Someone, somewhere on your holiday shopping list is going to want a gadget this year—and odds are they won’t be alone.
Consumer electronics are the most dependable category in the retail space during the holidays, but the sheer volume of gadgets on the market can be confounding. Here are a few sure-fire choices for your favorite gadget hounds.
By Chris Morris, Special to CNBC.com
Posted 9 Nov 2010
Paying a monthly phone bill is so 20th Century… The Oomo Telo is a Voice Over IP device that lets you make free calls to anywhere in the U.S. via your Internet connection. It also comes with caller ID, call-waiting, voicemail and an easy transfer of your existing phone number. And while some VOIP phones have questionable quality, Ooma is crystal clear.
Price: $150 or less
This tiny digital camera doesn’t have the bells and whistles of some others, but it’s a fine point-and-shoot device that fits easily into your pocket. With a 12-megapixel resolution, HD-movie recording and 4x optical zoom, it takes quality pictures—and the protective sliding panel lets you get the shot quickly. A great choice for Twitter-users or families planning a vacation.
Price: $139 - $189
Amazon’s eReader was a smash last year and it’s going to be even bigger this year, as the company has lowered the price into the mass market sweet spot. The lower price of ebooks increases the appeal. The company has had supply issues this year as shoppers have bought these at an incredible pace, so it might be wise to buy early to be safe.
You probably had this one figured out already. Apple’s tablet computer is one of the hottest gifts this season—and for good reason.
With roughly 300,000 apps available in the App Store, a larger screen than the iPhone or iPod Touch and an intuitive interface, this tablet is a viable contender to replace laptops on short trips. It’s also a business traveler’s best friend, with an incredibly long battery life. Available in two styles: Wi-Fi only or with 3G capabilities.
Imagine teaching your kids to ride a bike with no training wheels. This gyroscope-equipped front tire, operated by a rechargeable battery, is incredibly stable and helps kids learn quickly, without becoming dependent on extra wheels. Parents can gradually reduce the gyroscopic effects, as kids’ abilities grow.
Bose gets all the glory when it comes to high-end speakers, but this all-in-one wireless music system could make you forget their name.
With amazing, crystal clear sound and app integration, the S5 will stream radio stations from around the world or play your digital music collection. And despite its compact size, it will easily fill any room with music.
Google’s effort to blend television with the Internet isn’t perfect, but it does have some interesting features—and Logitech’s Revue is a good tool to let people on your list begin exploring the possibilities. Integrating search with streaming on-demand programming, the Web and your cable provider, the service could change how they watch television.
Apple takes a second spot on this list with its king of the hill smartphone. Beyond the wide selection of apps, the inclusion of the FaceTime video chat functionality and enhanced “Retina” display screen make this a notable step up from last year’s 3GS.
Service is once again restricted to AT&T, whose network is still less than ideal, but a Verizon version is rumored to be announced early next year. If that’s your cell carrier of choice, an “IOU” could be the way to go.
There are plenty of set-top boxes that stream content from services like Netflix or Amazon on Demand, but what sets Western Digital’s apart is its internal 1 TB hard drive, letting you save your own media collection locally. It also has one of the best user interfaces we’ve seen for these types of systems, supports more video types than Apple TV and can tap into your home network as well.
iHome has been making peripherals for Apple’s products for years, but this speaker/alarm-clock combo could be their best effort yet. Working with both the iPhone and iPad, the device offers wireless Bluetooth stereo (meaning your iDevice doesn’t have to be docked to take advantage of the speakers), speakerphone capabilities and multiple alarm modes.