25 Holiday Gifts For Your Favorite Techie4:00 PM EST Tue. Nov. 23, 2010
Yes, that special season has rolled around again, and there are lot's of techie gifts to choose from, thanks to the release of exciting new smartphones, tablets, notebooks and other gadgets. Here's a 25 hot items that should make any tech lover happy this holiday season.
Apple's refreshed line of ultra-thin and super-light notebooks now come with a few new tricks. The Apple MacBook Air, which comes in an 11-inch version and a 13-inch version, has no hard disk or optical drive. Instead, the notebook now comes with a solid-state drive courtesy of Toshiba, along with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 2 GB of memory. The 11-inch model weighs in at 2.3 pounds and measures 0.68 inches at its thickest point.
Price: $999.00 (11-inch, 64-GB model)
The Dell Latitude e5510 isn't the flashiest notebook around, but its design assures a level of durability and security that will appeal to many basic users. The reinforced hinges and strong latches help to endure regular wear and tear. As for more severe damage, the standard free-fall-sensor hard drive and Strike Zone shock absorber protect users from losing critical data when the machine suffers a major fall. The system runs on a 2.26-GHz Intel Core processor, 2 GB of Ram, and 250 GB-HDD, and weighs 5.7 pounds with a Lithium ion battery.
Featuring four cores integrated on a single processor running at 3.4 GHz each, the AMD Phenom II x4-965 Black edition offers powerful multicore processing, and comes with an unlocked multiplier allowing users to overclock it for even faster performance. Compatible with motherboards with an AM2+ or AM3 socket, each of the Phenom's four cores is equipped with 512K L2 cache, and all four cores share 6MB L3 smart cache between them. Users can run the latest software, handle multiple programs at once, next-gen games without any frame-rate hiccups, and support high-definition media players and video editors.
Intel's Core i5-650 processor, code-named Clarkdale, offers Intel HD Graphics in addition to powerful CPU performance. Clarkdale has two cores running at 3.2 GHz on one integrated circuit, the Core i5-650 handles everyday applications with ease. With a design that combines the central processor with four threads, the Core i5-650 can simultaneously work on multiple tasks. For an additional burst of speed, the processor can utilize Intel Turbo Boost Technology to run at up to 3.46 GHz.
Norton Internet Security suite 2011 is Symantec’s latest security software targeting computer viruses and malware. The 2011 version not only offers protection against a host of threats, but also offers several tools for filtering e-mail spam, parental controls on Internet browsing, and firewall protection to guard against network attacks. Norton includes the ability to run quick scans and full scans, and comes with scheduling tools that let you set regular times to run scans for viruses and other problems.
Starting price: $69.99 for a 1-year subscription download
Weighing in at 2.9 pounds, the Eee PC is a 10.1-inch convertible tablet-netbook from Asus. Running on Intel's Atom N450 CPU, the Eee PC includes between 1 and 2 GB of DDR2 memory, and a 160-GB HDD. Its ten-inch touch screen includes multitouch functionality when loaded with Windows 7 Home Premium OS. It comes with a 3M pixel camera, Wi-Fi capability, 500GB of ASUS WebStorage, and palm-detecting PenWrite Technology for note-taking.
Windows 7 Ultimate from Mircrosoft includes all of the software in Windows 7 Home Premium and Professional, with added security features and multiple languages. Its Domain Join feature connects systems to domain networks quickly and securely. It also includes a HomeGroup feature, for connecting multiple PCs running Windows 7 to a single printer, as well as allowing PC users to create a home network for sharing files and other information. And there's Windows XP Mode for all those nostalgic types, too.
Price: $319.99 ($219.99 for upgrade version)
Western Digital's MyPassport hard drive includes dual USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 compatibility with automatic, continuous backup and 256-bit hardware-based encryption. Connecting using USB 3.0 allows up to three times faster performance. Users can also add extra storage space for photos, videos and music. The 1-pound hard drive is designed for portability and includes maximum capacity as well as the ability to bring back lost files and monitor the progress of backup displayed in different categories.
The Expansion hard drive from Seagate includes 750 GB of storage space in a portable form-factor and a USB 2.0 interface. It allows users to simply drag-and-drop to save files and to run their drive without the need for a power supply. The built-in power management capability ensures energy-efficient operation at a speed of 5400RPM. While Seagate offers a 1-TB version of the Expansion Portable drive, the 750-GB model has an attractive price point and can be found for under $80.
Starting price: $79.99
The Android 2.1-powered Droid X smartphone from Motorola is arguably the most sought-after Android phone on the market today. Its 4.3-inch touchscreen offers video playback capability and its 8-megapixel camera features 720p HD video capture. Users can supplement its 8-GB internal memory with 16 GB of preloaded microSD memory. Connectivity options include 802.11 n Wi-Fi networking, Stereo Bluetooth, and access to personal and corporate e-mail. The battery supports up to 8 hours of talk time, and up to 220 hours of standby time.
Price: $569.99 ($199.99 with a two-year Verizon Wireless contract)
Dell's Android-powered hybrid tablet/smartphone comes with a 5-inch multitouch display and runs on a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor. The Streak includes integrated GPS navigation with Google Maps or an optional AT&T Navigator. The 16-GB SD card is expandable to 32 GB with microSD. It also features Wi-Fi capability, a 5-megapixel camera/camcorder with dual LED flash, and Bluetooth stereo music. At 7.7 oz, the Streak is light and easier to carry around than larger tablets.
Price: $299.99 (with a two-year wireless contract)
Roku's XDS Streaming Player allows immediate viewing of movies on a TV monitor using a high-speed Internet connection -- without the hassle of connecting to a PC. Featuring instant streaming movies and TV shows from Netflix and Amazon VOD, the XDS streams from built-in dual-band wireless as well as wired Internet. The device plays up to 1080p HD video and works with any TV.
Powered by an integrated, high-sensitivity SiRFs Star III GPS receiver, the 305 is able to track and maintain the user's position with unprecedented accuracy and signal strength, thanks to a curved casing that allows the unit's antenna to face the sky at all times. The Forerunner also includes a widescreen display is positioned for easy viewing, a wireless heart rate monitor, and training center software with downloadable detailed workout analysis, online mapping, and route sharing.
The 14.1-inch ThinkPad T410 from Lenovo comes in four different models that include Intel's Core i3, i5 and i7 processors, depending on the version. The latest revision of the ThinkPad line comes with a completely redesigned chassis and sleek new frame, as well as an enhanced TouchPad and improved battery life. For professional, business-class notebooks, the ThinkPad is still the brand to beat.
Price: $779.00 (Intel Core i3 model)
The 7-inch touch-screen Samsung Galaxy tablet is an Android 2.2-powered tablet, driven by a 1-GHz processor and offering 16 GB or 32 GB of storage. It offers two cameras: one front-facing, the other rear-facing camera -- either of which can be used for recording video or face-to-face live video chat. The Galaxy Tab includes Flash 10.1 support in the Web browser. As for the data plan, T-Mobile offers two options: $24.99 per month for 200MB, and $39.99 for 5GB, both of which come with unlimited use at T-Mobile WiFi hotspots.
Price: $ 399.99 (with a wireless contract)
Sony's new Blu-ray disc player offers DLNA wireless streaming of photos, videos and music built-in Wi-Fi. The player comes with Blu-ray 3D playback capability, iPhone/iPod touch BD Remote, and BRAVIA Internet Video, which provides access to movies, music, and videos. Weighing in at 2 pounds, Sony's Blu-ray Disc Player offers access to a variety of entertainment apps including: Netflix, Pandora, Slacker, Picasa, and YouTube.
The runaway blockbuster for Apple has turned the tablet into the hottest market in IT while eliciting a number of copy cat devices from competitors. The 9.7-inch iPad features a slick multitouch display and capabilities such as iBooks e-reader functionality and 10 hours of battery life. The iPad comes in 16-GB, 32-GB and 64-GB flash drive versions, and users have the option of getting the Wi-Fi model or the Wi-Fi and 3G wireless model.
Price: $499 (16 GB Wi-Fi model)
Arguably the best GPU from Nvidia's new "Fermi" architecture for parallel processing, the GeForce GTX 580 is a powerhouse DirectX 11 graphics card that offers a 25 to 30 percent performance improvement over Nvidia's GTX 480 card, which debuted last spring. The GTX 580 comes with 1.5 GB of DDR5 memory and 3-way SLI capability and features a graphics clock speed of 772 MHz and a processor clock speed of 1544 MHz.
Price: Approximately $529.99
While not as fast as the graphics cards in its predecessors in the 5000s series from a performance standpoint, AMD's new Radeon HD 6850 is a compelling new addition to the chip maker's GPU lineup. Why? Because the 6850 comes at a bargain price while offering new features that the 5000 series lack, such as stereoscopic 3D and AMD's Eyefinity technology for six-monitor support. Oh, and it's still a pretty powerful card, too.
Price: Approximately $199.99
Cisco's new, slimmer HD camera now comes in a 8-GB model that allows users to shoot up to two hours of video, twice the footage of previous HD models. The UltraHD also now comes with an image stabilization feature that helps reduce the shaky camera work that often comes with using the easy-to-use handheld camera.
Price: $199.99 (8 GB model)
Revamped and with lower prices thanks to the arrival of new competition, Amazon's e-reader is still very compelling. The new Kindle model is lighter, brighter and has longer battery life. The e-reader also comes with twice the storage of previous versions as well as 50 percent better color contrast, thanks to a new E Ink screen.
Price: $139.00 (Wi-Fi only model)
If you're looking for a quality Webcam that provides HD clarity, then Logitech may have the answer in its HD Pro Webcam C910. The camera offers both video capture at 1080p and HD video calling at 720p, and users can also shoot 10-megapixel photos. The easy-to-mount unit also comes with face-recognition login feature and free video editing software.
The first 4G wireless phone on the market, HTC's Android-based smartphone comes in a large form factor -- 4.3 inches -- and loaded with features. HTC's EVO runs on Sprint's 4G wireless network and comes with two cameras: a front-facing 1.3 megapixel and an 8 megapixel camera on the back. The EVO 4G also features a 1-GHz Snapdragon processor from Qualcomm, 512 MB of RAM, and an 8-GB MicroSD card. And let's not forget Sprint's speedy 4G wireless service and its compelling data plans.
Price: $199.99 (with a two-year contract and discounts)
D-Link's Boxee Box is a media set-top box that enables users to stream Internet video through their TVs. The device uses the Linux-based Boxee software to pull in Web content, such as online movies and TV shows (Netflix Instant Viewing support is expected soon) as well as user-generated content and social media. The Boxee Box also features a variety of video playback and storage options, plus a slick remote control with a QWERTY keypad.
Apple's digital media receiver got a makeover and a price reduction this year, and the new Apple TV is turning heads. The improved TV set-top box is now a smaller form factor and lets users stream online movies and TV shows (NetFlix, YouTube), as well as digital photos, music and other content. The second generation version of the device also has an 8-GB flash hard drive and allows customers to use their iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch as remote controls via a new downloadable application.