I know that I am not Oprah, and I know my favorite things won’t make you act like a complete fool at the thought of getting a gift basket at the end of the article. However, I couldn’t resist sharing some of MY favorite techie things with you just in time for the holiday season. These are items that I use on a daily basis and can’t live without. If you are looking for a gift for that special person in your life or that special person in the mirror, maybe these gifts ideas are for you!
Palm’s Treo 650 smartphone
This is my favorite gadget of all times. This is a cell phone but SO much more. You can manage your calendar, tasks, contacts, send and receive emails, surf the net, send text messages (SMS), multimedia (pictures and files) messages (MMS), take pictures, play MP3 files, open/edit Microsoft Office documents, expand the memory with a SD memory card and talk on the phone via the built-in microphone, a wireless Bluetooth headset or speakerphone. If your company supports it – you can hook it up to your company network. I have mine hooked up to my corporate email since the device is compatible with “push email” – which simply means real-time email. It also updates my calendar, contacts and tasks wirelessly. This allows me to stay in touch with work without being at my desk 24×7. (Check with your company to see if they support the Treo and its corporate functionality). You can also manually check your private email via included software on the device. It is larger than your average cell phone – it is 5.9 oz and measures 4.4 x 2.4 x 0.9 inches but feels nice in your hand. This little device has become my right hand and I use it all the time. It contains my whole life and I don’t spend a minute without it! Cingular, Sprint PCS, and Verizon all support this phone and its functions. Check with your local provider for pricing and plans. Tip: If you are going to be a heavy Internet and email user, sign up for the unlimited data plan if your provider has one. This will save heartache when your first bill comes. Also – check with your employer to see if you are eligible for a corporate discount – this can mean big savings on your monthly bill. The price on the Treo is hefty (ranging from $199 to $499 depending on the offers your provider might have), but think of all those other gadgets you can dispose of when you get this! Full specs for the Treo can be found at http://www.palm.com/us
With the recent additions and changes to the iPod line-up, there is something for everyone – Mac or PC user. The shuffle is the size of a stick of gum and comes in two sizes – 512 MB and 1 GB. These hold 120 and 240 songs respectively. The only drawback to this model is that it doesn’t have a display – you have to remember what songs are on there and scroll through them or put the device on shuffle and let it play them randomly! The iPod nano is the cutest iPod ever. Measuring in at 3.5 x 1.6 x 0.27 inches with a 1.5 inch color display – it’s wafer thin and only weighs 1.5 oz. The nano boasts a 14 hour battery life – that is truly incredible. These come in two sizes 2 GB and 4 GB – with 500 and 1000 songs respectively. The third iPod line is the iPod video line in two sizes of 30 GB and 60 GB measuring 4.1 x 2.4 x 0.43 and 4.1 x 2.4 x 0.55 inches respectively– with a whopping 7,500 and 15,000 songs! The iPod video will support photos and now video! Using iTunes (Apple’s software for the iPods which works on Macs and PCs) you can download music for 99 cents a song and music videos and TV shows such as “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost” from ABC network for $1.99! With incredible color and clarity on its 2.5 inch screen, you’ll be amazed at what you can carry around on this little dandy! Prices are $99 and $129 for the Shuffle, $199 and $249 for the nano, and $299 and $399 for the video. They may cost a little more than other devices but you won’t find a better (or cooler) music player on the market. Get complete specs at http://www.apple.com.
Motorola’s RAZR mobile phone
If the Treo is too much technology for you, then this phone is what you need. My partner got this when I got my Treo and he LOVES it. Besides its extremely cool design – it’s a great phone. Razor thin (3.86 x 2.08 x 0.54 inches) – it boasts a seven hour talk time, a built in camera, voice activated dialing, Web surfing capabilities, Bluetooth (for wireless headsets) and text and multimedia messaging. Currently, the RAZR is only available with Cingular and T-Mobile cellular service. Prices vary with your service plan and provider. Complete specs can be found at http://www.motorola.com.
If you are still recording shows on your VCR, get into the 21st century! Tivo will revolutionize your life. Pause, rewind and record live TV, set up recurring recordings of your favorite programs, actors, or subjects, and schedule your Tivo to record a show while you are at work. All this is possible with Tivo. Tivo updates via a phone line or wireless connection in your home. Tivo units start at $49 (after rebate) and a monthly service fee of $12.95 is involved. Check out the complete specs at http://www.tivo.com.
Canon Elph Digital Cameras
Every year I come back from vacation and everyone asks the same question – “WHAT camera do you use?” I tell them that Canon Powershot Digital Elph cameras rock. They range in megapixels from 3 (SD200) to 7.1 (SD550). Depending on what size prints you are planning on printing – get the highest megapixel you can afford. I have the 5 MP and the pictures are incredible, and I can print up to an 8×10 with it. Simply put – the higher the megapixels, the clearer the picture and the larger print you can produce. These compact little cameras will amaze you with their ease of use and picture quality. They range in price from approximately $200 to $500 with great deals to be had online. A full description of the Powershot Elphs can be found at http://consumer.usa.canon.com/.
This isn’t exactly a techie item, but you have to have something to protect your investments. These full grain cowhide cases are available in hundreds of color combinations and are handmade in Argentina . There are Vaja cases available for the Treo, the iPods and the RAZR phones mentioned above. The price tag is a little steep for these, but they are worth every penny. And let’s face it, if you are going to spend a few hundred dollars on a cell phone or music device, don’t you want something to protect your investment? The T65 case for the Treo is simply incredible. The leather quality is top-notch and the design is flawless – it protects and is SO much more stylish than those cheap plastic and leather cases. The T65 Treo case is custom designed on their website to your desired color combinations and is $104.90. The RAZR case is $55 and the iPod cases range from $34.90 for the shuffle to $34 and $40 for the iPod nano (the iPod video case was being developed at press time. Check out and order a Vaja case at http://www.vajacases.com. This is an investment that will last the life of the product and will make your device stand out in the crowd.