We have yet to come across anyone who didn’t appreciate this movie (and we’re sure they’ll come out of the woodwork in the comments now that we said that,) and it is with good reason. The Dark Knight has so much going for it in terms of entertainment value and action. Batman’s voice aside, everything about this movie screamed “awesome.” This is why we have to recommend it in our Holiday Gift Guide. Now, primarily we are recommending The Dark Knight Blu-ray, because that is going to give you the amazing visuals and sound you come to expect from a movie like this. That said, we understand that not everyone is equipped with the latest in high definition gadgetry, so we will also recommend The Dark Knight Special Edition DVD as well. The Blu-ray version retails for $35.99, but we found it on Amazon for 33% off at $23.99. The special edition DVD version sells for $34.98, and we found it for 40% off on Amazon at $20.99.
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.
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Here’s the cool thing about Hasbro’s Lazer Tag Multiplayer Battle System - you can play and shoot each other in a group, running around as you normally would during a game of Laser Tag, which is always fun - or you can go it along with the television attachment, which turns the system into a one-player video game where you shoot the bad guys on the TV. The set includes the TV attachment, two tag guns, and two pump-action shot blast attachments. When your hit, a rumble pack makes it obvious, you’ve got a manual reload button to refill your shots after every ten that you fire, and a shield button. The set retails for $79.99, but we found it for 13% less on Amazon, at $69.96.
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.
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Many were anticipating that the short and stubby iPod nano would be a disappointment when the rumors of the device were running rampant. Once Steve Jobs introduced it, all fears were quelled. Just get one into your hands, and you will no longer be a skeptic. The 2-inch screen obviously isn’t the best for watching full-length movies, but for music videos and the like, it’s worthy. If you are all about the audio, the nano holds up to 8 GB worth of data. It’s thin (0.3 inches), the screen is fantastic, and the battery lasts for 26 hours. Just stay away from Cover Flow on this one - it’s sluggish.
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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.
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)
The newest Squeezebox has a bright LED screen along with a nice, metallic console, and is the perfect gift for any audiophile. Hook this thing up to a stereo system using it’s digital outputs, and you are in for a treat. The Squeezebox supports just about any format out there (but not iTunes DRM), and can even stream from services like Rhapsody. There are third-party plug-ins that let you change fonts, and even use the display as a caller ID. Our favorite part, though, is the fact that it can stream Internet radio without needed a PC to be powered on.
The Nintendo DS Lite is all about improving the whole Nintendo DS experience. The original was a bit clunky (although some preferred it’s size) and had a fairly dim screen. Not so with the DS Lite. The new model looks great, featuring the same touchscreen gameplay with 33% less bulk. While you get the same in-game functionality as the original DS, we still think it’s worth the upgrade. Forget the fact that the graphics aren’t on par with the PSP - the Nintendo DS blows it away in terms of the selection of games available in it’s vast library. Add in online gaming through the Nintendo WiFi connection, and this one is a winner.
The recently overhauled iPod nano is almost a splitting image of the old-school iPod mini. You know, the anodized-aluminum casing that is available in multiple colors? Yeah, that’s the one. The new casing is much more scratch-resistant than the original nano, and features a brighter screen along with better battery life (26 hours!) and a thinner shell, if you can believe that. The new iPod nano also features updated software which includes a nice search interface. What you aren’t getting, though, is the ability to play movies or the new iPod games that are available in iTunes - however, we think that most people on the lookout to purchase a nano aren’t necessarily the gaming type. Plus, who would want to play Zuma on a screen this tiny? Still, for a flash-based portable music player, we give the nod to the iPod nano. Hey, you can even get the RED nano and help in the fight against AIDS. Feel free to check out our iPod nano unboxing video.