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With everything going on this year, we shouldn't be surprised that the holidays sneaked up on us so quickly. If you're going to be shopping for a loved one over the next few weeks (even if that loved one is yourself), we've got some great gift ideas for you to consider, hand-picked by the Autoblog staff.
Greg Migliore, Editor-in-Chief: This well-made car carrier is colorful and has a slight retro flair. There’s five pieces: the cab, the trailer and three cars. They have a vaguely 1970s vibe. While the cars are nebulous, I think they look a bit like Ford Mavericks or perhaps AMC Pacers. The set is good inside and out. My son (and I) play with it everywhere from the sandbox to the living room. The company says the toys are dishwasher safe, which I’ve never tried, but simply rinsing the carrier and the cars usually does the job. The Green Toy Company, as its name implies, makes its wares from recycled materials, like milk jugs and yogurt cups. I’ve played with a lot of cars throughout childhood, and now as an adult, and this set rates highly. It’s fun, whimsical and has a quality design. We also have the vintage-styled airplane.
Eddie Sabatini, Production Manager: I love drones and drone videography, so this one is a bit of a no-brainer — the Mini 2 from DJI. It just launched and is an upgrade (in most ways) to the Mavic Mini, the smallest drone in the DJI lineup. It’s pocket-sized and light, weighing in at just 249 grams, making it perfect for bringing with you everywhere. Upgrades, to name a few, include camera performance — it now shoots 4K video at 30 frames per second — upgraded propulsion system and longer flight time. Technically, the 31-minute flight time is only an improvement of one minute over the Mavic Mini, but that's still an improvement. This is the drone’s biggest shortcoming and why we recommend the Fly More combo or at least buying some additional batteries a la carte. The 12 megapixel camera is attached to a 3-axis gimbal and features three three new panorama still photography modes (wide-angle, 180°, and sphere) to an already great repertoire of Quick Shot video modes (dronie, rocket, circle, helix, and boomerang). Learn more here about this portable pro-summer drone.
Michael Ferrara, Social Media Manager: The Force is strong with this Echo Dot. It seems superfluous to get a stand for an Echo Dot, right? It just sits there. But not anymore! This Baby Yoda stand has completely changed my mind on how I treat my Dot. My precious Baby Yoda Dot! This looks great. Also, everything is "Star Wars," or at least should be.
Chris McGraw, Senior Producer: I carry Field Notes notebooks with me everywhere, on every trip, and have since I first traveled out of the country seven years ago. They’re easy to throw in your pocket and are a great way to remember names and places that I otherwise would have forgotten. These specific notebooks feature artwork inspired by 15 of our national parks, including Rocky Mountain, Yosemite, Yellowstone and Acadia.
Chris McGraw, Senior Producer: I’m not going to review this camera here, since it would take up about 3,000 words, but I will say that Canon’s newest mirrorless offerings have gotten me excited to shoot videos with their cameras again, something I haven’t felt in more than half a decade. Sure the R5 is expensive, but the glass it comes with looks incredible, and Canon’s autofocus is hard to beat.
Amr Sayour, Producer: I chose this foldable bike because it can easily be placed in the trunk or back seat of your vehicle, meaning you can venture off onto trails or down streets that you wouldn't be able to access by car. Once you’ve had your fill, you can fold it back up, pack it, and drive away. Keep in mind that you'll want to stick to pavement or smooth dirt paths; it probably won't do well on a hardcore mountain-bike trail. Nonetheless, these bikes are great, especially for the minimalist who wants to up take less room in their vehicle, garage, or home.
James Riswick, West Coast Editor: With "No Time to Die" delayed (again) to April, you'll have the chance to give the gift of Bond once again this holiday season. While you'll no doubt notice the 24 official 007 adventures showing up on various streaming services, the James Bond Blu-Rays, like the DVD sets before them, have wonderful, comprehensive special features for each movie, plus additional lengthy documentaries about various topics. Most were created back in the 1990s, but they hold up. I wouldn't be the James Bond nerd/expert I am today without them. Admittedly, those created since "GoldenEye" are less documentary-like. Should you know someone who's just getting into the James Bond films, this is really the perfect gift. There are numerous book choices I would recommend as well, but few are currently in print. "The Encyclopedia" could be a good choice as Steven Jay Rubin has updated it once again in time for "No Time to Die" (my dog-eared copy dates back to just before "GoldenEye").
Alexander Malburg, Producer: With camping and going off the grid becoming much more prevalent during these times, you might find maintaining a charge on essential electronics a bit limiting. This year, I treated myself to this power bank to keep my phone, camera gear, and laptop fully charged and ready to go. If this is a bit out of your budget, Goal Zero offers plenty of other portable power options that are worth checking out.
Erik Maier, Multimedia Producer: I have a big-time love/hate relationship with Apple. For me, they're past their prime in terms of both innovation and reliability. Regardless, AirPods are the one Apple product that are just so convenient I'm forced to look past my general Apple annoyance. My old pair have been in need of replacement for a while, so I'll be looking to pick up some new ones this holiday season. To me, $249 is an absurd amount of money to spend on any pair of wireless earbuds, so I definitely won't be getting the Pro versions, but luckily, you can still get the original-recipe AirPods right here, and as of this writing, they're even 19% off.
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