Holiday shopping for any gadget lover in your life can be confusing unless you are equally technologically inclined. Between trying to keep track of new products and who is producing the best of each and then shopping around for the best deal, it can frustrate a shopper to the point of simply going into an electronics store and letting them talk you into whatever they want to sell you. Those of you who fall into this category, take heart; you need a list to use as a jumping off point. Here are ten of the best, most sought after new technological gizmos for 2011.
Unless you have been living in a cave for several years, you will not be surprised that a fruitful techno shopping trip involves a trip to the Apple product orchard.
1. Apple iPad 2 (16GB, Wi-Fi)
This is the Holy Grail of Christmas presents. As the originator of the tablet device, Apple’s head start has paid off; while its intuitive simple-to-use interface makes it ideal for even the most technophobe among us, it is still prized by those who pride themselves on being on the cutting edge of innovation. The iPad 2’s versatility assures its wide appeal; users can enjoy movies or get down to business with equal ease. Those who have ridden the latest technological wave from its beginning will especially appreciate the longevity of its battery life. Be aware, however, that all of this excellence comes at a price: between $550 and $650 except with especially good deals.
2. Apple MacBook Air (11-inch)
Apple devotees will consider this the only noteworthy notebook, but even those who aren’t completely sold on the “all Apple all the time philosophy of computer technology” will love this one; it is hands down the fastest and the easiest to tote with you on the go. The MacBook Air costs less than its nearest competitors and is more solidly made. Although not the lightest in weight or the one with the most memory or storage, its speed combined with its price sends it to the top of the list for those wishing for an ultrathin notebook. Cost: between $900 and $1000.
3. Apple TV
Probably the most affordable member of the family, this Apple product provides HD TV streamed from either an iPhone or an iPad. Apple TV is also compatible with Netflix and the only one that can stream iTunes so even those new to the Apple family can enjoy this item. Cost: about $100.
4. Roku 2 XS
Those not already entrenched in the Apple universe will love this ultimate in streaming devices for its multitude of programming options. Among those items available on Roku but not on Apple TV are FoxNews.com, Al Jazeera English, Facebook photos and AngryBirds. Another advantage, albeit probably a temporary one, is that Roku will stream all TV and not just the high-definition programs. Cost: about $100 or less.
5. HTC Sensation 4G (T-Mobile)
This is the best all-round smart phone on the market, and many people who have not smart phoned-up want one; even those who say they do not, really do. Perhaps it is because of the importance email has achieved in our lives and the desire for mobile email capability that has fueled the passion for smart phones. Whatever the reason, HTC is a good option for both the novice and those looking to upgrade. In addition to the highly publicized 4G, it also features an 8.0 mp camera equipped with LED flash and HD capable video record and play. For many, the superior reception is reason enough to choose this phone.
6. Apple iPhone 4S
Apples lovers will want nothing less than the iPhone 4S. Despite its lack of 4G, it does have a fantastic camera and there are also the innovations that can only be had with an Apple product, such as access to the iCloud, the ultimate in a hosted exchange where everything from photos to music can be safely stored and retrieved as needed by the iPhone or other Apple device.
7. Amazon Kindle Fire
The new Kindle goes way beyond being just an eReader; it can run thousands of applications thanks to its dual-core processor, including streaming capacities. For those who scoffed at its earlier limitations as well as those who loved its simplicity, this updated version will be much appreciated. It is perfect for those who are trying to ease their way into the multitasking device arena and makes an ideal stepping stone to more advanced gadgets.
8. Kodak Playsport
Perfect for the Spielberg wannabe on your list, the Playsport is a sturdy mini camcorder that can go where the action is without needing kid gloves treatment. It is waterproof up to 3.0 meters (9.8 feet) yet is made of a textured plastic with rubberized grip to reduce the chance of it being dropped. Be forewarned that the Kodak Playsport will not float, so although waterproof, it will have to be retrieved before it reaches its depth limit.
9. Nintendo Wii
Those who did not immediately buy a Wii when it first came out can pat themselves on the back; the newest addition of Nintendo Wii employs wireless and motion-sensitive technology to entertain as well as invigorate the user. This wireless feature makes it more user-friendly for shut-ins who can benefit greatly from the exercise it can provide as well as for small children who sometimes forget and become tangled in a wired device.
10. PlayStation 3
A big seller this year will be Playstation 3 both for its drop in price and its versatility. In addition to its obvious role as a gaming machine and its ever-expanding list of games exclusive to Playstation, it also can be used as a Blu-Ray player. Other features that illustrate how this item is a cross between a multimedia device and an entertainment center including online music streaming and Internet access capabilities.