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.
That whole gift giving time is very nearly upon us, and if you don't know what to get your closest and dearest by now, you may well be beyond salvation. To honor those lost souls, and to appease the anti-consumerists out there who think there's more junk in stores than there is sand in Dubai, we present the dark side of the Engadget HGG. Here, nestled in the same familiar price categories, we pick out the best of the worst gadgets to see the light of day in 2009. So join us after the break, and should you find yourself unwrapping one of these in a couple of days... you have our condolences.
Solid Alliance Crazy Earphones
- Sigh. Should you ever need physical evidence of the downfall of modern civilization, of the erosion of the formerly glorious ambition to keep striving forward... well, here it is. Plastic couldn't possibly be made to look any more dystopian than these "Crazy" earphones. Even when received as a gift, these abominable attempts at cuteness must be incinerated immediately for crimes against good design -- you'll do it if you care about the sort of world your children will grow up in.
- (Don't you dare) buy from GeekStuff4U
Big Nose shower gel dispenser
- Wait, sorry, we got ahead of ourselves above. This
is the true harbinger of the apocalypse. Secured to your bathroom wall by three suction cups, the Big Nose dispenser is a joke that was born old and ages with little grace. The retail site is courageous enough to suggest it as "a great gift for friends," and we're inclined to agree -- this is a terrific gift if you're trying to tell your friends just how much you hate them.
- (For the love of Mary, don't) buy from gadget4all
Nyko DSi Zoom Case
- This could just as easily have been the V-Screen for the PSP
; the category of unnecessary and dysfunctional handheld accessories is so broad and vast, it's hard to really pick a favorite. Nyko takes the proverbial biscuit, though, with the archetypal good idea on paper that should never have turned into reality. Just because a zoom lens is generally a good thing does not mean attaching one to the DSi's afterthought of a camera sensor makes any sense. And that's without considering the brutal teasing you would endure if ever you decided to use the two together in public.
- (If you have any self-respect, you won't) buy from Amazon
Oh, you (really) shouldn't have
OSIM uCrown 2 head massager
- Moving up in price range, but keeping crazy levels consistently high, we present the latest in scalp massage technology. Integrated speakers, magnetic therapy, heat and vibration are supposed to soothe your soul and calm your mind, but all we're seeing is two people too embarrassed to open their eyes. Its sole redeeming feature is that this device allows for a kind of realistic Demolition Man
roleplay -- which our commenters were big fans of -- but the zany price assures the uCrown a deserved position at the head of the "least desirable gadgets of 2009" list. And yes, we worked hard to make that pun happen, you're welcome.
- (A small family of angels dies every time you) buy from Brookstone
Panasonic Nanocare EH-SA42 skin moisturizer
- A fine ionic mist generator. Yes, it sounds geeky as hell, but even our usually lithe minds can't bend around the idea of a skin moisturizer
that doesn't require any water. Incredibly, we've heard from an anonymous party that these things actually work and are even quite popular in Japan -- but then the very fact our source opted to remain unnamed demonstrates the cachet of shame that comes as part of the standard Nanocare package.
- (If you want to be laughed at) buy from Rakuten
Moneual MiNEW A10 Hello Kitty set
- What can we possibly say here? If you're a Hello Kitty enthusiast and reading Engadget, odds are you stumbled here through a magical portal somewhere. For the rest of us jaded and wretched beings, this is iris-searing stuff -- the mouthless Kitty is present on every surface available and when you boot up the machine, boom, more Kitty. Like a video game lock that cannot be picked, this is a nettop whose existence cannot be redeemed by any positives you throw our way, not that we can think of any.
- (If you're a Japanese schoolgirl) buy from Moneual
We can't afford the rent now, can we?
Wireworld Platinum Starlight HDMI cable
- We know audiophiles out there swear up and down about the appreciable difference a quality cable makes to their aural experience. Even they, however, have to admit that this overpriced and overencumbered piece of tech deserves a special sort of disdain. Featuring molded carbon fiber connectors -- because, you know, we crush our HDMI connectors on a daily basis -- and solid silver conductors, the Platinum Starlight is specially designed to sound impressive (on paper). Maybe you could harvest the precious metals and make some of your money back, but otherwise this is a train wreck of a purchasing decision, whoever you are and whatever you're doing.
- (To be certified insane) buy via Wireworld
DLI 8400 ultra-rugged tablet
- This, dear friends, is the equivalent of purchasing a new vacuum cleaner for your significant other and congratulating them on their improved workflow. Sure, there's nothing fundamentally wrong with a ruggedized tablet that can withstand whatever you throw at it and keep on ticking for a purported nine hours. It's just that nobody in their right mind will want one of these as a gift
. So let us reiterate -- even if your friend keeps banging on about "boundless computing," this is not
the WWAN-enabled device he or she is looking for.
- (Don't, just don't) buy from RACO Industries
iPhone 3GS Supreme
- Purchasing this most exclusive of items does not say you have more money than sense. No, that would be too easy. Splashing the cash on a 22 carat solid gold iPhone encrusted with 190 diamonds states in the most lucid of terms that you have zero
sense. Abundant notes of legal tender and a materialistic loved one, yes, but sense, nah. Designer Stuart Hughes scored a Fun Stuff
nomination with his golden Wii
, but that cost only
half a million dollars. Somewhere between that price point and the stratospheric $3.2 million cost of the Supreme, the dial turns from fun to utterly, indefensibly crazy.
- (We know you can't, but still) buy from Stuart Hughes