TechWorld’s top 10 Christmas gift list

Deciding what to buy someone is never easy

TechWorld's Christmas gift ideas for 2009

TechWorld's Christmas gift ideas for 2009

It’s that time of the year again. The Silly Season is upon us, but this year will be different. Here at TechWorld we couldn’t help but do a 2009 Christmas product special to help you decide what to spend your money on.

We’ve compiled a list of 10 products any techie would be comfortable to give or receive -- and the prices are also very reasonable.

Have a happy holiday season and we’ll see you in the New Year. Don’t say you didn’t have any ideas for presents…

Mobile phone wrist watch

As far as Christmas gifts go they don’t come much more futuristic than a wrist watch that doubles as a mobile phone. James Bond (and Q) eat your heart out, mobile phone watches have risen to prominence over the past year and are now available to anyone with a spy sense.

For example, the M810 mobile phone watch features a 1.3-inch TFT touch screen, handwriting recognition, Bluetooth support (a stereo Bluetooth headset is included), a music and video player and a 1.3 mega pixel camera.

The external memory is expandable to 2GB (a 1GB card is included) and the talk time is up to 150 minutes with a standby time of around 100 hours.

The M810 doesn’t have an FM radio or Wi-Fi, but it does support GPRS and WAP browsing.

What: M810 mobile phone watch
Who: Zippan
Where: http://zippan.com/au/
How much: $169.00

Sony EyePet

If the younger relatives want a pet for Christmas, why not get them an EyePet instead? After all, pets are so 2009. . .

Sony Computer Entertainment released the EyePet game for the PlayStation 3 that allows you to craft and nurture a (virtual) pet which promises to provide hours of company without chewing at the furniture.

It works like this: the EyePet comes alive through a combination of Sony’s Eye webcam for the PS3 and some fancy software in the game (a regular PS3 disc). When the game is playing, the camera records the living room scene and plays it back through the television with you EyePet included in the picture.

The EyePet is not a static beast and is aware of people in the room and will interact with you and your environment.

Each pet can be customised with more than 250 unique collectibles and has four unique stages of evolution and growth. The EyePet needs feeding and caring as well so be prepared to lend it some attention.

What: EyePet
Who: Sony
Where: Retail stores
How much: $79.95 (game and camera)

TomTom Start GPS

Here’s a gift for the member of the family that has always relied on the good old street directory. GPS vendor TomTom has released a user-friendly Start device to help people who have never used a GPS before to get into electronic navigation.

The TomTom Start has a 3.5-inch touch screen, speaks street names, and a folding mount.

With a GPS guiding the way, drivers can take advantage of shortest distance routing (TomTom claims 800 billion speed profiles worldwide), and TomTom provides the latest Whereis map and TomTom Map Share updates for free.

Heavy-footed drivers will also have a tougher time explaining themselves with warnings of the location of cameras (red light and speed).

The Start can also be customised with unique start-up screens and voices. Changeable covers (StartSkins) are available from retailers for $24.95.

What: TomTom Start GPS
Who: TomTom
Where: Retail stores
How much: $199

Fujitsu LifeBook P8110

Over the past two years netbooks have been all the rage, but if you’re looking for a computer that has the portability of a netbook with the features of a full notebook take a look a Fujitsu’s new LifeBook P8110.

As a Christmas present the P8110 would suit someone looking to upgrade their 12-inch notebook to something with more power, but not more weight.

At 1.38Kg, the P8110 is not much heavier than many newer netbooks, but has a 12.1 inch screen and built-in DVD super multi writer. It runs Windows 7 out of the box.

The batter life is rated for up to 8 hours and an “ECO” button promises a further 1.5 times this when switched on. The ECO button switches the notebook to a power saving mode for low power consumption tasks like Web surfing.

Inside there is an Intel Core2 Duo processor SU9600 (1.60GHz), 2GB of RAM (max 4GB), a 320GB disk (max 500GB), Intel GS45 Express graphics, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, gigabit Ethernet and Bluetooth 2.1. A HDMI port allows the P8110 to be plugged into large TVs and monitors. A 2 mega pixel webcam is also built-in.

For protection there is a spill-resistant keyboard and a 3D shock sensor to protect the hard disk. 3.5G wireless broadband built-in is also an option.

What: Fujitsu LifeBook P8110
Who: Fujitsu PC Australia
Where: Retail stores
How much: $1899 ($2599 with 3.5G built-in)

Digital TV and satellite PVR

With the advent of popular products like Tivo and Apple TV, people are ditching legacy tapes for PVRs faster than ever.

Most PVRs are designed for terrestrial TV signals (DVB-T), but the Mediastar HDX9100 is a high definition PVR that records TV and Satellite TV in the one box.

With two tuners (terrestrial and satellite) the HDX9100 can record any combination of TV service and includes two card readers for accessing pay TV services.

HDMI out is used to connect to a digital TV (S-Video and composite are there two) and the Ethernet port can used to access the device and recordings over the network.

Any size external hard disk can be connected to the USB 2.0 port.

There is a 14-day electronic programming guide and an ad skipping function on playback.

What: Mediastar HDX9100
Who: Mediastar.com.au
Where: http://www.tvbox.com.au
How much: From $699

Automated Web site creator

Real techies may pride themselves on the Web sites they build from scratch with a text editor, but if you have a not-so-technical small business owner in the family, why not grab them a copy of Mr Site Takeaway Website for Christmas?

The new Mr Site Takeaway Website Pro is a build-it-yourself kit that automates the creation of e-commerce Web sites.

The package includes step-by-step instructions on how to build a Web site and a collection of products and services to support the new venture.

These include SEO tools, secure shopping, a business stationary creation tool, visitor statistics, one year of domain hosting (600MB of space, 50 e-mails, 99 pages and unlimited bandwidth), support and forum access.

Mr Site Takeaway Website Pro is compatible with both PC and Mac.

What: Mr Site Takeaway Website Pro
Who: mrsite.com.au
Where: Retail stores
How much: $249.95

Voice activated Bluetooth headset

Bluetooth headsets are nothing new, but the recently released BlueAnt Q1 adds a vocal dimension with voice recognition software built-in.

The Q1 uses voice recognition software to allow people to control the headset and many phone functions by using their voice. The idea is “talk to it and it will talk to you”.

For example, to hear a list of the available commands click the BlueAnt button and say “what can I say?”.

Dual microphones and BlueAnt's voice isolation technology separates the user's voice from other sounds resulting in better call quality.

Other features include multipoint (connect two phones at the same time and answer the one that rings), pairing with up to eight devices and internal wind shields to reduce wind noise.

The Q1 is rated for up to four hours of talk time and 100 hours of standby time. The firmware is upgradeable via USB on a PC.

What: BlueAnt Q1
Who: BlueAnt Wireless
Where: Retail stores
How much: $149

Chumby

Chumby is a wireless Internet access device that looks funky and makes an ideal gift this Christmas.

Running Linux inside, Chumby has applications for content like weather information, news, celebrity gossip, stock quotes, podcasts and music.

With about 1500 widgets in total there is plenty to amuse almost anyone. The widgets are free and no ongoing subscription is required.

Widgets are paid for by Chumby industries and sponsor companies that send widgets for music, games, movie previews, customised alarm clocks, and special offers for products.

For the techies out there the source code to the Chumby is available online at: http://files.chumby.com/source/

What: Chumby
Who: Chumby Industries
Where: http://chumby.on.net/
How much: $199

Digital music player

Know any music fans who have trouble with punctuality? How about a Tempo speaker dock and alarm clock?

The Tempo is a multi-function speaker dock that supports iPod and iPhone and has an FM radio or the old (and reliable) annoying buzzer.

A remote control lets you operate the dock and your music player wirelessly.

Other features include FM radio with 6 programmable settings and quick snooze and sleep timer functions.

You iPhone or iPod will also be charged when docked.

What: Tempo speaker dock and alarm clock
Who: Cygnett
Where: http://www.cygnett.com
How much: $159

Solar Battery Charger

The Copenhagen climate change summit has just passed so if you’d like to take a greener approach to gifts this holiday season take a look at the VARTA Solar Charger.

The VARTA Solar Charger uses solar energy to charge AA batteries and your mobile phone.

With six types of mobile device charger included (Sony Ericsson, iPhone, Samsung, mini USB, Nokia and micro USB) you’re unlikely to be left in the dark.

The package ships with two VARTA AA 2100mAh batteries.

What: VARTA Solar Charger
Who: VARTA :: www.varta-consumer.com.au
Where: Retail stores
How much: $59.95

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