Since he's inevitably the most difficult person to buy electronics for, we're doling out suggestions for him first, hopefully giving you enough time to drop numerous hints and have potential gift ideas rejected.
And if you're the him
in question, well, feel free to pass this guide along to friends and family with a wink and a nudge.
$0 - $100 Microsoft Sidewinder mouse
- The venerable Sidewinder gaming brand returns this year, as Microsoft's new high performance gaming dons its mantle, along with variable DPI settings up to 2000 (with LCD), macro buttons, 180 degree turn, and the usual weights.
$80 - Shop for Sidewinder Shure SE110
- A hundred bucks for Shures? Like, real, in-ear Shures? Even if they sound like crap by Shure standards they'll still be lightyears ahead of most stock earbuds. This one's almost too easy.
$100 - Shop for Shure SE110 Xbox 360 Chatpad
- If he likes playing his Xbox 360, he'll undoubtedly want the Chatpad. It's one of those things that makes so much sense you can't imagine the dark ages you lived in prior to owning it. Just make sure he knows to saw out some of the tabs that hold it into place -- otherwise he'll never be able to get the damn things back off his controller.
$30 at your local retailer Philips Bodygroom
- So he's a little wooly -- ok a lot. Bump up his hairless evolution a couple hundred years with a tool designed to tear through body manly hair like so many miniature weedwhackers. Be it of nose / ear variety or the usual back / body fur, Bodygrooms got the tool for your dude. Just be sensitive, ok? Not every man wants to be reminded of how much he looks like a mangy gorilla. (If you do run into resistance, have him check out Philips's excellent line of commercials. He won't feel quite so alone.)
$30+ - Shop for Philips Bodygroom
iLuv i202 Bluetooth headphones
- If he's any kind of self respecting nerd he's either got a pair of Bluetooth headphones (or wants one). That's where iLuv's simple cans come in. Just be sure he doesn't have an iPhone, this thing will only crank on devices with A2DP (like the AT&T Tilt, or Nokia N95 -- which we'll get to later.) If he's more of the active type, don't forget to check out Motorola's S9
s, they're not a bad alternative.
$90 - Shop for iLuv i202Noteworthy mention
: Eye-Fi WiFi SD card
, Razer Lachesis 4000 DPI mouse
$101 - $250
- There may be no more perfect device for any dude who wants to watch his local / regional sports, but who isn't always around (or at home) to see it. In fact, the Slingbox Solo may make it so easy for him to watch TV on the go you may regret buying it -- unless you don't really want or need his full attention, anyway. Easily our favorite Slingbox to date.
$170 - Shop for Slingbox Solo Rock Band
- Not everyone gets to live out their rock star fantasies, but playing Rock Band is surely the best way to live virtually vicariously -- especially when you throw in a couple of friends. Trust us, if you've got the room in your place, this is the most righteous $180 you'll spend this holiday season. Bonus note: we don't know why, but women seem to LOVE playing the drums. It's this weird primal thing, we don't really understand it, but if you're a lady and unsure about the clutter in your well-kept living room, we encourage you to just try sitting with the sticks for a couple of minutes. You'll come around.
$170 - Shop for Rock Band Logitech Orbit AF robo-webcam
- There are webcams, and there are friggin webcams, and this thing is as easily suited to home surveillance as it is chatting with with your sweetheart. Go ahead, buy it to chat with him while he's away, but use its motorized Carl Zeiss optics and HD video to keep an eye on the cat and/or dog when you're on vacation.
$130 - Shop for Logitech Orbit AF Samsung BlackJack II
- If he, like so many others, dug the first BlackJack, the new one steps it up to a whole new level. Check out the improved QWERTY keyboard and phone key layout, jog wheel, GPS -- and the completely affordable $150 price. If you're not so sure about what kind of phone to give, we recommend asking in advance, people tend to really love or really hate Windows Mobile.More info here
$150 (after contract, rebates, human sacrifice, etc.) - Buy from AT&TNoteworthy mention: OS X Leopard
, thinner, lighter PSP
Asus Eee PC
$251 - $500
- He may already have a laptop, but does he have an Eee? Can he even pronounce it? Only one way to find out. Either way, there's simply no cheaper way to snag an internet-ready Linux-bearing laptop -- with a little style, no less.
$400 - Shop for Eee PC Erector Spyke WiFi robot
- Regular Erector sets are pretty boring -- not to mention frustrating -- but Spyke is one project that actually does something useful, roaming around the house, preying
spying on unsuspecting family members. Plus, how many WiFi-enabled robots does he have already? Exactly, none.
$300 - Shop for Spykee Nokia N810 internet tablet
- Nokia's N700 and N800 are widely considered one of the best laptop replacements for the hardy road warrior, and the N810 notches up its predecessors' usability by packing in a much-needed QWERTY keyboard. Plus, when the N820 comes out and pushes this one into obsolescence, he can simply repurpose this device as a Tablet Puppy
$450 - Shop for Nokia N810Noteworthy mention
: 80GB PlayStation 3
HP MediaSmart Home Server (1TB
$501 - $1000
) - Besides looking pretty sexy for the otherwise pedestrian task of home data storage, the MediaSmart Home Server is one of the first products on the market running Windows Home Server, giving him something advanced enough handle the family's storage needs while still having enough geek cred to earn points with those damned Johnsons next door.
$750 - Shop for HP MediaSmart Home Server Samsung BD-UP5000
- Blu-ray? HD DVD? With Samsung's combo player, he can avoid the format war altogether (unless he fancies VMD, that is). Seriously, if he's into HD but hasn't yet chosen a side, this thing is a no-brainer.
$999 - Shop for Samsung BD-UP5000 Nikon D80
- If he doesn't already have a DSLR -- or needs to jack up an older model's megapixels -- the D80 would be a fine choice without breaking the bank like its D200 sibling. It may not have a full-frame sensor but all but the most distinguished camera geeks drool at the mere sight of one of these bad boys.
$899 - Shop for Nikon D80 Garmin nuvi 760
- Everyone needs GPS, and it's hard not to love a nuvi, but Garmin's latest high-end model takes it to the next level, packing in nearly every feature gadget fiend could want, including Bluetooth, an FM transmitter, and traffic receiver. The text-to-speech option is one that's particularly desirable these days, too.
$799 - Shop for Garmin nuvi 760 Panasonic HDC-SD5
- Hear about this HD thing? Everybody's doing it, yet most camcorders are stuck in the past -- and often for good reason. It can be a hassle to deal with all that HD footage, and nobody wants to start carrying around a monster of a camcorder just because it can capture a bit more detail. Lucky for him, Panasonic's HDC-SD5 tackles all those obstacles to HD -- the secret is in the SDHC slot. The SD5 records in full 1080p HD (read: resolution overkill -- be sure to look amazing when he points it your way), and has a 3CCD sensor, so footage will look great on your fancy new TV. You do have a fancy new TV, right?
$729 - $799 - Shop for HDC-SD5
Nokia N95-3 (US 3G
) - If he's not feeling Windows Mobile and has already blown off the iPhone due to its lack of wireless broadband (or easily installed 3rd party apps, or the ability to record video, or...), Nokia's N95 might be just the handset he needs. If this Symbian slider doesn't meet his needs, well, maybe he doesn't deserve a smartphone in the first place. (Just be sure you get the kind with US 3G, otherwise he'll only be able to get on fast when he's in Europe.)
$650 - Shop for Nokia N95-3
50-inch Pioneer KURO plasma HDTV
- Here's the dirty little secret about getting the man in your life a large, high-end HDTV with immaculate picture reproduction -- you're allowed can watch it too. He'll dive into NFL games and Halo deathmatches, but Pushing Daisies, Desperate Housewives and all your favorite movies will get just as much of a boost from the amazing color and deep black levels the KURO line produces.
$3,499 - Shop for PDP5080HD
$4,999 - Shop for PDP5010FD
(1080p) OQO Model 02
- We're not afraid to admit it, the OQO Model 02 might just be the pinnacle of handheld computing to date -- or at least it feels that way when you've got one in hand and realize how much power is at your fingertips. It might be a little difficult for a guy to justify to his boss as a business expense, but that doesn't mean he isn't longing for one with every fiber of his being. Go for the SSD option if you're really feeling generous this year.
$1,299 - $2,349 - Buy from OQO HP Blackbird 002
- You know a guy who's into PC gaming? He wants a Blackbird 002. Maybe we're exaggerating slightly, but if reviews and benchmarks
are any indication, this souped-up beast is the one to beat. And of course, looks like that don't hurt a bit. The best part about this desktop is that HP designed it to be fairly future-proof (well, as far as PCs go anyway), so while the initial price of entry may seem steep, your recipient will have some of the best defense available against desktop obsolescence.
Starts at $2,700, gets ridiculously expensive from there - Buy from HP
So, did we forget anything? We've got plenty more gift guides to go, and if there's some burning item on your wish list this year, let us know in comments, maybe we'll find some place to work it in.