We've been listing a bunch of gadgets and toys in our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide, but we've heard it said many times that the holidays have become, like, "so commercial." Hey, we aren't ones to turn a shiny new gadget away, but we also understand that sometimes it's better to help those who are in serious need. That said, we wanted to point you to Oxfam America. The company allows you to gift a tangible charitable gift to a family in need, as their goal is to help put an end to poverty and injustice. We're talking about real animals here. You can donate a dozen baby chicks, a goat (or a full tribe of goats!), sheep, cows, honey bees, and more. Heck, you can even donate manure. We wanted to help get the word out, and to do so, we're gonna give away an alpaca.
Alpacas are doe-eyed with cashmere-soft fur and flourish at altitudes well over 10,000 feet. Because few other animals are as hardy, these camelids are vital to Andean communities. Your gift of an alpaca meadow ensures plenty of nutrient-rich grass to help herds weather tough winters. And that means a lot to families who rely on these critters.
Yeah, we also like them because they look absolutely ridiculous...and seriously, who gives away an alpaca? We do. The winner will receive a code that they can redeem on the Oxfam website, allowing them to donate an alpaca for free to a family in need. If you win, you can even gift that code to someone else, we just want it to be put to good use.
Worn like an everyday watch, SleepTracker Pro Elite is ideal for anyone who wants to wake up alert and ready to start the day, such as frequent travelers across time zones, business people looking for an extra edge, students with fluctuating schedules, or busy moms who need to wake up easily (see our original SleepTracker review.) That sounds like just about everyone, so we figured it was a good candidate for our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide. SleepTracker may find multiple almost-awake moments within the sleep cycle. Almost-awake moments may also vary in frequency throughout the night. By monitoring your sleep cycles for optimal waking moments during the preset ALARM WINDOW, SleepTracker finds those almost awake-moments and gently wakes you when you're most alert. The result? You wake up refreshed instead of groggy.
You can pick up the SleepTracker Pro Elite for $175 on Amazon. There's a male version and a female version.
The Zune HD may have made its debut last year, but it's still a damn good PMP that doesn't get all the love that it deserves--seriously, just check out our Zune HD review. With the recent launch of Windows Phone 7, and Zune on Xbox 360, the brand has gotten a lot of play recently, and we think the Zune HD is more than worthy of a spot on our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide. Microsoft came through with a superb device with a fantastic service behind it to match. In fact, we’ve said it many time that, in our opinion, for someone that truly loves music, Zune is the best deal around. Coupled with the $15 per month Zune Pass (which isn’t a requirement,) you get a top-notch portable media player with an OLED screen, HD Radio, and web browser with the advantage of being able to listen to pretty much any song you can think of at a moments notice. There's also an app marketplace that lets you download games, Twitter and Facebook integration, and more.
The Zune HD retails for $349 for the 64GB, $269 for the 32GB, and $199 for the 16GB model - however, Amazon’s got a great sale on the Zune HD that’ll put the 32GB model into your hands for $203 ($63 off,) the 16GB model will run you $149 ($50 off,) and the 64GB model for $314 ($30 off.)
Oh, and did we mention something about giving it away? Heck yeah! We will be running the 32GB Zune HD giveaway for a week. The winner will receive a 32GB Zune HD and a 1-month Zune Pass!
Here’s how to enter:
- Follow the Gear Live Twitter account
- On Twitter, post this tweet about our contest: “Hey @gearlive hook me up with that @Zune HD! http://gear.lv/zunehd-holiday” (Click here to tweet this now)
That’s it! Remember, you’ve gotta have a Twitter account (they're free), and you’ve gotta be following the Gear Live Twitter account so that we can send you a DM if you’re the winner. This one is only open to residents of the US. We will be announcing a winner on December 10, so you’ve got a week to qualify.
Read More | Zune on Amazon
The Tonka Rumblin' Chuck is an interactive companion designed for kids ages 3 and up, and if you've seen any of the commercials around children's programming this holiday season, you've probably seen this guy, so we're including him in our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide. This cheerful electronic truck aims to captivate your child with more than 50 sounds and phrases. In addition, Chuck features several fun animations: he'll wiggle, pop wheelies, and can even dump the load he's carrying. Rumblin' Chuck also includes an accompanying storybook, Friends for the Long Haul, which promotes a positive message about the value of friends and having fun. You can pick him up from Amazon for $37.57, which is 16% off the normal price.
Read More | Rumblin' Chuck
We've spent some time with the Zomm "wireless leash" and have come away impressed by the simplicity of the device, as it's one of those things that make you wonder why a product like it hasn't been available until now. With that, we thought it would be a good inclusion in our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide. The Zomm can be attached to your keychain, and connects to your smartphone over Bluetooth. Once paired, it becomes your wireless alarm system for your phone. For example, if you walk away from your phone, Zomm will sound a notification alarm and start vibrating, letting you know that you've left your device more than 30 feet away. This way, you don't leave a restaurant without your phone, or spend forever looking for it because you left it in the car (or, that you are in your car driving and left your phone at home!) Cool enough, but it does more.
Zomm also has an integrated speaker and microphone, so it also acts as a hands-free calling device. If your phone rings, Zomm will ring as well, and you just press the Z button to take the call without having to fish around for your phone while driving. Zomm also has a built-in panic alarm. Hold down the Z button and the alarm will go off. Continue holding it, and the Zomm will use the Bluetooth connection to your phone to dial 911, and it will let you speak with the authorities right from the Zomm device. This is seriously a cool piece of technology that is a must-have for those people who constantly leave their smartphones behind in cabs and restaurants, or just anyone who wants an extra layer of security with them at all times. You can get a Zomm from Newegg for $79.99.
Read More | Zomm Bluetooth Smartphone Leash
The Zeo Personal Sleep Coach safely and easily measures your sleep patterns right from home, resulting in a more restful and restorative sleep. It's a cool way to educate yourself about how well you sleep, and teaches you new ways that may help you get a better night's rest, so we're including it in our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide. It uses three main components--a comfortable wireless headband, a bedside clock and display, and the MyZeo.com companion website. They all work together to show you which habits and behaviors may help or hinder your sleep, and create personalized strategies just for you. A cool and unique item for anyone, and hey, who doesn't wanna feel rested in the morning? You can get them for $195 on Amazon.
Pretty much any modern smartphone or tablet device has Bluetooth built into it nowadays, and that means you can pair them to a speaker device to send audio wirelessly through a more powerful, louder unit. The thing is, those have been few and far between, and not very good. Aliph changed that with their newly-released Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth speaker. You can easily pair it with your phone, iPod touch, iPad, or any other device that support Bluetooth audio. It's a small speaker that you can hold in your hand, but manufactured in such a way that it provides fantastic sound, so you can stream audio to it from wherever you are in the room, no wires needed. You can choose from four colors, and the battery is rechargeable. You can get it from Best Buy or Apple for $199.
Oh, and of course, if you or someone you know needs a Bluetooth heads, the Aliph Jawbone is one of the best. These guys know how to make Bluetooth devices.
ThinkGeek is always a fun place to shop for unique gifts for the techies in your life, and they've just opened their Holiday Gift Center of Tomorrow, featuring some of their most popular products. Head on over to check out items like the Star Trek Enterprise Pizza Cutter, and the awesome BuckyBalls Magnetic Building Spheres, among others!
The latest release of the Amazon Kindle, the company's ebook reader, seriously changed the game in the ereader world. It's thinner and lighter than any previous model, it packs in Wi-Fi for the first time, and it is much cheaper despite being the best Kindle they've made to date, and that's why we're adding it to our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide. You can get the Wi-Fi model for just $139, or if you need the Wi-Fi + 3G model, that one goes for $189. Thing is, we'd bet that most anyone would do just fine with the Wi-Fi only model, and for $139, you get a cool gadget that book lovers will...uh...love! They're available in white and graphite colors, and we'd recommend picking on up sooner rather than later, because these are gonna be a hot one this year.
Read More | Amazon Kindle
Apple's focused on the iPod touch as being the "funnest iPod ever" for a while now, but the introduction of the fourth generation model put it over the top. You've got the Retina display, FaceTime video chat, high definition video capture, and built-in gyroscope all packed into the thinnest iPod touch ever. Of course, you need great software running on hardware like this, and the App Store fits the bill with over 200,000 apps available. A great gift for teens who don't need an iPhone, or anyone who isn't on AT&T but still wants a mobile iOS device. Prices start at $229 (or $220 on Amazon):
Be sure to check out the rest of the stuff in our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide, we're adding new suggestions every day!