The holidays are that time of year when you can finally show up your siblings and give gifts that rock. All of that research and tech knowledge will finally pay off and you can show others why you are the technology leader. Digital Trends’ gift guide is your essential resource for all of your tech needs.
While 2003 will always be known as the year of the Apple iPod, 2004 will be remembered as all things wireless. From cell phones to laptops, WiFi has left its mark. The gap between merging your personal computer and your home theater is closing with several companies offering convergence products featuring WiFi technology. In the home theater market rear projection LCD and DLP based televisions have plummeted in price while picture quality continues to improve. With so many products out there, which ones should you choose? Let the editors at Digital Trends show you what our favorite products are.
We will break this guide up by product category and will include several of our favorite products from each category. Feel free to post in our message boards with any questions you may have.
Computer Hardware and Peripherals
Any video card from manufacturer MSI will be a good gift. Why? Because they pack their video cards with more than 14 games including Splinter Cell, Prince of Persia and XIII. It?s like you are getting a complete gaming system. If you are an Nvidia fan, check out the MSI NX6800 and if you prefer ATI, then the X800 XT should be your card of choice. Read more Check Prices
Runner Up: Want something that is easier on the ole pocket book? Logitech?s new MX1000 laser mouse is just what the gamer ordered. Klispch?s GMX A-2.1 speaker system is also a good choice and should go for under $150 dollars.
Apple?s new Cinema displays were all the rave this year in the LCD industry. Featuring a new 23-inch LCD panel from LG.Philips and a 16ms response rate what?s not to like, right? Few people know that it is that the same LCD panel being used in the Apple Cinema displays is also being used in HP?s L2335 23-inch LCD. So if you own a PC and want to save some bucks, get the HP L2335. Read More Check Prices
Runner Up: Another safe bet would be Samsung?s Syncmaster 173P 17? LCD display. While the 173P is not as large as the HP L2335, it still has a very vibrant and sharp display.
Dual layer DVD technology is here, which means you can now record up to 8.5GB of data on a single DVD disc. The Sony DRU-700A Dual Layer DVD writer is compatible with most home DVD players allowing you to create home videos and play them back on your television. Read More Check Prices
Runner Up: If you already have a DVD writer or simply want to wait for the technology to evolve, let us recommend the new Maxtor One-Touch external drive. With storage up to 300GB you can store all of your MP3?s and games on this drive. It also doubles as a one touch computer backup.
For the ultimate technology gift, the Niveus Media Denali w/HDTV support will take all of the best features from your personal computer, DVD player and TiVo and merge them into a sexy aluminum Media Center PC. While $3999 may be more than you?re willing to spend, your neighbors will ?ooh? and ?ahh? every time they come over. Who doesn?t love a little attention? Read More
Runner Up: Roku?s SoundBridge has a design unlike anything else out there. Stream music files from your computer to your home theater, all you need is a router or hub. Want to stream internet music? No problem the SoundBridge does that too!
The Sony VAIO A160 notebook is designed to replace your desktop computer. Featuring a full multimedia docking station and huge external speakers, the A160 can be your companion both at home and on the road. Did we mention it?s sexy look?. Read More Check Prices
Runner Up: Like a wolf in sheep?s clothing, PC component manufacturer Gigabyte has introduced a killer new laptop, the N512. While this system may look all pretty and mild on the outside, it?s the hardware under the hood that screams for your attention. The N512 packs a 1.7GHz Pentium M chip, supports up to 2GB of system memory, and uses ATI?s smoking fast Radeon Mobility 9600 graphics chip.
When home video editor Dennis Barker turned in his review of the Toshiba 52HM84 HDTV set, we thought he has been to heaven and back; he was that euphoric. Videophiles considering a front projector may want to take a look at Toshiba?s 52HM84 TV featuring HDMI inputs and a picture so clear the family dog hits the screen during episodes of Animal Planet . Read More Check Prices
Runner Up: Harmony?s SST-659 remote control has more buttons than the any other remote we have seen. Plus, you can interface it with your personal computer as well as download macros and programming directly to the remote control; the ultimate geek tool right here.
Home audio is always hard to recommend because it depends on personal preferences, but we can be almost 99% sure you will be happy with the Aperion Intimus 5.1 system. It sounds simply stunning, and is a bargain. Aperion Audio will even let you try them in your home free of charge. Read More Check Prices
Runner Up: Onix Rocket Tykes 5.1 system is big on sound, but tiny enough to be used in just about any room in the house. The system has a beautiful exterior finish and puts out nice clean and crisp sound.
Everyone seems to have an Apple iPod, right? But not everyone has $500 dollars to spend on an MP3 player. Let us recommend the Samsung Yepp YP-T5V. The T5V is the smallest MP3 player we have seen, but it still puts out nice clean sound that should appeal to listeners of every genre. Priced at around $120, the Samsung YP-T5V makes a great stocking stuffer. Read More Check Prices
Runner Up: While we love the Apple iPod, we have to ask, why buy a music player when you can get a movie AND music player for the same price? Enter the Archos Gmini 400 portable media player. This little bugger can store up to 300 hours of music and play back videos and photos. Expansion is available via a built in Compact Flash port and an optional 4-in-1 media card reader.
2005 is promising us more advancement in the realm of consumer electronics. WiFi speeds are increasing every quarter giving laptops, wireless projectors and even cell phones more bandwidth to do the things we all love to do. While we are disappointed to see LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) technology taking the backseat, luckily DLP is stepping up to the plate with better clarity and deeper black levels. With less than 60 days to go, Digital Trends’ Consumer Electronics Show coverage will highlight even more new products and technology slated to appear in 2005. Look for our article during the second week of January.
From the Digital Trends’ family to your family, we would like to wish you a very safe and happy holiday season.
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