A pair of tickets to some tropical place as a Valentines Day surprise has its appeal. Unfortunately, time, money, and reality may preclude it. In lieu of that getaway, theres always the latest tech goodies—sexy yet practical, stylish and built to last. Dont neglect the card, flowers, chocolates, or candlelit dinner, but he or she will still be enjoying the right gadget when the perishable gifts are fond but distant memories.
The Canon PowerShot A630 may not be the most stylish item in this roundup—its a bit bulky for a compact camera—but its ease of use and great picture quality more than make up for its heftiness. Its great range of features, particularly its articulating LCD screen (which you can swivel to escape glare and better frame your shots), and its ability to satisfy both novice and veteran photographers earned it our Editors Choice as a compact camera.
If some of the moments you and your sweetheart are likely to capture in pixels are likely to be…er…of the more intimate sort, you might want to include a small-format printer such as our Editors Choice Epson PictureMate Flash with it. Not only does it give you the privacy of outputting your own prints, it provides good quality at a cost per print thats lower than many local printing services. The PictureMate Flash is also great to take to public gatherings—it has a convenient handle and an optional ($50) battery. At parties, picnics, beach outings and other events you can take pictures, print them out, and hand them to friends on the spot.
The Nintendo Wii is a great gift to promote togetherness—or to work out aggressions, for that matter. (It also provides plenty of cool games for the kids to play.) Instead of passively staring at the tube or separately surfing the Web, you and your honey can square off at various games, such as the bowling, golf, baseball, boxing, and tennis (Wii Sports) that comes with the console. So boot the Wii up, fasten your Nunchuks, and get ready to practice your foreplay…I mean forehand.
For the bookish beau, the Sony Portable Reader System (PRS-500) is something fun and a bit different. About the size of a thin trade paperback and with a 6-inch screen, the PRS-500 can display drawings and photographs as well as text. It can store up 160 e-books. Sony estimates that it can "turn" 7,500 pages on a single charge. Though the PRS-500 still has its problems—its slow in flipping pages, and has no backlight so you cant read in the dark—its the best e-reader out there.
You know your sweetie would go wild over a George—and so you get her one. That is, the George iPod dock by Chestnut Hill Sound. This docking station costs a pretty penny, but is well worth it for the rich sound that you can control with a flick of its remote.
Not all tech products make good Valentines Day gifts. Firewalls and drive cases and fingerprint readers, for instance, are out—unless you want your partner to break up with you. But sexy gadgets, if without substance, are soon set aside. Looks and flair are a plus, but a fun and original product that appeals to your sweetheart may keep you out of the doghouse for a long time to come.