Let’s face it: New electronics can be expensive, and these days who can afford that? Nevertheless, this holiday season offers a number of affordable gadgets for the tech junkies-not to mention those who tend to kiss bumpers when parking and those who struggle to remember passwords-on your shopping list.
Smartphones from Apple, RIM and T-Mobile
The iPhone, Storm and G1 are all cool phones, the next generation of mobile wireless platforms. You can argue the fine points of each, but the fact remains all three are major steps forward and a sure winner for the person on your list who wants a new cell phone. Approximately $200 with a two-year service contract.
Eikon Digital Privacy Manager
For the security-minded or password-memory-challenged person on your list: secure Web access at your fingertips. UPEK’s Eikon Digital Privacy Manager lets you access your personal accounts with a single swipe of the finger. Combining a USB peripheral fingerprint reader with software already loaded on most PCs allows users to enjoy biometric authentication. The program also allows fingerprint authentication to open up favorite programs. Available for about $50.
Garmin Etrex Venture HC Receiver
Here’s a GPS for the hiker, complete with 24MB of internal memory, maps and a high-sensitivity, WAAS-enabled GPS receiver. It locates a position quickly and precisely and maintains its GPS location even in heavy cover and deep canyons. Save up to 500 waypoints on the trip and add map detail from Garmin’s entire line of optional MapSource mapping products. Approximately $200.
GPS Device for Still Cameras
Compatible with virtually all digital still cameras, Sony’s GPS-CS1KA device calculates and records the time, date and location of each picture you snap. When the included software is used with Google Maps, you can view a map on a Web page, and your photos will pop up next to push pins by the actual location where you shot the picture. Approximately $150.
QuickCam Vision Pro for Notebooks
With Carl Zeiss optics, hi-def resolution and an auto-focus keeping images razor-sharp, this is not just another Webcam. It also comes packaged with Logitech’s RightLight 2 technology, which allows the Webcam to adjust in dim or harshly backlit situations. Approximately $130.
Brother HL-2170w Laser Printer
Go retro, go black and white and wireless. Printer features include connectivity via USB and Ethernet or 802.11b/g wired/wireless interfaces, it and prints up to 23 pages per minute at a high-quality resolution. The printer is compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems. The best part? A wireless printer for less than $100!
Nextar Touch Screen GPS Navigator with Backup Camera
Find your way to your destination with the 4.3-inch Touch Screen GPS Navigator, but once you are there, avoid ruining the trip by backing into a parked car. The backup camera mounts on the rear bumper and wirelessly syncs with the GPS device. When the driver shifts the car into reverse, what the camera sees is shown on the GPS screen. Approximately $185.
Your Own Government DTV Bailout
Got a friend on your list who still doesn’t believe the digital television transition will happen? The federal government is offering coupons worth $40 to offset the approximate cost of a $70 digital converter box. Limit of two per household. FREE! FREE! FREE!
Sony Bluetooth Wireless Transmitter for iPod
Go wireless with this Bluetooth receiver that doesn’t use batteries and draws minimum power from the iPod 30-pin dock connector. Basic iPod functions can be controlled from a compatible Bluetooth headset with AVRCP compatibility. Approximately $50.
Kodak Zi6 Pocket Video Camera
It’s simple to operate and inexpensive, and you can choose the video quality that works for you: HD at 60 fps, HD at 30 fps or VGA (Video Graphics Array). Just turn it on and hit record to capture the action. Edit, add music and personalize your video and then easily share via YouTube or admire your work on your high-def television. Approximately $160.