Okay, with the economy what it is, you may be looking to spruce up your desktop or notebook computer setup, rather than replacing the thing. For that, you’ll need some great accessories, and when it comes to a nice upgrade for a microphone and webcam, we’ve gotta go with Blue Microphones Eyeball 2.0. It’s sleek and stylish, so you’re iChat and Skype called will feel just a bit more dignified. You get a high-fidelity microphone and 2-megapixel video camera all in one device. You can sit it on your desk, and anchor it to your monitor or notebook with ease. You can even turn the camera off if you need to hide your face for whatever reason. The Eyeball 2.0 retails for $119, but Amazon has it for $79, a full 33% off!
Read More | Eyeball 2.0
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
We are kicking off our 2009 Holiday Gift Guide with the Roku HD-XR player. Why? Well, we think that it’s the perfect time to introduce someone to the new hotness that is TV, delivered over the web, and right into the living room. Sure, Netflix has come to the Xbox 360, but if you want streaming access to the Netflix service and don’t own a game console, this is your cheapest barrier to entry. The HD-XR model also gives you access to the Amazon Unbox catalogue, as well as the entire MLB game service as well, if you are subscribed.
Definitely a great gift for movie buffs, the Roku HD-XR player is able to stream over 12,000 movies and television shows from the Netflix Watch Instantly catalogue, and over 45,000 from Amazon Video on Demand. It connects to your home network through an ethernet port, or over Wi-Fi, connecting at up to 802.11n if you have it. There’s also a USB port on back, which Roku says is for future use. Our guess is that they’ll be allowing the device to read from an external USB drive, which would be stellar.
The actual device is tiny, so it takes up barely any space, and setup takes just a couple of minutes - very simple. Of course, a Netflix subscription is required, but once you have that, everything else is a piece of cake.
Honorable Mention: If you want all the features of the Roku HD-XR, but don’t need the USB port or 802.11n wireless speeds, you can grab the Roku HD Player for $99!
Read More | Roku HD-XR
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
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
We’ve been big fans of the Beats by Dr. Dre Studio headphones since we first got our hands on them. They’ve got a nice style, with a hip-hop vibe, and a fantastic noise-canceling feature. The earcups are surprisingly comfortable, and fold away on the inner side of the glossy black headband, which can then be stored in the included case. The Beats by Dr. Dre studio headphones do requier two AAA batteries for the noise cancellation feature, and you’ll get about 50 hours of listening time on a pair of those. They also include two audio cables, both of which even fit into the original iPhone headset jack, and one of which also includes a mic, so you can take calls. The Monster Beats by Dr. Dre stereo headphones can be found on Amazon for $349.
Read More | Monster Beats by Dr. Dre Studio headphones
Sure, Netflix has come to the Xbox 360, but if you want streaming access to the Netflix service and don’t own a game console, this is your cheapest barrier to entry. Definitely a great gift for movie buffs, the Roku Netflix player is able to stream over 12,000 movies and television shows from the Netflix Watch Instantly catalogue. The set-top box currently outputs at 480p (DVD quality), but we know that high definition streaming is on the way. The box is tiny, so it takes up barely any space, and setup takes just a couple of minutes - very simple. Of course, a Netflix subscription is required, but once you have that, everything else is a piece of cake.
Read More | Roku
Yeah, we know, the Time Capsule is a router and backup device. Not that exciting, right? Well, not all gifts are meant to spur excitement - this one is practical and functional. If you know someone who owns a Mac, and doesn’t take advantage of Time Machine, then they need a Time Capsule - especially if they use a MacBook or MacBook Pro. The Time Machine sports either a 500GB or 1TB hard drive, and is a combination wired/wireless network attached storage device. Even better, it doubles as an 802.11n/g router as well. The 500GB Time Capsule sells for $299, while the 1TB version will run you $499.
Read More | Apple Time Capsule
We’ve been messing with our T-Mobile G1 for a few days now, in preparation for a full review, but we are confident enough in the device to list it here in our Holiday Gift Guide. The T-Mobile G1 is the first phone on the market that features Google’s Android OS. Along with the Google love, the G1 features 3G speeds, a physical QWERTY keyboard, and a 3 megapixel camera. The software itself features all the goodness you’d expect from Google, meaning integration with Gmail, Google Docs, YouTube, and Google Maps with the super-cool Street View Compass mode. There’s also a store that allows you to download apps, games, and the like. If you want to get someone a smartphone, and they are on T-Mobile, this is the one to get. You can pick it up from T-Mobile for $179.
Read More | T-Mobile G1