There’s an endless amount of electronics and gadgets to be excited about this holiday season, and the Digital Trends staff is no exception. Believe it or not, we’ve each been eyeing an item or two since Black Friday (or maybe even before) that’s made it to our personal holiday wish list. Consider this for your (and our) entertainment alone–although if you’re getting particularly into the spirit of giving this year, who are we to stop you?
Jeffrey Van Camp–Staff Writer; mobile, tablets
With the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) just weeks away, the biggest thing on my mind is how I’m going to cover as much as possible. My current laptop is ginormous and sucks up its battery in about an hour and a half, which is terrible if you’re travelling. While I’m looking forward to the Windows 8 touch Ultrabooks next year, I’d be more than happy to have an HP Folio 13 (or other Ultrabook) by my side at CES this year. After trying most of the new Ultrabooks out, the Folio 13 seems to be the sturdiest and best all around value. Right along those lines, a fast HSPA+ or LTE modem with a reasonable data plan would be on my wishlist. Finally, it was long my wish to have the option to look at, and possibly buy, the Galaxy Nexus on Verizon, but I was beginning to doubt if it will come out at all. Thank goodness they finally came to their senses.
Ryan Fleming–Associate Editor; gaming, movies
- Martin Jetpack
- Turtle Beach PX3 gaming headset
Although socks are a lovely addition to any wardrobe, the Martin Jetpack would be my first choice. Although technically it is more of an “engine” pack than a “jet,” I wouldn’t be able to hear those criticisms as I flew my jetpack to work every day. Sure, the prototype will cost $100,000, and sure, there is a solid chance that you will die horribly the first sign of mechanical trouble, but it is a risk I’m willing to take for a jetpack. As a second gift, a parachute might be nice too.
The Turtle Beach PX3 programmable wireless gaming headset also makes the list. While my other selection may force my family and friends to sell a kidney or two in order to pay for it, this gift is actually reasonably priced for what you get. Turtle Beach offers a few higher dollar units with more bells and whistles, but this headset is a realistic purchase, and a great addition to the collection of any gamer.
Amir Iliaifar–Editorial Assistant
The Falcon Northwest Mach V. There are those out there that claim PC gaming is on its last legs, resigned to fade into memory as consoles emerge as the destination of choice for gamers, but not me. While the Falcon Northwest’s Mach V will certainly kill my bank account ($5,688), PC gaming is far from dead — and nothing would make me happier than to unwrap this monolithic masterpiece of gaming excellence this holiday season.
Molly McHugh–Staff Writer; digital photography, social media
More than anything this year, I want the Asus Zenbook UX21. I’ve never been an Apple loyalist, but I am a fan of the MacBook Air’s design and power. Package that in a Windows-friendly machine and I’m sold. Of course one of the reasons I want this laptop is because I need a computer capable of editing my photos at home—photos I would like to capture with a Nikon V1. I own a variety of cameras, but not a micro-four-thirds device and it’d be a considerable upgrade to my collection. I already own a Canon DSLR, a handful of “cheap” pocket cams, and a slightly better point-and-shoot, but after getting my hands dirty with MFT cameras all year, I know the time has definitely come. Realizing how portable the E-PL3 was during testing in Mexico really sealed the deal for me.
Of course I need to top this list off with the limited edition Star Wars Xbox 360-Kinect bundle. The original Xbox just doesn’t quite cut it anymore, and while I should wait until the next-gen version of the console comes out, I can’t. And there are few things (including people) I love more in this world than Star Wars, so I’m considering this a sign.
Nick Mokey–Associate Editor
I learned the hard way this year that a Saturn SL2 was not built for exploring the logging roads of Oregon. Especially not when it had a perpetual Check Engine light before the trip. Two wheels just make more sense than four when you hit the rough stuff, and since something tells me my R6 would be happier on tarmac than wet leaves, KTM’s 990 Adventure R makes the top spot on the wishlist.
Call me a contrarian or just a curmudgeon, I just can’t bring myself to bite the bullet on a MacBook Air. With four hard years on a ThinkPad X61 that keeps on ticking, Lenovo has earned my repeat business, and at 0.65 inches thin and 3.7 pounds, the ThinkPad X1 fits the bill for replacing it. If I get to dream a bit, how about grafting a ThinkPad keyboard onto a MacBook Air running Windows?
The world of DSLRs has tugged at my sleeve for years, but I’ve never had the wallet for all those lenses or the patience to lug them around. Canon’s S100 seems like a reasonably portable alternative — something that takes exponentially better photos than an iPhone, but still doesn’t require a neck strap.The only caveat: At $430, deep pockets are still a prerequisite to play. That’s what wishlists are for.
Andrew Couts–Staff Writer; Internet, applications
It’s cliche, I know, but the device I lust over more than any other is a top-shelf 13.3-inch MacBook Air with a 1.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor and the 256GB flash drive. It’s sleek, beautifully designed, and looks like it’s from the future — more so than any iPhone or iPad. Sure, it’s not as robust as a MacBook Pro — or a wide range of PC laptops, for that matter — but every time I see somebody with one, I think to myself, “Dang. One of these days, Couts. One of these days…”
I started riding dirt bikes at age four, thanks to my big brother’s “safety last” attitude. So when I heard about the torquey goodness of the Engage SMS all-electric dirt bike from Brammo I couldn’t help but salivate. The Engage is the first electric motorcycle to pack a 6-speed gearbox, making it possible to slip the clutch and pop a wheelie — something impossible with most other EV bikes, which don’t have any transmission at all. Set up enduro-style, the Engage SMS comes with all the lights needed for legal on-road travel. All you need is a pair of knobbies to rip up some trails. Unfortunately, the $10,555 price tag sets it a bit out of reach. But a boy can dream, can’t he?
The Lytro is like no other camera ever made. Using light-field technology, Lytro allows users to simply frame a photo, and snap a shot, without having to worry at all about whether the picture is in focus; that you can change later, however you like. It looks like a toy from the 70’s, and I would be lying if I said I completely grasp how it works. But it’s awesome, and revolutionary, and completely and totally weird. I want one.
Caleb Denison–Staff Writer; TV & home audio
I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing some fantastic TVs this year, including the gorgeous Samsung PN51D8000 which put out an image that looked dangerously close to film in terms of quality. Still, nothing delivers A+ wow-factor the wall-sized image of a rear projector system can. The HD33 projector from Optoma offers 1800 ANSI lumens and a 4,000:1 contrast ratio which will ensure great performance in a basement-theater setting such as mine. It’s capable of putting up a 300-inch wide picture, supports 3D content and, best of all, comes in under $1,500. Hope Santa’s got some deep pockets this year!
I love my Xbox 360 and its ability to serve me up some streaming video, but my kids totally monopolize it and, besides, I would love to have something portable that I can take with me whenever I’m on the road. As far as I’m concerned, the Roku XS is the best media streaming box around for under $100. Its built-in WiFi gets you access to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Pandora and plenty more. It can put out a 1080p HD picture (when available) and its composite video connection ensures I can get it connected when HDMI isn’t an option. As tech gifts go, it doesn’t get much better!
What’s better than a portable iPod/iPhone dock? How about one that doesn’t require 15-pounds of D-cell batteries? The Etón Soulra XL has built in solar panels which charge its built-in rechargable battery for up to eight hours of playback where electricity isn’t available. This model packs eight speakers into a compact cabinet for big sound from a small footprint. Its line-in jack allows for most other portable audio devices to be played back as well and a provided AC adapter will come in handy for charging up on cloudy days.
Kelly Montgomery–Staff Writer, lifestyle
While I already have a few solid cameras in my collection, the Olympus E-P3 would certainly be a welcome addition. I love my Nikon DSLR and Canon point-and-shoot, but carrying the Nikon around on a daily basis isn’t very feasible and the Canon packs little in the way of power and manual operation. The Olympus E-P3 is a powerful manual shooter with a great lens without the bulk of a DSLR.
I’m not much for gaming, but I do love my Netflix and Hulu Plus accounts. The Roku LT would give me access to those accounts plus over 300 other media channels without having to splurge on a gaming console I probably wouldn’t use. The 720p streaming would be plenty for my 32” LCD TV and the built-in wireless would make it easy to take to other rooms, too.
Last on the list is the Amazon Kindle Fire. IPads are great, but they are pretty big and since I already have a 15-inch Macbook Pro at home and a big beautiful Mac at work, it seems a little redundant. The Kindle Fire, however, is the perfect size to always keep in my purse for reading, watching shows, or flipping through my favorite magazines. The reasonable price tag only adds to the appeal.