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
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
It’s no secret that Scene It? is one of the most popular game series around, and this holiday we are recommending Scene It? The Simpsons Deluxe Edition. It’s been getting rave reviews as one of the best Scene It? titles to be released, and hey, it’s The Simpsons. The show has been around for 20 years, which means parents can play this with kids and have a good time. The game features material from the show’s first 19 seasons on the air, has hundreds of questions, and has four collectable tokens. You can pick up Scene It? The Simpsons Deluxe Edition for $29.99. Best. Scene It. Ever.
Scene It? Twilight Edition: Yeah, we know a lot of the ladies out there are on a vampire kick thanks to Twilight. Guys, you may want to consider this one.
Scene It? Bright Lights! Big Screen!: Would you rather play scene it on the Xbox 360 rather than using a DVD player? This is the one you’ll want.
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
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
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
If you wanna pick up a YouTube-ready video camera for Mom, we are hard pressed to find something as good as the Kodak ZI6, for the price. This little camera shoots in 720p high-definition at 60 frames per second, and can also take regular old still images as well. Other cameras, like the Flip Mino can’t do that. It supports SD cards in sizes up to 32GB, which basically means you’ll be able to shoot video until your (rechargeable) battery dies, as opposed to worrying about how much space you have left. You can pick them up from Kodak for $153, they’re available in pink, as well as black. Get it quick though, because they are on sale now. After 12/15, they go back up to their normal price of $179.
Read More | Kodak ZI6 product page
Purchasing gifts for a loved one is often difficult, especially when expectations are high. So, gentlemen - if you’re struggling to find the perfect present for a significant other, please let me share a story about one of my most “memorable” gifts.
Back in 2001, my then-boyfriend (now husband) and I had our 1st real Christmas together. Although it was technically our second time celebrating the holiday, I didn’t really count the first. Since we had only started dating weeks beforehand, I didn’t anticipate much. But after a whole year together, I was curious to see how well he knew me. Apparently not as well as I had hoped.
To be fair, I did receive two gifts that day. The first was a beautiful green necklace. (Thankfully, it did not come attached to a Benny Bear.) And while I appreciated the tasteful choice in jewelry, the item was unfortunately not the thing I remember most about that December 25. It was a completely random selection still waiting in the wings: the ice crusher.
An ice crusher that my boyfriend/husband saw in Pottery Barn and thought was “cool” and “very pretty.” (Granted - the Metrokane Ice-O-Matic did have a nice art deco design.) An ice crusher I didn’t know I needed. An ice crusher my husband’s coworker told him NOT to buy. (She said it wasn’t exactly a “romantic” choice.) An ice crusher that said “crush my heart” and “ice queen” all at the same time. An ice crusher that up until last night (when I reminded my spouse of its existence), hadn’t seen the light of day in years.
So in case you missed the lessons from my cautionary tale, let me list them out for you:
- “Pretty” things don’t necessarily make good gifts.
- Don’t ever buy your loved one something YOU want.
- Products that require manual labor should never be given, unless it’s something they requested.
- If you ask another woman for a second opinion, please heed her advice.
- Read our Holiday Gift Guide, and let us help you.
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
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