Holiday Tech Gift Guide 2010

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Our customers are always asking us for holiday gift ideas here at Computer Courage, so I thought I’d take a moment to give you all some recommendations on great tech gift ideas for the 2010 holiday season.  I’ve personally used all of the products recommended here, and think any of them would make great gifts.  If you have other ideas for great tech gifts this year, please feel free to add them in the comments below.

Apple iPad – The Ultimate Holiday Gift

OK, I admit it, I bought an iPad on the very first day they came out.  I am proud to say I didn’t wait in line.  After an early morning Twitter search for “iPad line Best Buy” and “iPad line Emeryville” I discovered that while the line at the Apple Store was 2 hours long, Best Buy was empty and stocked with the majestic tablets.  I was satisfied as soon as I opened the box.  I can’t quite describe the joy of unboxing one of these things – just holding it was pretty phenomenal.  Starting at $499, the iPad is an expensive gift, but one that keeps on giving.

The iPad experience is like that of an iPhone on steroids.  Calendars, maps, and other apps look simply beautiful on the big screen.  It feels extremely solid and natural in the hand.  While the keyboard experience is a bit awkward (I can type faster on the iPhone), and the web browsing feels a lot more like a phone than a laptop, the beauty of this device is in the apps.

With apps from the App Store, the iPad is an ever-evolving productivity tool toy.  It never gets boring.  Between games like Tilt To Live and Angry Birds, surprisingly easy book reading through iBooks and Kindle (don’t underestimate the value of this – it’s a great reading medium), endless news apps, Netflix (!), and the legendary Words With Friends, this is a gift that keeps on giving.  Apple themselves sum it up perfectly with their holiday message: “You give one present, they get thousands”.   The iPad gets our thumbs up as the all-around ultimate holiday gift for 2010.

Honorable mention: iPod Touch.  Starting at less than half the price of an iPad ($229) these little devices can do most of what the iPad does (plus more – video!) at a fraction of the cost.

iTunes Gift Card (for Music and Apps)

If you aren’t ready to shell out $500+ on a loved one or friend for a new iPad, and they already have an Apple product, an iTunes Gift Card is an amazingly flexible and useful gift.  These cards can be redeemed for music, TV/Movies, and iPhone/iPod/iPad Apps from the App Store.  A simple $25 gift card can turn into hours of entertainment.  Bonus – this gift is popular with all ages, just make sure they have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch before giving!  Here’s the link: http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/giftcards/itunes/gallery

Canon Powershot A495 – Cheap, Simple, Easy to Use Camera

Digital cameras are getting easier, cheaper, and higher quality every year.  Last winter my wife and I purchased a Canon Powershot for under $150.  This year, they cost less than $100.  The PowerShot line of cameras has been around since the early days of digital cameras, and this year’s offering really shows the benefit of Canon’s experience.  The menus are easy to navigate.  The photos are crisp.  The LCD screen is easy to view in any light.  We took ours to Europe on our honeymoon and never had to charge the battery once!  I think the photos look as good as the more expensive point and shoot models (of course they aren’t as nice as the fancy SLR cameras).  Here’s an insider tip: tell them to use the free and powerful Google Picasa image software to import, manage, and share their photos.  The Canon software is OK but Google’s free offering makes the management of your photos an absolute pleasure.  This model is on sale at Amazon.com for $89 – http://www.amazon.com/Canon-PowerShot-A495-2-5-Inch-Blue/dp/B0032JRRXY.

Clairsonic Mia – Sonic Face Cleaning Brush

Not all technological advances have cool touchscreens and USB ports.  Clairsonic has created a very attractive new product with wide appeal – who doesn’t want a cleaner and less acme-blemished face?  The Claisonic Mia has taken the technology behind electric toothbrushes and applied it to face cleaning.  It’s new, it looks and feels cool, and it might improve your skin (it also could be a gimmick, it’s probably too early to tell).  My wife brought one of these home the other day and I had no idea what it was.  After trying it out for a few days, I have to say my skin feels cleaner and clearer.  This is a great gift idea for teenagers, wives, or anyone who cares about personal hygiene.  Plus, the recipient is highly unlikely to already have one since they are pretty new.  $150 and up – http://www.clarisonic.com/shop/sonic-cleansing-system-mia.php.

Have other ideas for technology related gifts in 2010?  Feel free to add them to the comments below.

Computer Courage will be closed on November 24th and 25th for Thanksgiving