Archive for the ‘Gift Ideas for Guys’ Category
When picking a digital camcorder for a teenager, think compact, easy to use, easy to share. Digital camcorders fit these requirements perfectly. Your teenager can shoot the video, edit it right on the camcorder and instantly share with his friends. Of course, editing on a computer is an option too, but ease of use and short time from production to release is important. Another option worth considering, is a waterproof digital camcorder. If your teen is into snowboarding or swimming – you definitely want a camcorder that can handle moisture.
What makes camcorders a great gift is that they combine video recording and shooting still images. Video is everywhere now – just look at how much time your teenager spends on YouTube. Give them some tools to express themselves an try producing videos on their own.
Surprisingly, giving a camcorder as a gift is not going to break your budget. There are several fantastic options on the market. Let’s go down Amazon’s bestselling list.
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CNET editors unveiled a list of top 5 MP3 players. Here it is in all its glory.
- Sony X-Series Walkman
This MP3 player supports MP3, WMA, ACC and L-PCM audio formats; AVC(H.264/AVC), MPEG-4, and WMV DRM video formats; JPEG image files. The sound is very good. You can operate the Walkman using both “touch panel” and buttons. The button design makes it easy to navigate without even looking at your player. The user interface is easy and intuitive. It works with Rhapsody To Go subscription or Napster. It sports a wi-fi connection, integration with YouTube, etc.
Sony X-Series Walkman is an excellent choice for audio files, 3 inch OLED touch screen and loads of features. It comes in 32GB and 16GB versions.
- SanDisk Sansa Clip Plus
SanDisk Sansa Cip Plus has five colors to choose from. It is lightweight with good sound. And with its smart design, you can clip your Sansa Clip player to your bag, pants or sleeves. It has built-in microphone for spontaneous recording. Transfer your files to your PC later through a USB connection. The Sansa Clip player plays MP3, WMA, secure WMA and Audible file formats.
Overall, this small capacity durable take-it-everywhere music player is a good choice for a mobile user. And, unlike others in its category, it has good sound quality and a screen.
- Zune HD
We have reviewed Zune HD on this blog. Our verdict: the best music player out there. The bottom line, Zune HD design is beautiful. The player has an OLED display, HD raido and outputs HD video to your TV. It lacks apps and games, but it is one of the best music and video experiences you can buy.
- Apple iPod Nano
iPod Nano is a portable player with a larger screen. Nano is packed with features. It includes an FM radio player, a video camera, and a pedometer. Video camera is more of a toy, however. There are two new features – iTunes Tagging and Live Pause. The new Genius Mixes feature acts as your personal DJ.
- Apple iPod Touch
Apple iPod Touch is the 3rd generation of its kind. 3.5-inch widescreen Multi-Touch display with 480 x 320 pixel resolution makes watching videos a great experience. It has integrated bluetooth, shake-to shuffle, Genius playlists, wi-fi, voice control, and is easy to use. One absolutely unique feature that no other mp3 player has – iTunes app store.
Flip video is shipping 2nd generation, upgraded, “premium” version of its MinoHD pocket camcorder. It has a sleeker design with rounded corners and brushed-metal front – does not attract fingerprints. The new form factor makes the camcorder feel solid in your hand. Like the first generation model, it has solid 720p video (@30fps, 120 min) recorded as MP4 files, slim design and rechargeable battery. Battery life is slightly improved. The video quality is amazing. It is also super easy to use.
Unlike the previous model, the LCD screen is larger (2 inch), the internal memory is doubled (8GB vs. 4GB) and the upgraded FlipShare software now allows you to directly upload your video to Facebook, YouTube, etc. You can also share privately with your family and friends. Keep in mind though, that the uploaded video will not be in high definition, just HQ quality. You can still do it, but will have to upload the file from your computer, not directly from MinoHD camcorder.
The camcorder has a new Movie Magic mode that arranges your clips into a movie. Add your own music to provide a more personal touch. Freeze-frame capabilities allow you to grab snapshots. MinoHD 2nd Generation has HDMI output. It is compatible with both Macs and Windows. Connect to your computer through a flip-out USB arm.
The new MinoHD is fairly pricey. Unfortunately, there is no SD/MMC card expansion slot. And if you want to play your video on your TV, you will need to provide your own cable. Power adapter is not included, but the camcoder will charge from your computer if it is connected.
The botoom line, this new generation MinoHD is one of the nicest models available. For the same price as the original model, you get better design, double the memory and an HDMI output. It might not be worth upgrading, but if you are looking for a portable HD camcorder, this new model might fit the bill.
Buy it for $229.99
This is an awesome present for a person who enjoys watching movies. Roku Player is a tiny box. It works with any TV, unless it is a family earloom. Installation is very simple – connect it to your television via cable (HDMI or component) or wi-fi and you are good to go. You have to have an internet connection too, of course, because Roku box will use it to stream video directly to your television.
You need at least 1.2 Mbps to watch movies instantly on the Roku digital video player with decent quality. The faster your connection, the better the quality (although this rule-of-thumb peaks out at about 5mbps). Roku will automatically detect your bandwidth speed and adjust the streaming so there are no interruptions. The experience is like watching a DVD: you can watch, play, fast-forward, rewind, pause and resume play later.
Roku Player integrates with Amazon Video on Demand as well as Netflix. If you have a Netflix account you can watch Instant View movies. Any movie you can buy or rent on Amazon, you can buy or rent on Roku. If you buy a movie on Amazon, it is always in your library and you can watch it at any time on your Roku. Selection? 50,000+ movies and TV shows.
You have 3 buttons: Netflix, Amazon, and Major League Baseball. Yes, for $20 (currently) you can watch any game, even when the game is over. You can fastforward, rewind, or watch the game live. The unique feature though is that you can pick play-by-play announcers too – home team or away team. That is something a true fan can appreciate. And if you have enough bandwidth on your internet, you can watch games in high definition. Roku supports all HD formats except 1080.
The Wall Street Journal, CNET, WIRED, and other publications rave about Roku player. Roku plans to add video podcasts in the future. The box is PC and Mac compatible, but you knew that already becase you do not need to connect it to a computer at all. And they have great customer service, from what I hear.
If you have a Netflix account, it is no-brainer.
You can get one on Amazon for $99.00. There is $118 package that includes cables
- Networking: Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) with WEP, WPA, and WPA2 support; 10/100 Ethernet (RJ-45)
- Video Outputs: Composite video, S-Video, Component video (Y/Pb/Pr), HDMI
- Video Modes: 16:9 HD (720p), 16:9 anamorphic (480p), 4:3 standard (480i)
- Audio Output: Stereo (L/R RCA), Digital Optical (Toslink), Digital over HDMI
- Remote Control: NEC protocol, supported by various universal remotes
- Power Input: 5V, 1.5A provided by included AC adapter
- Power Consumption: 5 watts peak, 3 watts in standby
- Size: 5 x 5 x 1.75 inches (130 x 130 x 41 mm)
- Weight: 11 oz (300 grams)
This is a very modern-looking hard drive. It has piano black glossy finish. The LCD is always on and displays a personalized drive name and available free space – even when disconnected. You can rename the drive easily from your computer. All info is updated every time you connect or disconnect it from a PC or Mac.
InSight hard drive is small enough to carry around in your brief case. It is also faster than a lot of similar drives and supports both USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 at 5400 RPM. You have to be proficient in Drag-and-Drop technology to use it. Nero backup software is pre-installed and easy to use if you plan to back up files. Of course, you don’t really need it for backup, but it is nice to have if you prefer simplicity.
Get yours on Amazon.com:
The original Kindle was very unattractive. In my personal opinion, it is still not as sleek-looking as a Sony Reader. But the design improved significantly. And the navigation changed. Now you have a 5 positin joystick. Using the joystick, you can navigate the cursor to any word on the page and a dictionary definition will show at the bottom. But it still takes a while to get there. I wish they had a track ball or something similar.
I wish the screen had a better contrast, I wish it was in color. Some people wish it had a backlight. Lack of the backlight does not bother me in the least. If necessary, you can always attach a book light to your device. I wish the navigation was better for the periodicals – at least as good as for books.
The advantage over books is that you can make your text larger. It is cool that you can buy and download a book from Amazon store in seconds over Amazon’s wi-fi. It is not cool that they still use proprietary document format and you cannot just transfer a text or a PDF file from your computer to your Kindle. You still need to send a document to a Kindle email address to get converted. And it will cost you too. With Sony it is way easier to transfer a document to a Reader.
Now, Kindle added text-to-speech capability. After a huge debate with Writers Guild who did not like that, Amazon allows the writers to turn off that capability on their books, if they wish. Silly. The computer-generated voice is never going to run audio books out of business. But be aware, that not all the books will be read to you.
Another handy feature is that if you have an iPhone, there is a free Kindle app available which will allow you to read any book you purchased through a Kindle store. You don’t even need to have a Kindle. But if you do, iPhone will get synchronized with your Kindle. So, if you are in the middle of reading a book on your Kindle, and then switched to iPhone to continue to read it, the iPhone will move to the spot where you left off. There is also a way to make annotations on it and save them to your web Kindle account as notes. Sweet!
A bigger, more expensive Kindle is available: Kindle DX: Amazon’s 9.7″ Wireless Reading Device. But really, why get this one? I think, it is too much money for what you are getting.
Sony unveiled 3 new ebook readers last month: Reader Touch Edition, Reader Pocket Edition, and Reader Daily Edition (available later this year). These products are considered to be direct competitors to Amazon Kindle – you will be able to buy books directly on the device from Sony Book Store. Daily Edition will have 3G from AT&T (available in the US only). All new ebook readers from Sony will be available for purchase worldwide.
Sony claims that it will have better book selection. They are partnering with libraries and allow library members to borrow books directly from their ebook reader. These library partnerships can make every single book available for download to the device in the partner libraries.
Sony is also partnering with Google to get public domain books. Those books are already available on the internet free of charge, but the convenience factor is huge.
The main question, however, remains – can you get the books you want? It does not matter, how many books are available as long as you can bet best sellers and popular titles.
Currently, the Sony Book Store is impressive. The prices are quite reasonable. Borrowing books is definitely a great feature that would differentiate Sony Reader from Kindle. Another Reader feature that is not available on Kindle, is touch screen. Sony uses it to change pages with a flick.
Of course, true to the tradition, Sony is unveiling their new proprietary epub format. It would be interesting to see if Amazon will start selling epub ebooks in their store.
E Ink® Vizplex paper-like screen technology makes reading easy, even in direct sunlight. Reader Pocket has elegant, lightweight design with 5″ display. Carry up to 350 of your favorite books at a time.
This model does not have touch screen. Comes in blue, grey, and pink.
Reader Touch Edition™ lets you access up to 350 (or more with memory expansion card slots) of your favorite books from anywhere. It has 6″ display with touch screen navigation, freehand highlighting and annotation.
Get books from Sony eBook Store and over one million free public domain titles from Google Books.
This model comes in black, grey, and red.
Thin and light, Kindle is as easy to hold and use as a book. Kindles page-turning buttons are located on both sides, allowing you to read and turn pages comfortably with one hand. Kindle has a new easy-to-use 5-way controller, enabling precise on-screen navigation for selecting text to highlight or looking up words. Kindle is completely wireless and ready to use right out of the box–no setup, no cables, no computer required. You can read on a single charge for up to 4 days with wireless on. Turn wireless off and read for up to 2 weeks. Battery life will vary based on wireless usage, such as shopping the Kindle Store and downloading content. Whispernet utilizes Amazons optimized technology plus Sprints national high-speed (3G) data network to enable you to wirelessly search, discover, and download content on the go. Your books and periodicals are delivered via Whispernet in less than 60 seconds. And unlike WiFi, you never have to hunt for a hotspot.
Auto-Rotating Screen: Display auto-rotates from portrait to landscape as you turn the device so you can view full-width maps, graphs, tables, and Web pages.
Built-In PDF Reader: Native PDF support allows you to carry and read all of your personal and professional documents on the go.
Razer DeathAdder 3G Infrared Gaming Mouse is a great gift for a gamer. It is a simple, modern-looking gaming mouse. This mouse has a 3G 1800dpi infrared sensor 5 programmable buttons. On-The-Fly sensitivity drivers let you switch dpi settings in the midst of a battle.
Most customers comment on the very comfortable ergonomic shape of the mouse. The left and right buttons have an up-and-out curve that is very comfortable to rest your fingers on. The mouse is fast and allows extreme control. Oh, did I mention that it glows in the dark? Well, you can turn that off, actually.
You need to upgrade the firmware to use the mouse.
Reviews mention cons: not enough pockets, too small for some notebooks, fits only essentials (usb sticks, power cable). Pros: small, practical, great for travel.
MSI Wind U100-641US is a beautiful 10 inch notebook. 9 cell battery promises 15 hours of life on a single charge. Quick specs: Intel Atom 1.6 GHz Processor, 160 GB SATA Hard Drive, Windows XP Home Edition, etc. Weighs 4.3 pounds.
High definition video is hard to work with if you do not have the right equipment. Transferring high def video to a computer or a web site or your iPod can be time-consuming. Elgato Turbo.264 HD is a great solution to speed up the process. Convert any video into all popular formats and play it on your iPhone or share on the web. The result is a high-quality H.264 file in standard or HD resolution in a small file size. Beware, however, that the quality is not as good as you can achieve using QuickTime Pro or iMovie applications.
You can process your footage as well: preview, crop, and combine clips into one movie, or batch process multiple videos. It allows you to upload video into your YouTube account. Unfortunately, it works only on a MAC. Price: $129.95.