Welcome to the Engadget holiday gift guide! Picking presents for friends and loved ones is never a simple task, and with thousands of options for each category, buying technology can be an especially frustrating experience. We're here to help. Below you'll find today's bevy of curated picks, and you can head back to our hub to see the rest of the product guides as they're added throughout the holiday season. And don't forget to enter our giveaway -- leave a comment for a chance to nab AT&T's LG Optimus G.
Sure, Ultrabooks and Windows 8 tablets are flashy gift options, but it's extras like the ones found here that really make 'em sing. Whether it's a desktop or portable storage solution, a smart thermostat or a secondary camera for those more experimental shots, we've got you covered. This collection of high-tech add-ons will surely snag the attention of anyone on your holiday shopping list, so mosey on past the break to start perusing.
On the cheap
If you're in need of a cozy resting spot for that new MacBook Pro or Air, Twelve South has you covered. The company's BookArc stands sport the same metal stylings as the tech they're made to cradle. The heavy-gauge steel construction nestles a soft insert to keep scratches at bay while your machine is tucked within. In an effort to further tidy up that workspace, the BookArc features a cable management system that ensures the display, headphone and power cords stay put.
Key specs: MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models, steel construction, built-in cable management, cushioned insert for secure fit.
Price: From $40 on Amazon
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What better way to welcome Windows 8 to your holiday party than with a touch mouse that supports the new operating system's gesture controls? Logitech's T620 does just that. The peripheral implements proprietary 2.4GHz wireless tech (and the transceiver will need to occupy one of your Ultrabook's USB ports).
Price: $50 on Amazon
If you're lucky enough to receive one of Apple's recently unveiled handhelds or slates, you'll likely need some extra help if you want to use your current speaker dock. This little fella allows all of those newfangled gadgets to connect to 30-pin-wielding chargers and accessories, and minimizes a few headaches in the process.
Price: $29 from Apple
A little added protection for that portable HDD you'll be lugging around never hurt anyone. Luckily, the folks at LaCie are quite familiar with the heavy-duty storage devices. Its latest, the Rugged USB 3.0 Thunderbolt Series, packs quite a punch in its familiar, orange-lined digs. As the moniker suggests, the drives offer both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt connections, and the SSD version transfers at speeds of up to 385 MB/s while the HDD offering clocks in at 110 MB/s. You won't need to pack a power supply for these bad boys, either.
Key specs: USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt connectivity, up to 1TB capacity, SSD and HDD models, Mac and Windows compatibility, sturdy frame.
Price: $249 on Amazon
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The original Nest Learning Thermostat arrived on the scene about a year ago, but a new version of the household gadget recently broke from cover, offering a slimmer design and support for about 95 percent of heating and cooling systems. New features like System Match and Auto-Away pad the capabilities of the dapper, in-home temperature gauge.
Price: $250 on Amazon
If the funds required to snag the CineSkates are too much to commit to your best mate's video habits, perhaps a smaller version will do the trick. The miniSkates video dolly is a rolling mount that secures both smartphones and cameras of up to 1.5 pounds. The complete set includes a GorillaPod that contorts to capture the perfect angle.
Price: $130 from Cinetics
When it first arrived on the scene, we were quite impressed by the Lytro camera's after-shot refocusing and intuitive UI. Now, the handsome kit has added manual ISO and shutter controls to pilot the f/2.0 8x optical zoom lens alongside a host of accessories for keeping the unit safe in your backpack. You'll be able to snap 350 holiday photos with the 8GB model and 750 images of that ski trip with the 16GB model, and the entire lot plays nice with Windows, too.
Key specs: Post-shot focus, manual ISO / shutter controls, 8GB or 16GB of storage, f/2.0 8x optical zoom lens, simple UI.
Price: $399 on Amazon
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If that special someone needs a safe depository for all those high-res images, HD videos and 3D renders, look no further. The My Book VelociRaptor Duo wields two 1TB 10,000RPM drives capable of SSD-esque speeds of 400 MB/s.
Price: $850 on Amazon
Looking to get super serious about that recording habit? Add this USB audio interface to your wish list. The command center packs four channels of analog / digital conversion, six balanced outputs, a headphone jack, monitor controls, MIDI I/O, full-color displays and QuickTouch pads for sorting through all those connections.
Price: $1,295 from B&H
Ready to take home one of AT&T's hottest smartphones? Today's offering is the LG Optimus G, which packs a beautiful 4.7-inch True HD display and remains one of our top picks on the US carrier's LTE network. To enter for your chance to win, be sure to review our full guidelines, then leave a comment below.
- Leave a comment below. Any comment will do. Duplicate entries will be filtered out and discarded, so adding additional comments won't increase your likelihood of winning.
- Contest is open to all residents of the 50 States and the District of Columbia, 18 or older! Sorry, we don't make this rule (we hate excluding anyone).
- Winners will be chosen randomly. One winner will receive one (1) LG Optimus G.
- If you are chosen, you will be notified by email. Winners must respond within three days of being contacted. If you do not respond within that period, another winner will be chosen. Make sure that the account you use to enter the contest includes a contact email. Social media contact details are not carried over into our system.
- This unit is purely for promotional giveaway. AT&T, LG and Engadget/AOL are not held liable to honor warranties, exchanges or customer service.
- The full list of rules, in all its legalese glory, can be found here.
- Entries can be submitted until December 31st, 2012 at 11:59PM ET. Good luck!