If your children are anything like my three-year old son, then chances are that they are just as familiar with your gadgets as you are. They want to hold them, use them, mimicking you every step of the way. The thing is, gadgets aren’t the most affordable things in the world, and children don’t seem to understand that. This is where the SanDisk Sansa Shaker comes in - it’s a fully-functional flash MP3 player that is meant for little kids. SanDisk did a good job with this one too - just holding it you can tell it’s durable. It has two built-in headphone jacks for tandem enjoyment, as well as a speaker if you prefer your children not put on headphones. It’s called the Shaker because, when you sake it, you advance it to another track, shuffle-style. It is shaped perfectly for little hands, and has a couple of job wheels for volume and track selection. The device runs on one AAA battery, which will last for about 8 hours of playback. You can pick one up for $30, which holds 512 MB of content (about 120 songs) or opt for the $40 1 GB player, which will hold about 240 tracks. They are available in pink and blue.
Read More | SanDisk Sansa Shaker on Amazon
If you are looking for a great gift for the coffee fan in your life that isn’t terribly expensive, you should consider the Hamilton Beach Ensemble 12-Cup. This is a product that might make even those who have switched to lattes give drip coffee another look. Don’t let the shiny exterior and low price fool you - the Ensemble 12-Cup hits you with rich, smooth brew. It it also compatible with an optional water filter, which costs $10, for those who want to make sure their water is clean. It’s available in both black and red. These retail for $49.99, but you can find them cheaper by shopping around.
Read More | Hamilton Beach Ensemble on Amazon
The great thing about surround-sound headphones is that you can enjoy those loud, booming movies while not disturbing anyone else around. One of the best pairs of headhones in this category is are the Pioneer SE-DIR800C models. These deliver nice, clear sound, even in action movies, with no audible distortion to be heard. They also stay comfortable on your ears while you sit through multiple full-length movies - that’s a rarity. They may be pricey, but they are perfect for what they are meant to do. They use Dolby Headphone processing to mimic a surround environment, and they do it well. They include a rechargeable battery, which has to be removed in order to be recharged. These run for $399 USD, but can be found cheaper by shopping around. Compare prices on Pioneer SE-DIR800C.
Read More | Pioneer SE-DIR800C on Amazon
Okay, the holidays are right around the corner. In our continuing effort to hook you up with the best gear, we had to point out the Onkyo TX-NR905. This is a product that has blown us away in our testing.
Let’s be clear - the Onkyo TX-NR905 A/V receiver isn’t the lightest device in the world, as it weighs in at 54 pounds - but that’s just about where the negatives end when it comes to this beast. This thing is like a classic Mustang - all muscle. You can throw anything at it - you know, HD DVD players, game consoles, TiVos, Blu-ray - and expect phenomenal 7.1 surround sound. And we mean pristine. Even better, the TX-NR905 bridges the gap between your entertainment center and the Internet by way of it’s Ethernet port. Hook up to the Internet, and you can stream Internet radio directly through this system. Moving on the picture quality - again, top notch all the way here. It will pump out 1080p signals, it supports 24p framerate, and has 2 HDMI outputs along with component out for your HDTV needs. Oh course, this thing is all about the sound. You get 140 watts per channel, and this is the most inexpensive receiver to feature THX Ultra2 certification. Believe me, if you haven’t heard it, you will be the envy of your block. Don’t worry though, you won’t be able to hear the complaints if you crank this thing up. Rounding out the feature set here, it will upconvert all inputs to 1080p, supports multiple zones, and also has HD radio built-in. Retails for $1,999. Compare prices on Onkyo TX-NR905.
Read More | Onkyo TX-NR905 on Amazon
Many were anticipating that the short and stubby iPod nano would be a disappointment when the rumors of the device were running rampant. Once Steve Jobs introduced it, all fears were quelled. Just get one into your hands, and you will no longer be a skeptic. The 2-inch screen obviously isn’t the best for watching full-length movies, but for music videos and the like, it’s worthy. If you are all about the audio, the nano holds up to 8 GB worth of data. It’s thin (0.3 inches), the screen is fantastic, and the battery lasts for 26 hours. Just stay away from Cover Flow on this one - it’s sluggish.
Read More | Apple iPod nano
The BD-P1200 from Samsung is a nice step up from last year’s BD-P1000 player. It offers more features at a lower cost. There are nice bookmarking features, DVD upconverting, and a nice backlit remote control. There’s also an Ethernet port, which allows for simple firmware updates. Of course, the fact that it takes 20 seconds to load a disc is no fun, but that is typical of Blu-ray and HD DVD players across the board.
Read More | Samsung BD-P1200
Here’s a quick news bite for anyone looking for a holiday gift for that entertainment junkie in their life (or, for that matter, for themselves) - Amazon is selling the TiVo HD unit at $249.99. That’s $50 off the regular price of $299.99, or a smooth 17% off. Sure, it’s no Series 3, we know, but still, it is TiVo in all it’s HD goodness. We aren’t sure how long this one is going to last, so jump on it quick if you want it.<
Read More | TiVo HD Amazon Deal
The Braun Pulsonic electric shaver tips the scales at about half a pound, but word on the street is that this is the smoothest electric shave you’ll find anywhere. It’s all in the pulsing head, which boasts 10,000 vibrations per minute, and the Power-Comb system that prepares your hair to be snipped. There’s also a base station that cleans the unit with alcohol while also charging it for the next use. It’s not all fun and games with the 9595, but truth be told, just because the base station has a larger than normal footprint and the cleaning system can be a bit loud, it isn’t enough to overlook this one.
Read More | Braun Pulsonic Electric Shaver
It looks like Sony may have learned from it’s mistakes based on it’s first foray into the personal navigation market and have come back swinging for a second round of competition with the NV-U71. What features did Sony throw into this one to make us so impressed? Well, for starters, the Sony NV-U71 has a nifty Gesture Command interface that allows you to make Plam Graffitti-ish type gestures with your finger or stylus right on the screen. Different gestures tell the GPS to do different things - for example, give it an upside-down V shape, and it will navigate your right back to your front door. No need to take your eyes off the road and go through pesky menus. Of course, it also is small and has a 3D map interface featuring a birds-eye view, but they all have that nowadays, don’t they?
The DLO HomeDock Deluxe is the current be-all end-all dock solution for sending all of your media that resides on your iPod to your television. It supports music, high resolution slideshows, and 640x480 video. S-video and composite connections are available, giving you a couple of options for sending the signal along, and the dock itself is able to both charge and sync your iPod. Throw in a remote that lets you control everything untethered, and this one is a winner. As far as iPod accessories go, this one isn’t the cheapest in the world, but it is certainly one of the coolest we have seen this far.
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