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The perfect gifts for every guy on your list

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(CNN) —  

We can’t believe it either, but yes, it’s already time to start thinking about the holidays and all the presents you’re going to get your loved ones this year. With many people stuck at home, it’s never too early to start thinking about the gifts you absolutely need to get.

To help you out, we’ve already started compiling our favorite holiday gifts, but if you’re still stuck and don’t know what to get the guy in your life, we can help with that too. Whether it’s for your dad, brother, husband or friend, we searched the web far and wide to find this year’s best gifts for any guy. We’ll be updating this list constantly as the holidays creep closer, so keep checking back for more gift-giving inspiration.

For the tech-head

Apple AirPods Pro ($219, originally $249; amazon.com)

Apple AirPods Pro
Apple AirPods Pro
PHOTO: Apple

If you still don’t have a pair of AirPods Pro, well, what are you waiting for? We named them the best true wireless earbuds of 2020 and for good reason too. They’re small, they produce top-notch sound and they have excellent noise cancellation second only to Bose’s brand-new QuietComfort Earbuds, according to our testing.

JBL Flip 5 ($89.95, originally $119.95; jbl.com)

JBL Flip 5
JBL Flip 5
PHOTO: JBL

Whether he likes to relax with some tunes in the backyard or needs his jams turned all the way up when cooking or cleaning, this portable JBL speaker can bring the party anywhere. Available in tons of colors, including a customizable option, this speaker in his favorite hue will be a gift to remember.

Sony WH-1000XM4 Over-Ear Headphones ($348; amazon.com)

Sony WH-1000XM4 Over-Ear Headphones
Sony WH-1000XM4 Over-Ear Headphones
PHOTO: Amazon

The newly released Sony WH-1000XM4s are really the top of the line when it comes to headphones. We tested them against some of the field’s best, including Bose, Beats and JBL, but the Sonys were so good we named them both the best over-ear headphones and the best noise-canceling headphones of 2020.

Apple Macbook Air (starting at $949.99; amazon.com)

Apple Macbook Air
Apple Macbook Air
PHOTO: Apple

If he’s been spending more time than ever on the computer, it might be time for an upgrade with the Apple Macbook Air, which we named the best overall laptop of 2020. It’s got a beautiful screen, a sleek design and tons of power to handle any task you throw at it.

Apple Watch Series 6 (starting at $499; amazon.com)

Apple Watch Series 6
Apple Watch Series 6
PHOTO: Amazon

What might end up being the hottest gift this holiday season is here. The Apple Watch Series 6 is the latest in Apple’s ever popular smartwatch series, and this edition comes packed with new features like blood oxygen monitoring and a ton of fun new colors. The new watch is so good, we named it the best smartwatch of 2020.

Bagsmart Electronic Organizer ($15.99; amazon.com)

Bagsmart Electronic Organizer
Bagsmart Electronic Organizer
PHOTO: Amazon

You love him but just cannot stand how unorganized all his tech gadgets and wires get. Help him organize with this nifty organizer bag that can fit all his cords, dongles, devices and chargers.

For the guy who’s always in the kitchen

Hamilton Beach Dual Breakfast Sandwich Maker ($39.99; amazon.com)

Hamilton Beach Dual Breakfast Sandwich Maker
Hamilton Beach Dual Breakfast Sandwich Maker
PHOTO: Amazon

Eating breakfast in the morning while scrolling through the first few emails of the day is a new luxury for many people who are working from home. If the guy in your life loves to start off his day with a hearty and healthy breakfast sandwich (or two), this maker from Hamilton Beach is the ultimate kitchen gadget to kick-start his mornings.

ThermoPro TP20 Wireless Remote Digital Cooking Food Meat Thermometer ($56.99, originally $59.99; amazon.com)

ThermoPro TP20 Wireless Remote Digital Cooking Food Meat Thermometer
ThermoPro TP20 Wireless Remote Digital Cooking Food Meat Thermometer

If he’s picked up cooking as a new hobby, this digital meat thermometer can help him cook his next meal to the perfect temperature, whether it’s a medium-rare rib-eye or a giant turkey that’s been in the oven all day.

Cuisinart GR-4NP1 5-in-1 Griddler ($79; amazon.com)

Cuisinart GR-4NP1 5-in-1 Griddler
Cuisinart GR-4NP1 5-in-1 Griddler
PHOTO: Amazon

This 5-in-1 countertop griddler is the perfect addition to any guy’s kitchen if he enjoys cooking Sunday pancakes, the occasional weeknight burger dinner or even a quick lunchtime panini. With grill, griddle and panini capabilities, he’ll be breaking this gadget out all the time. Plus, its cooking plates are dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup.

Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffee Pot ($21.50, originally $25; amazon.com)

Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffee Pot
Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffee Pot
PHOTO: Amazon

For the caffeine junkies in your life, having a pitcher of cold brew in the fridge is a must. There’s nothing like pouring a cup from this Hario Mizudashi cold brew pot for your afternoon coffee kick. It was our pick for the best cold brew coffee maker of 2020 and loved it for its sleek design and, of course, killer cold brew.

Truff Gourmet Hot Sauce ($17.98; amazon.com)

Truff Gourmet Hot Sauce
Truff Gourmet Hot Sauce
PHOTO: Amazon

For the guy who likes to turn up the heat, this gourmet hot sauce comes highly recommended from experts and editors alike. Packed with chili peppers, black truffle oil, agave nectar and more, this complex sauce is not only spicy, but its unique and delicious flavor will have him reaching for it again and again.

Rastelli’s Wagyu Burgers, 12-Pack ($59; rastellis.com)

Rastelli
Rastelli’s Wagyu Burgers, 12-Pack
PHOTO: Rastelli’s

If he’s a meat eater through and through, ordering him a pack of high-quality burgers for delivery is sure to get his mouth watering. This set from Rastelli’s comes with 12 beautifully marbled Wagyu burgers, but if burgers aren’t his thing, the meat delivery company offers tons of different alternatives such as rib-eyes, bacon and what might be the best salmon we’ve ever had.

For the one who wants to be comfy

The Comfy Original Oversized Microfiber & Sherpa Wearable Blanket ($39.99, originally $44.99; amazon.com)

The Comfy Original Oversized Microfiber & Sherpa Wearable Blanket
The Comfy Original Oversized Microfiber & Sherpa Wearable Blanket

We all know a guy who’s always trying to be comfy. Whether he wears his favorite hoodie or takes virtual meetings in his boxers, he’ll never wear anything uncomfortable. If that’s the case, this wearable blanket called The Comfy is a must-have. It’s oversized and made with microfiber and plush Sherpa so he can cuddle up on the couch in ultimate comfort.

Nautica Men’s Soft Woven 100% Cotton Elastic Waistband Sleep Pajama Pant (starting at $22.99; amazon.com)

Nautica Men
Nautica Men’s Soft Woven 100% Cotton Elastic Waistband Sleep Pajama Pant
PHOTO: Amazon

Another gift for the guy always trying to be cozy, these loose-fitting pajama pants are made from soft cotton and have an elastic waistband so he can relax.

Men’s Wicked Good Moccasins ($79; llbean.com)

Men
Men’s Wicked Good Moccasins
PHOTO: L.L.Bean

To finish off his new wardrobe of comfort essentials, these moccasins from L.L.Bean are the ultimate relief from tired feet. Stuffed with memory foam and shearling, these will keep his feet warm and cozy through the winter months and beyond.

Lululemon ABC Jogger ($128; lululemon.com)

Lululemon ABC Jogger
Lululemon ABC Jogger
PHOTO: Lululemon

With these joggers from Lululemon, you don’t have to choose between style and comfort when shopping for your man. With a fashionable cut and silhouette, and an incredibly cozy lining made of 100% recycled polyester, he’s never going to want to take these pants off.

For the wannabe fashionista

Allbirds Men’s Wool Jumper ($135; allbirds.com)

Allbirds Men
Allbirds Men’s Wool Jumper
PHOTO: Allbirds

Cashmere sweaters are a closet staple every man and woman should have. But more often than not, they’re so expensive they don’t really seem worth it. Well, beloved shoe brand Allbirds (yeah, that Allbirds) has officially dipped its toes in clothes, and this wool jumper has really caught our eye. Available in black, gray and a limited-edition purple, it looks stylish, cozy and, most importantly, it falls in line with Allbirds’ focus on sustainability.

Patagonia Classic Retro-X Jacket ($199; backcountry.com)

Patagonia Classic Retro-X Jacket
Patagonia Classic Retro-X Jacket
PHOTO: Backcountry

Cold weather is right around the corner (if it hasn’t already hit you yet), so to keep him nice and warm while still looking good, get him this retro jacket from Patagonia. It’s made from super-fluffy and comfy fleece, perfect for cold days lounging around the house or when he has to brave the chilly temps to run errands.

The North Face Thermoball Eco Jacket ($199; thenorthface.com)

The North Face Thermoball Eco Jacket
The North Face Thermoball Eco Jacket
PHOTO: The North Face

If you think he wants a sleeker jacket that he can pack down and take anywhere, The North Face’s Thermoball is the way to go. Made from postconsumer recycled content and available in 12 stylish colors, he’ll bring this jacket with him everywhere he goes.

Carhartt Washed Duck Sherpa-Lined Jacket (starting at $119.99; carhartt.com)

Carhartt Washed Duck Sherpa-Lined Jacket
Carhartt Washed Duck Sherpa-Lined Jacket
PHOTO: Carhartt

For the rough and tough, he needs a durable jacket he can rely on. Luckily, Carhartt makes some of the sturdiest clothing on the market, and its Sherpa-lined jacket is no exception. Made with the brand’s famous cotton duck material, it’s ready for the coldest and windiest of days.

Other gift ideas for guys

Wahl Stainless Steel Lithium Ion Beard Trimmer ($59.99; target.com)

Wahl Stainless Steel Lithium Ion Beard Trimmer
Wahl Stainless Steel Lithium Ion Beard Trimmer
PHOTO: Target

Some of these quarantine beards are getting out of hand, we know. If the man in your life looks like he’s ready to build himself a cabin in the woods, it might be high time for a trim, in which case you can’t get much better than this lithium ion beard trimmer from Wahl. It was our performance pick when we tested the best beard trimmers of 2020, and we loved its ability to shave clean lines and its long-lasting battery.

Yeti Rambler 26-Ounce Bottle ($39.98; amazon.com)

Yeti Rambler 26-Ounce Bottle
Yeti Rambler 26-Ounce Bottle
PHOTO: Amazon

Our runner-up when we looked for the best water bottle of 2020, the Yeti Rambler is incredibly durable and, thanks to its dual-wall insulation, can keep drinks hot or cold for hours on end.

Knock Knock What I Love About Dad Fill in the Love Book ($9.95, originally $11.80; amazon.com)

Knock Knock What I Love About Dad Fill in the Love Book
Knock Knock What I Love About Dad Fill in the Love Book
PHOTO: Amazon

If you’re trying to bring on the waterworks this holiday season, this fill-in-the-blank book gives you plenty of opportunities to get all sentimental and show your dad how much you really love him.

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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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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.

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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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