Here are some gift ideas for the holiday season
As the holidays roll around it's always a challenge to come up with gift ideas. I've come up with a list of items starting at $300 or less that I would consider giving to my own family or friends.
» The Canon PowerShot SD850 IS is a point-and-shoot camera that packs great bang for the buck. Priced at around $300, it has 8.3 megapixels, fast start up, excellent image and performance, and image stabilization and face detection.
» If that camera is a budget buster, check out the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W55, at about $200. It offers a 3X optical zoom lens, a 2.5-inch LCD display and great photo quality. It's also available in four colors.
» The Nintendo Game Boy Advance SP is for that youngster who just can't sit still without his game boy. Features include great screen a rechargeable battery and excellent price ($80).
» Looking for something for that special audiophile? The Shure SE310 Sound Isolating Earphones are about as good as they come. At $250 they are not cheap, but I like the fact that they block out ambient noise and allow you to play music at a lower volume and protect your hearing.
» Don't feel like dropping all those bucks on earphones? Check out the Logitech FreePulse Wireless Headphones for under $100. Sound quality is good and they are well designed. The Bluetooth setup can access any audio source with a minijack headphone output.
» There's a ton of MP3 and video players out there but the Sony NWZ-A810 has gotten some of the best ratings. This user-friendly unit has great battery life and excellent screen and audio. Priced at $200, it supports subscription WMA files as well as video and photo playback.
» Want something more affordable that plays MP3 files and has FM? The SanDisk Sansa Clip costs $39.99 (1GB) and $59.99 (2GB). Both are less expensive than the iPod shuffle. SanDisk has a two-color OLED screen, FM radio and a voice recorder.
» Want to print those holiday snapshots? For about $200 you'll like the HP Photosmart A826, an easy to use snapshot printer that works without a PC. It produces prints rapidly and with excellent quality.
» The SoundBridge Radio Wi-Fi Music Player ($300) allows you to listen to Internet radio stations from Papeete to Yokohama. It's great for students who want to improve language skills and also works as an alarm clock radio. It's also got a very sensitive FM tuner so you can listen to local stations.
» Clean up your act for the New Year! Belkin's Wireless USB Hub ($200) connects your network devices (USB printers, cameras, scanners, hard drives) at speeds of up to 480Mbps and eliminates the clutter of cables.
» While you're at it consider Belkin's Washable Mouse ($30), a water-resistant mouse that is hand-washable under the faucet.
» Need to take your data on the road? The Seagate USB 2.0 Pocket Hard Drive ($100) lets you safely carry and store business docs, MP3s, videos, etc in a palm-sized device. It's a great option to back up your most valuable data and take it with you. It's also shock absorbent, hot swappable, and needs no power cord.