But what should you buy? That’s a difficult question to answer fully in less than 20,000 words, but there are some gadgets that really stand out from the crowd. Let’s take a look at five products that you should consider this season.
The eReader market has been heating up this year. The Barnes and Noble Nook and the Amazon Kindle seem particularly competitive with each other, resulting in a price war. The newest Amazon Kindle can be purchased for as little as $139 (for the 6″ with WiFi) or $189 (for the 6″ with WiFi and 3G).
These prices are low enough that Kindle starts to look like an attractive alternative even if you read only one or two books a month. The price isn’t the only reason to buy the Kindle, however – in this author’s opinion, the Kindle has always been the best eReader overall. Combine low price with a great product and you have a sure winner.
Samsung DualView TL225
If you’re on a social network (and you probably are), you may be taking a lot of pictures of yourself. Updating your profile with a self-shot photo, or a self-shot with friends crammed in on either side of you, is common. It also presents a problem. The screen on your camera is on the back and you have no way of making sure a self-shot photo is centered on your face or your knees.
The Samsung DualView solves this problem by putting a small display on the front of the camera next to the lenses. This removes all the guess work normally required. The Samsung DualView is also a pretty nice digital camera besides thanks to 12.2 megapixel recording and 4.6X optical zoom.
Apple Magic Trackpad
Touch is the cornerstone of Apple’s interface design. The abstraction of a mouse is considered a distraction rather than a helpful tool. The company’s laptop trackpads have long been praised for their multi-touch features, and now Apple has made a trackpad targeted towards the mouse-entrenched desktop market.
The Magic Trackpad is exactly like the trackpad found on MacBook Pro. Once connected to a Mac desktop, it is possible to use a variety of multi-touch features to navigate OS X. You can scroll, zoom, change windows and minimize/maximize windows with a few flicks of your fingertips.
Windows users can reportedly use the Magic Trackpad as well, but you’ll of course be limited to Windows multi-touch functionality. As such, the Magic Trackpad isn’t recommended for Windows users.
Logitech Harmony 900
Did you know that remote controls can be cool? If not, you obviously don’t have a friend who owns a Logitech Harmony universal remote. The Harmony is meant to replace absolutely every other remote in your home and do so in style. It includes a touch-screen display at the top of the remote with options that simplify your user experience. For example, if you want to watch a DVD, you can simply touch “Watch a DVD.” The remote will automatically take the required steps such as changing sources and turning on devices.
However, all of this functionality doesn’t mean the Harmony is hard to use. The Harmony is programmed by connecting it your PC (via USB) and through a Harmony setup program that asks a few questions about your usage and lets you select your home theater devices from a list.
Sony X-Series Walkman
When most people think of an MP3 player, they think iPod. But there are other great MP3 players on the market that give even the iPod Touch a run for its money, one of which is the Sony X-Series Walkman. This player includes a 3 inch OLED touch-screen display with an interface that is comparable to what you’ll find on an iPod Touch. You can scroll through album art and video files with a flick of your finger.
The X-Series also includes WiFi and some related apps. You can watch YouTube on the X-Series, which is handy when you’re on the go with nothing to watch. Another excellent app is The Slacker, a WiFi-enabled radio app. The X-Series actually has a cache of music that is built up while connected to WiFi so you can listen to The Slacker radio even after you’ve left the WiFi hot spot.
Obviously, these aren’t all the hottest electronic gadgets that you’ll find on sale this season. These are, however, some of the best gadgets when everything – functionality, price and awesomeness – are considered. If you have a favorite gadget not included on this list feel free to share it in the comments!