16 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for the Mom You’ve Been Missing

This Mother’s Day is a bit more hopeful than last year’s. Even if you and your parents can’t get the vaccine in time for the holiday, the odds are that you will be able to get it— if you want it!—quite soon. All it will take is a few more weeks, or months, of staying strong and social distancing before a Roaring ’20s–style summer may be upon us. 

We may not be able to bring your family together, but we can offer some suggestions that will let the parents in your life know that you appreciate them. Here are our favorite gift ideas to help them work from home, keep their coffee warm, or go out running with their kids. 

For more ideas, check out our guides to the best gift ideas for new parents, best kid podcasts or the best kid tablets.

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iPhone 12 Pro Max vs. OnePlus 9 Pro camera comparison – CNET

Thanks to a partnership with legendary camera-maker Hasselblad, the OnePlus 9 Pro has one of the most hyped phone cameras in recent memory. It's a savvy move because the cameras on OnePlus phones have been a step behind those from Apple, Google and Samsung. The OnePlus 9 Pro is the first phone released under the Hasselblad union. Unsurprisingly, it has the best camera system on any OnePlus phone ever made. It's capable of taking great photos, and the phone's ultrawide camera goes toe-to-toe with the one on the iPhone.

Aside from having its name on the camera bump, Hasselblad's biggest contribution on the 9 Pro is color calibration, which results in photos with a nice, natural, subdued look. Sometimes the iPhone and its SmartHDR can oversaturate colors. At $969 and £829, which converts roughly to AU$1,490, the OnePlus 9 Pro is $130 less than $1,099, £1,099, AU$1,849 price of Apple's impressive iPhone 12 Pro Max

The OnePlus has four rear cameras compared to the three rear cameras on the iPhone. But quantity doesn't win here; one of the 9 Pro's rear cameras is a 2-megapixel monochrome camera, which in theory improves the capture of image details.

iPhone 12 Pro Max vs. OnePlus 9 Pro cameras

Camera iPhone 12 Pro Max OnePlus 9 Pro
Wide lens aperture f/1.6 f/1.8
Wide camera resolution 12-megapixels 48-megapixels
Ultrawide lens aperture f/2.4 f/2.2
Ultrawide camera resolution 12-megapixels 50-megapixels
Telephoto aperture f/2.2 f/2.4
Telephoto camera resolution 12-megapixels 8-megapixels
Optical zoom 0.5x, 1x, 2.5x 0.6x, 1x, 3.3x
Max digital zoom 12x 30x

While the cameras on the OnePlus 9 Pro are definitely impressive, the iPhone 12 Pro Max has a more consistent and capable camera system, which is why it's still one of the best phone cameras you can buy. Initially, I was excited to put the OnePlus 9 Pro and its Hasselblad-branded cameras against the iPhone 12 Pro Max and its big camera energy. The results were closer than I thought. But Apple's computational photography is the main reason photos from the iPhone have excellent image quality. SmartHDR and Deep Fusion processing allow the cameras more leeway in medium-light situations like indoors. The OnePlus 9 Pro doesn't have the same rich computational photography capabilities.

After testing out the 9 Pro, I look forward to what OnePlus and Hasselblad can do in the coming years on future phones. 

iPhone 12 Pro Max and OnePlus 9 Pro

On the left is the iPhone 12 Pro Max; on the right is the OnePlus 9 Pro.

Patrick Holland/CNET

In good lighting, the iPhone and OnePlus take great photos

Outdoors on a sunny day, the main camera on each phone takes great photos. Overall, I like the color from the OnePlus except when it comes to the sky which sometimes skews to a blue indigo.

iPhone 12 Pro Max and OnePlus 9 Pro

OnePlus 9 Pro

Patrick Holland/CNET
iPhone 12 Pro Max and OnePlus 9 Pro

iPhone 12 Pro Max

Patrick Holland/CNET
iPhone 12 Pro Max and OnePlus 9 Pro

OnePlus 9 Pro

Patrick Holland/CNET
iPhone 12 Pro Max and OnePlus 9 Pro

iPhone 12 Pro Max

Patrick Holland/CNET
iPhone 12 Pro Max and OnePlus 9 Pro

iPhone 12 Pro Max

Patrick Holland/CNET

OnePlus photos tend to be oversharpened. Look at the grill on the old Buick and especially at the bricks in the building in the background.

In general, iPhone photos have a wider dynamic range and render details and textures better. Look at the photos below and pay attention to the brick buildings, the leaves on the bottom right and the water.

There is a strange delay on the OnePlus between hitting the shutter button, seeing the photo preview and seeing the final photo, which can look different from the preview. Occasionally this delay was long enough to change the focus point because I moved my hand to put the camera away during that delay. It's almost like you need to keep holding the phone in the same position for a beat or so longer after pressing the shutter button before moving your hand.

When it comes to indoor shots, photos from the OnePlus have more image noise. The iPhone and its Deep Fusion processing cleans the noise and brightens the photo by combining parts of multiple exposures. Take a look at the photos below.

The OnePlus 9 Pro's ultrawide camera is outstanding

The ultrawide camera on the 9 Pro is by far my favorite camera on the phone. The details, resolution and color are good and the white balance seems more accurate than the main camera. Just take a look at the photos below.

iPhone 12 Pro Max and OnePlus 9 Pro

OnePlus 9 Pro

Patrick Holland/CNET
iPhone 12 Pro Max and OnePlus 9 Pro

OnePlus 9 Pro

Patrick Holland/CNET
iPhone 12 Pro Max and OnePlus 9 Pro

OnePlus 9 Pro

Patrick Holland/CNET

The ultrawide on the iPhone offers a wider field of view but the colors are more accurate in photos from the OnePlus. In the iPhone photo below, notice how SmartHDR really pushes the highlights and increases color saturation, especially in the glass building on the left.

In the photos below, look closely at the color of the bookstore compared to the building on the left getting hit by sunlight. Again, the colors from the OnePlus look more true to life. In the iPhone photo, the highlights in the clouds are blown out. The OnePlus does a better job of protecting them.

The OnePlus has 30x digital zoom, but it isn't great

On paper the difference between a 2.5x optical zoom and 3.3x optical zoom isn't huge, but in terms of the actual photos there are some big differences. Take a look at the photos below of a building taken with the iPhone and OnePlus at 2.5x zoom. The iPhone photo looks better, and that's because the OnePlus crops the main camera to zoom until it gets to a 3.3x magnification at which point it switches to its dedicated telephoto camera.

At 3.3x zoom, the iPhone photo below has better dynamic range and details than the one from the OnePlus, which is using its telephoto camera without cropping. The colors in the iPhone photo are punchy without being over the top.

As you can see below, at 10x digital zoom, neither phone takes a great photo. The dynamic range is better on the iPhone but there is also a lot of oversharpening. The OnePlus photo looks a little soft.

The Phone tops out at 12x digital zoom, but the OnePlus can zoom up to 30x.

OnePlus night mode photos look good

Both phones have a night mode for taking better pictures in low light. On the OnePlus, it's called Nightscape. Overall night mode photos from the OnePlus tend to be brighter than the ones from the iPhone. Both produce equally impressive results, and it really depends on your preference as to which photos are better.

The OnePlus capture sequence for Nightscape photos feels shorter than Night Mode on the iPhone. Sometimes, like in the OnePlus photo of the flowers below, it wasn't enough to make an obvious improvement.

The iPhone suffers from a light source reflection problem, which you can see in the photo below. Look above the building in the middle and you can see the light reflection.

iPhone 12 Pro Max and OnePlus 9 Pro

iPhone 12 Pro Max

Patrick Holland/CNET

OnePlus vs. iPhone selfies

In good light, iPhone selfies have better dynamic range and a greater depth of field. Skin tones from the iPhone look more natural. Take a look at the photos below. The OnePlus selfie has a pleasing natural bokeh, but sometimes, like in this photo, my eyes end up out of focus.

OnePlus has a Hasselblad Pro Mode

The OnePlus has a Pro Mode the iPhone doesn't. Pro Mode gives you detailed control over focus, shutter speed, ISO and more. In ProMode, you can take 12-bit raw photos. Compare that to the 12-bit Apple ProRaw photos on the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Technically you can take raw photos on the iPhone using a third-party app. In terms of editing, the Apple ProRaw photo is like having a headstart over the OnePlus regular raw photo. That said, both end up with great results.

Below are edited photos from each phone originally captured as raw on the OnePlus and ProRaw on the iPhone.

iPhone 4K video looks better than 8K video from the OnePlus

The OnePlus can shoot 8K resolution video. However in good lighting, 4K video from the OnePlus looks better. 8K video appears oversharpened, has moire (the screen door effect) and colors are oversaturated. 

The iPhone can record videos up to a resolution of 4K. iPhone videos have better detail, dynamic range and color than ones from the OnePlus. The iPhone handles textures and shooting in lower light situations like indoors better, too. That said, the OnePlus can shoot good video. It just can't handle the variety of situations and lighting that the iPhone can. Watch the video above to see video samples from the OnePlus.

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Why tech accessibility matters, and the long road to improving it – CNET

Blind man using a smartphone

Accessibility is becoming a growing focus among tech companies. It's long overdue.

Getty Images

Comedian and writer Zach Anner relies heavily on tech. As someone with cerebral palsy, he says his independent life is possible because of digital platforms like ride sharing apps and meal delivery services, which allow him to more easily go about his day.

Now playing: Watch this: Tech accessibility is lagging. Here's why that needs...


"Tech is the most exciting area because there's so much that you can do around accessibility to create universal access for people," Anner said.

But the industry has a long way to go before truly becoming universally accessible. Because companies often overlook the needs of those with disabilities, many people have trouble using devices and platforms. A whopping 98% of US websites aren't fully accessible, according to a report by web accessibility company accessiBe. Additionally, Americans with disabilities are nearly three times as likely to never go online, according to the Pew Research Center, and are around 20% less likely to subscribe to home broadband and own a computer, smartphone or tablet. 

The Americans with Disabilities Act, which was passed in 1990, has helped make physical spaces more accessible by requiring accommodations like wheelchair ramps and elevators. But it hasn't been as effective at making digital spaces more accessible. That's because so much has changed since the law was passed. At the time, we didn't all have smartphones or widespread access to computers, and we didn't rely on the internet to handle everyday tasks the way we do now, especially as we spend more time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Digital accessibility compliance hasn't kept up with the times.

That's slowly changing. More companies, including tech giants like Google, Apple and Facebook, are rolling out features and updates that allow a range of people to more easily use their products and services. 

For example, Google has launched a handful of accessibility apps in recent years including Live Transcribe, which provides real-time speech-to-text transcriptions for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and Lookout, which helps people who are blind or low-vision identify food labels, pinpoint objects in a room and scan documents and currency. Apple launched a People Detection feature last year, which lets blind and low-vision iPhone and iPad users know how close someone is to them. And Facebook has worked to improve photo descriptions for blind and visually impaired users, while also rolling out automatic captions on Instagram's IGTV

Advocates say it's critical for companies to hire and consult people with disabilities when creating products and services to ensure inclusivity. 

"How can someone that does not live that experience design something for someone else?" said Tatiana Lee, an actress, model and activist. "You need to understand what it means to navigate the world as someone who is blind, as someone who is deaf, as someone who is a wheelchair user."

Lee, who uses a wheelchair, was born with spina bifida, meaning her spine and spinal cord didn't form properly at birth. She notes that while progress has been made across physical and digital spaces, there are still plenty of locations that aren't wheelchair accessible. That's a major barrier she's faced in Hollywood, where networking is key but physically getting into a room isn't guaranteed. Another challenge Lee faces in the industry is having to constantly push back against stereotypes and biases as a Black woman with a disability. 

Anner says it's critical for people with and without disabilities to see that kind of representation on screen. 

"The stigma around disability goes away when you start relating to people who have disabilities," he said. 

Anner also recently started doing tech reviews on YouTube, which he hopes will be a conversation starter. 

"I want people who don't think about disability at all and how we use tech and move throughout the world to maybe have a lightbulb go off," he said. "So when they're designing products, they can start thinking about stuff like that."

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9 great reads from CNET this week – CNET

The definitive device of the last two decades has been the mobile phone. It's hard now to imagine life without one. Phone makers and phone fads have come and gone, and competition has always been intense.

We're seeing those rivalries play out in different ways. Smartphones have thrived as game platforms, for both fun and profit, and that's taken a nasty turn in the legal sparring between iPhone maker Apple and Fortnite developer Epic Games. Meanwhile, LG -- which for a moment way back when got the drop on Apple -- has acknowledged that it's just not up for the rigors of the phone business anymore.

Tales of those twists and turns are among the in-depth features and thought-provoking commentaries that appeared on CNET this week. So here you go. These are the stories you don't want to miss:

In dueling court filings, Apple details Epic's "Project Liberty" media strategy, while Epic argues the App Store forces up prices.

Fortnite, banned, on a phone screen
Angela Lang/CNET

Despite a history of bold innovations, LG could never make a significant dent in the handset business.

LG Wing phone
Angela Lang/CNET

Young women are turning to social media in search of nonjudgmental places to speak honestly about sexual violence in their daily lives.

Schoolchildren in front of a schoolbus
Getty Images

If you're sleeping worse and dreaming about the pandemic, you're not alone. And they've got a name for it: coronasomnia.

COVID-19 dreams
Sarah Tew/CNET

NASA engineers will attempt the first flight on Mars in just a few days time -- and it could change space exploration forever.


More than a year after the coronavirus pandemic hit, Asian Americans are still facing hate on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks.

People hold up signs at a Stop Asian Hate rally in Chicago on March 27.
Vincent Johnson/Xinhua via Getty

Here's how a major union vote went at Amazon, what unionizing could mean for customers and what was up with that Twitter rant.

Amazone warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama
Patrick T. Fallon / Getty Images

In 2001, the "death" of a young blogger rocked her community. New podcast Pseudocide unearths internet history to see what we can learn from that today.

PC, monitor and keyboard, circa 2001
Comstock/Getty Images

Commentary: Looking back at 2016 from 2021, and the VR headset that kicked off a whole universe of possibilities.

Using the Oculus Rift in 2015
Josh Miller/CNET

Now playing: Watch this: 9 sleep myths, busted by a sleep doctor


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The Best Controllers for ‘Microsoft Flight Simulator’

Real pilots control a plane’s throttle using a large sliding lever that makes it easier to quickly throttle up or down. That’s vital in air combat or aerobatics, where throttle control is as important as the stick to maneuvering. This is the idea behind the “hands-on throttle and stick” (HOTAS) approach of controllers like the Logitech G X52 Professional (Rating: 9/10, WIRED Recommends). 

It comes in two parts: a large, button encrusted stick and an equally enbuttoned throttle slider. Typically, you use the stick with your right hand and the throttle with your left. The sliding throttle control definitely adds a lot to the experience. You really feel like you are getting things started when you slide the control forward and the engine starts to roar, and it feels much more natural to carefully throttle back when cruising or landing.

The entirety of the X52 is covered in buttons. There are six buttons, two hats, three toggle switches, and a dial on the stick, plus six buttons, four dials, two hats, and a small slider on the throttle. All of these are illuminated with LEDs, and there is also a safety cover that sits over the main weapons trigger on the stick. Flick the cover open and the trigger button underneath glows a frightening red.

That trigger might make it obvious that the X52 isn’t really about just flight simulation. It is just at home in air or space combat games like Elite: Dangerous that rely on flying skill and reactions to defeat those pesky aliens. These buttons are great for flight sims as well though. They are all assigned to essential controls by default in FS2020, and you can reassign any of them. Even the trigger gets assigned to something: flick open the cover and press the trigger (which usually fires a missile) and your autopilot is engaged. Pull the finger trigger on the back of the control stick (which usually fires a secondary weapon) and your view changes to the nearest point of interest—usually the airstrip you are trying to land on. With so many buttons at your disposal, you can handle an entire flight without using the keyboard.

All those buttons can be confusing though. The buttons are labeled, but these don’t correspond with the labels used in FS2020. The big button on the top of the throttle slider, for instance, has a big “E” on it, but FS2020 calls it Joystick Button 8. It’s inconsistent and makes figuring things out harder. In one flight, I accidentally pressed one of the buttons on the throttle that turned the engine off right after takeoff and crashed just off the end of the runway. But at least with this setup, I can try to nail that takeoff again, which I probably wouldn’t be able to do with a real plane.

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In Europe, Backlash Heats Up Over Garbage Incinerators

What’s more, Vähk warned, the EU’s aim for countries to landfill no more than 10 percent of municipal waste by 2035 will unintentionally bolster incinerators’ appeal. “There’s a lot of pressure on minimizing landfill,” he said. That’s worrying, “because we don’t want to move from landfilling to incineration.”

It all comes as the EU is pushing to reduce waste, particularly plastic, by ratcheting up targets for composting and recycling, mandating that plastic bottles contain 30 percent recycled content by 2030, and banning—as of this July—single-use items such as cutlery, cups, and stirrers. The EU has also adopted a new “circular economy” plan that aims in the longer term to encourage better product design so reuse and recycling are easier.

Continued incineration, critics argue, could threaten those goals. Once built, they say, incinerators cannibalize recycling, because municipal governments are often locked in by contracts that make it cheaper to get their rubbish burned than to sort it for recyclers.

One nation now grappling with the legacy of its long embrace of incineration is Denmark. The country, one of Europe’s biggest waste producers, built so many incinerators that by 2018 it was importing a million tons of trash. The plants generate 5 percent of the country’s electricity and nearly a quarter of the heat in the local networks, known as district heating systems, said Mads Jakobsen, chairman of the Danish Waste Association, which represents municipal authorities and waste companies.

Pushing to meet ambitious carbon-cutting goals, Danish lawmakers agreed last year to shrink incineration capacity by 30 percent in a decade, with the closure of seven incinerators, while dramatically expanding recycling. “It’s time to stop importing plastic waste from abroad to fill empty incinerators and burn it to the detriment of the climate,” said Dan Jørgensen, the country’s climate minister.

But in focusing only on Denmark’s own carbon footprint, Jakobsen said, the country’s politicians had failed to consider what would happen to the waste Denmark turns away. And with loan repayments still due on many plants, he said, “I’m also concerned about the stranded costs. Who’s going to answer for those costs? Will it be the citizens in my municipality?”

Two regions of Belgium are also seeking to reduce incineration capacity. But few other parts of Europe are following suit. Indeed, some countries are planning new plants. Greece, Bulgaria, and Romania landfill most of their waste, and will probably need more incineration capacity, said Razgaitytė. Italy and Spain are among the others that may also build new plants, she said.

In central and eastern Europe, “there is very strong pressure and a lucrative market for new incinerators,” said Paweł Głuszyński, of the Society for Earth, a Polish advocacy group. Poland has about nine incinerators now, plus a similar number of cement plants that use processed waste as fuel, he said. Around 70 new projects are seeking approval, he said, including proposals to convert old coal plants to burn garbage instead. Poor enforcement in Poland means emissions of toxins such as dioxins and furans often reach hazardous levels, Głuszyński said, but tightening EU rules may help,

Britain, too, seems intent on pushing ahead with an expansion of burning, with dozens of new projects under consideration. Collectively, they would double current incineration capacity.

There are hints, though, that some of what’s on the drawing board may not materialize. Wales said last month it would put a moratorium on large new waste-to-energy plants, and consider an incineration tax. In February, Kwasi Kwarteng, Britain’s secretary for business, energy and industrial strategy, refused an application for a new incinerator in Kent, east of London, although he allowed expansion of an existing plant. In his decision, he said the project could hamper local recycling, reasoning that encouraged incinerator opponents.

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The best office chairs that cost $100 or less – CNET

If there's one thing I've learned after working from home for nearly 25 years, it's the importance of having a good desk chair. But does "good" have to mean "expensive"? Do you really have to spend hundreds of dollars just for a comfy place to park your keister?

I decided to find out. Armed with CNET's credit card, I went shopping for office chairs priced $100 and less. I wanted to see if any of them could possibly compare with my current chair, a comfortable, ergonomic, highly adjustable FlexiSpot Soutien that sells for $270.

The view from the cheap seats

Here's what I learned about cheap chairs: Compromises are to be expected. Although I was impressed with the build quality of most of my test subjects, there were only a few I'd be willing to sit on all day every day. On one chair, the wraparound arms made things uncomfortable for my legs. Another wouldn't move smoothly on a hard surface; it dragged instead of rolling. A third simply wasn't designed for a person of my height (six feet).

That said, any chair gets uncomfortable after too much sitting, which is why it's important to stand, stretch and move around on a regular basis.

Read more: Do these 5 exercises to save your posture while working from home

Something else to note: Branding can be sort of "fluid" with these cheapies. Occasionally what I received didn't seem to match what I ordered. For example, I purchased a Smilemart mesh-back from Walmart; what arrived was marked Yaheetech. It appeared to be the correct chair, just with a different name on the box. (Another chair's box bore no name at all.)

As for pricing, everything here is accurate at the time of this writing -- but fluctuations are common. At one point, for example, the BestOffice chair was priced at $40, but it jumped to $51 shortly after the sample arrived. As of today, it's at $40.

So, can you get a decent office chair for $100 or less? Read on to find out.

Rick Broida/CNET

This model won me over before I even sat in it, because it comes with superb instructions and color-coded screws to make assembly as easy as humanly possible. It proved one of the fastest, simplest builds in the group, and the end result was one of the comfiest chairs.

The seat is wide and thick, the back welcoming in a way that most of these chairs aren't. Instead of overly aggressive or poorly placed lumbar support, you get a gentle curve and soft mesh. The arms are actual arms, not wraparound arcs that impede your legs.

I also appreciate the handful of color options Union & Scale offers, including blue, black and light gray. I did encounter one minor issue: One of the casters didn't roll well on my mat. At times, moving the chair seemed more like dragging the chair.

About the price: The Essentials lists for $130, but routinely goes on sale at Staples for $70 -- which was the price as of this writing. It's definitely a top pick in the budget-chair category, but make sure to wait till it's discounted.

Rick Broida/CNET

With a price tag that typically hovers in the $40 range (for the black model, anyway -- there are other colors available priced higher), this is one of the cheapest chairs in the group. It's also one of the cheapest chairs in the group, with a few flimsy and odd-fitting parts. Thankfully, the end result isn't bad at all.

This was the only chair to give me any real trouble during assembly. During unpacking, I thought the five-arm base had arrived broken, as one arm was cut in half. Turns out you have to manually add the missing joint. Not a big deal, but from there I couldn't get the back to line up correctly with the seat; one of them was crooked somehow, resulting in a noticeably wider gap on one side. As for the arms, I had to, well, strong-arm one of them into place. Something in the molding was slightly off.

Because the arms are L-shaped, rather than fully enclosed like on many chairs, I actually wanted to reverse their installation so my legs could sit wide. (That works, by the way; I tried it.)

The chair stands a little short, with a maximum seat height of just 20 inches -- shy of where I'm comfortable as a 6-footer. But I was impressed by the unique lumbar support, which consists of vertical plastic pieces flanking the back. It's not only an eye-catching design, but also a better feel than most. The mesh back snugs you in rather than pushes you away.

Despite a few design flaws, this chair delivers a pretty amazing value.

Rick Broida/CNET

How good can a $55 chair possibly be? Initially I'd have said, "Not very," but this one changed my mind. It's one of the most comfortable in the group, and you can get it in a variety of different colors (blue, purple, red, etc.) for the same price.

Also unexpected: Although Walmart's product page indicated a Smilemart brand, the chair that arrived was clearly branded Yaheetech. This wasn't problematic, just surprising.

The chair went together very quickly; I'd say it took me all of 10 minutes to assemble. The seat is deep and cushy, and the arms are set back far enough that your legs don't bump them much. The arms themselves aren't adjustable, and their narrow, hard-plastic design won't win any awards for comfort. 

But if you don't have a lot to spend on a desk chair, this is one of the best options out there.

Recommended with reservations

Rick Broida/CNET

Is there such a thing as a "happy" office chair? If so, it's this one: There's just something cheerful about the white arms and accents, which contrast nicely against the standard black seat and back. 

Assembly proved a little challenging here, in part because the deeply sunk holes in the arm pieces make it impossible to start threading bolts by hand. Plus, the oddly shaped Allen wrench is difficult to wield one-handed. I won't say you need two people to build this, but it helps.

Much as I wanted to like this lovely chair, the plastic lumbar support made it difficult. It's too rigid; you really feel it on your lower back. That's unfortunate because otherwise I found it pretty comfortable. I'm also concerned that those lovely white arms will start to get grungy over time, and that even with cleaning will never reclaim their original luster.

Rick Broida/CNET

This snazzy model, ostensibly a "gaming chair" but perfectly suitable for desk duty, looks like something you'd find in a race car, with striking white accents mixed in with the black. It's one of the best-looking chairs under $100.

It's reasonably easy to assemble, though it helps to have a second person when attaching the seat back, and it comes with plastic caps to cover the screw holes, a nice touch. The arms can pivot up and out of the way if you want more range of movement.

Curiously, the instruction manual makes reference to a massage feature that the chair doesn't seem to have. I found no cord in the box and no place on the chair that one might plug it in.

I don't think that would help, however, as I found the overall design uncomfortable. The built-in lumbar cushion sits too low, pushing against your tailbone rather than supporting your lower back. I also found the seat-back a bit too short (again, I'm 6 feet); it curves inward right at my shoulder blades, so leaning back feels awkward. Similarly, the included headrest cushion (which is removable) pops off if I try to position it at a comfortable height.

So while this chair scores a lot of style points, its comfort leaves much to be desired -- at least if you're my height.

Not recommended

Bad casters, bad design

Smugdesk Ergonomic Office Chair

Rick Broida/CNET

Despite the Smugdesk branding on the product page, there was nothing in the box or assembly manual to indicate any branding at all. Indeed, the support email address listed is for something called "vipclub." No problem; it was a similar story with the Smilemart chair -- which, at first blush, you might easily mistake for this one.

Assembly proved quick and relatively easy, the only real challenge being a couple side screws that were a little tough to tighten owing to their position.

The chair itself is comfortable, with a lumbar-friendly mesh back and the usual tilt and height adjustments. However, the closed-loop arms are set so far forward, I frequently found my legs pressing into them, which got unpleasant after a while. What's more, a few of the casters didn't roll properly on my chair mat; every time I scooted forward or back, they just dragged along the surface.

With those two fairly significant marks against it, the Smugdesk chair is hard to recommend.

CNET's Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow him on Facebook and Twitter. You can also sign up for deal texts delivered right to your phone. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and check out our CNET Coupons page for the latest Walmart discount codeseBay couponsSamsung promo codes and even more from hundreds of other online stores. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Answers live on our FAQ page.

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2021 Mini Countryman Oxford Edition has a fresh, friendly face – Roadshow

Discuss: 2021 Mini Countryman Oxford Edition has a fresh, friendly face

Be respectful, keep it civil and stay on topic. We delete comments that violate our policy, which we encourage you to read. Discussion threads can be closed at any time at our discretion.

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Voyagers review: 2001 meets Ethics 101 in ponderous sci-fi drama – CNET


Lily-Rose Depp and Tye Sheridan make space for the big questions.


When you're a teenager, everything can feel like the end of the world. But for the crew of adolescent astronauts in new sci-fi drama Voyagers, it literally could be -- because their teen angst threatens a mission to restart humanity.

These kids have been born and bred specially to head for space as the ravaged Earth dies behind them. But they don't take too kindly to learning that mission control is manipulating them, and the next thing you know, the rules have gone out the airlock and it's all turned Lord of the Flies.

Voyagers is in theaters now.

Colin Farrell headlines as a sad-eyed pied piper leading the flock of kids into space, showing a father's sorrow through a charismatically subdued performance. But when there's only one adult in the cast, you know he's on borrowed time, and that leaves the pouting but dead-eyed kids to carry the film. Having been raised in a sterile, high-tech environment that's cinematically appealing but quite clearly a bad idea for raising healthily balanced children, the little'uns grow into dour, affectless teenagers who eat and work out and pilot the ship in austere silence. Their recreation consists of listening to classical music -- probably because if they were allowed to watch literally any spaceship movie they'd know some kind of psycho freakout is clearly round the corner. The flattened, muttering performances and a motif of plodding down sterile corridors fits the eerie atmosphere but isn't terribly engaging.

Dunkirk actor Fionn Whitehead and X-Men star Tye Sheridan show flashes of visceral excitement as their characters revel in the unexpected and heady sensation of becoming young men. Intoxicated by awakening urges and growing strength, Whitehead's volatile jock is whipped up by a roiling cocktail of ego, desire and jealousy. But Whitehead and Sheridan are oddly stuck with a deadened acting style even when they're supposedly free to develop personalities. Still, at least their roles have some passion -- unlike that of Lily-Rose Depp, who gets stuck frowning a lot and telling off the naughty boys.

As all impulse control goes out the window, the kids challenge not only the mission but also the very basics of human morality. In fact, Voyagers takes on a commendable amount of issues: It begins as a climate change parable, exploring whether people have a responsibility to improve a future they won't live to see. But it's also a meditation on mortality. And a treatise on whether man is innately savage. It explores factionalism; the corrupting influence of demagogue leaders; free will; an individual's responsibility to society; parental authority and expectations; and the uncomfortable reality of how long it takes to travel through space. And it also finds time to touch on sexual consent.

That's an awful lot of subtext. Although it hardly qualifies as subtext when the characters just flat-out state the big questions. Voyagers feels more like a YA primer on human nature, a hypermodern Lord of the Flies or Animal Farm packaging big questions in a way younger viewers can grasp. You can imagine a teacher showing this in school and then leading a class discussion about ethics until the bell rings for lunch.

As well as introducing big but fairly basic moral questions, the film also works as something of a sci-fi starter pack. An early montage of empty and echoing spaceship corridors directly cribs a visual motif from Alien. The pulsing synths recall Blade Runner. And it evokes the overall feel of countless going-nuts-in-space stories, from 2001 and Solaris to Moon and Passengers. Who knows, maybe a younger viewer will check this out and get more into sci-fi, like young Fall Out Boy fans discovering the Clash. Or Set It Off fans discovering Fall Out Boy. I dunno.

Speaking of genre trappings, though it's released in theaters, Voyagers feels much more like the many and various limited-budget sci-fi flicks on Netflix. There're a couple of perfunctory mysteries, and the single location becomes an increasingly scary place as the kids let their paranoia run riot. But these subplots never ignite into full-blown horror territory. Instead, they exist only to build an eerie atmosphere that motivates the kids in some of their darker decisions. The flick certainly never follows its train of thought to the end by spiraling into the sort of demented imagery seen in films like Event Horizon, Sunshine or High Life that might've justified a place on the big screen. Spectacle-wise, this is certainly no Godzilla vs. Kong.

Still, for those of you who can't (or won't) get to a theater, you'll be able to find Voyagers in its natural streaming habitat soon.

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Volkswagen Arteon scores IIHS Top Safety Pick award for 2021 – Roadshow

2021 Volkswagen Arteon

The 2021 VW Arteon is handsome and roomy, and now we know it's super safe too.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Voltswagen's -- sorry, Volkswagen's -- flagship 2021 Arteon sedan just scored itself one of the coveted Top Safety Pick awards from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety but couldn't manage to close the deal on the Top Safety Pick Plus award, according to an announcement made on Thursday by the IIHS.

Roadshow editors love the Arteon for a bunch of reasons, including its good looks, decent in-cabin tech and its surprisingly cavernous cargo capacity. Now we can love it because it's super safe too. The Arteon managed to ace all six of its IIHS crash tests and also comes standard with a front crash prevention system that scored Superior in vehicle-to-vehicle crash avoidance and Advanced in vehicle-to-pedestrian avoidance.

The Arteon even managed to crush things in the headlight category -- something which still manages to trip up many manufacturers -- with the LED projector headlights that come on the SEL R-Line and SEL Premium R-Line models being rated Good.

Unfortunately, VW seems to have decided to cheap out on the lesser trims' headlights, which were rated Poor by the IIHS. This means that the Arteon is not eligible for the Top Safety Pick Plus award, which requires that headlights rated Good or Acceptable come as standard on all trim levels.

Still, if you've had your eye on the Arteon but were waffling as to whether you should buy one, this safety rating might be just enough to convince you. 

Now playing: Watch this: 2019 Volkswagen Arteon Review: A serious luxury bargain


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