Because The Drill Down wants you to be armed and informed this holiday shopping season, we’ve put together our tech gift picks to add to your shopping list. We’ll start with gadget blogger Sukhjit, our guest during our recent Gift Guide episode.
- Sony NEX-3 camera
- Roomba 500 series
- Netflix and/or Hulu Plus membership
- Cuisinart KUA-17 Electric Kettle
- Sony Internet TV (Google TV)
I’ve got a pretty simple list of items that I’d love to see stuffed in my stocking this holiday season. Of course, this is a ridiculous notion because I own no stockings and if I did they certainly wouldn’t be large enough to harbor my entire list of items and still maintain the properties of said “stocking”.
Anyways, here’s what piqued my interest this year…
NerdKits are simple kits allowing you to complete cool electronics projects that aim to educate you on the basics of how gadgets work. The starter kit will run you $79, but includes everything you need to get started. From there you can purchase additional pieces from the website to advance your education. Tutorials (text and YouTube videos) are also available on the site to aid those that purchase the kit. I’m sure there are plenty of similar products out there and this is just the one I stumbled upon while browsing Reddit a few days ago.
If you know someone scaling down their cable package or ridding themselves of cable TV all together, the reasonably priced ($59, $79, $99) Roku streaming media boxes are a wonderful gift. Unlike Apple TV and other higher end streaming boxes, Roku can run on standard definition television as well as HD, which makes it friendly for the technophobic family members (provided they have a somewhat decent internet connection). Roku has support for Netflix and recently Hulu Plus however both of those services charge a monthly fee of $7.99 each. Currently you can get the first month for free on both services, too. That’s still way cheaper than any mid-tier cable package with HBO subscription.
Sprint HTC EVO 4G
For Apple fan boys, there are few smart phones on the market that can honestly compete with the iPhone 4. However, the Sprint HTC EVO 4G comes damn close. Running Android 2.1 OS, this is a 4G capable device that offers internet speeds of up to 1omb/sec, putting it in line with traditional broadband connections. The 4.3 screen makes the viewing experience pleasurable without becoming too cumbersome to carry around — (Seriously, place your iPhone on top of the EVO and tell me the negligibly larger size is even an issue). It comes with an 8 megapixel Camera with Auto Focus and 2x LED Flash, a 1.3 megapixel fixed focus front facing camera and an 8 gb removable microSD memory card included in the device. Oh, and it has a kickstand because why the hell not. The EVO is $199 with a two year contract. Monthly rates vary but a mandatory $9.99 4G unlimited data plan is tacked on no matter what package you go with. That’s better than AT&T’s mandatory data plan addon for the iPhone.
Sony ”40 HD Internet Television w/ Google TV
A decent HDTV can vary in price with most larger (”30 to ”42) sets maxing out at around $1,000. Sony’s first generation of Internet televisions that feature Google TV stick to that range despite the huge advantage of having (almost) the entire web available to you while lounging on a sofa occasionally clicking a remote control. This is very cheap for most early adopters standards. I would imagine Google TV enabled devices will become somewhat of a common hardware feature, but for now it easily draws a positive distinction between Sony Internet HDTV sets and all other competing brands selling at the same prices.
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
After nearly a 9-month hiatus from Azeroth, I reactivated my World of Warcraft account in anticipation of the MMORPG’s third expansion Cataclysm. I can’t say I recommend this for everyone as it will easily steal precious moments of your life and alienate your social circle at times — and for that you’ll pay $39.99 plus the $14.99 monthly subscription fee. However, if you’ve previously played WoW and find yourself with an exuberant amount of free time over the holiday season, this will definitely keep you entertained through the new year (and possibly beyond). And since the game’s development company Blizzard revised their updating process, you won’t even have to wait several hours for the game data to load. (Everything updates while you play now.)
For Home and Play
- Samsung UN55C8000 + Samsung 3D Starter Bundle (comes with 2 glasses and all 4 Shrek Blu-Ray discs in 3D) + Samsung 3D-enabled Blu-ray Player (the latter two items — a $650 value — are free).
- Sony PlayStation 3 160 GB Bundle (comes with Uncharted 2, Pixel Junk Shooter, Karate Kid Blu-Ray — or — an Alternative game bundle that includes Gran Turismo 5, a Ratchet & Clank title and Singstar)
- Alternatively, XBox 360 Bundle (no motion gaming accessories please)
- Bose CineMate Series II Digital Home Theater Speaker System
- Red Dead Redemption (PS3)
- Halo: Reach (Xbox 360)
- Civilization V (PC)
- Cut the Rope (iDevices, much more epic than shitty Angry Birds)
- Call of Duty Black Ops (for racists, homophobes and old dudes nicknamed 0boy who are refreshingly open-minded to all walks of life)
For the Road and Play
- Samsung Galaxy S Phone / Apple iPhone 4
- Samsung Galaxy Tab / iPad / Kindle 3 (Although, the Kindle should really be a separate category)
- Sony PSP / Nintendo DSi XL / iPod Touch
- Google TV
- Boxee Box or Roku XD|S
- Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200
- Samsung Galaxy Tab
- iPad 2 (yes, I know it’s not available yet)