Top Gadgets For Christmas

Alison Stewart
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November 24, 2006
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I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving, and with it barely behind us, the traditional Christmas shopping season has officially begun. It’s time to decide what you want to purchase for your loved ones, or rather figure out what they want you to buy. With that in mind, these are some of my favorite ideas based on what you readers have asked of me for gift recommendations:

Sony Ericsson W810. A couple of weeks ago I bought his and hers W810s for my husband and me to replace our dying Razrs. We both instantly fell in love with this phone since it can do so much for its tiny size. The Sony Ericsson W810 is a Walkman phone with quad-band EDGE (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) capability. Normally I’m not a big fan of phones that can play music, but this one is actually more than decent. You can either listen to your music (MP3 or AAC files) with the phone’s speaker or with your headphones (included with the phone).

I’m also not normally a fan of camera phones, but the W810’s built-in camera truly impressed me. You can take 2.0 megapixel pictures with its 4x digital zoom, and make beautiful panoramic shots, which it automatically stitches together. The camera also allows you to shoot and play videos. You can easily store all your photos, videos and ringtones, etc., with its 20MB internal storage and your Memory Stick Pro Duo (the largest one out there is 4GB). This phone costs $99.99 from Cingular (www.cingular.com).


Next Gen Consoles. For the kid in your life (or the kid at heart), all three of the next generation game consoles are finally out. People always ask me, “Which one should I buy?” I always tell them it depends on what your preference is. If you want the best game selection with nice graphics, go with Microsoft’s Xbox 360. If you’re looking for something very user-friendly and don’t really care about the graphic quality or game variety, go with Nintendo’s Wii (on which I will give a full review next week).

Then there’s Sony’s PlayStation 3 (PS3) - go with this if you’re a total graphics snob and don’t mind a somewhat limited game choice. But keep in mind that both the 360 and PS3 can playback their respective first generation titles. These days the Xbox 360 is definitely the most widely available console out there at $299.99 for the Core System or $399.99 for the model with the 20GB hard drive. The Wii goes for $249.99, and the PS3 is $499 (w/20GB hard drive) or $599 (w/60GB hard drive). Don’t worry if you didn’t see a Wii or PS3 the first time around on the recent launch date. The word on the street is these will be restocked very shortly. Keep checking with your nearest CompUSA (www.compusa.com) or GameStop (www.gamestop.com).

Sony Cyber Shot T-Series. There are so many digital cameras from which to choose, but my favorite on the market remains Sony’s Cyber Shot T-Series. They all have a huge 2.5 or 3-inch screen (depending on which one you purchase), Super SteadyShot Optical Image Stabilization, a 3x Carl Zeiss optical zoom lens and the capability to use up to a 4GB Memory Stick Pro Duo to store your photos and videos.

I wrote about the T30 back in May, but there are three in the series from which you can choose. The T10 is the most affordable of the three at about $350, and comes in pink, white, silver or black. The T30 is available in silver or black, will run you about $400, and the latest and greatest of the bunch is the T50. This one comes in red, black or silver and will burn a $450 hole in your pocketbook. You can find any of these at Shirokiya at Ala Moana Center, CompUSA (www.compusa.com) or online at www.sonystyle.com.


Apple iPods. Last but not least, an iPod always makes a good stocking stuffer. I’d say it’s the most user-friendly mp3 player around. Whether it’s the shuffle for the simple person to the full-blown video iPod for the more advanced user, an iPod is sure to please just about anyone. Clip and go with the 1GB shuffle for $79 (silver). If you prefer tunes with color, the nano comes in bright green, blue, pink, silver, black or red, and ranges in price with the size, $149 (2GB)-$249 (8GB). The full-size iPod has a 2.5-inch screen and comes in white or black for $249 (30GB) or $349 (80GB). You can buy these at the Apple Store in Ala Moana Center or online at www.apple.com.

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