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Check out our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide, win some awesome gadgets!
Our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide is in full swing - we are adding our recommendations daily, aimed at men, women, teens, families, techies, and more. If you need help figuring out what to get the people in your life, head on over to our Guide for some ideas. We’ll even be giving away some of the items featured this year!
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 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?
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.
The Sony PLAYSTATION 3 is build around the company’s much-hyped Cell processor, a 3.2-GHz chip that packs some serious processing power. The cell is what powers the PS3’s 1080p True HD output, alongside a 500-MHz nVidia graphics processor. The more expensive version also packs in WiFi, multimedia card readers, and silver trim. The SIXAXIS controller has a new input interface that is rotation and acceleration sensitive, allowing you to control games through movement (but without force-feedback.) Lastly, the PS3 has Blu-Ray built-in, so with the purchase you also get a high definition video player as well. Sure, at $600 USD it sounds expensive, but compare that to a $1000+ standalone Blu-Ray player, and the PS3 doesn’t look so bad after all.
Price: $600 (Compare Prices)
Here at Gear Live HQ, we are pretty keen on hard drive-based camcorders. If you aren’t shooting any major productions, these cameras are great in situations where a handheld camera is appropriate. The Sony DCR-SR1000 is a great tapeless camcorder, holding about 7.3 hours of high quality footage on it’s internal drive. You can change the quality of your recording in order to squeeze out over 20 hours of recording capacity from the camcorder. Low light performance is better than other cameras of similar size, as it sports a Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens. It also have an onboard mic that records in four directions, allowing you to record in Dolby 5.1 surround sound. The only downside we could find to this one is that it’s a tad on the heavy side at 22.4 ounces.
If you are looking for something different in the home stereo area, look no further than the Tivoli Audio Music System. This is an all-in-one solution that actually works - very well. The user interface is super-simple, and the buttons on the unit are exactly what they need to be. Nothing too advanced for anyone here. The Tivoli Audio Music System packs in an AM/FM tuner, CD player, and even an auxiliary input for your MP3 player of choice. The LED panel is perfect at 32 characters, and it even dims itself when you turn the lights off so as not to disturb your movie-watching (or sleep) experience. Our favorite feature? The SpacePhase setting, that makes audio sound even more clean and full - seriously, it rocks.
With Wii, Nintendo seems to be poised to be the talk of the videogame town once again. Wii (pronounced “wee”) doesn’t match up to the PLAYSTATION 3 or Xbox 360 in terms of processing power, but makes up for it by boasting the best library of classic games on the planet, along with what many consider to be the most user-friendly controller ever to grace a home console. The Wii Remote (or Wiimote as it’s affectionately known) has a built-in accelerometer that works with a sensor bar that sits above or below your television. It senses movement and tilt in three dimensions, and even has a speaker for audible feedback directly out of the controller itself along with force feedback. Throw in built-in WiFi, and you have a console that is ready to download classic games from the 80s and 90s, as well as interacting with other Wii owners around the globe.
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