Dec 31, 21:00

Kotaku Friday, December 31, 2021 7:10 PM

We're closing out the year with a little bit of advice, some utility, and maybe even some mirth. In this line of work, we try out a ton of products, some of which you read about on this very site. Not all of them, though. Sometimes, the things that make the biggest impact on our lives are items that don't get an…


Kotaku Friday, December 31, 2021 4:45 PM

2021 is basically done. Old news! Now all people care about is this hot new thing called 2022, and its many, many release dates. Have you heard about our upcoming stacked February? Even taking into account that the pandemic and supply issues will likely shift some things around and cause some delays, the year still…


PCGamesN Friday, December 31, 2021 4:11 PM
     Best PC gaming hardware of 2021

We're leaving 2021 with mixed feelings. While the great chip shortage rages on, making it nearly impossible to grab a new graphics card at retail price, it's not all bad news. Brands are still putting out some of the best hardware we've seen to date, from lightweight gaming mice to RTX-adorned gaming laptops and CPUs that usher in support for next-generation technologies.

We saw the introduction of DDR5 RAM and some musings about PCIe 5.0, despite Intel only just joining the PCIe 4.0 bandwagon earlier this year. Eve and Asus duked it out to debut the first gaming monitor with HDMI 2.1 and 4K at 144Hz has since become more widely available as a result. And AIO coolers got even cooler, with the MSI MEG CoreLiquid S360 bringing a screen that also plays .mp4 videos as well as gifs.

With some products barely even touching shelves, we've avoided the fanfare of an awards ceremony, but still wanted to showcase our favourite hardware from the year.

RELATED LINKS: Best SSD for gaming, How to build a gaming PC, Best gaming CPU

Twinfinite Friday, December 31, 2021 3:52 PM

Third-party developers revealed new assets and dev updates for their Microsoft Flight Simulator add-ons, while two airports have been released.

The post Microsoft Flight Simulator Embraer E170 DC-10/KC-10, & Rome Fiumicino Airport Get New Screenshots; Wakkanai & Aarhus Released appeared first on Twinfinite.

Siliconera Friday, December 31, 2021 3:00 PM

We here at Siliconera have named our platform-specific awards, but this is the big one: our overall Game of the Year 2021!

The post Siliconera's Overall Game of the Year 2021 appeared first on Siliconera.

Destructoid Friday, December 31, 2021 8:25 PM

Happy New Year! Tonight we'll be entering 2022 together, and I'm honored to share that with you! We'll also be...

The post We're streaming Inscryption and Red Dead Redemption 2 appeared first on Destructoid.

Destructoid Friday, December 31, 2021 6:00 PM

Pandemic: Year 2 Edition It has been a long and strenuous year, but hopefully, you and your loved ones have...

The post It's time to vote for the Destructoid 2021 Community Game of the Year appeared first on Destructoid.

Destructoid Friday, December 31, 2021 5:30 PM

That was a close one As we spend yet another holiday in quarantine, especially one that usually means celebrating with...

The post This Animal Crossing player saved their New Year's celebration from a tarantula attack appeared first on Destructoid.

Destructoid Friday, December 31, 2021 5:00 PM

Starting a fresh save is fun… but at what cost? It's been an exhausting year. I look to video games...

The post Does anyone else get new game fatigue? appeared first on Destructoid.

Destructoid Friday, December 31, 2021 4:30 PM

What's something that new players might overlook in a game you know really well? A simple but thought-provoking Twitter prompt...

The post Gamers are sharing their best beginner advice for their favorite games, and it's a wholesome topic appeared first on Destructoid.

Destructoid Friday, December 31, 2021 4:00 PM

It's easy to forget January 2021 In a bid to show us just how active the popular Nintendo platform was...

The post Here's an extremely comprehensive infographic of the Switch in 2021 appeared first on Destructoid.

Destructoid Friday, December 31, 2021 3:30 PM

From Activision Blizzard to NFTs, it's been a long year The year 2021 is finally coming to a close, and...

The post The biggest gaming stories of 2021 appeared first on Destructoid.

Destructoid Friday, December 31, 2021 3:00 PM

I had my Christmas on Stardoll The first way I spent the holidays online was through dress up games. Of...

The post Dressing up the holidays appeared first on Destructoid.

Destructoid Friday, December 31, 2021 2:30 PM

Kojima Productions is working on another 'big title' Although we might be waiting a bit for Kojima's new game beyond...

The post Kojima's new game will 'challenge different mediums and expressions' appeared first on Destructoid.

PC Invasion - FeedDDD Friday, December 31, 2021 6:00 PM
     Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown PC portEarlier this year, Sega, for the company's 60th anniversary, released a new version of Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown called Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown. This re-release of the 2006 original featured updated graphics utilizing the Dragon Engine that powers the Yakuza series. The game released for free on PlayStation Plus, and according to the series producer, Seiji Aoki, it was a huge success. So much so that a Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown PC port is now a distinct possibility. In an interview with Japanese publication Dengeki Online, Aoki goes over the game's quick development time. The team had just a little over a year to get the game out the door in time for Sega's 60th anniversary. If you have been around the fighting game scene for awhile, you have probably heard of the infamous "Capcom Test." This refers to when a developer releases something small to gauge interest on a possible, much bigger follow up. The biggest example being the...

Player Assist | Game Guides & Walkthroughs Friday, December 31, 2021 3:43 PM
     New region updates in Genshin Impact are not complete without new bosses you can fight and grind materials from—or challenge. In Seirai Island—the region in Inazuma that an ever-going lightning storm has engulfed—there inhabits an Electro elemental being called the Thunder Manifestation. This creature is believed to have been formed from the remnants of the […]

Pivotal Gamers Friday, December 31, 2021 8:10 PM
     What's up folks? We have another great giveaway from for Toree 3D. This is what they say. Get Toree 3D for FREE! A few words about Toree 3D A bite-sized PSX 3D Platformer with a few …weird elements. Last minute notes Login with your account, follow the on-screen instructions to add it to your library. So what are you waiting for? Click on the button below to claim your ...

Dec 31, 14:00

Kotaku Friday, December 31, 2021 1:50 PM

It's funny to think how, just seven short years ago, we were sketching out our video game resolutions for 2021. Now we're back at it, planning our hopes and dreams for how we'll play and think about games in 2022.


PCGamesN Friday, December 31, 2021 12:36 PM
     2021's Mod of the Year is an epic open-world Gothic II total conversion

Players have voted an open-world mod for a 16-year-old RPG as Mod of the Year 2021 on ModDB. The epic Gothic II Chronicles Of Myrtana total conversion only released this month but has been selected as the best mod of the year by the community - beating out the likes of Black Mesa: Blue Shift.

Gothic II was released back in 2005 as the latest well-received action RPG from Piranha Bytes - who would go on to create the similar Risen series and is currently working on ELEX II for a March release date. The Chronicles Of Myrtana mod is a huge total conversion for Gothic II that features a new open-world, skills, mechanics, story, and even voice acting.

It's available on both ModDB and Steam and only released in full on December 10 - and players loved it immediately. On Steam it's currently rated as 'Overwhelmingly Positive' from over 5000 reviews - by comparison, Gothic II itself is rated as merely 'Very Positive' from around 6500 reviews.

PCGamesN Friday, December 31, 2021 11:37 AM
     Yae Miko has been confirmed as the next Genshin Impact character

It's long been rumoured but has now finally been confirmed that the next Genshin Impact character after 2.4 will indeed be Yae Miko. Developer Mihoyo had already included her in the game, but now it's likely that a Genshin Impact Yae Miko banner is surely coming soon in 2022 - and we've got some new character details too.

Yae Miko is one of the main NPCs that Genshin Impact players meet as part of the Inazuma storyline and is the chief priest or Guuji of the Grand Narukami Shrine on Mt. Yougou, Narukami Island. In a tweet from Mihoyo last new year's eve, Ayaka was Yae's first guest of the year.

It was very clear that she was being set up as a proper future playable character and now Mihoyo has finally confirmed it. She won't appear in version 2.4, which drops next week, as that will focus on new characters Shenhe and Yun Jin - but Yae Miko is instead strongly rumoured for Genshin Impact 2.5, which may hit around February.

RELATED LINKS: Play Genshin Impact for free, Genshin Impact character tier list, Genshin Impact leveling guide

PCGamesN Friday, December 31, 2021 10:55 AM
     Destiny 2 streamer UhMaayyze talks rapping, mindset, and Dragon Ball

It's another day of Destiny 2 streaming for Detrick 'UhMaayyze' Houchens, and he and his team have zone advantage in The Dead Cliffs. Uhmaayyze is rocking a sniper rifle/hand cannon combo with a sword in his back pocket, and as he's pushing with his team toward point A, he's rapping the action on the screen, an old-school beat backing up his flow.

"'Maayyze, what's your favourite move?' I call it Dawnblade," he rhymes as he pops his Warlock super. "Hey, don't run from me, I'm too fast, I be moving like he's moving now, I'm too fabulous!" He slices an enemy who's fled around a doorway into the Depot area, and takes out another with a fiery Dawnblade swing for a double play.

The clips Houchens shares on Twitter of his live Destiny 2 freestyle sessions are almost frustrating to watch: it seems like it should be impossible to be an effective Crucible player while simultaneously composing and performing rhymes that describe exactly what's happening in the game. But he says that combining his love of freestyling with Destiny, which he's been playing since the 2014 beta, has resulted in getting better at both.

PCGamesN Friday, December 31, 2021 10:24 AM
     Sea of Thieves devs' Everwild

It's looking basically certain that Everwild - the next game from Sea of Thieves developer Rare - has suffered from a troubled development since it was announced all the way back in 2019. It's been rebooted once, apparently, and a new rumour suggests that Everwild is "a real mess" and even its developers "don't really know what's going on".

As mentioned, Everwild was announced back in X019 in November 2019 with a slightly nebulous trailer showing a cel-shaded world - with obvious influence from Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Pokemon, and James Cameron's Avatar. Rare admitted the game was "still early in development", and an update in July 2020 sounded promising, but a report in January 2021 suggested that Everwild had been completely rebooted from scratch - as well as lacking "clear direction for the title".

Jeff Grubb of GamesBeat was one of the journalists backing that report, and now in the latest XboxEra podcast he says that Everwild "is a real mess" and that "the people working on that game don't really know what's going on with it, that's how much of a mess it is right now."

PCGamesN Friday, December 31, 2021 9:17 AM
     HyperX Pulsefire Dart review – a weighted wireless gaming mouse

Following its release two years ago, the Pulsefire Dart remains HyperX's only contender in the race for the best wireless gaming mouse. Unfortunately, time has not been kind to this rodent, and features like Qi wireless charging simply aren't enough to keep it from falling behind its competition.

This isn't to say that you shouldn't at least consider the Pulsefire Dart or that it's a bad gaming mouse, because it isn't. In fact, there's a good deal that HyperX has done right with it, starting with a good, solid build quality. A combination of premium plastics and leatherette side grips make this clicker feel solid and tight in your hands, and the split-button design for the left and right mouse buttons should help keep any misinputs at bay.

You'll find six programmable buttons on the Pulsefire Dart's chassis, all of which are programmable via HyperX's Ngenuity software (which we'll discuss more later). The mouse's Omron switches produce a satisfying click without a trace of wobble or flimsiness, and I had no issues whatsoever with input recognition in either wired or wireless mode. They're also rated for up to 50 million clicks, so there's no reason to be concerned about durability.

RELATED LINKS: HyperX Cloud Alpha review, Best Gaming Headset, Best Gaming Keyboard

PCGamesN Friday, December 31, 2021 8:03 AM
     She-Hulk could be coming to Marvel's Avengers

It's been a long time since Marvel's Avengers received an update with a new character - especially PC players, who missed out on Spider-Man - but now it looks like developer Crystal Dynamics is planning the next DLC hero to be She-Hulk, at least according to a leaker.

Things have been quiet on the Marvel's Avengers front since the PS4/PS5-exclusive drop of Spider-Man last month, so fans are undoubtedly wondering whether the live-service game will get another character drop like War For Wakanda - and which Marvel hero will be joining the Avengers next.

Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk has long been rumoured as the next DLC character for Avengers following Black Panther after details were datamined earlier this year. Now, prolific Avengers leaker Miller has seemingly revealed that not only is She-Hulk coming next, she'll be played by veteran voice actor Krizia Bajos - who recently appeared in the League of Legends Arcane animated series as Ximena and the upcoming Gotham Knights as Renee Montoya.

RELATED LINKS: Marvel's Avengers review, Best action-adventure games on PC, The best open-world games on PC

PCGamesN Friday, December 31, 2021 7:04 AM
     Haunted Chocolatier will have Stardew Valley-like relationships, done

This year it was finally revealed that Haunted Chocolatier would be the next game from Stardew Valley creator Eric "ConcernedApe" Barone, and fans of his previous title are undoubtedly wondering how similar the games may be. Rest assured though, one element coming back from Stardew is relationships - although they may be done "differently this time around".

After many months of teasing, the latest game from the creator of Stardew Valley was revealed as Haunted Chocolatier back in October - and we still don't know too much about it, other than it involves running a chocolate shop from within a haunted castle. It has a similar look to Stardew Valley but it's unknown so far how similar they will play - we already know it will have a "greater focus on combat" than Stardew Valley.

In a new interview with Vgkami, Eric Barone was asked the thing Stardew Valley players probably care about most - having relationships between the game's characters. Barone confirms that "there will be relationships like in Stardew Valley" but they may not work the same way.

RELATED LINKS: Upcoming PC Games

Rock Paper Shotgun Latest Articles Feed Friday, December 31, 2021 8:00 AM

Ghost Time Games' Tux And Fanny, from co-developers Albert Birney and Gabriel Koenig, is not only the game I think you may have missed this year, but it is also my Game Of The Year for 2021. This game sends two best friends (alongside a courageous flea and a mischievous cat) through adventures great, small, and absurd to stunning effect – and you owe it to yourself to give this little marvel a play before the year is well and truly out.

Read more

Twinfinite Friday, December 31, 2021 12:00 PM

At the end of the New Year livestream dedicated to the Muv-Luv series, aNCHOR revealed "Duty Lost Arcadia" with a new trailer.

The post Muv-Luv Developers Announce "Duty Lost Arcadia" Bringing the War to the European Front appeared first on Twinfinite.

Twinfinite Friday, December 31, 2021 11:29 AM

During the New Year livestream dedicated to the Muv-Luv series, aNCHOR revealed new image boards of the upcoming game Muv-Luv Resonative.

The post Muv-Luv Resonative Reveals New Images Showing Familiar Characters & More appeared first on Twinfinite.

Twinfinite Friday, December 31, 2021 11:10 AM

Today, during the New Year livestream dedicated to the Muv-Luv series, aNCHOR revealed the prototype of a new Muv-Luv Alternative plastic model kit.

The post Muv-Luv Alternative Anime Fubuki Mecha Plastic Model Kit Prototype Revealed appeared first on Twinfinite.

Twinfinite Friday, December 31, 2021 10:38 AM

Type-Moon revealed a brand new character that will be added via DLC to its 2D fighting game Melty Blood: Type Lumina.

The post Melty Blood: Type Lumina Reveals New DLC Character Aoko Aozaki appeared first on Twinfinite.

Twinfinite Friday, December 31, 2021 9:55 AM

Today Type-Moon announced that the legendary visual novel Mahoutsukai no Yoru will return on modern platforms.

The post Legendary Visual Novel Mahoutsukai no Yoru by Type-Moon Coming to PS4 and Nintendo Switch appeared first on Twinfinite.

Twinfinite Friday, December 31, 2021 7:09 AM

Developer and publisher Aeternum Game Studios has announced that its 2D Blasphemous-esque Metroidvania, Aeterna Noctis, will be getting a large patch that helps to make the game more accessible for less experienced players, while adding a handful of quality-of-life improvements and bug fixes as well. Specifically, the Spanish team has added a brand new game […]

The post Hand-Drawn Action-Platformer, Aeterna Noctis, Gets Free Major Update appeared first on Twinfinite.

Siliconera Friday, December 31, 2021 12:00 PM

The PS5 hosts a lot of marquee Japanese releases, and sometimes those games even live up to the many months of anticipation!

The post Siliconera's PlayStation 5 Game of the Year 2021 appeared first on Siliconera.

Siliconera Friday, December 31, 2021 9:00 AM

Just because our Xbox Series X Game of the Year 2021 honorees feel familiar doesn't mean they're not stellar in their own right.

The post Siliconera's Xbox Series X Game of the Year 2021 appeared first on Siliconera.

Destructoid Friday, December 31, 2021 1:30 PM

I'm really interested in seeing how Ryu Ga Gotoku fares long term Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, better known to some...

The post The Yakuza studio just underwent a leadership change, but has 'truly surprising announcements' in store for the future appeared first on Destructoid.

Destructoid Friday, December 31, 2021 12:30 PM

Port La Pucelle: Tactics and Rhapsody again, thanks NIS 2022 plans include new games, sequels, and ports, as the company...

The post NIS promises 'new games, sequels, and ports' for 2022 appeared first on Destructoid.

Destructoid Friday, December 31, 2021 12:00 PM

Alone in the Dark Nippon Ichi Software, also up for a good haunt jaunt, has released a new gameplay trailer...

The post Yomawari 3 coming to put the willies up you appeared first on Destructoid.

Destructoid Friday, December 31, 2021 11:00 AM

Just hook it to my gunveins NGDEV, the independent studio behind ballistic '90s classics Razion and Gunlord, has announced that...

The post Gunvein is a new shmup headed to PC and consoles in 2022 appeared first on Destructoid.

Destructoid Friday, December 31, 2021 10:00 AM

You have until December 31 at 3:59PM PT If you want to grab Tsareena for free in Pokemon Unite, make...

The post PSA: Today is the last day to get Tsareena for free in Pokemon Unite appeared first on Destructoid.

Destructoid Friday, December 31, 2021 8:00 AM

As if it won't just be fucking Scorpion Warner Bros. Interactive continues to beaver away at its upcoming fighter MultiVersus,...

The post MultiVersus director asks fans which Mortal Kombat stars they dig appeared first on Destructoid.

PC Invasion - FeedDDD Friday, December 31, 2021 9:00 AM
     diablo iii best season 25 buildsBlizzard Entertainment's Diablo franchise celebrates its 25th Anniversary today, December 31. There's no better way to observe the occasion than to create some builds and return to those hallowed halls and fiery depths in Diablo III's Season 25 – The Lords of Hell. This latest season spices things up with the addition of Soul Shards — a new type of powerful, socketable item. You can learn more about their effects and mechanics in this detailed guide to Soul Shards in Diablo III's Season 25. Whether you're a hardened veteran looking to dominate yet another Season, or if this is your first visit to Sanctuary altogether, we've put together this list of the best builds for each class so you can dive right in and start raising some Hell. The seasoned Nephalem at Icy Veins, PCI's sister site, have put countless hours into theorycrafting and in-game testing to determine the best performing builds for Diablo III's various endgame content.   Be sure to also...

Player Assist | Game Guides & Walkthroughs Friday, December 31, 2021 1:36 PM
     In Supergiant Games' Hades, the gods of Olympus or Olympians will help Zagreus in his quest to escape the Underworld because they believe he aspires to join them on Olympus. Little do they know that is not Zagreus' plan at all, and the reason he wants to leave the Underworld is to find his mother. […]

Player Assist | Game Guides & Walkthroughs Friday, December 31, 2021 11:09 AM
     Ostriches are the world's largest birds, and they have a pretty deadly kick to boot. They may look terrifying to some in real life, but in Stardew Valley, Ostriches are brimming with beauty. Any rancher would love to have them on their farm. However, getting Ostriches in this game can be a real head-scratcher, so […]

Level Up Friday, December 31, 2021 12:01 PM
     This year was a great one for Koei Tecmo, which was behind several releases by…

Level Up Friday, December 31, 2021 9:40 AM
     Remakes and remasters continue to become more common with each passing year and as Mortal…

Level Up Friday, December 31, 2021 8:25 AM
     Riot Games' Joe Ziegler is saying goodbye to his role as Valorant's game director to…

The Year in Review: 2021 in phones, computing, cameras and more

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December 31, 2021
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Tech Radar
Welcome to the Year in Review
Our tech highlights of the past 12 months, and a look ahead to what's coming in 2022
In a year that began with Delta and ended with Omicron, it's impossible to ignore the impact of the pandemic on the world of tech over the past 12 months – so much was delayed, or outright cancelled, as a result of the disruption the virus wrought on global manufacturing and supply chains. However, there were still plenty of product launches to get excited about, and flashes of innovation that got us talking.

But I won't be talking about them; it's New Year's Eve, and I want to get to dinner with my family, so I'm going to hand you over to a few members of the brilliant TechRadar team, as they look back on the year that was in their particular field, and look forward to what's coming down the line in 2022.

Gareth Beavis, Global Editor-in-Chief
Big names get serious competition, and foldables get good
Left to right: The iPhone 13, Google Pixel 6 and Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus are among our best phones of 2021 (Apple / Google / Samsung)
James Peckham, Phones Editor, writes…

2021 has been an odd year for smartphones, with a multitude of delayed launches, and some notably 'missing' handsets that we thought we'd see – for example, there was no Samsung Galaxy Note 21 or OnePlus 9T. Much of this is due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic on global manufacturing and supply chains.

We have, though, still seen a whole host of fantastic handsets launched in the past 12 months, from the Samsung Galaxy S21 and iPhone 13 series to Google's Pixel 6 duo, while brands such as Xiaomi, Oppo, Realme and OnePlus really established themselves as top-tier players with impressive releases.

2021 was also the year that foldables came of age. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 was a highlight for those looking for a folding smartphone that really works, although it's still eye-wateringly expensive. Elsewhere, 5G increasingly became the mainstream standard for connectivity, with most new smartphones supporting it and network coverage expanding around the world. The smartphone world also lost one of its big names, with LG announcing that it would cease making new handsets; sadly this means the previously revealed LG Rollable won't be seeing the light of day.

2021 hasn't been a game-changing year for mobile technology, but the field has seen a steady stream of improvements and innovations that have kept things interesting both for those who follow the industry and for those of us looking to upgrade our phones. You can catch up with all the biggest developments in our round-up of the year in phones.
Chip shortage fails to stem a tide of innovation
Advances in chip technology are set to usher in a new era of super-powered computing (Future)
Jessica Weatherbed, Computing Writer, writes…

2021 has been a rollercoaster ride for the computing market, with the ongoing chip shortages making graphics cards harder to find than a needle in a haystack for PC gamers and desktop building enthusiasts. Meanwhile, Apple enjoyed seeing customers scrambling to get their hands on its latest M1 Pro and M1 Max-powered MacBook Pro laptops.

It wasn't all doom and gloom for Windows users, with the Windows 11 operating system releasing on October 5. It received a mixed but generally positive response, although predictably Microsoft has had to release a stream of bug fixes and updates to address issues and add improvements in response to user feedback. Microsoft also refreshed its Surface line, with new devices including the innovative Surface Laptop Studio.

As we move into 2022 we're looking forward to seeing a new generation of super-powered hardware, with Apple continuing to improve its own silicon, Intel announcing plans to enter the desktop graphics card market with the Arc Alchemist (creating the possibility of an all-Intel build), and super-speedy DDR5 memory modules increasingly replacing DDR4.
Would you pay a monthly fee to see your health data?
Amazon's Halo View is one of the cheaper fitness trackers, but you'll need to pay a subscription to get the most from it (Amazon)
Cat Ellis, Fitness and Wellbeing Editor, writes…

The above was the big question posed in 2021 when Amazon unveiled its new Halo View fitness tracker. It looks like a Fitbit and captures a similar array of data, but unless you're an Amazon Halo Fitness subscriber you'll only be able to see the basics. You get a 12-month trial when you buy the tracker, but once that expires you'll have to pay an additional $3.99 (about £3) per month to see stats like your sleep score and workout insights.

It's the same story with Oura, which released its third-generation smart ring in late 2021 alongside a new subscription service that unlocks extra health insights, audio content (such as meditation sessions) and educational content. You get six months free with the third-gen Oura smart ring, after which it costs $5.99 (about £5) per month, which is pretty steep considering the ring itself is £299 (about £220).

Fitbit won't charge you to check your workout stats, but it's also started expanding its array of member-only goodies. These include the new Daily Readiness score, which tells you how much energy you have in the tank for the day ahead based on your sleep and activity patterns, and the Sleep Animals feature, which analyzes your nightly habits and gives custom creature-themed recommendations. Fitbit Premium membership is $9.99 / £7.99 per month, though all new Fitbits come with a free six-month trial so that you can decide whether it's right for you.

In 2022 we may well start to see fitness trackers that are super-cheap to buy, but require a phone-style monthly contract in order for you to make the most of them – we'll keep our finger on the pulse and let you know.
Mini-LED is so 2021 – the future is QD-OLED
The Samsung QN900A is one of the best TVs we saw in 2021, packing both an 8K resolution and mini-LED display tech (Samsung)
Nick Pino, Senior Editor, Home Entertainment, writes…

We got acquainted with mini-LED TVs in 2020, but 2021 was the year that we finally welcomed the brighter, higher-contrast screens into our homes, from Samsung's Neo QLED lineup to LG's QNED models.

While most of the big innovation was in higher-end sets, budget buyers in the US were treated to a sampling of the technology in the TCL 6-Series QLED with Mini-LED for a very reasonable price. We're hoping the technology continues to make its way down the price range in 2022 as we look forward to the arrival of an even newer panel technology: QD-OLED.

QD-OLED screens combine the refined black levels and deep contrast of OLED with the color saturation of Quantum Dots. By boosting the amount of light an OLED pixel can put out and further enhancing the colors through a Quantum Dot filter, these screens are being talked about as the next big evolution in displays.

Here's hoping we'll get our first look at TVs featuring the tech at CES 2022; in the meantime check out our pick of 2021's best TVs across a range of price points.
Wireless buds get some serious sonic upgrades
It's official: cool girls only wear wired earbuds – for now, at least ( / GaudiLab)
Olivia Tambini, Audio and Music Editor, writes…

It's been an exciting year in audio, with a rash of new products, innovations in wireless sound technology, some weird trends, and the continuing comeback of vinyl in a world largely dominated by Spotify, Apple Music and other streaming platforms. One of 2021's big launches was the Apple AirPods 3, a new and improved version of its most popular true wireless earbuds. Coming with support for Spatial Audio – a technology Apple has gone big on for its Apple Music streaming service and Apple TV Plus – they were received enthusiastically by those who felt the 2019 AirPods were overdue an upgrade.

They weren't the best earbuds we tested this year, though. From the all-round excellence of the Sony WF-1000XM4 to the supremely customizable NuraTrue, 2021 was an exciting year for wireless in-ears.

Oddly though, wireless headphones are being spurned by youthful fashionistas of today. As evidenced by Instagram account Wired It Girls, wired earbuds appear to be the preference of the young and hip crowd. Will this trend continue into 2022? Probably not – as with the renewed interest in Y2K microtrends like trucker hats and velour tracksuits, we suspect this particular fad will be a flash in the pan. So no, we won't be throwing our wireless headphones in the trash just yet.
Nikon delivers a retro treat and AI gets creepy-clever
The Nikon Z fc was a glorious blast from the past in a year that saw the appearance of some seriously futuristic photography tech (Nikon)
Mark Wilson, Cameras Editor, writes…

It's been another massive year of innovation for photography, if a more subdued one for new cameras. The chip shortage has put the brakes on launches, with some new models (like the Panasonic GH6) pushed back to 2022 and others (see the Sony ZV-E10) pulled out of production just months after they arrived. But it's still been a big year for new professional bodies: the Sony A1, Canon EOS R3 and Nikon Z9 are incredible full-frame powerhouses that have hammered the final nail in the coffin of DSLRs.

Back in the realm of cameras that most of us can actually afford, the highlight was arguably the Nikon Z fc. A mirrorless reincarnation of the 30-year-old Nikon FM2, it's a beautiful camera that delivers something that's all too easy to forget in a world of stacked sensors and 30fps burst modes: fun. Nikon still needs to make more lenses for the Z fc, but for casual photography it's a great alternative to Fujifilm's retro rivals. For those with a slightly bigger budget, Sony also delivered the excellent A7 IV, which is the best all-rounder for stills and video that you can buy right now.

2021 also saw AI and machine learning ripping up the photography rulebook, with powerful editing software like Photoshop and Luminar AI challenging the definition of what a photo actually is – is replacing your scene's real-world sky with a simulated one still 'drawing with light'? The debates have raged, and not just about editing – back in February, a new tool called Deep Nostalgia went viral thanks to its slightly unsettling ability to animate your old family photos.

So what about the coming year? We've polished our crystal ball, and made our predictions for the big camera and photography trends of 2022.
This is from the editor
I'm going to keep this brief, as you have much merriment to be indulging in. Thank you for reading this newsletter over the past year, and thank you for your emails – and please do keep them coming. I wish you a wonderful 2022, and here's hoping for something like a return to reality both in the world of tech and the wider world… and maybe – just maybe – we'll finally be able to buy a PS5.
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