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The Morning After: The best things we bought in 2021

Our end-of-year coverage kicks off this week, covering the major tech stories of the year (hi, billionaires in space) and, closer to Earth, the gear that the Engadget team spent their money on in the last eleven-and-a-half months. It runs the gamut from Apple Watches to smart bike trainers and, er, socks.

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I discuss my love for the OLED Switch, which I upgraded to from my launch edition of Nintendo’s hybrid console. The screen is gorgeous, as are the white Joy-Cons, but the biggest boon coming from the first Switch iteration is the substantial battery boost. It also seems like Nintendo’s stock of the new Switch is a little more stable, so chances of getting one this holiday season seem better than earlier this year. Oh and Metroid Dread runs like a dream on it.

— Mat Smith

The Standard Range models will carry a ‘mere’ 98 kWh battery.

Ford quietly revealed the battery capacities available on its Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup, Auto Evolution reported. To start with, the Standard Range model, with a projected 230 miles of range, will come with a 98 kWh battery pack. Meanwhile, the optional Extended Range version (300 miles targeted) will have a massive 131 kWh battery.

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Other specs include a 300Hz 1080p display and 93Wh battery.

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LG

LG is best known for its lightweight Gram 17 laptop, but now it wants some of that gaming PC pie. It’s revealed what it calls its “first gaming laptop” with some high-end specs. The 17-inch UltraGear 17G90Q model packs an 11th-generation Intel Tiger Lake H CPU, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Max-Q graphics, up to 32GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. A 300Hz 1080p IPS display should keep the battery life suitably lengthy, while the design aesthetic seems heavily inspired by Razer’s laptop series and other existing gaming PCs. There’s no pricing yet, but LG will reveal more details at CES 2022 on January 4th.

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Unfortunately, they all came back 30 minutes later.

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Virgin Galactic

Instead of the two most powerful empires on the planet vying to be first to the moon, we now have corporations — Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic — boasting a future filled with exo-planetary tourism. In 2021, the heads of these private companies finally made good on their myriad promises, successfully launching civilians, astronauts and, in two cases, themselves into the uppermost reaches of Earth’s atmosphere. Andrew Tarantola plots the launches, delays and drama of the civilian space race.

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The company filed a lawsuit in California to uncover the identities of those behind the attacks.

Meta has to “uncover the identities” of a group of people that created more than 39,000 websites designed to trick users into coughing up their login credentials for Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

People were redirected to bogus websites in a way that allowed the hackers to hide their actions. “This enabled them to conceal the true location of the phishing websites, and the identities of their online hosting providers and the defendants,” Meta said.

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It’s reversing the Trump-era rollback.

By 2026, the Environmental Protection Agency will require that automaker fleets travel an average of about 55 miles per gallon, up from the 37 miles per gallon standard they’re held to as of this year.

The agency estimates the policy will save American drivers between $210 billion and $420 billion through 2050 on fuel costs. Over the life of a model year 2026 vehicle, that should translate to about $1,080 in individual consumer savings. It marks President Biden’s most significant climate action to date. As of 2019, the transportation sector remains the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the US.

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The biggest news stories you might have missed

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.


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