10 Cool Holiday Gifts

Posted on Sunday, Nov 26 2006 @ 16:45 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
Looking to buy gifts for a computer enthusiast? Well today I've got a nice list of gifts split into two categories. First we're going to take a look at some gifts that are a bit more expensive and the last five gifts will be some cheaper gifts (most less than $65).

Nintendo Wii
The Wii is possibly one of the coolest next-generation consoles. What a launch price of $249 it's cheaper than the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

With the Wii Nintendo didn't focus on cutting-edge graphics, instead they focused on delivering a superb gameplay. One of the special features is the Wii remote which can sense movement and orientation.

The Wii was released earlier this month and reviews are pretty positive. Reviews like from CNET confirm the Wii doesn't have the graphical power of the Xbox 360 and PS3, nor the rich media features. But is does have an unique and cool gameplay and is the most affordable console.

Apple iPod
The iPod doesn't really need an introduction. If you want to go cheap you can purchase the 1GB iPod shuffle for $79. But this player can only play music and doesn't have an LCD display. It's extremely small but don't expect any other features from it because there are none.

The iPod nano 2GB is available for $149, this player has an LCD display and is really thin.

The third choice is the iPod which is available from $249 for the 30GB version. It's a bit bigger but has a much higher capacity and features video playback.

If you don't want an iPod you can also choose between MP3 players from Creative, iRiver, SanDisk or maybe the new Microsoft Zune.

Garmin nuvi 350
This GPS navigation system from Garmin is pretty slim, it only measures .87 x 2.91 x 0.87 inches and can be used as pocket or vehicle GPS. Besides GPS navigation you can also use it to listen to MP3s or as a photo viewer. The nuvi 350 features 700MB built-in memory which can be used to store maps and other data like music, photos, personal data, ... There's also a SD memory slot so you can access even more data.

It's not one of the cheapest GPS system but it's very compact so it easily fits into a breast pocket. The bright screen is very clear and readable in every situation and the text-to-speech function does a great job at properly announcing street names so you need to look less at the screen.

Users also praise the nuvi 350 for its ability to quickly find strong satellite signals and the great points of interest database.

Nikon D40
Nowadays most people already have a normal digital camera. Digital camera manufacturers now try to increase sales and profits by releasing more and cheaper digital SLR cameras which gain more and more popularity.

The Nikon D40 for instance will be available in December for $599.95. It features a 6.1 megapixel sensor, is very fast to operate and features a pretty compact ergonomically form factor.

Don't be disappointed that it's only 6.1 megapixels, megapixels don't really matter. This thing will shoot a lot better pictures than a cheap 8 or 10 megapixel digital camera.

Other popular dSLR cameras: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT, Olympus Evolt E-330, Nikon D50, Pentax *ist DL, ...

Palm Treo 700w
The Treo 700w is a popular smartphone with a full QWERTY keyboard.

Instead of Palm OS this phone uses the Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system from Microsoft. It supports EVDO which promises mobile download speeds of up to 400-600kbps. It has a 1.3 megapixel digital camera and can play MP3s.

Overall it has pretty nice features but some users complain the phone doesn't have enough power and say it's better to wait for future versions with better hardware.

Palm also introduced the new Treo 680 this week, this phone uses Palm OS instead of Windows Mobile.

Now lets take a look at five products that are a bit cheaper.

Sennheiser HD 201
A pair of cheap headphones that offer very good sound quality. This is not the type of headphones you want to be seen with on the streets but it's perfect to listen to music at home or to wear while watching movies on your laptop.

The HD 201 is cheap, sounds well, feels pretty comfortable and has a long 3 meter cable. Another positive is that they don't leak much sound.

It's available for less than $25 - it will be hard to find better headphones for this price.

Sennheiser also offers a range of high-quality earbuds for MP3 players.

Logitech QuickCam Communicate STX
A webcam may also be a nice gift, this one from Logitech is available for less than $25.

It features a video resolution of 640 x 480 pixels at 30 frames per second and shoots 1.3 megapixel still images. The camera has a field of view of 42 degrees horizontal and features Logitech's RightLight and RightSound technology.

RightLight should give you sharper images in dim light conditions and RightSound should improve sound quality.

Users report the image quality is quite good just like the audio quality of the built-in micro.

Creative Zen V Plus
The Creative Zen V Plus 1GB is a cheap but cool digital audio player, available for about $99. It's small and features a 1.5-inch OLED display.

It features a voice recorder and can record songs directly from CDs, without using a PC. This player is cheaper than an iPod nano and offers a lot more features like audio recording and FM radio.

Another cool feature is video playback, but don't expect too much from it because this player's display is too small. But it's a cool gimmick to show off some funny videos to friends.

Logitech VX Revolution
Everyone I know who has a laptop and uses it a lot at home hates the trackpad and uses a notebook mouse. An excellent choice is the cordless Logitech VX Revolution, it costs a bit more than regular notebook mice but offers supreme quality.

It's big enough too feel pretty comfortable and works very precisely on many surfaces.

The mouse uses a single AA battery, how long the battery will last depends on how much you use it but according to Logitech the battery life is more than 100 days - which sounds very impressing.

Users also praise the mouse for its huge wireless range and the nice scroll wheel.

Logitech G5 Laser
The last item in this gift guide is the Logitech G5 mouse. This is a corded laser-based mouse for gamers.

It uses a 2000 dpi laser engine to deliver excellent tracking. The mouse features a switch to allow gamers to switch between three sensitivity levels (400dpi, 800dpi and 2000dpi) and ships with an adjustable weight cartridge so you can adjust the G5's weight and balance.

Many users say this mouse is one of the best available on the market for gamers.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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Re: 10 Cool Holiday Gifts
by Anonymous on Sunday, Nov 26 2006 @ 22:40 CET
You made some mistakes.

1) The Nikon D80 is a $1000+ digital SLR camera. The model you're probably talking about is the low-end digital SLR, the Nikon D40.

2) The Treo 700P is the PalmOS version, the Treo 700W is the Windows OS version.

Re: 10 Cool Holiday Gifts
by Thomas De Maesschalck (lsdsmurf@dvhardware.net) on Monday, Nov 27 2006 @ 00:07 CET
Thanks for reporting these mistakes. I was looking up the specs and prices of these products and it looks like I messed up the model numbers in both cases.