$0 - $50
Five month Netflix subscription
- If a Netflix subscription wasn't already a great gift, the recent addition of free, unlimited online streaming -- now on the Mac and PC, with support for plenty of other devices -- should clench it. Your mom will have access to thousands of her old favorites (whether those be Paul Newman or 80's sci-fi, we won't judge) and she can always queue up a Blu-ray or DVD of new releases.
$45 - Buy from Netflix
Apple iPod shuffle 1GB
- Colorful, easy to use and completely lovable. A 1GB iPod shuffle is the perfect "workout" music player, with enough room to let her run through a few of her favorite albums sans the complication and heft of a full size music player -- plus you might not even need to stick around the house an extra week teaching her how to use it.
$49 - Buy from Apple
- Face it, nobody ever was so aware of the importance of good posture as your mother, and now you can return the favor with the iPosture. After a quick calibration, the little gizmo detects if the wearer is slouching, and vibrates as a reminder to straighten up, teaching the user to live in fear of slouching. Just hope she doesn't decide to re-gift it right back.
$49.95 - Buy from iPosture
$51 - $100
Roku Netflix Player
- We already recommended getting her a Netflix subscription, but if you think your mom is unlikely to hang around the computer to watch movies, you'd be remiss not to toss in a Roku Netflix Player in with the bundle. The simple-to-use box can stream those Netflix Instant Watch movies sans computer, and should start to play nice with other content providers soon.
$99.99 - Buy from Roku
- Sure, she might already have a Bluetooth headset, but odds are it's not nearly as attractive as Aliph's latest Jawbone headset. This piece of "ear jewelry" isn't just about looks, though, boasting some of the best noise cancellation on the market, so you'll hear her loud and clear the next time she rings you up to ask why you never call.
$94 to $100 - Shop for Jawbone
- So you've failed to convince her of the necessity of a smartphone, but she's still hopelessly tied to that desktop computer to manage her plentiful email correspondences. Perhaps you can meet her halfway with the Peek, an email-only handheld designed with ease-of-use and simplicity in mind. It's attractive to boot, but don't think you'll be the favored child just because you set her up with one -- that $20 a month service fee won't pay itself.
$99.95 - Buy from Peek
$101 - $250
Audiovox DPF711K Homebase Digital Message Center
- Sure, you don't want to pigeon-hole her as a domestic, but she likes to keep track of the fam, and Audiovox's DPF711K is one seriously great bit of tech to help her do that. Surrounded by a decidedly low-fi whiteboard, the Digital Message Center has a 7-inch display for displaying photos, and audio recording for leaving memos. You can even record video messages with the premium version, using the built-in camera. Just don't "forget" to give it to her -- we know you want.
$120 to $180 - Shop for Audiovox DPF711K
ColorWare her favorite gadget
- While completely lacking in practicality (just like flowers, hugs and most other things your mom really wants from you), offering to have her favorite gadget spruced up by the folks at ColorWare is a great way to say you care. We'd recommend letting her pick out the color scheme, however, because we're not certain her glowing opinion of your kindergarten artwork qualifies as knowing "exactly what she likes."
$65 and up - Buy from ColorWare
- If she's ready to make the jump to a smartphone, but she finds the iPhone's lack of buttons intimidating or the G1's OS a bit rough around the edges, she might find the BlackBerry 8820's streamlined, advanced email experience to her liking.
$99 from T-mobile
, $250 from AT&T
$251 - $500
ASUS Skype AiGuru SV1 videophone
- Despite all odds and grooming habits, you've actually grown up to be quite handsome, so let Mom check in on her little snookums with ASUS's Skype-approved AIGuru SV1 WiFi videophone. The 7-inch screen will let her soak in your charming smile, but the 800 x 600 res is low enough to let you skip shaving for a day if necessary. Just make sure you clear all the beer bottles and empty whippits out of the frame before picking up, alright?
$259 - Shop for ASUS AiGuru SV1 Videophone
Parrot Andrée Putman digiframe
- So you've decided to punt and give Moms a digiframe. It's okay, we've all been there. Class up your callousness by giving her Parrot's sexy Andrée Putman-designed frame. The 7-inch, 720 x 480 display isn't gigantic, but this is definitely one of the better-looking frames out there, and that counts big with El Madre.
$450 - Shop for Parron Andrée Putman digiframe
Navigon 7200T GPS
- Navigon doesn't really do the deep geek features, but that's not necessarily what's going to interest Mom -- on the other hand, the widescreen 4.3-inch touchscreen with Reality View and Landmark View 3D displays should get her safely to that efficiency in the outer boroughs you've been calling a "penthouse" for the past six months.
$399 - Buy from Navigon
Sony Cyber-shot DSC T700
- Your mom might remember you being cute as a button during those awkward formative years, but from the pictures you were mostly dozing off, Blinky. Sony's 10-megapixel DSC-T700 adds blink detection to its facial-focusing system, firing off another shot when it notices closed eyes to keep everyone looking awake. Add in eleven scene modes, ISO 3200 sensitivity, and 4GB of internal storage, and Mom'll be taking her best photos ever. Too bad her subjects can't comb their hair and put on a tie for just this once.
$379 - Buy from Sony
$501 - $1000
Sony BRAVIA KDL-26M4000/R LCD TV
- Smaller kitchen-and-bedroom-friendly flat panels with decent image quality are actually somewhat hard to find, but Sony's 26-inch M-series BRAVIA has earned high marks since its debut. Plus it looks quite nice -- hm, maybe Mom'll be happy with your old set if you take this one.
$549 - Buy from Sony
Plexidoor RFID-activated doggie door
- Yeah, it's a doggie door that costs nearly a grand depending on how you configure and install it, but it'll stay closed for all but your pooch -- keeping Mom a tiny bit safer now that you've abandoned her for the big city. Are you willing to put a price tag on Mom's safety? Yeah, we didn't think so.
$500+ - Find a dealer
Sony VAIO JS all-in-one PC
- Sure, Mom's a PC, but that doesn't mean she loves wires everywhere. Sony's got her covered with the VAIO JS series, which neatly packages a 2.20GHz Core 2 Duo, 4GB of RAM, and an integrated facetracking webcam behind a 20.1-inch XBrite LCD. Oh yeah -- and you can get it in pink.
$999 - Buy from Sony
HP TouchSmart IQ800 series
- If you're willing to spend a little more cash, however, we'd say the TouchSmart is the way to go. The friendly, touch-enabled media and internet apps will have Mom actually using her computer for more than forwarding chain emails, and who knows -- you could actually look forward to getting those service calls.
$1,749 - Buy from HP
- Sure, it's not cheap at $3,600, but if Mom spends any time on the deck, she'll be all over this solar-cell table, which can power a laptop for four hours on a three-hour charge. You'll have to act fast, though -- only 50 are being made.
$2,200 - Buy from SunTable
Honda FCX Clarity
- If your mom is a big time geek, seriously cares about the environment, lives in the Torrance, Santa Monica or Irvine area, and
makes a habit of putting her friends to shame with her worldly belongings, this is pretty much the end of the line. Honda's revolutionary fuel-cell-driven FCX Clarity is about as sweet as they get in the eco-friendly car field, and with a limited number of them available, it's also quite the status symbol. There's a waiting list right now, so if you bag this one for mom, you're definitely her favorite -- no matter what she tells your siblings.
$600 monthly (3-year lease) - Buy from Honda