The Morning After: Engadget’s 2021 holiday gift guide

It might be time to start shopping.

Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

It’s only a payday (or possibly two) away from the holiday season, and with supply difficulties for retailers, manufacturers and everyone in between, it might pay to get ahead of the crowd for some of the most desirable gifts.

While we can’t promise to source you a PS5 or OLED Switch, we’ve got ideas for the game streamer, the creative, the pet parent and more. Naturally, we’ve got camera, laptop and smartphone buying guidance, too. We’re Engadget, after all.

We also have the return of our popular sub-$100 gift selections, along with ideas for stocking stuffers that come in under $50. My pick would be Anker’s tiny Nano II charger. It’s USB-C and ready for high-speed device charging. If you’ve picked up a new phone in the last year and a half, you might have missed the in-box charger. This is probably faster at charging than your years-old Apple charging brick.

— Mat Smith

Zhiyun's three-axis camera gimbal has pretty much everything

Including an LED light, small display and Bluetooth camera control.

The Morning After

You’ve probably heard or seen DJI's gimbals, but rival Zhiyun actually carries more models — particularly those designed for mirrorless, DSLR and cinema cameras. Its three-axis Crane M3, designed for mirrorless cameras, is about the size of a water bottle and offers tilt, roll and pan axes, with locks for each. It works with smartphones and, Zhiyun claims, 90 percent of mirrorless cameras. It also has a quarter-inch adapter, so you can connect a professional microphone to an expansion base and run a second cable to the camera. It’s now available to order starting at $369 (£369) for the standard package.

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2021 Security Outcomes Study for Small Businesses

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Wind and solar could meet 85 percent of current US electricity needs

Renewable sources may meet most power demands in 'advanced, industrialized nations'.

Wind and solar power could meet around 85 percent of US electricity needs, according to a paper published in Nature Communications. Batteries, capacity overbuilding and other storage options could increase that figure. The report found that most reliable systems, in which wind power is prevalent, can meet energy needs between 72 and 91 percent of the time in the countries they studied, and that's before any storage considerations. Add the capacity to store up to 12 hours of energy, and these renewable energy sources can meet between 83 and 94 percent of hourly energy needs.

There is a caveat though: The researchers noted even when wind and solar sources can power over 90 percent of a region's energy needs, there would still be hundreds of hours per year when demand isn't met.

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Walmart is using driverless trucks to complete a seven-mile delivery loop

It's between a fulfillment center and store in Arkansas.

The Morning After

Walmart, working with startup Gatik, has started its fully driverless box truck deliveries between its own locations on a fixed seven-mile loop in Bentonville, Arkansas. The route involves negotiating "intersections, traffic lights and merging on dense urban roads," the companies said.

The new service is part of Walmart's transition to a hub-and-spoke model with warehouses or fulfilment centers closer to customers. This means smaller warehouses, so "there is a growing need for doing repeated trips from the fulfilment centers to the pickup points," Gatik CEO Gautam Narang told CNBC.

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Disney+ will let you watch 'Shang-Chi' and 12 Marvel films in a large IMAX format

You'll see smaller black bars on your TV during IMAX sequences.

You can expect to see Shang-Chi and an array of Marvel movies in movie-theater style large IMAX proportions later this week. The 1.90:1 IMAX aspect ratio will look up to 26 percent taller than the typical 2.35:1 widescreen format in Marvel films, so those annoying black bars will almost disappear while you're watching scenes shot in IMAX. It’s not properly IMAX, which is so square it has enormous black bars on the sides of your TV — see Zack Snyder's Justice League for how that goes.

Shang-Chi will come to the service on November 12th, along with 12 other IMAX-enhanced Marvel movies.

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AMD's first Zen 4 CPUs include a 128-core chip built for the cloud

Ryzen chips for we mere commoners will have to wait.

AMD has unveiled its first processors based on its new Zen 4 architecture, and they promise a lot of brawn... at least for some users. AnandTech notes AMD has outlined its early Zen 4 roadmap during a virtual data center event, and the first two CPU families are Epyc chips, aimed at servers and other heavy-duty computing tasks.

The star of the show may be Bergamo. It's designed for cloud computing and emphasizes core density — AMD is promising up to 128 cores in a single CPU. This beastly chip won’t appear until the first half of 2023.

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