. It’s available for the 12 Pro Max and 12 Mini.

PTRX Shatterproof Synthetic Glass Screen Protector ($35.96, originally $44.95; bodyguardz.com)

PTRX Shatterproof Synthetic Glass Screen Protector
PTRX Shatterproof Synthetic Glass Screen Protector
PHOTO: Bodyguardz

PTRX is engineered for extra-strong impact protection and has touch sensitivity like glass. It’s shatterproof and water- and smudge-resistant. It’s available for the 12 Pro Max and 12 Mini.

Amplify Glass Antimicrobial Screen Protector ($49.95; otterbox.com)

Amplify Glass Antimicrobial Screen Protector
Amplify Glass Antimicrobial Screen Protector
PHOTO: Otterbox

This pick has anti-scratch defense for vivid clarity and features antimicrobial agents to help keep your phone screen as clean as possible. It’s available for the 12 Pro Max and 12 Mini.

Amplify Glass Blue Light Guard Screen Protector ($54.95; otterbox.com)

Amplify Glass Blue Light Guard Screen Protector
Amplify Glass Blue Light Guard Screen Protector
PHOTO: Otterbox

With shatter-resistant drop protection and reinforced edges, this screen protector provides protection for your phone and your eyes. It filters out blue light from your screen to keep your eyes sharp. It’s available for the 12 Pro Max and 12 Mini.

Amplify Glass Privacy Guard Screen Protector ($54.95; otterbox.com)

Amplify Glass Privacy Guard Screen Protector
Amplify Glass Privacy Guard Screen Protector
PHOTO: Otterbox

Another privacy option, the Amplify Glass Privacy Guard will keep unwanted eyes off your screen. It’s also scratch-resistant and has antimicrobial technology. It’s available for the 12 Pro Max and 12 Mini.

CleanScreenz Antimicrobial Ultra Glass Screen Protector ($35; case-mate.com)

CleanScreenz Antimicrobial Ultra Glass Screen Protector
CleanScreenz Antimicrobial Ultra Glass Screen Protector
PHOTO: Case-Mate

This tempered glass screen protector has built-in antimicrobial protection and offers shatter protection two times stronger than an unprotected screen. It’s available for the 12 Pro Max and 12 Mini.

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World

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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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.

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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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