It's about that time of the year where all of the last minute shoppers are out at the stores in full force, hoping to scratch off the final names on their gift giving lists.
For those of you still looking to fulfill the needs of the tech-lover in your life, here are a number of products that are sure to excite.
Wacom Bamboo Stylus
For the iPad artist: a simple and, for that reason, perhaps, seemingly over-priced stylus that allows you to draw, or write, with greater precision on the tablet's screen. For artists who have difficulty getting their heads around finger painting, this implement nicely bridges the gap between the analog world of brushes, pens and pencils and the digital realm. It also increases handwriting recognition accuracy in note-taking apps such as WritePad. $30.
Avid Recording Studio
For the budding recording star, electronic musician or record producer: an all-in-one digital recording studio that plugs into a PC or Mac USB port. Avid Recording Studio includes an M-Audio Fast Track USB interface and Pro Tools SE, a ‘lite' starter version of the industry-leading digital recording program. Plug a microphone, electric guitar and headphones into the interface and record two tracks simultaneously. Mix up to 16 tracks in total, including additional recorded and computer-generated tracks and loops from Pro Tools' 100-instrument synthesizer. Then add professional effects. Upgrading later to the full version of Pro Tools is easy. $130.
Koss KDE-250 Ear Clip Headphones
These unusual headphones have separate elements for bass and high frequencies. Each phone contains a side-firing 13mm transducer that fits inside the ear, matched to a 20mm transducer for bass frequencies that covers the ear. The result is wonderfully clear sound with transparent highs and solid bass. The KDE-250 phones come with three different sizes of ear clips. The height of the ear clips and the angle of the phone are both adjustable for a personalized fit. $250.
There are lots of speakers with iPod docks, but not many that accept an iPad. JBL's OnBeat Speaker Dock does, making it a great gift for any iPad owner. Its integrated universal connector and supplied brackets lock your Apple device in place while it charges, so you can turn your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch into a compact theatre. When you want to watch a movie from iTunes, Netflix or YouTube, you can rotate your device to get a full-screen horizontal view. OnBeat employs DSP equalization to optimize the sound of the stereo full-range speakers. $170.
HP Envy 110 e-All-in-One
HP Envy 110 printer/scanner/copier looks more like a DVD player than a printer, making it a great fit for people who lives in small spaces like condos, and don't have a dedicated office area. The Envy 110 has both-sides printing and built-in wireless networking. You can send print jobs from a PC over your home network, or scan from the Envy 110 to a notebook PC without wires. You can also print from a smartphone or tablet, and or direct from Web using apps on the 3.45-inch touchscreen. The Envy 110's low-noise acoustics make it possible to watch movies or listen to music while it pumps out paper. The paper tray extends when the Envy 110 is printing, then retracts when it's done, preserving the sleek look. $300.
Batman: Arkham City
The Caped Crusader is back, in a new game that builds on the success of last year's Arkham Asylum. The graphics and voice acting are as good as ever, and the script is again by noted comics writer Paul Dini. But the previous linear storyline has been opened up to encompass an entire city. While wandering the dark and grimy streets, Batman will need to complete a variety of missions, and defeat a who's-who of famous foes: Two-Face, Catwoman, and, of course, the Joker (again maniacally voiced by Mark Hamill). If you've got someone clamouring for a blockbuster game this Christmas, Arkham City would be the one. $50 for Windows; $60 for PS3 and Xbox 360.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3
Some folks would prefer a Compact System Camera with built-in flash and electronic viewfinder. The 15.8-megapixel Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 isn't exactly tiny, but it's still smaller than an entry-level DSLR, and just as versatile. The G3 is loaded with features for every type of user, including numerous modes and overrides, a great deal of intelligent automation, full HD Movie mode with continuous AF and five special-effects modes. In addition to buttons and dials, the articulated three-inch LCD allows for touchscreen control with a well-designed interface. $750 with 14-42mm standard-zoom lens.
Samsung NaviBot VCR8845
It might not be considerate to give a vacuum as a present, unless it's a robotic vacuum. Samsung's NaviBot VCR8845 takes the tedium out of vacuuming. With its Visionary Mapping System, the onboard camera documents your home's layout and memorizes the best cleaning path. Once it starts cleaning, the NaviBot knows exactly where it is and where it's going. If it needs to return to the docking station to recharge, it remembers where it left off. The NaviBot picks up pet hair, dust, dirt, crumbs and other debris. The unit functions equally well on hardwood and carpeting and can move between the two seamlessly. Safety sensors and VirtualGuard allow you to create an invisible fence to protect valuable items. So put your feet up and watch the NaviBot clean house. $400.
For more gift ideas, visit our Gadget Talk section to view the Marketnews Holiday Gift Guides.
Main photo by photostock