As evidenced by the fact that we saw holiday decorations up at a major retailer the other day, it seems that It's that time of year again where we dig deep and give you our daily recommendations on what you should get your loved ones in our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide. This year, we're kicking it off with the Sonos PLAY:5. If you're unfamiliar with Sonos, it's basically the best way to get music from just about any location (your computer, your iPhone, the web, the cloud, etc.) to play in any room in your house. It's super intuitive, and even years after using Sonos, the technology still blows us away. The Sonos PLAY:5 is a wireless all-in-one music system that lets you jump right into the Sonos experience. If you have an iOS or Android device, you can download the Sonos remote control app, and you can also control the system with a computer using the Sonos Desktop Controller. Here are some other Sonos products that go nicely with the Sonos PLAY:5, which itself you can get for $399 from Sonos:
Oh, and if free shipping is something you appreciate, just enter the code FREESHIPSONOS during checkout!
The Cisco Valet wireless router is next in our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide, and we're giving away three of these home hotspots to your readers, but more on that below. First, the basics - we're recommending the Valet because, quite simply, it's simple. Cisco has made setting up an 802.11n network in the home super easy, with automatic security, guest access, parental controls, and more. This takes away the guesswork, which means less time for you to spend playing tech support specialist when your family and friends have network issues. See? It's like a gift to yourself as well! They typically sell for $99, but Amazon has them for $64.99, which is a killer deal.
Okay, now on to the details of the giveaway. We've got three Cisco Valet routers to give away, but as we said, they are meant to be simple. You set them up, and you are done. We know our readers are a bit more techie than that, so we've upped the ante a bit. Each winner will receive two Cisco routers - one Cisco Valet, and one Cisco Linksys E2000 Advanced 802.11n router! That way, you can keep the feature-packed Linksys for yourself, and give the Valet to a tech-challenged loved one as a gift.
- Follow the Gear Live Twitter account
- On Twitter, post this tweet about our contest: “Hey @gearlive hook me up with that Cisco Valet! http://gear.lv/cisco-holiday” (Click here to tweet this now)
That's it! Do that, and you are entered. However, this time we're giving our bonus entries. All you have to do is head to the Gear Live Facebook page and Like us, then leave a comment on our wall. That gets you a second entry. The contest will run through Friday December 17th, and is open to US residents. A winner will be chosen randomly from all eligible entrants.
If you're looking for some inexpensive-yet-functional items from our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide, today we've got some gloves that any owner of a smartphone with a touchscreen might appreciate. Freehands makes gloves that allow the wearer to use their touch-enabled device, which keeping their hands warm. They have some models where the gloves have fingertips that can be pulled back for the thumb and forefinger, and others where the gloves have material in the fingertips so that you can tap away while keeping all your digits nice and toasty. Prices start at just under $20.
Read More | Freehands gloves
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.
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
Apple's smallest notebook is the MacBook Air, and all signs are pointing to this being the best-selling Mac this holiday season, so we had to include it in our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide. The 11-inch MacBook Air packs in speedy flash memory that is soldered directly onto the motherboard, resulting is lightning-fast performance. It also means no moving parts, so you get five hours of battery life from the tiny little wonder, and it even sports a full-sized keyboard, which we feel is a must (and is one of our main complaints with other netbooks.) The price starts at $999 from Apple, but hey, if you go with Amazon then its $994 with free shipping, and MacMall has them starting at $969--not bad for the most portable Mac out there.
Sure, we wanna cover all the cool stuff in our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide, but we also wanna hit you with some stuff that's practical as well, and the Icon Rogue 2 LED flashlight fits that bill. It's powered by two AA batteries (included int he package) that lasts for 72 hours, and has overwhelming light output. The body is an aerospace-grade aluminum that can withstand just about anything--seriously, it feels like you can prop up a car with this thing to change a tire. The handle is an open architecture design that doesn't cause your hand to get all sweaty. It's got two light output settings, and low was bright enough for anything we wanted to do with it. Setting it to high shows the power of this thing though, which we are sure is super helpful in an emergency, or just messing around in the darkness of night. They retail for $49.99, and if you've got a Radio Shack near you, you can find them there. We've also found them on Amazon for $34.99.
Read More | ICON Rogue 2 flashlight
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
Amazon's got a killer deal on the Alan Wake Limited Edition bundle, and we had to pass it on to you guys as a 2010 Holiday Gift Guide recommendation. Alan Wake is a game that plays like a psychological thriller as you take on the role of Alan, an author who seems trapped in his own tale. The game incorporates elements of an episodic television show as well, and is a nice escape from all the typical casual games and shooters out there. The Limited Collectors Edition includes:
- Game Disc in box with unique art
- Exclusive In-Game Audio Commentary and Hints by Remedy
- “The Alan Wake Files” – a 144pg book that includes a short story written by Alan Wake and compiles the FBI dossiers investigating the events in Bright Falls
- Exclusive Xbox bonus disc with special content:
- Exclusive Xbox Theme & Avatar
- PDLC #1 Token
- Video Documentaries/Behind the Scenes:
- The Theme of Alan Wake
- The World of Bright Falls
- The People of Bright Falls
- Alan’s Missions
- Exclusive Audio Disc with Soundtrack and Score
This set typically sells for $79.99, but Amazon has dropped the price substantially to just $29.99! That's an awesome price for a great game like this one - be sure to check out our Alan Wake review.
Read More | Alan Wake Limited Edition sale