Taking it up a notch -- Gifts $100 to $200
The Fitbit Ultra tracker shows your real-time activity stats so you know how close you are to your goals. It's a pedometer on steroids. This small, lightweight device comfortably fits in your pocket and can analyze your eating, exercise and sleep patterns, while displaying recorded data on an easy to use website and mobile app. If you or someone you love is looking for some motivation to be more active then this might be the perfect gift. Alternatively, check out the Jawbone UP.
Straight from the Death Star escape scene of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, the all-new Lego Star Wars Millennium Falcon features stunning details including hull plates that open to reveal a detailed interior, twin flick missiles, rotating quad laser cannons and a detachable cockpit cover. A fun toy for kids or decoration piece for Star Wars fans. Includes Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, Ben Kenobi, Princess Leia Organa and Darth Vader with assorted weapons.
Jawbone calls this the smallest, best sounding wireless speaker on the planet. Although that may be an overstatement, the Jambox is surprisingly loud and clear given the tiny size of the speakers. It's shaped like a stylish, compact brick that you can carry from room to room or just throw it in your bag. There's a 3.5mm stereo analog audio input for wired connections, but the Jambox was designed to be used over Bluetooth. You can stream audio from any Bluetooth-enabled device or use it as a speakerphone with voice dialing support.
Tablets are expected to be a hot item this holiday season and Amazon has high hopes for its first tablet. The Kindle Fire forgoes standard features like 3G access, a microphone and front/back cameras to achieve a low $199 price point. It won't set the bar in terms of hardware but it will definitely compete as a consumption device as it is tightly integrated with Amazon's services. Plus, you get a 30-day trial of the increasingly appealing Amazon Prime.
As cool as tablets are for sketching they can't quite match real pen and paper. Wacom's Inkling bridges the gap between traditional freehand sketching and digital development. It includes a small receiver that attaches to any pad or piece of paper and an electronic pen that work together to record your sketches stroke-by-stroke. A great gift for artists, illustrators and designers who sketch their first rough ideas on paper, then wish to quickly and easily convert their sketches to an editable digital format.
As we've been saying for years, SSDs are the single best upgrade you can make to your PC for improving all-around performance. With blazing speeds in both sequential and real-world tests the Vertex 3 sets a new benchmark in solid state performance. It's among the fastest SSD we have tested and definitely worthy of your hard-earned cash.
Although non-subsidized prices go from $450 and up, few customers ever pay this much for their phones. If signing up for a 2-year contract is not an issue there are plenty of devices available at the $200 price point. We'll recommend one for each of our three preferred platforms. For the Apple faithful the iPhone 4S is a no-brainer. Android fans are spoilt for choice but Motorola's Droid Razr stands out (or Sammy's upcoming Galaxy Nexus for $300). On the Windows front, Europeans can get their hands on the Lumia 800 but a U.S. release date is still uncertain.