I’m in the midst of shopping right now, and should be all but done by the time Thanksgiving hits. While my method may be efficient, it may not be the most cost effective way to do things this year. This is because prices are expected to drop off a cliff if Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and the biggest shopping day of the year for the US, is as bad as some think.
A lot of us are referring to it as Red Friday now, for all of the red ink we expect the stores to bleed on it.
I tend to use Amazon a lot myself, because they will wrap the thing for you and put a card on it. I’m not that great at wrapping things, and the prices tend to be competitive. So I figure I would spend time this week writing about the stuff I’m thinking of giving, or already bought for gifts.
Amazon Kindle : I use this more than I do my MP3 player. Since getting a Kindle, I’ve read nearly 20 books on it, and now I don’t travel without the thing. I’ve been checking, and a large number of people I know have either indicated they want one, or have been told someone they are shopping for wants one. Be aware that there is a new one coming next year, though, and that it isn’t cheap at $359. Amazon also has them backordered for several weeks, thanks largely to Oprah loving it, so your buying window is really short.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS3A 8.1 MEGA Optical Stabilized Zoom Camera: These are great little cameras, and are currently selling for $119 on Amazon. They have Leica lenses and a 3x optical zoom. The face detection feature is particularly cool, and coupled with the excellent image stabilization, it assures people look like people and not weird flesh colored blurs.
Pandigital 15" LCD Photo Frame: It is great to get pictures for Christmas but they tend to age. Wouldn’t it be better to have something that you can update regularly? At 15" this is one of the largest frames on the market, and while it doesn’t come close to the massive ones that Bill Gates has in his home, it’s a good buy at $285.
BlueAnt Z9i Bluetooth Headset: Given that most of us are supposed to use cell phone headsets right now by law when driving, this could be a nice gift for someone that has been resisting that. They’re very small, very light, and very unobtrusive. And at around $60 they won’t break the bank, either, and could actually help drivers keep their attention where it is supposed to be. They come in both black, and red.
TomTom One XL 4.3-Inch Widescreen Bluetooth Portable GPS Navigation System: I can’t live without GPS anymore, but don’t want to haul around anything big and bulky. This TomTom has a nice wide screen, but remains incredibly thin and light. It has a discounted price of around $143 making it a good buy, and I picked up a refurbished version from Amazon myself for $99, which is a steal. It comes with maps for the US and Canada.
Microsoft Explorer Mouse with BlueTrack Technology: Most optical mice freak when they hit any highly polished surface and other picky surfaces, but this mouse will work on any surface but clear glass. They’re the only mice that I know of that do. Amazon has them priced at $80 for the desktop version, and $60 for the mobile version.
ClickFree HD701 Easy Backup Drive: This is a small, external 120GB drive currently selling for around $70 on Amazon. What makes it so cool is that it is fully automatic: You just plug it into your PC, and with almost no effort, it can be used to backup up to 10 computers. It is also handy to move files between an old and new computer. This could be a great way to keep stuff safe and, in the case of a lost or stolen PC, or crashed hard drive, a life saver.
Peek Mobile Email Device in Aqua or Red: If you know anyone who just drives you nuts because they won’t buy a computer and communicate by email, this is for them. All it does is email, and it links just fine with free Google and Yahoo email accounts. These colored ones are currently going for around $80 and there is a $19.95 monthly fee. Since Oprah recommended the device, they have been in short supply. But right now, Amazon shows these (which come from Target) as in stock.
Slacker G2 4 GB Personal Radio Player: What makes this cool is that it is easy to use, and there is a free music plan where you get all-you-can-eat music for nothing a month. You can pay $10 a month for an enhanced service, but I really like the idea of giving a music player that can work without having to pay for music if the recipient doesn’t want to, and yet still provides a rich experience. It has built in Wi-Fi, and so doesn’t need much storage because it will auto update every time it connects. This makes the Slacker G2 a nice gift at about $200.
Archos 5 : For those folks that like portable video and want something few people have (yes, I’m in that demographic myself) the Archos 5 with a 5-inch screen is my recommendation. The 60GB model is likely adequate, and although it costs $350 (if you want to really impress, the Archos 7 with 160GB and a 7-inch screen is $100 more) it packs in wireless, music, video, speakers, and the best portable browser on the planet at the moment. It also has DVR capability, and you can accessorize it with a mini-video camera, which is really cool if you are into capturing YouTube moments. The folks I know who also have these swear by them , and it’s known as one of the best personal electronics device you’ve never heard of.
Logitech Harmony One Advanced Universal Remote : This is clearly a guy thing, but having a remote control that is actually easy to set up and intuitive is far less embarrassing than a box of remotes you never truly learn. At $185, the Harmony One isn’t cheap, and it certainly isn’t a great gift for most women, but for a guy buried under remotes this could be a godsend. You program it by hooking it to your PC, going to the Web, and answering questions about the stuff you want to control. Logitech liked the Harmony line so much they bought the company.
HP Vivienne Tam Netbook: This is due to hit the market in a few weeks, and it represents the most affordable laptop designed specifically for a woman. At around $699, it’s still the most expensive item on my list, but it is one of the few technology products that have been highly anticipated by women, and the form factor would be good for a teenage or younger girl as well. It has an Intel Atom processor, 80GB hard drive, and a 10-inch display, all in a size that fits in a purse. It’s due in early December, so you will be cutting it close, but that means it will also be rather rare.
If anyone has some additional ideas you’d like to post here feel free or if you have had good or bad experiences with any of these products I’d love to hear them. If you are in the US hope you have a wonderful holiday week, and make a retailer happy, go shopping!
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