It’s all we want for Xmas, that and world peace.
If there’s a time of the year made for kids of all ages, it’s the weeks leading up to Christmas. Of course for parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles (and pretty much anyone else who has to give a gift to a youngster) this can actually be the most stressful time of the year! Finding the right gift can be difficult, and since you don’t want to look like Scrooge — or worse, out of touch with “the kids” — our Holiday Gift Guide has you covered, and will help you find just right the present.
This week we offer gift ideas for kids and students. Because all play and no work will result in a dead-end job, which will likely be outsourced anyway, we offer a mix of things that are helpful and fun at a mix of prices, and should put a smile on their faces.
If the weather outside is frightful, you can still take to the skies. Designed to fly indoors, this ultra-sleek chopper is only 7 inches long so it should have no trouble flying in the wide-open spaces of a living room or dorm. And with multiple frequency bands, you can even pilot up to three of the X-Roter helicopters to create your own Apocalypse Now. Best of all, there are even spare propellers should you experience a “Picco Z down!”
Price: $40, radioshack.com
Two video game systems arrived this fall, but chances are if you’re actually going to be able to find one by the holidays it’s going to be the Nintendo Wii. And at this point the Wii is actually the system that delivers the most fun, too. Some of the most innovative titles this year include Wii Sports and Legend of Zelda, plus it’s compatible with Nintendo GameCube titles, and downloads of classic Nintendo games are also available. And you can’t beat that innovative motion-sensing controller, which will also make you work for that high score!
Price: $250, nintendo.com
Capturing that special moment on video has typically meant bringing along a big, bulky device and expensive camera. Sharing the footage required you to make lousy copies of the tape, too. But with RCA’s MPEG-4 point-and-shoot camcorder, junior Spielbergs can store up to 60 minutes (or 30 minutes of high-quality) video, which can then be transferred to a PC for instant playback. An A/V output lets you connect to a TV so the family can watch the dailies together.
Price: $129, rca.com
After the holidays it’s back to class, and this backpack makes lugging homework around feel a lot less like work. Controls for an iPod are located in the shoulder strap, while the player can be tucked away inside and protected from the elements. Designed with the wired student in mind, the C.O.R.E. also features a padded laptop compartment and front-pocket organizer for mobile phones and the odd PDA.
Price: $40, nike.com
Trying to study — or sleep — with outside distractions can be a problem on overcrowded campuses. These noise-canceling headphones from JVC reduce ambient noise, with “wide” and “low” modes. Wide to target the type of noise you might experience from annoying roommates, low to reduce those frequencies encountered on buses and trains.
Price: $60, jvc.com
For more great gift ideas, check out SCI FI’s comprehensive Holiday Gift Guide for something for everyone on your list.
Now I know this list is not extensive or by any means complete, but that’s why I need your help to complete it! Tell me what is on your geeky wish list this season in the comments below. What should be on this list? You tell me.
A note for non-geeks and newbies: if you want to get something like a pro account from an online service for your geek, you don’t have to know how to use it, find it, or anything. If you know they want it, either enlist a geeky friend to help you in the process or simply write the name of the service on an index card or print it out all pretty like. Wrap it up to give to your geek, trust me they won’t care what the gift card looks like, depending on the gift. Oh, and you get extra points if you write the message on the card in binary.
Even if you’re relatively out of touch you’re probably familiar with the Motorola RAZR, the iPod of cellphones and the most popular flip phone out there. It’s gotten so ubiquitous that Moto had to go and release a half-update to it to try to get RAZR lovers to drop another chunk of change on a similarly designed, yet not all that improved, new phone. Hence the KRZR was born. Think of it as the RAZRs bratty little brother. If you’ve got one on a holiday shopping list, here are all the deets you need to have.
Why it’s cool: It’s narrower than the original RAZR, but it’s also a bit longer. It’s shiny and small, two of the most important attributes of any fashionable phone. It has a rather unimpressive 1.3-megapixel digital camera, but that should be plenty for taking photos of your drunk friends at the bars.
How much it costs: The KRZR will set you back $200 if you sign your life away to Verizon for two years. Seeing that the original RAZR was $500 when it was first released and can now be picked up for around $30, it’s safe to say that the KRZR’s price will be dropping significantly over the next few months. It might be worth holding out on this one, if you can.
One of the most innovative products to come out this year is the Slingbox, a little box that goes on top of your cable box and broadcasts your TV to the internet. It’s garnered tons of buzz by doing something that not many new gadgets can claim to do: change how people use their TVs and computers. It’s a stunningly simple premise: placeshifting. It might sound complicated, but it isn’t. If you’ve got someone asking for a Slingbox this year, here’s the info you should have before hitting the stores.
Why it’s cool: It lets you watch your TV from anywhere, including using your DVR, OnDemand services, and Pay-Per-View. It works on both computers and hand held devices hooked up to a 3G wireless network. You can control your TV with no additional monthly fees and it’s a breeze to set up.
How much it costs: The AV and Tuner models both cost $170, while the Pro model is $250. The Pro model is for people who have lots of devices they want to hook up, and it also supports HD. The Tuner model connects via coaxial and the AV via RCA or S-video cables.