With Christmas 2020 just around the corner, we’ve put together a gift guide pulling together some top items from the categories we feature regularly on FinalBoss. From games to tech to movies there’s something for everyone.
- Cyberpunk 2077
Cyberpunk is the biggest game of the year and probably the biggest game of the last decade. Developed and published by CD Projekt Red (Witcher 3: Wild Hunt), gamers have been waiting to get their hands on this game since its announcement in 2012. Cyberpunk is one of the most detailed games of all time, offering up in-depth character customisation, cybernetic body modifications and weapon customisation. The action role-playing games take place in an alternative timeline, where the world has been ravaged by countless corporate wars, humanities exploitation of the planet’s resources have led to an irreversible climate disaster and an orbital war. After years of reconstruction and unification, American cities begin to rebuild such as Night City. Night City is a free city that bathes in the flow of capital, leaving the rich prosperous, whilst the poor struggle to make ends meet. Cyberpunk 2077 sounds very similar to the world we live and breathe in today. At the beginning of the game, the player chooses between one of three life paths: Nomad, Street kid or Corpo. Each one has their own benefits and weakness but what’s great about this is that each gamer will have their own gaming experience. Cyberpunk 2077 is for fans of the Blade Runner film series and the Deus Ex game series. On next-generation systems (Xbox Series and PS5) and PC, the game is superb and you can spend hours in Night City without even scratching its surface. However, CD Projekt Red has faced some backlash in terms of the game on previous generation systems (PS4 and Xbox One). The frame rate at this time really struggles to the point where the game is unplayable. If you own a previous-gen console, I would personally wait until multiple updates have been released for the game over the next month or so.
Tenet is the latest science-fiction thriller written and directed by Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk, Inception and The Dark Knight. A protagonist (John David Washington) must go on a time-bending mission to save the world from World War III and is armed with only one word, Tenet. Tenet wastes no time at all and places the viewer right into the action. Just like his previous work, Nolan leaves little narrative clues throughout, making you work for the films ending instead of spoon-feeding you the information like many other modern Hollywood Blockbusters. The performances within the film are fantastic, especially from Robert Pattison who is warming up for his performance as Batman. However, the real standout is the stunt team. The fight choreography is like nothing that we have seen before and the car chase scenes are so immersive. This film is a visual spectacle and sounds massive, particularly with Ludwig Göransson’s soundtrack, surrounding the viewer in what is a true Hollywood Blockbuster experience.
- Run the Jewels 4
Music has been the real standout out this year with some astonishing albums, particularly Phoebe Bridger’s Punisher and would highly recommend. However, my personal favourite was Run the Jewels 4 (RTJ4) and if there is an album to ever sum up 2020, this would probably be it. Killer Mike and EL-P return to what is their most daring and their best-crafted album yet. Released in June earlier this year, RTJ4 is the fourth studio album from the American Hip-hop duo. The album acts as a wakeup call and as a whole, it is a protest album. The pair has never been afraid to delve into social and political injustices, but on RTJ4, they aren’t holding anything back. Police brutality, corruption, social-media and the system are all laid out for our ears to dissect with tracks such as “Walking in the snow” discussing mass-incarceration and how the media desensitizes the public to police brutality. RTJ4 is the most appropriate album for the times we’re living and what an album it is. The album’s production is great and sounds bigger than anything that they have made before, particularly when listening on vinyl. The collaborations on the album are fantastic. I would never have thought I would hear a song that features Pharrel Williams and Rage Against The Machine’s Zak De La Rocha, discussing “slave masters posing on your dollar.” However, the real standout collaboration with the duo is on “Pulling the Pin” with soul legend Mavis Staples and Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme. RTJ4 hits you right at your core from start to finish and is 2020’s most important album.
- LG OLED55CX 4K OLED 120fps Smart TV
The new TV in LG’s OLED range, offers impeccable 4K resolution with the deepest blacks, natural colours and superior detail for an immersing viewing experience. With a built-in LG HDR10 and Dolby Vision, these HDR’s brings you closer to a true to life picture that has rarely been seen before in previous LG instalments. The pixels within are self-lighting, meaning they can turn on-and-off individually, adapting to what you are watching. Dolby Atmos offers clarity like we have never heard before, adding dynamic sound range to your viewing experience. Having both Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos Sound brings the full cinematic experience to your front room. It has multiple outputs including four HDMI ports which support HDMI 2.1, three USB ports, Ethernet, an aerial and many more. The TV is particularly great for gamers with its Game Mode. Within the mode, ALLM(Auto Low Latency Mode) ensuring that the TV has low-lag and its VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) matches the TV’s refresh rate to the frame rate of the console connected. The design is streamlined offering elegance that can fit right into your home. LG offer multiple variations in size so if the 55in is too big or even too small for your liking, you can always opt for a different size. The TV houses various apps such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ which are accompanied with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. On the music front, Spotify and Deezer are present. However, there are no core catch up services for UK buyers, including BBC iPlayer, All 4 and ITV Hub. This is a big let-down and is more of an inconvenience than anything. If you wanted these apps, you would have to purchase an affordable video streamer such as a Chromecast. This is the only downside to what is a strong entry into LG’s OLED range.
- Apple iPhone 12 Mini
With most phone designs getting bigger and bigger each year, Apple has done the opposite and they haven’t compromised on quality either. Built for those who prefer smaller phones, the iPhone 12 mini is perfect for everyday needs. The 64GB version is priced at £699 at major retailers, which is cheaper than the £799 standard iPhone 12. The mini can compete with some of the very best headsets on the market and compared with the normal iPhone 12, there isn’t much difference. It houses the same A14 Bionic processor, the front and rear cameras are identical offering 12MP front and back, and they are both 5G compatible. The camera can even record in 4k at 24, 30 or 60 frames per second. The only major difference is the battery life is slightly less on the mini and has a slower charging speed. With roughly 7 hours and 28 minutes of battery life compared to the iPhone 12’s 8 hours and 25 minutes. This might annoy some but if you know someone who loves smaller phones, this is the phone for them. It is affordable compared to other Apple products and its performance level it is virtually on par with the standard edition.
- House of Marley Positive Vibration 2 Bluetooth Headphones
Headphones are one of the most integral parts of modern society. Whether it is on your daily commute or when you are doing the washing up, we always need them. Ranging between £39.99 and £49.99 depending on the retailer, House of Marley Positive Vibration 2 are one of the best affordable headphones on the market. Even though they don’t have noise cancellation, they sound perfect. They don’t sound thin, have too much bass or are too harsh. House of Marley has created a perfect balance of sound for an affordable price. What makes them stand out from their competitors is their design. The positive vibration 2’s are sustainably crafted making them feel light and sleek. Using FSC certified wood, Recyclable Aluminium and Marley’s own eco-friendly REWIND™ fabric makes the positive vibration 2 durable and a high-quality product compared too many plastic headphones. Holding a pretty decent 10 hours of continuous playtime from a single charge, you don’t need to worry about a low battery. House of Marley Positive Vibration 2’s are perfect for whatever your day entails and they help save the planet, what more can you ask for this Christmas.
- Audio – Technica AT-LP3
With vinyl making a huge resurgence within recent years, turntables are the ideal Christmas gift. Coming in all shapes and sizes, it is hard to find the right one for the right price without being ripped off. That’s where I come in. The Audio Technica AT-LP3 is one of the best entry-level turntables, with the company prioritising performance and entertainment over price. Coming with a built-in pre-amp, all you need is a set of decent speakers and the rest is history. Roughly priced at £200, it is a perfect platform for new vinyl enthusiasts to build their record collection on and it is so simple to use. The AT-LP3 houses a fully automatic belt-drive with two playable speeds of 33 1/3 and 45 RPM, meaning that it only takes a couple of buttons for the music to start playing. With an adjustable counterweight and an anti-stake feature, these allow the player to adjust the turntable to whatever the listener needs. These small features make the AT-LP3 the perfect entry-level turntable standing high and above every other turntable at this price. The turntable is well designed and well-made. Even though the chassis is plastic, it is not too tacky. It easily blends in with your other entertainment appliances. What is also good is that you can easily upgrade both the turntable cartridge and its pre-amp, making it more accessible for all type of listeners. If you are looking for a new turntable or an upgrade from your briefcase design, the Audio-Technica AT-LP3 is the turntable for you.
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