Get going with these must-have gadgets
It’s that time of the year again and I’m back to share my favorite techie things with you for the 2009 Holiday season. This year I’ve got some upgraded old favorites and some new things that use technology to simplify your life. Keep in mind prices are MSRP and if you’re like me and willing to search for the best deals, they can always be found online.
Novatel MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot
This is the gadget that I’m most excited about this year. Some of you may be familiar with aircards or mobile wireless for your laptop, but in the past these things have limited you to wireless access on only one device. With MiFi, this has changed.
This little device (which is about the size of 8 stacked credit cards and weighs only 2 oz.) will allow you to get to the internet anywhere you have a Verizon wireless cellular signal. The battery life is 4 hours but can be plugged in an outlet or your computer (with power of course) for an unlimited amount of time.
With 3G speeds off the Verizon network (the largest 3G network in the U.S.), you can surf the web on your laptop, PDA, download pictures from your wireless compatible camera, update your PSP and still have another connection left. This truly changes what wireless access means – you can take your wireless connection with you anywhere! In the car, on the bus, vacation, etc.
The device itself costs $129 with a 2 year contract from Verizon and the monthly cost for 5GB of data is around $60. Keep in mind – this is not exactly like your home connection. Any data charges over 5GB will cost you – significantly – we’re talking hundreds of dollars… Just don’t download your favorite Gossip Girl episodes in HD on iTunes and you should be fine.
5GB is quite a bit of data and for normal web surfing and email, and it should be plenty for normal usage. Just watch what you download. For more additional specs and coverage information visit verizonwireless.com.
You might remember this little camcorder from last year’s list (and the year before as well).
This year has brought ANOTHER upgrade and still clutches to the title of the world’s smallest high definition video recorder. It can now record up to 120 minutes of 16:9 (widescreen), 30 fps (frames per second) 720p high definition video (twice the amount of last year’s model).
It uses flash memory instead of tapes or a hard drive to record and only has 8 simple buttons which are touch sensitive. Just point and hit the record button – it’s that simple. It has a little USB dongle that flips out to hook up to your computer to transfer the video via the included software called FlipShare.
You can upload to Facebook, YouTube or AOL Video or post to a website without much work at all. Other upgrades this year are HDMI cable support (in my opinion a huge upgrade from component cables) which allows you to play the video on your HDTV instantly from the camcorder and a 2” screen. Small as ever at 3.9” x 2” x 0.7”, it can slip into your murse (that’s where I keep mine) for easy access.
The camcorder is powered by a rechargeable battery which charges through the USB port on your computer. The video quality is only 720p (as opposed to full HD at 1080) but the quality is amazing. In my opinion, it’s still the best little video recorder on the market. MSRP is $229 and more info can be found at theflip.com.
Dymo LabelWriter 450 Twin Turbo
This is not your mama’s label maker. I use this thing ALL the time.
It supports two separate label spools (and there are dozens of different sized to suit whatever need you have – including one that works with eBay shipping to print address and postage together. It hooks into your computer like any printer and allows you to print labels (which the included software pulls from Outlook or Mac’s Address Book) and also has the option of printing postage using Endicia’s online postage service.
You buy virtual postage and the labels through Endicia’s website and the included software handles the rest. It has easy drop downs to describe the package you’re sending and allows you to choose that and enter the weight and click “print postage”.
I never wait in line at the post office anymore with this little gadget. The printer can generate 71 labels per minute and uses thermal printing (as opposed to ink) which saves money since it never runs out. It is 11.4”x5.5”x8.4” so it takes up very little space on your desk. It retails for $289 and more information can be found at dymo.com.
Amazon Kindle DX
You all know I was a fan of electronic book readers before they were cool.
I’ve been writing about them for almost 4 years now. However, the playing field just keeps getting more interesting and these things are finally taking off. Electronic book readers are probably going to be one of the hottest gift ideas of the holiday season in 2009.
There are several to choose from: Sony has three choices, Amazon now has three, and Barnes&Noble has introduced one.
My newest favorite is the Amazon Kindle DX. A much bigger device from the Sony eBook readers and the standard Kindle, the screen is 9.7”. This is more the size of a hardback book. It measures 10.4”x7.2”x0.38” so it’s still a compact little device. The Kindle DX can hold up to 3500 books and there are over 360,000 books available for purchase from Amazon.
Almost all New York Times bestsellers are available and all are $9.99. Older books can be purchased at lower prices. The books can be bought from your laptop or the device itself and automatically downloaded through the built in wireless radio on the Kindle. Books are usually delivered in less than 60 seconds and ready to be enjoyed.
I carry my Kindle everywhere and it is again one of my favorite techie things. MSRP is $489 on the Kindle DX (you’re paying for the extra space and the larger screen) but the smaller version of the Kindle is $259 and holds 1500 books. The smaller device is still a great choice and Amazon now has a device that will work outside the U.S. and roam on international cellular networks (for the international travelers in your life). For more information visit amazon.com/kindledx.