My sister just called to ask me what I want for Christmas. I protested that it?s not even Thanksgiving, but she?s out shopping already and my guess is that a whole host of other folks are also working down their holiday gift lists. So, it?s with festive cheer I?ve compiled a list of ten hot gadgets that are sure to put a smile on the faces of your loved ones.
Two of the items won?t be available in stores until later this month, many are award-winning technological masterpieces, and some you may have seen around for a couple of months. The gadgets run the gamut in terms of price and functionality: there?s something for everyone. And, while I did include a few obvious choices like the new PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii, I steered clear of the iPod and iShuffle, since those were all the rage last holiday season. However, since I'm an Apple fan, there is another Mac product on the list.
1. Video Game Consoles
The last time I checked, Sony?s PlayStation 3 (PS3) was priced as high as $2,725.00 on eBay . It will battle Nintendo?s Wii (pronounced ?we?) for top game consol sales this season. The PS3 features high-definition Blue Ray technology that allows programmers to expand the breadth and depth of gaming detail. Like their predecessors, both the PS3 and Wii let users to play interactive games online, download Internet content, play DVDs and CDs, and more. PS3?s official release date is November 17; Wii?s North American release date is November 19. Wii comes equipped with a WiFi card, while you have to purchase the upgraded PS3 for WiFi. Nintendo branched out with the Wii, redesigning the traditional look and feel of the wireless controller. The Wii looks sleek, it?s cheaper than PS3, and some gamers have a soft spot for Mario. But the PS3 walked away with two big wins at the September DigitalLife convention in New York City. It won Best of Show Overall and Best Game Hardware.
2. James Bond's Spy Phone
Sony Ericsson?s K800 and K790 camera phones will be in high demand when they hit stores later this month. The new James Bond movie, ?Casino Royale?, features Bond using these slick cellulars while he spies on terrorists as part of England?s elite MI6 00 unit. The silver phones will be limited editions, available for only three months. The cameras are 3.2 megapixels and include auto focus. The K800 and K790 will come with James Bond downloads, wallpaper, and the movie trailer. Price about $320.00
3. Downsized Digital Leica Mini-Me
By marrying two German camera company?s strengths, the Minox Leica M3 miniature digital camera mixes Minox?s cutting-edge technology with the classic Leica design. The display screen on the back is 1.5 inches, there?s 32 MB of built-in memory in addition to 5 GB cards, and the camera controls are intuitive for photographers of all levels. And, let?s face it, it looks cool. You can order it on sale for $199 on Amazon .
4. Classiest mp3 Player on the Market
Bang & Olufsen designs electronics with the best acoustical capabilities. Their BeoSound 2 mp3 player should entice the pickiest and most sophisticated people on your holiday list. You can use Apple iTunes or Windows Media Player to organize your files, and the earphones are among the most comfortable on the market. If you?re looking for something classier than the average mp3 player, the $460 BeoSound 2 is the perfect gift.
5. Explorer's Delight
GPS navigation systems continue adding nifty features. Magellan?s RoadMate 6000T portable is small enough to fit in your pocket, and in addition to the usual maps and directions you can store mp3 files, hook up your Bluetooth phone for hands-free capability, and add a feature that provides updated traffic information. And, if your loved one can wait until January, Magellan?s introducing a rugged, waterproof model for hikers and campers. Amazon.com has the RoadMate available for a sale price of $699.
6. Nectar of the Gods
This next gadget?s more expensive than the others, but if you?re an avid wine consumer it might save you money in the long haul. It?s a WinePod . The WinePod assists you in creating an assortment of wines in your own home, wirelessly connecting to your computer to help you control the fermenting process. You have access to professional winemakers as well as fellow amateurs to aid you in your exploration of this ancient beverage. The cost is $3,499.
7. Reviving the Jurassic Period
Standing one foot tall and almost three feet long, the Roboreptile is a lifelike dinosaur that will thrill any kid. It runs, jumps, has three different programmed moods, changes color based on its environment, moves like a live reptile, and is operated by remote control. It?s available in Discovery Channel stores for $99.95 or Amazon for $49.95.
8. Monster Power
This next product won a Best of Innovations 2007 award at the International Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The Monster Central Home Theater and Lighting Controller 300 compacts all of your home controls into one remote. It not only includes the usual suspects ? TV, DVD, stereo, ? but also your iPod and your home?s lighting. Plus it?s wireless, so it works anywhere in the house. The downside is that it?s as ugly as the day is long, but it?s easy to use and is the only universal remote I?m aware of that allows to you control your lights. Maybe they?ll come up with a better design in the future.
The Sony Mylo (My Life Online) Personal Communicator also won a Best of Innovations 2007 award at CES. I admit I?m partial to this toy. You can surf the Web, e-mail, play music, IM (Instant Message), and make Internet phone calls from any hotspot in the world. It?s smaller and lighter than a notebook, so essentially you take the fun parts of your computer with you without lugging the laptop. It?s ideal for students and vacationers who want online communication and music downloading capability without dragging along Microsoft Office. You can buy it for about $300.
10. Mac Daddy Music & Video Player
If you love downloading videos on your iPod, check out the Mac Sonic Impact Video 55 . It?s a newer Mac product that?s getting rave reviews from users. You fit your iPod into it for high quality sound and resolution. It?s engineered to handle outdoor excursions and has a battery life of about three hours (and can be recharged by plugging it into your car). The price is $79.95.
[Updated in November 2007 for current prices and current articles]