Please click to visit the new 2010 Holiday Gift Guide.
Welcome to my first annual Gift Guide for geeky mom's like me. I should have set out to do this earlier in the year, but oh well! Life gets busy and you always have an “ah ha” great idea moment at the last minute. But it's ok because this guide can serve you all year round! 🙂 In a perfect world, this would have been published a month ago. But I really just finished a good review of most of the items and I underestimated the time that i would need to dedicate to testing, etc. Also, planing ChiTown Mom's Nite Out took up a LOT of time!! Anyway, here we are the day before Mother's Day, so let's get started! Gone are the days when all mom wants or expects is flowers and candy. Digital & Connected Mom's want more! Below are some of my favorite things as well as items I have personally reviewed and decided that they are worthy! At first I was going to limit this to 10 items, but I got so many great pitches that it has expanded to 25 products. Hey, a girl can never have enough gadgets. 🙂 For the girls reading, don't worry! Many of these make great holiday or anniversary gift ideas for him as well!
1. Roku Digital Video Player (with a Netflix subscription): If your mom loves movies or loves to keep up with her favorite TV shows, she will love Netflix. For only $4.99 – $8.99 a month mom can get movies mailed to her that she can return at her leisure. Even better, she can stream movies right to her PC or laptop as often as she likes. BUT.. add a Roku Digital Media Player into the mix and mom can stream movies and shows easily right to her TV! I have been testing one for a couple of weeks and I absolutely love it. Setup was fast and simple, and use is simple too. The only changes that I would like to see are the ability to stream media from your own PC or external hard drive in the home (there are 3rd party hacks to do this). I would also love the ability to browse the full Netflix library right from the device. Currently, the way it works is that items have to be in your Netflix instant queue to show up on the Roku. That is not too much of a pain. And once it's there… the picture quality is stunning (HD version), and pausing, rewinding, and navigation is easy as pie. This is one way to hook mom up with some high tech gadgetry without overwhelming her. And she will be extra happy watching all of her favorite shows and movies instantly!
Prices range from only $79 – $129 depending on which model you choose. Click here to buy one now.
2. Netbook: Everyone loves a netbook these days. There is just something so cool about being able to fit your computer in your purse! I am adding 2 to the list.
I have used an Acer Aspire AS1410 Series 11.6-Inch Laptop for a few months. I upgraded from an 8.9 inch. At the time of purchase, this was one of the more powerful Netbooks on the market. As a matter of fact, if you go to Acer's website for support, it is listed under laptops and NOT netbooks. This one boasts a 250gb hard drive, can be upgraded to 4gb of RAM (comes with 2), wireless N wifi, webcam, and a 6 cell battery for awesome usage time. It also has an Intel Centrino processor, which makes it not too bad on speed. And lastly, the screen is optimized for HD and it has Dolby Sound Room Technology, so even on the go your movies will be awesome. I take this thing everywhere now. I have used it on a plane to watch movie and the quality is outstanding.
The Acer will run you around $399.99. Click here to purchase.
I received a Samsung NB30 to try out for testing. The Samsung NB30 is a great smaller netbook if you are looking for portability and toughness. I love the finish on it. It's got grip. I feel good carrying it around in my hand and I don't think that I am going to drop it. The features are good too. It comes with Windows 7 starter edition which is great because some are still coming with XP.
It comes with:
Extended Battery Life
Free-Fall Sensor for Data Protection.
The specs are typical of most netbooks out now. It has an Intel Atom processor at 1.66 GHz, 1Gb of RAM, 10.1″ screen, High def audio, 160gb hard drive, Ethernet Port, and Wireless N.
The Samsung is fairly priced at $299.99. Click here to purchase.
3. Jawbone Icon Bluetooth Earpiece: I already posted about the Jawbone. It was actually the first item that I decided to put on this list. It had been quite a while since I checked out a Jawbone. Honestly, I had one years ago through work, and I gave it away because I did not like it much. But, the new Jawbone Icon's are unlike any Jawbone earpiece that I ever tried before.
First, they look great! There is one to make even the most picky fashionista happy.
- Many sizing options
- Ability to wear with or without ear hook
- Noise cancelling
- Cool, unique customizing options via MyTalk (beta) website.
- No volume control on earpiece – I know, it adjusts, but honestly it could do better. I would prefer that earpieces give ME the control to turn it up and down like I want. If it's too loud, I'll handle it. I would prefer they were too loud instead of too low.
- Earhook sometimes easily pops off. But Jawbone fits great without it.
Awesome, awesome earpiece! Good features, good looks. I use it often and love it. I would highly recommend it.
UPDATE: JUNE 10, 2010 – At the end of April, Jawbone released an awesome update for the Icon. The A2DP update can be installed via the MyTalk Jawbone updater. Please see here for my write-up of MyTalk and the A2DP update.
The Jawbone is $89.99. Click here to purchase.
4. Portable Storage: You can never have enough storage. Portable USB drives can be used for toting documents to and from the office, backups, carrying photos over to grandma's house, or even installing software on netbooks. I have an addition to USB Keys, and I put them all to good use. I am adding 2 USB keys to the list, as well as the cutest little 250GB portable hd I have ever seen.
The Samsung S1 Mini is about the size of a playing card, but it does not skim on performance. The model I received for review is
250gb and its PINK! 🙂 I love the physical size of the drive. It fits easily into the inner pocket of my purse, and it doesn't bulk it up. It comes with a case and a shorter USB cable for plugging it in without having to carry around a long usb cable. The drive includes easy to use backup software which makes keeping your files in sync easy as pie.
The drive also comes in smaller sizes, but you can't go wrong with the 250gb.
The Samsung can be purchased for $125.99. Click here to purchase.
Mimoco makes a wide array of fun USB flash drives to please anyone. On the Mother's Day list I am including the fun new GiddyUP. It's perfect for ladies! It is available in 2gb, 4gb, 8gb, and 16gb. The design is created by Hila Rosenberg Arazi who won the community design contest. Mimico's are unique because they comes with desktop wallpapers, sound bites, and more to spice up your computer and make it match your USB drive.
Mimoco also offers other fun designs like Star Wars, Hello Kitty, and more.
Prices start at $34.95. Click here to browse designs and purchase.
If mom is more professional, or perhaps it's for Dad, then the Lexar Firefly is perfect. It's a lot smaller than other USB flash drives, and
is very slick. It can be easily slipped into a pocket, or even a wallet! It comes in 2gb, 4gb, 8gb, and 16gb sizes.
7. Microsoft LifeCam HD-5000. Moms and Grandma's love keeping in touch with their grandkids, but not all have stepped up to the Laptop/Netbook built-in Webcam world yet. If mom is using a desktop computer, you can enable her to use Skype, Google Chat, or other messengers with webcam by adding a USB webcam to her computer. Well the LifeCam HD-5000 is the BEST Webcam I have ever laid my eyes on. The quality is outstanding. The first time I hooked it up and tried it out and saw myself big as heck on the screen I said “Wow, I really should have put on some makeup today!” I could see every pore, every oil spot, everything.. LOL!! Knowing that it looks this way to the other person is motivation. 🙂
- True 720p HD video
- Auto Focus
- 16:9 widescreen
- TrueColor Technology
It also has auto focus which does a great job of bringing the picture back in focus if you move around a lot.
I highly recommend it. And the price is right at only around $40. Click here to purchase.