Geek Gifting Made Simple
Just because you aren’t a geek doesn’t mean you can’t give gifts like one. We’ve assembled some of the hottest goodies and ranked them on our bask scale of values of Playful, Utility, Meaningful and WOW! factor.
Amazon Kindle Fire
Moving from the coolest gift to the hottest, Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet could be the most desired tech toy since the original iPad. Running on an Android platform that is heavily modified for the Fire’s capabilities, and using Amazon’s signature browser, Silk, the Fire loads web pages much faster, is lighter to hold in one hand, and syncs much more quickly than Apple’s iPad2. The Fire has 8 GB of storage, but the important distinction is that it is designed to primarily use cloud computing, so users don’t have to worry about how much space they fill on their tablet. While there is no camera for videoconferencing on the Fire, the ridiculously low price–$199 compared to $499 for a basic iPad2– makes it easy to afford a standalone camera and other goodies as well. This tops our wish list this year. Amazon.com
Aperion Audio Intimus 4T Summit
Don’t be intimidated; the mouthful of a name is the most difficult part of this system. Seriously, this is a wickedly awesome arrangement: a receiver roughly half the size of your cable television box, two tower speakers, two satellite speakers, a subwoofer and a center speaker. Why do we deem it so cool? It’s all wireless. Just plug in the receiving box, place speakers around the room and plug them into wall outlets, press the magic button on the remote, and the receiver will find and properly balance each speaker. Additionally, the system will calibrate the noise levels automatically, and determine the correct distance to yield an optimized listening zone for the best audio experience. AperionAudio.com
booq Cobra Backpack
If you’re a creative professional, or you know one, or want to look like one, the Cobra backpack from booq is definitely drool-worthy. The ballistic nylon exterior is not only waterproofed but rugged-looking. There are zippered pockets for water bottles or an umbrella, an open top pocket for quick access to tablets or laptops and zippered back pockets for secure safekeeping of other goodies. Additionally, the comfortable shoulder straps are adjustable and allow for ample breathing of the material. The interior is designed with laptops and tablets in mind and is nicely padded to protect the most important tools in any creative person’s arsenal. This separate compartment is reinforced and can handle up to 15-17 inch Macs and 16.4 inch PC laptops. We can’t wait to see how much stuff we can get in ours along with our new Kindle Fire. BooqBags.com
SOLO Personal Ski Machine
The newest way to hit the water with a whole lot of power, the original SOLO (pictured) is an incredibly cool concept. Because nothing is a bigger downer than a no-show driver on a day set for waterskiing or wakeboarding, the idea of being towed behind a driver-less boat is still too cool to properly gauge. The folks behind SOLO are taking things a step further with hot new features on the 2012 model. Along with a Bluetooth wireless safety lanyard that links with the custom ski vest, the Solo now features remote retrieval. Wipe out, and the boat will idle back to you, using the vest as its reference point and shutting the engine off when it’s 10 feet away, letting it drift right to the skier. Add the new mini tower for wakeboard lift and new wedge shaped hull design for thicker wake, and this SOLO is more fun than ever! SoloWaterSports.com
Jaybird Free dom Bluetooth Earbuds
Smart phones rock. They’re almost as great as, say, bacon or Nutella. But the speakers previously available weren’t up to par with the greatness of the phones, especially when it came to trying to use them while working out. As sweat started, headphones would slip, and the designs are often clunky, unwieldy and uncomfortable. Enter the Jaybird Freedom. These are shake proof, wireless ear buds designed specifically for sports. The design looks natural, and the buds fit flawlessly. The battery provides six hours of music and playtime, and the buds come with a gorgeous hard-shelled magnet sealed carrying case. There are three sizes of ear tips and three sizes of secure-fit ear cushions to provide the perfect fit for every athlete. We love the fact that music pauses and resumes after phone calls, and that there’s remote volume control. We’ll never fight with ear buds on a long run again. JayBirdGear.com
Revolutionary Cooler Systems VinPodium
Ever find a fantastic wine in a dusty store that absolutely demands immediate enjoyment, but the fridge is too full and you don’t want to ice it down? Enter the VinPodium, the newest creation from RCS for the quick cooling of wine, champagne and spirit bottles. While most Californians drink their whites at too cool a temperature, and most reds at too warm a temperature, the VinPodium is designed to bring whites to their ideal level of the mid- 50°F range in just six minutes, and reds to their ideal mid-60°F range in a little less than three minutes. The VinPodium is the ideal gift for the wine drinker without a lot of refrigerator space, the constant entertainer or the surprise host. Easily the coolest gift you can give this year. VinPodium.com
About Silk Internet Browser
The Silk Internet browser isn’t just another Internet reader, like Google’s Chrome, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer or Mozilla’s Firefox. Instead, it is more like an aggregator of content, or a gateway to Amazon’s incredibly diverse cloud cluster, officially titled the Amazon Elastic Compute. Silk stands the browsing experience on its head as it pulls a target website into the cloud, lays it out, properly renders it and then ships it off as a much smaller and condensed package to the Kindle. While it is still unclear at press-time exactly how it will be working, it appears Silk will download just one compressed package from the cloud and then unpack it and display it to the user. This means wildly fast browsing speeds and capabilities previously unseen in tablets and smart phones. The Silk browser will be proprietary to the Kindle line for now, but portable retail versions may be in the near future.
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