Holiday Gift Guide 2011: Gadgets

by W. Andrew Powell
Nikon 1 J1

Need help finding that perfect gift for the tech-obsessed person in your life? Look no further than my list of favorite things this holiday season, including these gadgets: the Nikon 1 J1, Toshiba Thrive 10″ tablet, Archos 7.0″ tablet, and the Toshiba Qosmio X770 laptop.

Plus, to give a bit back to you community, take a look at my list of favorite charities.

Nikon 1 J1
Price: $649.95
Comes with: 1 NIKKOR 10-30mm f/3.5 – 5.6 VR White
Available: White, as well as pink, red, silver and black (limited). With two lenses for $899.95.

Nikon 1 J1

Picking up the Nikon 1 J1 instantly gives you a feel for why this camera is one of the hotter must-have items for the holidays.

Taking advantage of new mirror-less camera technology, that offers a 10.1 megapixel CX-format high speed AF CMOS sensor and full 1080p HD video, the J1 is light and compact with interchangeable lenses and loads of features. If the 60fps burst shooting doesn’t impress you, then the Smart Photo Selector should, offering a system that will take a group of photos and then selects the best one.

Packaged with a 10-30mm lens that offers a f-stop range from 3.5 to 5.6, the camera can capture fantastic images indoors and outdoors, and the simple controls will help novices or pros get the best possible images. The J1 also allows you to take full manual control for precise shooting.

Offering a sleek, compact design, with an easy-to-use pop-up flash, the J1 will make for a great gift for the photographer on your list who wants a more robust system than your basic point-and-shoot.

Toshiba Thrive 10″ Tablet
Price: $399.99 to $499.99 (8GB to 32GB with WiFi)

Toshiba Thrive

The Toshiba Thrive is a solidly built tablet with power, and a full suite of bells and whistles that you won’t find on many tablets.

Featuring a uniquely curved back panel, with small ridges to give you a better grip, the Thrive also has built-in HDMI and USB ports, as well as an SD card slot, and a replaceable battery. The tablet also has a 2 megapixel front-facing camera and 5 megapixel back-facing camera, for chat sessions or to capture whatever is going on around you.

The Thrive is memorable as well thanks to strong graphics and a robust processor that easily handled everything I threw at it in my tests. Best of all, at $399, the Thrive is one of the cheaper 10″ tablets on the market, without scrimping on features or processing power.

Archos 7.0″ Internet Tablet
Price: $279.99

Archos 70 Tablet

The Archos 7.0″ tablet, also called the Archos 70, has two big things going for it: a great price, at just $279, and a huge hard drive that can hold up to 250 Gb of photos, video, or whatever you need to store on the go.

Considering the size of the hard drive, the Archos 70 is slim and a good weight, and it has a micro SD card slot, and an HDMI connection to hook it up to a television or monitor. It also plays back 720p HD video, and has a built-in web cam for video chat.

For anyone looking for a portable device that can store loads of files, the Archos 70 is a great gift, and it won’t break your budget. Because of its size, it also fits well into most bags for on-the-go entertainment with enough battery power to last well into the day.

Toshiba Qosmio X770
Price: $1599 to $1899

Toshiba Qosmio X770 laptop

For the gamer on your list, look no further than the pricey but powerful Toshiba Qosmio X770, which comes packed with an Intel Core i7-2630QM processor, a huge 1.5 TB hard drive, Blu-ray player, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M 1.5 GB video card, and 8 Gb of RAM.

On top of all that, the Qosmio X770 has a sleek metalic finish, and sweet, built-in Harman/Kardon speakers for pitch-perfect audio. The top-of-the-line Qosmio X770 also plays 3D games and has a read/write Blu-ray drive.

For games, the laptop is a dream, but cinemaphiles will also be wowed watching high definition movies, thanks to the killer video card and the 17.3 inch screen.

Although the system is fairly big, and it’s heavier than most laptops, it’s built for users who can’t abide by small screens and want their entertainment big and bold.

More from the Holiday Gift Guide shortly.

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