Gadgets That Make Great Gifts

The gift-giving season brings both joy and frustration to those determined to find just the right present for their loved ones. Those of us who love tech heads, gadget gurus and geeks know that the right electronic doohickey can go a long way to getting that picture-perfect moment when it’s time to open gifts. But sorting through all the options is an exhausting and overwhelming prospect.

How do you know which digital horse to back when shopping for gadgets? Some devices, like Apple’s iPad tablets, have met with incredible success and will be supported for years to come. But others, like the Nintendo 3DS, have had a rougher time after a big debut, and may struggle down the road.

Many tablets have tried to challenge Apple for the title of Tablet King of the Universe, but for now, the iPad still retains its spot at the top. One of the most impressive competitors is Sony’s Tablet S, which relies on Google Android’s Honeycomb operating system.

The Tablet S boasts some pretty impressive features. For one, Sony has designed the tablet so that it can play certain PlayStation One and PSPtitles. This makes the Tablet S one of the more compelling tablets as far as mobile gaming is concerned.

Every gadget fan knows that a low battery is a cause for concern. As our tech arsenals grow, we run the risk of draining a battery to empty just as we need a gadget the most. The Solio Bolt Charger is a support device — it holds enough juice to recharge a smartphone up to two times without needing its own recharge.

There are a couple of options you can use to power up a Solio Bolt Charger. The gadget has solar panels on it, so just leaving it in a sunny place will allow it to store electricity. You can also plug it into a wall using an adapter or into a USB charging port with a USB cable.

The Internet provides us with access to far more content than we could ever hope to experience. But while watching old sitcom episodes or the latest music videos on a computer can be fun, it doesn’t really compare to experiencing video on a television. That’s where the Roku 2 comes in. There are three versions of the Roku 2, which offer slightly different sets of features. With all of them, you connect the box to your television and your home network so that you can stream content from the Internet to your TV.

Your programming choices aren’t unlimited — the Roku 2 has specific content channels available. If you’re a Netflix Instant, Hulu Plus or Amazon Prime customer, you can connect your account to the Roku 2 device and watch content on your television. The Roku 2 also has content from other providers as well, ranging from Major League Baseball to independent podcasters.

Buying a smartphone for a gadget geek can be risky. Not only must you guess at which operating system the geek will prefer, but you may also commit that person to a contract. In some ways, smartphones are the gift that keeps on taking — you have to pay a monthly phone and data bill just to keep your gadget in working order. But Apple’s iPod touchgives you the experience of owning a smartphone without the pesky phone part.

The latest iPod touch models start at $199, making them a pricy MP3 player option. But consider the features. The iPod touch can run many of the same apps as an iPhone. The new models can use iMessage when connected to a network, giving you instant messaging capabilities. And you can even have a video call with other Apple mobile device users with Facetime. We’ve come a long way from the days when the most advanced feature on an MP3 player was shuffle.