Casio rocks it this year with the Exilim Zoom EX-Z280 digital camera, and we like it enough that we are recommending it in this years gift guide. It sports a dedicated Easy Mode, making it easy enough for pretty much anyone who enjoys pressing buttons to operate, while still maintaining the advanced features for more experienced pros, including ones that you don’t typically find on budget-priced digital cameras. One such feature is mechanical (instead of digital) image stabilization, giving you nice clear shots while you stumble around during a holiday party after one-too-many eggnogs, as well as a 4x optical zoom lens. In addition, it shoots video in 720p, so it can even take the place of your Flip-style camcorder. You can grab one now for $173 on Amazon.
Read More | Casio Exilim
The Western Digital WD TV HD Media Player allows you to attach any external hard drive or USB flash drive to the device, which lets you watch videos, listen to music, or even create your own slideshows from your photos, right on your television. The WD TV HD Media Player can accept up to two external drives at once, and supports Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 sound, making it ideal to play movies stored on those devices in glorious 1080p. They typically sell for $129, but Amazon has them for $99.
Read More | Western Digital WD TV HD Media Player
This Sony Alpha A330 DSLR camera is lightweight, and pleasing to the eye what with it’s copper-and-black finish. This one hits 10 megapixels, and sits nicely in the space between uber-cameras for the pros and the dead-simple point and shoots. The Sony Alpha A330 boasts a 2.7-inch pullout LCD display that is posable (great for working with difficult angles,) and the image stabilization and autofocus are there to help with getting the perfect shot. Even cooler? You can get short tutorials of the different settings and effects right on the screen itself. A camera that teaches you, so you can learn as you go. The Sony Alpha A300 with 18-55mm lens sells for $599, but Amazon has it for just $549, a nice $50 discount.
We love how inexpensive it’s gotten for people to attain the ability to record high definition video, and we think this category is set to explode this holiday season. Based on this, and you know how much we love video, we’ve got to recommend the Kodak Zi8 handheld camera. Why? Well, the Kodak Zi8 records full 1080p HD video at 30 fps, and can also take 5 megapixel still images. It incorporates image stabilization as well, which helps avoid that whole Blair Witch shaky cam effect that none of us enjoy, and in a rare move, it even has a microphone jack so you can connect a nice, high quality audio device, if you so choose.
It’s definitely a great value for such a small device that packs a nice punch. The Kodak Zi8 typically sells for $179, but you can find it on Amazon for a little less than that.
Flip Mino: It isn’t HD, but it’s about $60 cheaper than the Kodak Zi8.
Read More | Kodak Zi8 pocket video camera
Ever since the HP DreamScreen arrived on the scene, generic digital photo frames have seemed so passe. I mean, the DreamScreen is a digital photo frame on crack, essentially. It’s available in 10- and 13-inch sizes, and aside from simply displaying your digital photos, it can stream Pandora (or up to 10,000 Internet radio stations,) set alarms, display your calendar, show you a five-day weather forecast, and even give you a look at your Facebook account so you can see what’s up with your peeps. Plus, it incorporates touch into the bezel, and we like touch.
The HP DreamScreen typicalls sells for $250, but Amazon currently has it for $205, a full 18% off.
Read More | HP DreamScreen 100 on Amazon
If you, or someone you love, is a big movie buff with an HDTV, we have to recommend the VUDU Christmas Special that is going on right now. The VUDU set-top box normally sells for $299, but for a limited time it can be had for just $99. Now, you also have to buy $50 in movie credits, so the total cost would be $149, but that $50 is would go towards rentals and purchases of VUDU content, including their fantastic HDX 1080p movies. Rentals cost from $1-4 dollars, and purchases are obviously higher.
We recently reported on a lot of the Internet content that has also just made its way to the VUDU service, so all in all, we think this would make a nice gift - either for someone else, or for yourself. Our only complaint with VUDU remains that their speeds are limited, which provides a very, very poor experience if you want to rent HDX content. No matter how fast your Internet connection is, VUDU caps downloads at 4.0 Mbps. That means that my super fast 50.0 Mbps FiOS connection means absolutely nothing, and I still have to wait hours before I can watch an HDX flick. If they got rid of that, it would unleash HDX, their flagship offering. A personal niggle for sure, though. If you don’t care, pick one up!
If you miss the sale, you can typically find some nice VUDU deals on Amazon.
Read More | VUDU Store
Don’t wanna splurge on something like an iPhone or BlackBerry? After checking out the Palm Centro, we think this might be the device to pick up for that loved one. You can get one for as low as $49.99 on AT&T, and it’s a great introductory smartphone - a huge step-up from your typical flip camera or music phone. It supports instant messaging, web browsing, has a full QWERTY keyboard, 320x320 touchscreen, media player, 1.3-megapixel camera, 64MB internal storage, and Bluetooth. Seriously, that isn’t bad for a $50 smartphone. Oh, even better? Pick it up on Amazon, and it’s free with contract.
Read More | Palm Centro on Amazon
If you want an inexpensive camcorder that gives you a bit more quality than what you’d find with a Kodak ZI6 or Flip Video camera, we think the Samsung SC-MX20 would be up your alley. This camera offers some nice features that the other low-end cams just don’t have, like image stabilization, face detection, and a 24x optical zoom. It accepts SD and MMC cards up to 32GB, and has an internal battery life of 3 hours. The Samsung SC-MX20 retails for $250, but we found it on Amazon for 15% off at $212.
Oh, and for those of you who just have to have the high definition version, the Samsung SC-MX20C can be had for 30% off on Amazon, for $592.60.
Read More | Samsung SC-MX20
We typically reserve the Holiday Gift Guide for items that you should be able to get your hands on throughout the shopping season, but we felt that this Lost Season 1-3 DVD deal on Amazon was way too good to pass up. For today only, you can get the first three seasons of Lost on DVD for just $58.99. That is a savings of 67%, or $120.98 off the regular price of $179.97. That is ridiculous. Ridiculously delicious, that is. If you Lost as much as we do, you’ll know that this is a true bargain.
Read More | Lost Season 1-3 Amazon Sale
So we’ve been trying to stay fairly frugal in our 2008 Gift Guide, but we’ve gotten a bunch of email from people asking where all the high-priced items have gone. We figured today we’d answer that with the Wicked Lasers SONAR II Burner laser. We’ve been playing around with one for a few days, and we can definitely say that it exhibits a cool factor (and geek cred!) Why? For starters, it’s a fricken laser. Secondly, the specific laser diode that’s in this one is the same as you’d find in a Blu-ray player. Yeah, a Blu-ray laser, in the palm of your hand. Sick, right? You’ve got a 405nm violet beam at your fingertips. Of course, all that power comes at a price, and if you wanna get in on the action, the Sonar II Burner will cost you $1,999.99. See? We weren’t kidding.
Read More | Wicked Lasers Sonar II Burner
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