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.
Photos make great mementos for important moments, but a picture of your kid taking her first step or writing his first blog post isn't quite as meaningful as a full-motion video of the event in question. That's why a video recorder of some sort is a must-have, and while your average compact camera is capturing better footage than ever, sometimes you need something a little more dedicated. That's when you need a camcorder, and this year we even have a bunch of 3D models to choose from. Which ones are right for you and for your budget? Click on through to find out.
Flip disappointed us this year by releasing only the underwhelming Slide HD, but plenty of imitators cut in to take up the slack. GE is one of the least expensive, with its durable DV1 which, for under $100, will record 1080p video to SD and do so underwater. Sure, it might be a little cold for swimming now, but warmer days are coming.
Yes, already it's the first of our 3D entrants, a 720p recorder from Viewsonic that does 2D and 3D, and does so for well under $200. We can't guarantee that you'll get the best video or 5 megapixel stills from here, but hey, 3D!
Last year we gave the nod to the Contour 1080p, and we still love that cam's sophisticated lines. But this year GoPro brought HD helmet cams under $200 with the HD Hero 960. Mount one on your lid, car, or snowboard and let your extreme (mis)adventures live forever.
Last year's $150 Xacti VPC-CG100 is still a great choice and a great bargain for 720p video recording, but if you need something that will capture a few more pixels and do so while you're hanging 10 (or just hanging out) on the beach, the DMX-CA100 (aka the VPC-CA102) is your shooter, managing 1080p through a 6x optical zoom while also surviving 10 foot plunges into the depths.
Yes, it's another little zoom-free handheld much in the mold of a Flip, but this one manages full HD 1080p30 recording, 720p60, and as you can tell by that chrome array up top it's meant to capture some seriously high-quality audio to go along with all that video.
We had to include one DSLR in the mix, because so many are offering top-notch video quality along with the obvious benefit of taking phenomenal stills. For under $1,000 the Canon 60D impresses with its cinematic 1080p24 video mode.
Stepping up to the big money now, and the big quality. The HDC-SDT750 is one of Panasonic's higher-end consumer models, packing a 3MOS sensor and 1080p shooting. But, clip on the included 3D conversion lens and you're shooting in stereo -- though at half the resolution.
When one lens won't do but you don't have the money for one of Sony's full-fledged professional camcorders, the NEX-VG10 might fit in your (still ample) budget. This model naturally does 1080p recording, also offering a "Quad Capsule Spatial Array Stereo Microphone" that sounds so cool the lucky recipient of this gift will never tire of telling his or her friends all about it.
If your lucky loved one is destined for great things in Tinseltown, get them a great camera. Red's One Mysterium X offers a full 4K resolution that's capable of blowing the mind of any consumer TV, and a price tag capable of blowing even the most luxurious of holiday budgets. Just don't forget to leave room for a lens too. And an EVF, and the cables...
Offering a similar interchangeable-lens design to the Sony but packing a better sensor is Panasonic's AF105/AF100. It records in a variety of formats up to 1080p30 and, with its Micro Four Thirds mount, accepts an array of Panasonic's consumer and higher-end cinema lenses.