Saturday, June 15, 2024

The Geek Wishlist – Ten Tech Toys for the Holidays

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It begins.

Now that the turkey has been gobbled up and geeks of all stripes have perused Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals to treat their loved ones (and themselves, who are we kidding?) let’s look at gifts that make a digital lifestyle worth living.

In this list, we incorporate 10 product types that represent a healthy mix of computer gear, personal electronics, and in one case, a reach-for-the-stars set of wheels. Some, not all, are bargains, although they can be had for bargain prices if you shop smart this year (the economy is making it easier this year). None, however, skimp on the essential features that place them atop many a gadget lover’s wishlist.

Desktop PC: Dell Studio XPS

Dell Studio XPS

The case design is hardly what you would call sexy, but it’s screaming fast and has a price just shy of $1,000. Packing Intel’s quad-core i7 processor, 6GB RAM and an ATI Radeon HD4850, it can even handle gaming if you don’t turn all the knobs to 11.

A solid bang-for-the-buck contender.

Monitor: Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP

Dell Studio XPS

Time to go widescreen… and big! Dell has collected a nice stack of positive reviews for this stunning and moderately priced 1920×1200 pixel, 24-incher that’s equally adept at spreadsheet show-and-tell as it is at displaying ultrasmooth HD video and astonishing feats of video gaming (6 millisecond response time).

Link: Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP Product Page

Notebook: 2008 MacBook 13″ / MacBook Pro 15″

Apple MacBook Pro

New, faster, shinier and carved out of a block of aluminum. One caveat: no matte screen option, which will irk pixelsmiths and video editors. Use Bootcamp for equally impressive Windows performance on the MacBook Pro with its two, SLI-esque graphics subsystems on the upmarket model.

Links: Apple MacBook Pro Product Page, MacBook Product Page

Link: Dell Studio XPS product page

Netbook: Asus Eee PC 1000H

Asus Eee PC 1000H

Asus got the netbook craze going with the Eee and it didn’t take long for other computer makers to dive in. And while some of the competition are able to run Vista on their tiny machines (a minor miracle), the company has managed to dominate the scene by getting the netbook mix just right.

Don’t worry, it’s also available in black.

Links: Product Page, Netbook Smackdown: Compare the Six Top Netbooks

Smartphone: BlackBerry Storm

BlackBerry Storm

It’s no iPhone, but it arrives with a touchscreen and corporate IT’s seal of approval. The push-down screen might take some getting used to though.

Links: BlackBerry Storm Product Page

Portable Media Player: Apple iPod Touch

Apple iPod Touch

A great music and video player, plus touchscreen, Wi-Fi smarts and many of iPhone’s application goodies… Yes, please!

Links: iPod Touch Product Page, PDA Street Review

Home Theater HDTV: Pioneer Kuro

Pioneer Kuro

LCD has elbowed into plasma’s home theater perch in the last couple of years. But this “blackest of blacks” display (available in 50″ and 60″) still trumps even the best LCD screens. If you’re the type that can spot a errant pixel a football field away, however, then upgrade to the Pro Elite models.

If the stratospheric prices prove to much, consider Panasonic’s Viera line. Panasonic now produces Pioneer’s glass, just saying…

Link: Pioneer Kuro Product Page

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Nikon’s excellent D90 almost took the prize, but Canon released its 21.1 megapixel DSLR that can record HD footage just under the wire. Read the specs and weep over its $2,700 price tag. And that’s just for the body.

Link: Canon EOS 5D Mark II Product Page

Digital HD Video Camera: Canon Vixia HF10

Canon Vixia HF10

Didn’t you hear? Even YouTube has gone widescreen, natively. Now’s the time to pick up an HD camera (no, a footage-grabbing DSLR isn’t quite the same thing) to capture those memories, start a video podcast or both.

Though we like to spread the love, Canon nailed it again with solid specs, 1080I recording, 16GB internal flash memory and optical image stabilization… What’s not to like?

Link: Product Page

Wheels: Tesla Roadster

Tesla Roadster

Sure, the company has its share of challenges, but the all-electric sports car is a stunner and solid performer. Geeks with money to burn (yeah, this economy isn’t helping) can arrive at the cleantech party in style.

Links: Tesla Roadster Site, Engadget Review

Gas Alternative: Nissan GT-R

Nissan GT-R

Runs rings around the ‘Ring and Gran Turismo inspired instrumentation… Enough said.

Link: Nissan GT-R Site

This article was first published on

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