We’ve been big fans of Slacker since we saw it earlier this year at CES. Now, we were big fans of the Slacker Internet radio service, but that meant you had to keep Slacker in your browser. With the Slacker G2, all that Internet radio goodness is now portable. So, why the Slacker G2 over a regular MP3 player? Well, first off, the owner doesn’t have to pay for the music. You don’t even have to use a computer to transfer music to the device, as that can all be done with the devices itself. It connects to the free Slacker service over Wi-Fi, and will update itself with music whenever it has a connection. The 4 GB Slacker G2 supports 25 stations, and retails for $199.99. You can pick one up at Amazon.
Read More | Slacker G2
We know, you’re wondering why on Earth we’d be recommending a surge protector as a gift, right? Well, the Belkin Conserve line is actually pretty cool. In the interest of being green, we are recommending a power strip that is great for the eco-concious folks in your life. You’re able to turn off all connected devices with one switch. Outlets are spaced out to support those unsightly bulky ones, and there is even a remote you can use to control the flow of power. Since electronics pull power, even when powered off, that means you’re wasting electricity constantly unless you unplug your devices when you are done using them. The Belkin Concserve fixes that. They retail for $49.99, but we were able to find them for 24% less - $38.24 at Amazon.
Read More | Belkin Conserve
Yeah, we know that the iPhone is probably a little rich to purchase for someone during the holidays, plus there’s the whole activtion conundrum. Instead, focus on the people who already own the iPhone 3G, and get them an accessory that we absolutely love. The Mophie Juice Pack for iPhone 3G gives the iPhone more than double the battery life that it has on its own. That means you get up to 250 hours standby time, 6 hours talk time (or 12 hours if on EDGE), 28 hours audio playback, and 8 hours video playback. The cost on this one is $99.95, and is totally worth it for iPhone road warriors.
Read More | Mophie Juice Pack
The Altec Lansing UHS306 earbuds are, in our opinion, the best pair of wired earbuds that you can get for the iPhone in the under-$100 price range. You’ll find cloth wires that will greatly reduce instances of tangling (which is almost like two gifts in one!) The UHS306 also incorporates both an in-line microphone and in-line volume controls, which means you can use these to listen to your music and for taking phone calls. A switch hook, lapel clip, and mute controls round out these $89.95 earbuds. Even better? We’ve found them for $56.99.
Be sure to check out more suggestions in our Holiday Gift Guide!
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
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 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.
In our opinion, it doesn’t get much better than the MacBook Pro when it comes to a portable computer. Why? Well, aside from the Intel Core 2 Duo processors that they house, they are lightweight and have batteries that last almost three hours under normal use and load. It has a built-in iSight webcam, FireWire 400 and 800 ports, and a backlit keyboard. The kicker here though, is that by using this with the Parallels software, you can run Windows 2000, XP, and Vista side-by-side within OS X. If you prefer a dedicated OS experience, you can use Boot Camp to run Windows on it’s own. That means that by buying a MacBook Pro, you get access to both the OS X and Windows operating systems with extreme ease. The same can’t be said for the PC side of things.
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