Welcome and Happy Holidays! We here at CTOvision wanted to provide some of our favorite gadgets as suggestions for presents. While this is a little late, there’s always Amazon Prime (or Gizmodo’s final ship dates here). We tried to put together the devices that we think are the best in their class, while highlighting some technologies for certain “stereotypes” in your lives!
Transformer Prime/iPad2 32GB ($500, $550). The Prime (our thoughts here) is the first Tegra 3 device, and is to receive Android ICS in the near future. The dock is an additional $150, but take it from an Transformer 1.0 owner, it’s well worth it.
Lighter and thinner, the Prime is a true iPad contender
The iPad is still the tab of choice for many, but the Transformer Prime is a step ahead in technological capabilities, and the keyboard dock/HDMI-out/USB ports will be the envy of all your iPad wielding friends.
Samsung Galaxy Nexus (~$200 on contract). The first chance to use Android ICS, as well a Google Experience device, this phone with a 4.65″ screen and a 4G LTE modem and 32GB of memory is better than any phone on the market.
No, the Galaxy Nexus does not eat iPhones for breakfast
iPhone 4S (~$200 on contract). The 4S doesn’t have 4G, and it still has a tiny screen. But it’s not the most popular smartphone in the world for nothing. The dual-core processor has really improved the viability of the 4S, but you may find yourself lusting over “the next big thing.”
Sony PS3 ($200). Still the best blu-ray on at market, offers Netflix instant, blu-ray with full Dolby Sound pass through and web capabilities. Oh and it plays games (some even in 3D). Also allows for streaming NFL Sunday Ticket from DirecTV. HULU, VUDU.
Xbox Kinect is sure to entertain your family for hours
XBox 360 w/ Kinect ($300). The Kinect is the only real reason to buy an XBox over a PS3 (especially with blu-ray and the other PS3 capabilities). However, Kinect is more than enough of a reason for the up-charge. Beware though, it is addictive, and needs lots of space.
Web Media Devices:
Any of these devices will be great under the tree (and next to your tv) this year
Apple TV ($100). The Apple TV is still a great device at a good price that continues to get better with constant software updates. I keep finding new uses for it all the time. With an Ipad 2 you can mirror almost anything onto your TV.
Roku (<$100). Check out my Roku review here. But there are Roku devices available for any individuals’ needs. However, if you are looking at one of the higher grades, I’d suggest the GoogleTV. The Roku has the flattest learning curve, and is ready to go right out of the box.
GoogleTV ($100). The Logitech Revue is a VERY cool device, it layers over your set top box, and connects you to the whole web. If you need a keyboard for your TV, this is the device you can’t live without. This is perfect for your always-connected, always-on loved one.
Don’t believe the hype, the Kindle Fire is a great e-consumption device
For fun + reading:
Kindle Fire ($200). The Kindle Fire (despite the myriad of garbage reviews) is not a replacement for an iPad. It’s a better reader, and more portable. Also, if you are an Amazon Prime or Netflix subscriber, it’ll provide you with a bevy of entertainment options wherever you’ve got Wi-Fi.
Kindle Touch or Nook Simple Touch ($100). Both these devices allow you to read books, and that’s about it. But their battery lives and sunlight viewability make them great devices. They are tied to their respective ecosystems, so be cognizant of which one you buy into.
If you need more ponies under your TV, or a small pc, you can’t go wrong w/ the Mini
Small Form-Factor/Simple Computers:
Win7 Nettop (~$300). Nettops are great replacements for full on desktops, and Win7 is a great OS. Further, the lack of an optical drive IS NOT a big deal these days. They also make strong HTPC. Make sure you find one with an HDMI port.
The Mac Mini ($600). It’s a great little computer, with pretty solid capabilities. OS X.7 (Lion) is a solid OS and will be usable for years. The DisplayPort makes input/output different, but doable. I know in my A/V setup I prefer all HDMI, and if you (or the person you’re buying for) are the same, this won’t do for you.