Holiday Gift Guide 2010

SlashGear Team - Nov 15, 2010
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Holiday Gift Guide 2010

Food, family, festivities: the holidays can be stressful, and that’s before you decide what should go inside the wrapping paper. SlashGear can’t help you with the cooking, but we can cut through the sales hyperbole and help you pick the best in consumer electronics so that the only disappointment this December is the brussels sprouts. In our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide we’ve picked our favorite cellphones, computers, accessories and more, so read on for the best in tech this season! (We’ll be updating the Holiday Gift Guide throughout the holiday season)

Mobile Phones – Sprint

HTC EVO 4G

One of the stand-out Android-based handsets on the Now Network, the EVO 4G from HTC was Sprint’s first 4G handset, and is still easily the biggest handset available on the network. The capacitive touchscreen display measures in at 4.3-inches, and features a resolution of 800 x 480. Under the hood you’ll find a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, which makes the Android 2.2 mobile Operating System tick along nicely. To add the icing to the cake, you’ll find HTC’s Sense User Interface. Other features include a kick-stand to help you watch those movies on the big screen, and an 8MP camera with dual LED flash. There’s an 8GB microSD card bundled with the device, and there’s 512MB of RAM, along with 1GB of ROM. For the $199 price tag, the EVO 4G is still one of the best devices available on Sprint. [REVIEW]

Samsung Epic 4G

The second 4G handset to hit the Now Network, the Epic 4G features a plastic manufactured frame from Samsung. The Epic is the Galaxy S variant for the Sprint network, which shares many of the same features that the other Galaxy S devices have on the other networks. However, it’s the differences that make the Epic stand out. First and foremost, it features a landscape slider with a full physical QWERTY keyboard. There’s also a front-facing camera for video calls. Plus, the connectivity to 4G can’t be ignored, as long as you’re in a 4G-supported area. You’ll find a 1GHz Hummingbird processor under the hood, along with Android 2.1 running the show. Samsung’s proprietary TouchWiz 3.0 User Interface makes the interface clean and simple to use. Price wise, you’ll be paying $249.99 to get your hands on the 4-inch Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen display. [REVIEW]

Motorola i1

If you’re looking for a rugged device, and one that has a physical build that impresses on every level, then the i1 is the device for you. A new addition to the Sprint line-up, just in time for the holiday shopping season, the Motorola i1 is the first push-to-talk Android-based handset, and utilizes the Sprint Nextel network. It’s designed to be drop and dust-proof, so it will stand up to the rigors of your every day life. It has a 3.1-inch capacitive touchscreen HVGA display, and a 5MP on the back of the device. While it has the look and feel of the previously released MOTOBLUR devices, it’s not actually connected to the BLUR servers, so the status updates won’t be flooding your homescreens. The Motorola i1 features Android 1.5 under the hood. You can grab this device for a low price of $149.99. [REVIEW]

Mobile Phones – Verizon

Motorola Droid X

The largest handset available on the Verizon network, the Motorola Droid X features a 4.3-inch capacitive touchscreen display with a resolution of 854 x 480. It’s running a far more advanced version of Motorola’s proprietary MOTOBLUR User Interface, and it’s less intrusive, more intuitive and in-depth. The social networking aspect of the device is top-notch, especially with the Universal Inbox you can take full use of. Under the hood, you’ll find a 1GHz OMAP processor, and a newly updated version of Android 2.2. On the back, you’ll find an 8MP autofocus camera with dual LED flash. There’s an HDMI port as well, allowing you to watch the videos you’ve recorded with the handset on your TV, or other external display. Motorola includes a 16GB microSD memory card in the box, which will add to the 8GB of on board storage already preinstalled. You can pick up the Droid X for $199.99 on a new, two-year contract. [REVIEW]

Samsung Fascinate

The second-largest handset for Verizon, the Samsung Fascinate shares plenty of features with its Galaxy S brethren which have their own place on other networks globally. The Fascinate features primarily a 4-inch Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen display, along with the 1GHz Hummingbird processor under the hood. You can use the device as a 3G mobile hotspot, and you’ll find integrated WiFi on board as well. Samsung features their proprietary TouchWiz 3.0 User Interface atop Android 2.1. On the back of the device, you’ll find a 5MP camera on the back with LED flash. You can pick up the Fascinate for $199.99. [REVIEW]

HTC Droid Incredible

Featuring a 3.7-inch capacitive touchscreen display, the Droid Incredible is a pillar for Verizon. Manufactured by HTC, the device features an updated version of Android 2.2, along with the company’s Sense User Interface. You’ll find a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, making sure that the device reacts to your touches as quickly as possible. There’s an 8MP camera on the back of the device, with dual LED flash. The device just took a price cut for the holiday season, and can now be purchased for $149.99. [REVIEW]

Mobile Phones – AT&T

iPhone 4

The iPhone has been synonymous with the AT&T network since 2007, and in this holiday shopping season, it’s no different. The latest version of the iPhone brings plenty of alterations and improvements over the previous model. First and foremost, the Retina Display offers up the sharpest resolution for any mobile phone available on the market now, with a resolution of 960 x 640 — with 326 pixels per inch, and a 800:1 contrast ratio. The device features a revolutionized body, compared to previous iPhone models, with an external antenna. You’ll find a 1GHz A4 processor inside the device, and the most updated version of Apple’s iOS 4 mobile Operating System. The device comes in two flavors: a 16GB model for $199, or a 32GB version for $299. You’ll get access to iTunes, as well as the iBooks catalogue of reading material, and the App Store, where you’ll be able to download all of your favorite apps right to your device. [REVIEW]

Samsung Focus

The Samsung Focus is one of the devices featuring Microsoft’s brand new Windows Phone 7 mobile Operating System. AT&T is the premiere network partner for Microsoft in the United States, so it’s no surprise that the carrier is getting the cream of the crop. The Focus, which is set to launch on November 8th for the network, features a 4-inch Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen display, and is powered by a 1GHz processor. You’ll find Windows Phone 7, in its unaltered glory, along with access to Xbox LIVE, as well as the Zune Marketplace. There’s a 5MP camera on the back of the handset, and the Focus features 8GB of on board storage right out of the box. However, you’ll be able to expand memory with an external microSD card, all the way up to 32GB. You’ll be able to pick up the Focus this holiday season for $199.99. [REVIEW]

Samsung Captivate

The Galaxy S variant for AT&T, the Captivate was the first Galaxy S device to launch in the United States. Featuring a 4-inch Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, along with Android 2.1 under the hood running the show, the Capacitive is easily the best Android-based handset available on AT&T at present. There’s the same 1GHz Hummingbird processor inside, and you’ll still find Samsung’s proprietary TouchWiz 3.0 User Interface in full effect. The device is a 3G-enabled handset, as well. There’s a 5MP camera on the back, which offers up HD video recording. There’s WiFi, Bluetooth connectivity, as well as GPS. The Captivate can be yours for $199.99. [REVIEW]

Mobile Phones – T-Mobile

T-Mobile G2

The T-Mobile G2 is as true a successor to the original HTC G1 as anyone could expect, featuring a landscape slider physical QWERTY keyboard, and a vanilla Android experience. You’ll find an 800MHz processor under the hood, and the ability to connect to T-Mobile’s HSPA+ (4G) network. There’s a 5MP camera on the back, and an 8GB microSD card included, preinstalled. If the G2 sounds like the perfect holiday present for a loved one, you can pick one up for $199.99. [REVIEW]

HTC HD7

While AT&T may be the premiere carrier for Windows Phone 7 in the United States, that doesn’t mean that there’s no devices with the new mobile Operating System heading to any other network. T-Mobile is getting their own handset to promote the OS by the time this holiday shopping season kicks off, and they’re doing so in a big way. With the upcoming launch of the HTC HD7, featuring the largest display of any Windows Phone 7 handset at 4.3-inches, WP7 and T-Mobile are looking to make a splash. There’s a 1GHz processor inside, and you’ll also find 576MB of RAM and 512MB of ROM. There’s 16GB of flash memory on board thanks to the preinstalled microSD card, but it’s not meant to be replaceable by the user, so there’s no expandable memory. You’ll find a 5MP camera on the back of the device, and like the HTC EVO 4G, there’s a kick-stand on the back of the handset. The HD7 will be available soon for $199.99. [REVIEW]

HTC myTouch 4G

The myTouch brand is still alive and well for T-Mobile USA, and they’ve certainly added a worthy contender to the lineage with the release of the myTouch 4G. Much like the T-Mobile G2 before it, the myTouch 4G is perfectly capable of connecting to T-Mobile’s HSPA+ (4G) network. You’ll also find good use of the front-facing camera for video calls. On the back, there’s a 5MP camera, with an LED flash. There’s an 8GB microSD card included in the package as well, but there’s room for expandable memory as well. Inside, a 1GHz processor makes sure that the whole show keeps clipping along at a nice pace. HTC has included a customized User Interface on the myTouch 4G, which is a bit like Sense, and yet different in some areas. The device also features WiFi calling. The myTouch 4G can be yours for only $199.99. [REVIEW]

Bluetooth Headsets

Plantronics Voyager Pro+

For Bluetooth headsets, sometimes it’s just a small improvement needed to make a great accessory better. In the case of the Voyager Pro+, the ease of use, comfort, and design elements easily make it one of the best Bluetooth headsets available on the market. The company added their proprietary Vocalyst service, which is a voice-control service that lets you do things like read emails aloud, set up email reminders, or even send an email, just by saying the command. The company even changed the microphone grill, for those with bears and mustaches. The battery life is amazing, and in our review we had no troubles keeping the device connected to our test phones. You can pick up the updated Voyager Pro+ for $99 this holiday season. [REVIEW]

Sound ID 510

As with major devices that get released now-a-days, it’s not just about the hardware anymore, but what comes with it. The Sound ID 510 is an example of how software can make a Bluetooth headset better. While the device itself may look plain at first glance, it’s the bundled software (that you can only retrieve from Apple’s App Store) that promotes the device to the top of the list. Featuring things like EarPrint, which acts as a DSP management system and monitoring tool, to the Sound Level Gauge, which lets you see how much ambient noise is going on around you right on your iPhone. There’s an option for “Find My Headset” as well, which will emit a gradually increasing tone if you can’t find your headset, helping you locate it. Price wise, you’ll be shelving out $129.99 for the headset, but with the added software and full-featured DSP manager, it’s a good deal. [REVIEW]

Motorola Oasis

If you’re looking for a non-discrete headset, and the Voyager Pro+ isn’t to your liking, then perhaps the Motorola Oasis is more for you. Motorola tested the headset on 500 ears before officially launching the device, and say that the results proved that the headset has a better overall quality than the major competition. In our review, we tested the headset’s MultiPoint technology, letting us connect the headset to two devices at once, as well as the DSP manager that cuts through the ambient noise easily enough. The battery life lasts up to 6 hours of talktime. The build quality of the Oasis is high, and even if it doesn’t look the part, we could tell that it’s durable enough to last through the day-to-day rigors. You can pick up the over-the-ear designed headset for around $80 this holiday season. [REVIEW]

Notebooks

11-inch MacBook Air

If you’re looking for a notebook this holiday season, there are plenty of options available for you. But, if you’re looking to try and stay under the $1,000 mark, then there’s only a few that remain at the top of the hill, promoting the best features for a particular price tag. In the case of the MacBook Air, you can expect to find an 11.-6inch display, with a resolution of 1366 x 768. For the price you’re looking for in this case, you’ll get your hands on 64GB of flash storage, as well as NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics. There’s 2GB of DDR3 memory, and a 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor. The full keyboard is comfortable and easy to type on, and the trackpad is the same high-end version you’ll find on other current generation Apple laptops. We found that the notebook is perfectly capable of doing pretty much everything you’ll want to do on the Internet, from watching videos to browisng the Web. The new MacBook Air also features a battery that will last you 5 hours of usage, and weeks upon weeks of stand-bye time. Plus, with a new purchase you’ll get Mac OS X Snow Leopard, as well as a free copy of iLife 11. You can pick up this model of MacBook Air for just $999. [REVIEW]

Acer Aspire TimelineX 1830T

The Acer Aspire Timeline X 1830T was a surprising release this year, packing quite a few features that would make anyone believe the notebook actually costs more than it does. The notebook features an 11.6-inch LED-backlit display with a resolution of 1366 x 768. The trackpad features support for multitouch gestures, and the full keyboard is easy to type on, as well as plenty comfortable. An Intel Core i7-680UM dual-core processor, running at 1.46GHz runs the show, along with a 500GB hard drive and 4GB of DDR3 memory. There’s even Intel’s HD graphics support to make sure that you’re truly experiencing the 720p media your new notebook supports. You’ll find integrated WiFi b/g/n, an Ethernet port and one Bluetooth 3.0 port. You’ll also have access to an HDMI port and three USB 2.0 ports. The Acer Aspire TimelineX 1830T will run you $899.99 this holiday season. [REVIEW]

Toshiba Portege R705

If 11-inches is too small for you, but you still want the ultra-portable for the holidays, then the Toshiba Portege R705 may be to your liking. It’s the lightest Protege notebok to be released by Toshiba that includes an optical drive. This notebook weighs in at only 3.2lbs, but features a sturdy design so that it doesn’t bend or creak. You’ll find an Intel Core i3-350M processor that’s running at 2.27GHz, along with 4GB of DDR3 memory. There’s event a DVD burner. There’s a 500GB hard drive for all your storage needs. There’s also Intel’s Wireless Display (WiDi) technology, which lets you stream media from the notebook to an external display wirelessly, and Microsoft’s Windows 7 Home Premium preinstalled. The 13.3-inch LED-backlit display features a resolution of 1366 x 768, and a full chiclet-style keyboard that’s comfortable to use, and easy to type on. You’ll be able to pick up the Portege R705 for around $800 this holiday shopping season. [REVIEW]

All-in-One Desktops

Acer Aspire Z5600

Despite the fact that the Acer Aspire Z5600 broke cover at the beginning of 2010, it’s still one of the best All-in-One desktops you can get your hands on this holiday season. Featuring a 23-inch multitouch touchscreen display, with a full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080, 16:9, and packing the full power of a funtioning PC inside the all-in-one case, the Acer Aspire stands-out. The desktop features an Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200 processor, which is paired with 4GB of DDR3 memory. There’s a 1TB 7,200rpm hard drive under the hood, too. Integrated WiFi b/g/n, audio in/out ports, six USB 2.0 ports, and a multiformat webcam with 5.1-channel audio make the desktop a powerhouse machine. There’s a copy of Windows 7 Home Premium included with the purchase, too. There’s even a DVD burner on the side. We were impressed at how quietly, and how cool, the whole system ran during our review. The multitouch touchscreen display lets you pinch-to-zoom, as well as rotate images with just the tips of your fingers. You can pick one of these up this holiday season for around $999. [REVIEW]

Apple iMac 27-inch

The mid-2010 refresh of the 27-inch iMac line-up saw plenty of improvements to the All-in-One computer, many of which made it possible to put it in the “best of” category. Featuring a 27-inch display IPS LCD display, with a resolution of 2560 x 1440, and a 1,000:a contrast ratio. You’ll find a quadcore Intel Core i7 processor, clocked at 2.93GHz under the hood, paired with 4GB of DDR3 memory. There’s also a 256GB SSD. The 27-inch version features ATI Radeon HD 5750 GPU with 1GB of its own memory. There’s an 8x SuperDrive DVD Burner, and you’ll find 4 USB 2.0 ports along the back. A FireWire 800 port, audio in/out, Mini DisplayPort, and gigabit Ethernet. There’s a slot-loading optical drive, and an SDXC memory card reader. Integrated WiFi a/b/g/n, and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR connectivity. You can pick up the iMac 27-inch model for $2,799, with the specifications outlined in our review, but prices starting at the base model –with an Intel Core i3 processor– start at $1,699. [REVIEW]

Gaming Notebook

Alienware M11x

If you’re looking for a gaming notebook this holiday season, then the Alienware M11x is the best bet. Despite being released earlier in the year, it still stands out as a top-notch device. In our review, we tested the notebook’s ability to not only be a hardcore gaming machine, but also be an ultraportable that owners could actually take with them, and not have to worry about the AC power. The trackpad features standard multitouch gestures, and it’s easy to use right out of the box. The display measures in at 11.6 inches, and features a resolution of 1366 x 768, with a glossy aesthetic. There is a VGA port, HDMI port, and DisplayPort. You’ll also find three USB 2.0 ports, Ethernet, FireWire, two microphone inputs, as well as a microphone input. There’s a 1.3MP webcam as well. It launches with Windows 7 Home Premium. Our review unit was a notebook that featured an Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 clocked at 1.30GHz. However, Alienware overclocks the processor out of the box, and ours was running at 1.73GHz. There was also 4GB of DDR3 memory. There are options for 250GB or 500GB hard drives, or a 256GB SSD. The big question is gaming time without being plugged into the wall: we managed 2 hours and 45 minutes of pure gaming after a full charge. And, our straight forward Internet browsing showed us that the notebook will run just under 7 hours on a full charge. Other features include Optimus technology, as well as LED backlighting for just about everything on the notebook, including the Alienware logo, the keyboard, and the trackpad. You can get all of this, based on our review unit, for around $1,539, while the base unit will run you a cheaper $799. [REVIEW]

Gaming Desktop

Acer Predator AG5900

If you’re not looking to be mobile this holiday season, but you want the best gaming machine you can get your hands on, then the Acer Predator AG5900 is where you’ll want to look. The company took their time with the Predator AG5900, adding little theatrical elements, especially with the DVD burner, which opens up like a predator’s mouth. Under the classy, and ridiculously shiny hood, you’ll find an Intel Core i7-870 processor, along with 8GB of DDR3 1333 memory. Acer threw in a 1.5TB 7,200rpm hard drive for good measure. You’ll also find an ATI Radeon HD 5850 video card, which has 1GB of its own memory. You get a 16x DVD burner, integrated audio and a gigabit Ethernet port, and two PS/2 ports. There are four USB 2.0 ports on the front of the case, and an additional 8 more on the back. Unfortunately, you won’t find integrated WiFi, but Acer does throw in a USB keyboard and an optical mouse. Microsoft’s Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit is the Operating System on board. The chassis is big, and Acer did this to make sure that owners can customize their options, including two additional 3.5-inch bays, and two more hard drive slots. Benchmarking in our review showed that the Predator AG5900 is an overall imrpessive machine, scoring higher than most desktops. Yes, there are more powerful gaming desktops out there, but with the price tag of only $1,349.99, Acer wins out in strength and price. [REVIEW]

Digital Camera: DSLR

Canon 7D

If you’re looking for a new camera that not only puts plenty of emphasis on taking high definition still-shots, but focuses just as much on video, then the Canon EOS 7D is your camera. The Canon 7D is specifically created for a prosumer standpoint, and the features reflect that. In our review, we were impressed with the picture quality, as well as the video quality, even while we were on the move in a car. The camera features an 18MP 22.3 x 14.9 mm APC-S CMOS sensor, with a 1.6x focal length. It can shoot 8fps stills, or up to 1080p HD (at 24, 25 or 30fps) or 720p HD (at 50, 59 or 94fps) video. The ISO ranges from 100 to 6,400, and there’s a 19-point autofocus system that allows you to specify broader AF zones. On the back you’ll find a 3-inch, 920k pixel LCD display. We were really impressed with the autofocus system, which works really fast. Faster than any previous Canon DSLR. If you’re a hardcore picture taker, and are tired of carrying an HD video camera around with you, then the Canon EOS 7D is a good way to minimize your gadgets, and still keep the high-end aspect. You’ll be able to pick up the Canon EOS 7D for around $1,600 this holiday season. [REVIEW]

Gadgets

iPod Nano 5th Generation

Apple refreshed their iPod line-up of devices in 2010, just as they always do on a yearly basis, and this time around they’ve come up with the best iPods ever. Our review of the iPod Nano 5th Generation was an overall positive one, packing plenty of features inside the ridiculously small package. It easily falls into the best gadget category. Featuring a very small frame, along with a 1.54-inch capacitive touchscreen display with a resolution of 240 x 240. What’s better, though, is the standard dock connector on the bottom. There’s a spring-loaded clip on the back, making sure you can clip it to yourself, your bag, or something else that you need to clip it to. There’s the standard 3.5mm audio jack as well. There’s a refreshed, and brand new version of an iOS-like User Interface on the device, but there isn’ta ny access to the iTunes or App Store. The battery will offer you 24 hours of playback time. You can pick up the 8GB version for $149, and the 16GB model for $179 this holiday season. [REVIEW]

Livescribe Echo Smartpen

If you’re someone who still leans toward the usage of a pen and paper, instead of immediately reaching for a keyboard, then the Livescribe Echo Smartpen is the best choice for your gadget needs this holiday season. It uses the old-fahsioned method of actually using handwriting, but it incorporates the usage of digital technology well enough to make the list. The Livescribe Echo Smartpen is capable of recording not only text, but audio as well, and does it in a nice, affordable package. You’ll find a 3.5mm audio jack on the top of the device, as well as a microUSB port for data transfer. You’ll have to use the special paper to get your recording done, which actually has the “buttons” located on the bottom of the paper, where you can record, pause, and stop a recording at any time. There’s even a speaker inside the pen, and while it’s small, it has good sound quality. and volume. You’ll need the bundled Livescribe Desktop software to make sense of the whole thing, but it’s bundled, so it isn’t an extra cost. It works for PC or Macs, too. In the box, you’ll find two ink cartridges, a single Echo notebook, and one pen. You’ll get 12 hours of battery life with just handwriting. You can pick up the 4GB model for $169.95, and the 8GB version for $199.95. [REVIEW]

ThermaPAK HeatShift Laptop Cooler

If you’ve ever had your laptop on your lap for any extended period of time, then you know that the bottom of the device can get pretty hot. And, subsequently, you get pretty uncomfortable. There are plenty of cooling pads out there, but the HeatShift Laptop Cooler from ThermaPAK takes the cake, and makes the list as one of our favorite gadgets this holiday season. You can pick up one of the coolers in three different sizes: 13-, 15-, and 17-inch sizes; along with colors in black, “Mac” white and pink. ThermaPAK makes use of PCM crystals inside the main cooler section of the body, which will liquify as heat is applied to them. When the heat source is removed, they will solidify again. The idea is that this is better than the fans installed in laptops, and so will cool your laptop (as well as your legs) far more efficiently. We were, honestly, surprised tha the HeatShift Laptop Cooler worked, and worked very well. We also like the idea that you can bring the pad with you everywhere, as it is foldable, and you can roll it up. Prices begin at $27.99 for the 13-inch version, $29.99 for the 15-inch model, and $34.99 for the 17-inch version. [REVIEW]

Philips LivingColors Gen2 LED Lamp

If you’re someone who believes that lighting a room is way more important than just a functional use, then the Philips LivingColors Gen2 LED lamp may be your next gift for the holiday season. The LivingColors line-up of lamps has been around for awhile, but this second generation features thousands of colors, a remote control, and a more efficient body and lighting. The remote uses RF instead of IR, and it’s the way that you switch colors in real-time. The power button is located at the top of the remote, and a very colorful color wheel will let you choose what color you’re looking for easily enough. You can even control multiple lamps from a single remote. You can choose from a continuously color-changing range, which will put a rainbow in your room. Philips says that the LivingColors Gen2 LED lamps aren’t for mainly function, but decoration, and we’d have to agree with them. You can pick one up for your loved one, or for yourself, for $257. [REVIEW]

Jawbone JAMBOX

Portable, Bluetooth-equipped speakers may not be all the rage, but they’re certainly a category of gadgets that some people can’t live without. They aren’t as prominent as, say, Bluetooth headsets, but certainly do come in handy, whether you want to listen to your music or put someone on a louder speaker than just your phone’s, Bluetooth speakers are an easy, and usually inexpensive way to do that. However, in the case of Jawbone’s JAMBOX Bluetooth speakers, they pack enough features and sound quality inside the package to make the premium price make sense. Offering the same performance and manufacturing details that we’ve grown accustomed to with their Bluetooth headsets, the JAMBOX offers up plenty of sound for such a small package. The small box comes in black, red, grey, or blue. Primarily constructed of rubber, to make sure it doesn’t go sliding around your desk, it also features a diamond-pattern mesh around the four sides. You’ll find two speakers behind the grill, which surprised us with how good they sounded in our review. You get a microUSB port to recharge the Bluetooth portable device, as well as a 3.5mm audio jack for non-Bluetooth headsets. And, with Jawbone’s MyTALK software, you’ll be able to receive firmware updates easily, as well as utilize different applications compatible with the JAMBOX. The performance is enough to warrant our attention, as well as the attention of shoppers this holiday season. You can pick up the JAMBOX beginning November 16th for $199. [REVIEW]

Tablet

Apple iPad

It’s the first version of Apple’s tablet device, and it features a 9.7-inch capacitive touchscreen ISP display, with a resolution of 1024 x 768. There’s a single port on the bottom for the dock connector, as well as a 3.5mm audio jack at the top of the device, along with the power button. It’s a light-weight device, featuring a slightly curved back case, with a wide enough bezel along the sides of the display to make sure you have somewhere to hold it. It’s running an updated version of iOS 3.2, and it’s the same look and feel that you’ll find on Apple devices like the iPod Touch and iPhone, which makes it instantly recognizable and usable by millions of people. There’s a 1GHz A4 processor under the hood, making sure that the experience of browsing web pages, playing with applications, and listening to music goes as smoothly as possible. You have access to not only the regular App Store, but also the iPad App Store, as well as the iBooks Store. iTunes is at your disposal for your entertainment needs, including music, movies, TV shows and podcasts. And you can choose from a WiFi-only model, to one that accesses AT&T’s 3G network. For the WiFi only model, you can pick one up starting at $499 for the 16GB version; $599 for the 32GB model; and $699 for the 64GB model. As for the 3G-enabled devices, those will run you $629 for the 16GB; $729 for the 32GB; and $829 for the 64GB version. And, as a bit of a bonus, Apple now offers free engraving, so you can add a personal message to your iPad for that special gift. [REVIEW]

Samsung Galaxy Tab

There’s several different Android-based tablets out in the market already, but it’s Samsung’s Galaxy Tab that truly stands out amidst the growing crowd. Featuring a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen display, with a resolution of 1024 x 600, which makes it the highest resolution for an Android-based tablet available on the market right now. You’ll find the standard elements, like a Power button, as well as a 3.5mm audio jack for your headphones of choice. There’s also doors that hide a microSD card slot, and another that, as long as you have a GSM-based model, will hold your SIM card. On the front of the device, you’ll find a 1.3MP camera, and on the back a 3MP version. There is 2GB of ROM, and an additional 16GB of available memory for the user. You can expand that memory with a microSD card. Inside, there’s a 1GHz Hummingbird processor, which is paired with a PowerVR SGX540 graphics, and 512MB of RAM. The Tab is running the latest version of Android 2.2, with some customizations made for the tablet’s size. We were impressed with the Tab’s size, along with the implementation of Android, especially when compared to other Android-based tablets. If you’re in the UK, the Tab is generally going for around 530 pounds, while Sprint and T-Mobile are pushing the Tab for $400 on a new, two-year agreement. Verizon will be selling it for around $600, bundled with one of their MiFi hotspots. As of yet, AT&T hasn’t come forward with the pricing for their Tab. There will also be a WiFi-only version that lands in the near future, which is expected to run $500. [REVIEW]

Accessories

StealthArmor METAL for iPad

Protecting your gadgets is just as important as getting gadgets, so that’s why a protective element is being added to the gadgets list. And, why not choose a protective element that not only keeps your gadget safe, but also looks good while doing it? That’s exactly what you get with StealthArmor’s METAL protective skin for the iPad. The Metallic series of skins comes in a glossy finish, featuring Brushed Aluminum, Bronze, Tungsten and Bronze for the color choices. The skins are actually made from Fusion of Ideas’ carbon fiber film technology, so they’re nice to the touch, too, and will protect your tablet device from scratches on a regular basis. And, what’s better, is that the Metallic series is far less slippery than the previous skins, which means you won’t have to worry about the iPad slipping out of your hand. You can get your own skin of choice for the iPad starting at $75. [REVIEW]

Mophie Juice Pack Air for iPhone 4

Despite the fact that the iPhone 4 promotes plenty of battery life on its own, there are some people out there that will do what they can to run their battery dry as quickly as possible, every day. Even if you’re not intending to, there’s just some days that a battery won’t last you. That’s where the Mophie Juice Pack Air for the iPhone 4 comes in. Designed to look like a case for the iDevice, it’s actually an extra battery for the iPhone 4, giving it that extra bit of juice when you need it. Better, though, is that it only adds 2.5oz to the total weight of the device. There’s a microUSB cable that comes with the purchase, making sure that you can charge the pack, your iPhone 4, and sync it with your computer all at the same time. The case itself is a soft-rubber creation, making it non slippery, and therefore easy to hold. Improvements look like this: an additional 6 hours of talk time over 3G (12hrs over 2G), an additional 5 hours of Web browsing over 3G (9hrs over WiFi), 9 hours of additional battery life during video playback, with an additional 36 hours of audio playback. For the $79.95 price tag, it’s a cheap enough accessory for the person you know runs around a lot, and has to make sure that their iPhone 4 is always charged. [REVIEW]

LaCie Rugged Safe 500GB Hard Drive

The LaCie Rugged Safe 500GB Hard Drive stands out for being just another external, portable hard drive. Featured as a rugged, sustainable hard drive, and other features including a biometric fingerprint scanner, this external hard drive certainly caught our eye earlier in the year. The main body of the device is white aluminum case, with a black rubber bumper to help in the protection of the device. You’ll find a USB 2.0 port, two FireWire 800 inputs, and a power input. And then, at the top of the device, is the biometric fingerprint scanner, adding that extra bit of protection for the data on the hard drive. LaCie preloaded their Safe Manager software on the hard drive itself, so plugging it into your computer the first time will take you through the set-up process right off the bat. You won’t have to install the software on every computer you plug the hard drive into, either. It works for both Macs and Windows-based PCs. The 500GB hard drive features a price tag of $189 this holiday season. [REVIEW]

Iomega iConnect Wireless Data Station

Many of our loved ones are not technical enough to setup a NAS for their media storage. Iomega iConnect Wireless Data Station made it easy and simple for consumer to share data and media over home network by simply connecting a drive into the Data Station without a complicated setup like many NAS requires. [REVIEW]

Clickfree C2N

Simplicity comes at a price, then, which is hardly new. A cheap external drive may be easier on your wallet, but it’s a false saving if you then neglect to actually copy your data across to it. In contrast, the C2N streamlines the process to the point where even the most tech-wary of users could get to grips with it. In an ideal world we’d all have redundant local and off-site backup and not even a single byte would go missing; in the real world, Clickfree’s C2N manages to make the company’s own easy products even easier. [REVIEW]

Apple Magic Trackpad

Apple managed to turn some heads earlier this year with the unveiling of a brand new accessory, the Magic Trackpad. Following in the footsteps of their other “magical” products, the trackpad is meant to look like a perfect companion to Apple’s Bluetooth keyboard, and it certainly looks like it could be bundled with the keyboard right out of the box. It features an all-in-one-body, with a rounded section at the top for the installation of a pair of double-AA batteries. There’s a single Power button on the side, and a latch to close the battery compartment. The whole pad works as a button, and clicks down when you need it to, but the device will also activate with just a tap of your finger. It connects to your Mac via Bluetooth, and it takes full use of multitouch and gestures. You can use two fingers to scroll up and down a page, or use three fingers to switch between open pages. You can pinch-to-zoom, or switch running applications when you swipe left or right. The experience is smooth and functional, much like the same process you’ll find on the MacBook laptops. Just on a bigger surface. It’s a perfect accessory for someone who wants an external mouse, without the traditional barriers. It will cost you a cool $69.99 this holiday season. [REVIEW]

Household

simplehuman Sensor Can

This smart trash can holds the distinction of almost certainly being the only trashcan on the Christmas list of anyone you know. It’s expensive, but what could you possibly compare it to? It’s large and looks really nice, 40 liters large with a brushed seal exterior. No sharp edges, opens fully pushed up against the wall. This can can run on six C-sized batteries for a year, or you can plug it into the wall. It opens automatically, stays open as long as it senses it should, It has an odorsorb filter with a natural charcoal odor absorber that can be replace for $5.99 (twin pack). Doubles as a diaper can because of this odor absorber, which makes this can amazing in our eyes. Well played, simplehuman. The simplhuman Sensor can will cost you $225. [REVIEW]


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