WEB-EXCLUSIVE: Check out our 10 favorite tech gifts for that special techie in your life.
This time of year can be stressful for gift-givers – especially when it comes to shopping for those ultra hardcore tech geeks. Lucky for you, we've weeded through the gadgets and gizmos for you, so now you can take a deep, relaxing breath and leisurely peruse our favorite 10 items, one (or more) of which will be sure to satisfy that special techie in your life.
Boogie Board Paperless Writing Tablet
Jotting down quick notes or doodles wastes endless amounts of paper. Replace the sticky notes with the Boogie Board Paperless LCD Writing Tablet. Use the included stylus to take notes and erase them with the press of a button. Power from the internal battery is only used when erasing. At less than an inch thick and only four ounces, the tablet can be displayed anywhere in the house. The Boogie Board Paperless Writing Tablet is available at Brookstone for $39.95.
Parrot Minikit Smart
Smartphones can do just about anything, including give driving directions, but looking at directions while driving can be difficult when the phone keeps sliding around the dashboard. Parrot, a company known for its quality Bluetooth devices, has a solution: the Parrot Minikit Smart. The suction-mounted device holds smartphones between 56 and 70 mm wide and is compatible with all navigation software. An integrated speaker and microphone connect to the phone via Bluetooth, boosting the sound of turn-by-turn directions while also acting as a hands-free calling device. The mount even has a slot for charging the phone so those navigation apps won’t eat up the battery. It is available at Best Buy and Fry’s Electronics for $129.99.
Casio Exilim EX-S200
The Casio Exilim EX-S200 digital camera is great for capturing memories on the go. The slim design makes it ideal for carrying in a pocket or purse. Despite its small size, the camera packs a punch. With 14.1 megapixels and 720p HD recording, it can take great shots in camera or camcorder mode. Burst shooting mode makes taking fast-action photos a breeze with a rate of up to 10 frames per second. Camera novices can take advantage of the Premium Auto mode, which analyzes the scene and optimizes the settings. The Exilim EX-S200 is available at Best Buy for $179.99.
Eton Soulra Solar Powered Sound System
iPod and iPhone docks are a dime a dozen but the Eton Soulra is different. The dock is an all-weather system perfect for listening to music on the go. Charge the device via the lithium ion battery before taking it to the beach or tailgate party and flip up the solar panel to make sure the tunes play until the sun goes down. The speakers are sealed inside of a rubberized aluminum body and a protective cover slips over your Apple device so it is resistant to outdoor elements such as sand and water. The Eton Soulra costs $199.95 and is available at the Apple Store.
Bushnell Yardage Pro XGC+ Golf GPS Rangefinder
The Bushnell Yardage Pro XGC+ is the perfect gift for the tech-savvy golfer. The course management tool has a 2.2 inch high resolution screen that displays the distance to any point on a hole and has easy to use score keeping. Custom color maps allow the user to easily see the hole layout even in vivid sunlight. It will automatically recognize the current course from a database of over 16,000 North American golf courses. Additional courses and updates are available to download free for a year at igolf.com and beyond that for a membership fee. Pick it up at Roger Dunn Golf Shop for $279.99.
Kinect for Xbox 360
Motion control is the latest trend for gaming and Microsoft thinks it's perfected the system. Unlike the Nintendo Wii or Move for Playstation 3, Kinect for Xbox 360 is a completely controller-free experience. It is essentially a camera that can track the movements of multiple players in front of the screen. It also has integrated voice controls for navigating Xbox menus and video chat. Kinect comes as a stand-alone peripheral for $149.99 or as a set with an Xbox 360 starting at $299.99 and is available at the Microsoft Store at The Shops at Mission Viejo.
Casio Green Slim XGA DLP Projector
The Casio Green Slim Projector is great for the businessman on the go. It will not fit in a pocket like many smartphone projectors but the slim design and light weight make it portable. It has support for HDTV and DTV as well as PC, HDMI and composite video. Set up is extremely easy, making this projector ideal for presentations, watching the big game or hooking up a video game console. It can project images up to 100 inches using a combination of laser and LED technology, making this the brightest projector available that does not contain mercury. The Casio Green Slim Projector is available at Best Buy for $799.99.
Vizio 65" Theater 3D Edge Lit Razor LED LCD HDTV with Vizio Internet Apps
The 3D trend is only getting more popular. Enter the third dimension in style with the Vizio Theater 3D HDTV. The Irvine-based company is bringing the theater experience into homes with clear, flicker-free 3D that is up to two times brighter than conventional 3D. Edge Lit LED backlighting and 1080p Full HD produce a vivid image whether in standard 2D or 3D. Vizio Internet Apps allow users to connect to Facebook, Netflix, Pandora, and more via built-in Wi-Fi. The TV, including four pairs of lightweight, battery-free 3D glasses, is available at Costco and Sam's Club for $3,699.99.
Greensound Technology Glass Speakers
Speaker design has not improved much over the years. Most are eyesores that break down over time. Greensound Technology breaks the speaker mold with their one-of-a-kind glass speakers. Recently, the Irvine-based company decided to offer their products to the public. Using a base structure and specially engineered glass, Greensound glass speakers produce a high frequency, 360-degree sound ideal for large homes, yachts and lobbies. A set including at least two speakers and a subwoofer starts at $8,000. Information is available at gstspeakers.com.
If you read through this entire list and thought, “The techie in my life already has stuff like this,” then the Parrot AR.Drone quadricopter is the perfect gift. Even the person who already has everything probably does not have this yet. The small flying object works much like a radio-controlled helicopter except it is controlled wirelessly using an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. Two integrated cameras on the Drone stream video to the device using Wi-Fi. On-screen controls and physically moving your handheld device will control the Drone’s movement. Users can even participate in games combining the real world seen on-camera and augmented reality on-screen. No iPhone? No problem. Support for other platforms is expected soon. The Parrot AR.Drone costs $299.99 and is available at Brookstone.