Welcome to the Engadget Holiday Gift Guide! The team here is well aware of the heartbreaking difficulties of the seasonal shopping experience, and we want to help you sort through the trash and come up with the treasures this year. Below is today's bevy of hand curated picks, and you can head back to the Gift Guide hub to see the rest of the product guides as they're added throughout the holiday season.
The portable media player is one gadget that's achieved across the board, almost universal acceptance. People of all ages and demographics have grown to rely on handhelds for their tunes and videos -- whether on-the-go or in-the-home. Although a majority of the docks and alarm clocks we come across have the iPod or iPhone in mind, we've found a selection of items that cater to all sorts of devices (and all sorts of budgets).
Engadget's Holiday Gift Guide 2009: Docks and Alarm Clocks
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Motorola Droid Multimedia Station
- Let's kick things off with a little something for the Motorola fan in your life. If he or she has a Droid, there is no excuse for not having the multimedia dock as well. This guy acts as a desktop charger, and when the phone is set in the cradle a couple of well-placed magnets
tell it to enter landscape "multimedia" mode -- displaying a clock face, photos, movies, music, weather and what have you. It also syncs your media to your PC with the included USB cable.
- Shop for Motorola Droid Multimedia Station
SendStation PocketDock Line Out Mini USB
- The perfect compliment to your loved one's / fellow raver's portable media player, the PocketDock is just a little larger than a penny -- but all the more useful. This bad boy connects to your iPod via the docking port and gives you a mini USB port for charging and a 3.5mm line out for connecting to your stereo. The product literature boasts "crystal clear, pristine audio quality," and while we'll take that claim with a grain of salt, there is no denying that this could prove quite useful, in the impromptu "let's have a party / who's got the tunes?" sense. Just the thing to shake off those post-holiday blues!
- Buy from Amazon
Microsoft Zune HD AV Dock
- If your significant other's Zune HD has been relegated to trips on mass transit, they're missing out. The Zune HD AV Dock features HDMI and AV outs, a wireless remote, AC adapter, and all the appropriate cables -- everything needed, in fact, to load the device up with media, for enjoyment on the TV or stereo system. Compatible with Zune HD, Zune 120, Zune 80, Zune 16, Zune 8, and Zune 4.
- Shop for Microsoft Zune HD AV Dock
Oh, you shouldn't have
Sony ICF-CL75iP alarm clock / digital frame / iPod dock
- The first dock / alarm clock to turn our heads in a long time, this guy features a retractable dock for your iPod or iPhone, a 7-inch WVGA LCD screen that does double duty as both a digiframe and an alarm clock, 1GB storage, an AM/FM radio, USB for dragging and dropping files from your PC, and bare bones codec support (including MP3, MP4, WMA, M-JPEG, and AVI).
- Buy from Amazon
Ion Audio Tailgater
- Sure, we've seen some polite, petite, and convenient docks thus far -- but nothing bad-ass enough for that heavy metal roadie in your life. The Tailgater features 16 watts of audio output, docks with most iPod models, and contains a plethora of audio inputs for microphones and other audio sources. And it's not tied down to a power source, either -- the included battery promises up to 8 hours of entertainment, no matter which unsavory setting it might find itself in.
- Shop for Ion Audio Tailgater
Philips HF3490 Wake-up Light
- Light alarms are certainly less abrasive than the foghorns that pass for more traditional alarm clocks, and iPod playslists are certainly less annoying than the FM morning "Zoo Crew." The HF3490 features four nature sounds (birds chirping and the like), thirty levels of brightness, a "dusk simulator," an FM tuner, and a future-retro vibe that any of your droogs is sure to love.
- Buy from Amazon
We can't afford the rent now, can we?
- Packing a 100 watt amp, two 4-inch woofers and two 1-inch tweeters, the big news here is that the iHome iP1 features Bongiovi Digital Power Station processing, a technology generally used to improve sound quality in car stereos, low-quality speakers and other audio hardware. And some just might think this thing is pretty good looking, in a sort of futuristic boom box sort of way. The included remote can handle custom EQ in addition to switching DPS on and off, and there's also component video out and full iPhone support.
- Shop for iHome iP1
Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Mini
- The fun lovin' little brother to the B&W Zeppelin, the Zeppelin Mini features 36 total watts of power with a pair of 3-inch full range drivers, an iPod dock, USB connectivity for direct audio streaming from your Mac or PC, a 3.5mm auxiliary input for just about any sound source you can name, and a bundled remote. And this guy has a pretty decent pedigree -- B&W has been a big name in studio reference monitors and hi-fi speakers for as long as we can remember. Of course, this kind of quality isn't cheap -- but you knew that coming in, right?
- Buy from Apple
Bose SoundDock 10 Digital Music System
- With enough volume to fill a big room, the SoundDock 10 sounds "large," which is more than fitting as it weighs 19 pounds and measure 10-inches deep. Featuring that much-lauded Bose Waveguide speaker technology, a 3.5mm aux in, and composite video out, this is definitely not the device for kids on a budget -- but the hefty price tag does get you the option of swapping out the standard iPod input for a $149 A2DP Bluetooth receiver, and the company has mentioned that docks supporting other audio players may be forthcoming, depending on market demand.
- Buy from New Egg