Consistent innovation virtually guarantees a surfeit of new (though not always novel) gadgets across a broad swath of the ever-burgeoning tech market. Those lacking the insatiable gizmo geek appetite for in-the-know finds, may be daunted by sifting through lists of the latest must-haves. Yet most gadgets can typically be separated into one of two categories: the things you actually need and those you simply want. This year, we’ve added a third group to the simple breakdown—arguably the one in which most items fit: the cool, utilitarian products that aren’t exactly justifiable purchases for oneself, but make excellent gifts for others.
You’re not James Bond. Neither is your best friend, father or boyfriend. But sometimes it’s fun to pretend. For would-be 007′s on-the-go, Geek Stuff 4 U‘s key holder spy camera features a 4GB internal memory recorder, 29 FPS video resolution and 1.3 mega pixels CMOS in the palm of your hand. When it comes to the bigger picture, look no further than Philips‘ 42″ LCD HDTV, an eco-friendly set that actually consumes less power than a 100-watt light bulb. Indiglo aficionados and ’80s enthusiasts will appreciate Timex‘s 80 blue neon watch, while just about anyone can get into Dyson‘s AM01 bladeless Table Fan—yet another innovation from the people whose ultra-efficient vacuums actually make you want to clean. Those who prefer to sip rather than sweep will love Vinturi‘s red wine aerator, an ideal for getting that vino to suitable room temperatures.
Chances are you’re going to be popping some bottles this season, and oenophiles will love Emerson Electric‘s soft-grip bottle opener, a rechargeable gadget that eliminates the all-too-common problems of broken corks and aching hands. Equally useful for the holidays is Flight001‘s hand-held luggage scale, the ideal protection against overstuffing suitcases with fruitcake you’ll never eat. Any Netflix lover sticking around the house this year will want Roku‘s DVD player, the easiest, most convenient way to instantly watch more than 50,000 movies and TV shows. Once the clutter of all those DVDs has been eliminated, streamline your gadget juicing with Blue Lounge‘s Refresh, a six-connector charging station with four USB sockets, including one mini and one micro. Using Incase‘s iPod/iPhone combo charger will ensure that those traveling by car can always rock out on the road and still phone to say they’re running late.
Could Totally Use:
Polaroid’s we’re-abandoning-instant-film announcement did little to dampen our love of getting just-snapped pix then and there. We predict Fuji‘s lightweight, compact Instax Camera will be an integral part of instant photography’s next generation. Speaking of taking the future reins, Motorola‘s DROID, a Verizon exclusive, has quickly emerged as the go-to smartphone for anyone not already on AT&T—as well as the only legitimate rival to the seemingly indomitable iPhone. Hook it up to Idea International‘s balloon speaker, a quirky, colorful alternative to anything staid and silver. Old schoolers who still want to indulge their inner techie and save some paper will also enjoy the New York Times‘ deluxe touch screen Crossword Puzzle, while water guzzlers can do something that never goes out of style: charitable giving. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of every KOR ONE BPA-free special edition Hydration Vessel goes to the organization’s Thirst for Giving water cause partners.