Gadget gifts

by norm stovall
Take a look at some of the unsung heroes of the gadget world for this holiday season. Sure, some of these items might be from big names, but many are being overlooked by other gift guides. Give these gadgets a second look, you might be glad you did.

Nook from Barnes & Noble The Nook is an e-book device that’s 3G and wi-fi enabled, and also features a digital-lending capability, allowing you to share e-books with your friends for up to 14 days. You can share e-books with any device that has the Barnes & Noble eReader app, including PCs, Macs, BlackBerrys and iPhones.
Livio Radio Livio is basically an Internet-connected radio that utilizes a wi-fi connection to find your favorite music. Popular editions include a Pandora themed model and an NPR themed model, capable of making the most of their respective services. In addition to playing music through its speaker, you can connect it to your home system with a stereo line out, or play your music through it with its line in port.
Zune HD from Microsoft The Zune has always been the black sheep of the personal media player world, but with the release of the Zune HD it seems that this title might soon be retired. Features include subscription music service, powerful visuals for great looking games and a familiar touchscreen interface. Great for any Windows user who is a fan of music.
Sony Playstation 3 We have game reviews this month, but in my opinion, the PS3 has moved far beyond the job of being simply a gaming device. While the Xbox 360 remains my console of choice for games, the PS3 has become a central part of my living room. Sony’s newest console offers HD video and music by way of streaming content from any PC or Mac, streaming from Netflix (if you are a member), playing Blu-Ray discs and playing movies downloaded from the Playstation network store. That, coupled with Internet browsing, Facebook integration, radio streaming and the ability to play some incredible games, you pretty much can’t go wrong.
Earforce X1 and Earforce X31 for Xbox 360 The Earforce X1 and the Earforce X31 are gaming headsets with built-in microphones for in-game chat. Both contain individual controls for voice volume and game audio, so you don’t have to worry about voices being drowned out by game audio. Another added bonus is that it works with the PC in addition to your Xbox 360- simply plug it into your PC’s audio and mic ports. The X1 model is corded, and the X31 model is wireless.
Archos 9 PCtablet from Archos The Archos 9 Tablet is basically a powerful touchscreen netbook without a keyboard, relying on it’s touchscreen for input. The device is perfect for watching videos, playing music, surfing the net and using email. You can even do video chat with the built in webcam. The Archos 9 runs videos in up to 1080p, which is impressive, and comes loaded with Microsoft’s Windows 7.
Magic Mouse from Apple The Apple Magic Mouse is an amazing little device that will change the way you use your Mac. Taking features straight from the Macbook Pro’s trackpad, the Magic Mouse uses a touch surface to read clicks, right clicks, swipes, scrolls and zooms, just like you would do on your Macbook trackpad, with no buttons at all. Check it out on Apple’s website for a video demo. This is a must-have for Macintosh desktop users.