The Geek Wishlist: Ten Tech Toys for the Holidays

The Geek Wishlist: Ten Tech Toys for the Holidays

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Written By Eric Sandler

By Enterprise IT Planet Staff

December 03, 2008

Compliments of, this wish list includes several Wi-Fi-enabled devices any self-respecting lover of mobility will yearn for.

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As the end of the year approaches and online deals abound, geeks of all stripes are perusing the Web to find gear with which to treat their loved ones (and themselves, who are we kidding?).

In this list, the editors of assembled ten product types that represent a healthy mix of computer gear, personal electronics, and in one case, a reach-for-the-stars set of wheels. Some, not all, are bargains. None, however, skimp on the essential features that place them atop many a gadget lover’s wishlist.

Dell Studio XPS

1. Desktop PC: Dell Studio XPS (above)

The case design is hardly what you would call “sexy,” but it’s screaming fast and has a price just shy of $1,000. Packing Intel’s quad-core i7 processor, 6GB RAM, and an ATI Radeon HD4850, it can even handle gaming if you don’t turn all the knobs to 11. With 802.11n Wi-Fi as an optional upgrade, this PC is a solid bang-for-the-buck contender.

2. Monitor: Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP

Time to go widescreen…and big! Dell has collected a nice stack of positive reviews for this stunning and moderately priced 1920×1200 pixel, 24-incher that’s equally adept at spreadsheet show-and-tell as it is at displaying ultrasmooth HD video and astonishing feats of video gaming (6 millisecond response time). [Dreaming of a wireless monitor? Click here.]

3. Notebook: 2008 MacBook 13″ / MacBook Pro 15″

New, faster, shinier, and carved out of a block of aluminum. One caveat: no matte screen option, which will irk pixelsmiths and video editors. Use Bootcamp for equally impressive Windows performance on the MacBook Pro with its two, SLI-esque graphics subsystems on the upmarket model. Both come with optional 802.11n Wi-Fi.

4. Netbook: Asus Eee PC 1000H

Asus got the netbook craze going with the Eee and it didn’t take long for other computer makers to dive in. And while some of the competition are able to run Vista on their tiny machines (a minor miracle), the company has managed to dominate the scene by getting the netbook mix just right–and it comes with 802.11b/g built-in.

5. Smartphone: BlackBerry Storm

It’s no iPhone, but it arrives with a touchscreen and corporate IT’s seal of approval and a unique push-down screen that clicks. Since the Storm lacks Wi-Fi, though, BlackBerry lovers should also consider the Pearl 8120 or the Bold.

6. Portable Media Player: Apple iPod Touch 

A great music and video player, plus touchscreen, Wi-Fi smarts and many of iPhone’s application goodies… Yes, please! For a full review of the latest generation,

7. Home Theater HDTV: Pioneer Kuro

LCD has elbowed into plasma’s home theater perch in the last couple of years. But this “blackest of blacks” display (available in 50″ and 60″) still trumps even the best LCD screens. If you’re the type that can spot an errant pixel a football field away, however, then upgrade to the Pro Elite models.

If the stratospheric prices prove too much, consider Panasonic’s Viera line. Panasonic now produces Pioneer’s glass (we’re just saying)…

8. Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Nikon’s excellent D90 almost took the prize, but Canon released its 21.1 megapixel DSLR that can record HD footage just under the wire. To add Wi-Fi, opt for an Eye-Fi Explore card ($129.99).

9. Digital HD Video Camera: Canon Vixia HF10

Didn’t you hear? Even YouTube has gone widescreen, natively. Now’s the time to pick up an HD camera (no, a footage-grabbing DSLR isn’t quite the same thing) to capture those memories, start a video podcast or both.

Though we like to spread the love, Canon nailed it again with solid specs, 1080I recording, 16GB internal flash memory and optical image stabilization…What’s not to like?

10. Wheels: Tesla Roadster

Sure, the company has its share of challenges, but the all-electric sports car is a stunner and solid performer. Geeks with money to burn (yeah, this economy isn’t helping) can arrive at the cleantech party in style. Or, for a more burly option, the 2009 Dodge Ram pick-up comes with built-in Wi-Fi as an optional upgrade.

Gas Alternative: Nissan GT-R

Runs rings around the ‘Ring and Gran Turismo inspired instrumentation… Enough said.

Article adapted from For more holiday shopping recommendations, read “Wi-Fi We Can Be Thankful For” or visit our Reviews section for in-depth, independent evaluations of access points, client devices, software, security tools, and accessories.

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