Ah, him. He's the hardest to shop for in your family or circle of friends. He probably reads Engadget -- hell, he probably sent you this list to find something to buy. But when you show up with the gadget no one else in the room has ever heard of -- yet his eyes light up like a Christmas tree -- we hope to have helped do you proud. Read on.
$0 - $100
La Fonera - More than a cheap WiFi router, Fon adds your recipient's connection to a disruptive underground VoIP network. And hey, if they're not into sticking to the big phone companies, you can always try to hack it.
$39 - Buy from Fon
P3 Kill a WATT - Whether he's a penny-pincher or a product tester, it's nice to know how much juice your gadgets are gulping. The Kill a WATT won't really help you save power, but it'll sure let you know which gadgets to use less of.
$30 - Shop for Kill a WATT
Points - Maybe he doesn't have a Wii yet, but he may have an Xbox 360 -- either way, points are a great, easy way to get 'em something they'll love. On the Wii they can buy classic titles from NES, SNES, even Sega Genesis; on the 360 they can buy downloadable content ranging from expansion levels to to HDTV shows. Points, seriously, you can't go wrong here.
$5 and up - any local retailer
Holux GPSlim240 GPS receiver - It's tiny, it's cheap, and it's got Bluetooth and a SiRFStarIII chipset; there aren't even that many standalone Bluetooth GPS receivers around right now, but Holux's GPSlim240 might be among the least expensive GPS device around.
$99 - Shop for GPSlim240
Noteworthy mention: Gears of War, Credit card battery checker, iLuv i903 headphones
$101 - $250
Samsung YP-T9 - PlaysForSure is down, but not out, and if he's not feeling the whole iPod thing, you might want to try the new nano competitor that actually competes. Samsung's YP-T9 has some catching up to do with Sansa's E200 series, but it makes up in lateness with style, a clean, simple interface, and a much smaller physique. A no brainer for a PC music listener.
$150 - $200 (depending on capacity) - Shop for Samsung YP-T9
Fossil Caller ID FX6001 - Not all watches are built equally, and Fossil's new smart watch is a cut above your run-of-the-mill Casio digital The Fossil Caller ID FX6001 reads out text messages or tells you who's calling your Sony Ericsson mobile over Bluetooth to your ever-glanceable wrist. He may have a little trouble if he doesn't have a Sony Ericsson phone though, so be warned.
$250 - Buy from Fossil (warning: pre-order only right now, hopefully they'll deliver as promised!)
T-Mobile Dash - Also known as the HTC Excalibur, this slim, smooth, irresistible smartphone is among the thinnest on the market. What it lacks in 3G it makes up for in WiFi, and a big, bright screen. He'll have to deal with using Windows Mobile -- not a phone OS to everyone's taste -- but there's a good chance he'll forget when he wraps his hands around that soft-touch finish.
$200 (with contract) - Buy from T-Mobile
Xbox 360 HD DVD drive - There's pretty much no question that the Xbox 360 HD DVD player is the cheapest way to watch high def discs right now -- if you have an Xbox 360. If you don't, well, you can plug this thing into your computer, but it really just isn't the same. Either way, if he wants to rent or buy high def movies, this might be the least expensive option in town.
$199 - most local retailers, or shop for Xbox 360 HD DVD
Noteworthy mention: Sony PSP, Sandisk Sansa e280
$251 - $500
Canon PowerShot G7
- This latest member of the G-Unit features a 10 megapixel CCD, 6x optical zoom, and a maximum ISO of 1600. Plenty of manual settings will make him feel like a real photographer, or he can just pick one of 25 shooting modes when no one's looking.
under $500- Shop for Canon PowerShot G7
Palm Treo 680 - Colorful, functional, and cheap: if your guy is stuck in the 90's with a Handspring Visor and cellphone module, now is the time to bring his efforts at convergence into the 21st century. The 680 delivers a color screen, full QWERTY keyboard, and compatibility with thousands of programs. And as the least expensive Treo to date, it won't break the bank.
$449 ($199 with two-year contract) - Buy from Cingular
Sling Media Slingbox Pro - Why Slingbox? Simple: while you're in your 10th hour of shopping at the mall, your guy can stream all of his favorite programming right to his cellphone -- including HD content. Or, more basically, Slingbox:man::pacifier:baby.
$250 - Buy from Sling
$501 - $1000
Nikon D40 - If he's not quite ready to go pro-photog on you, but he'd still like to fiddle around with a decent DSLR on the weekends, you can't go far wrong with Nikon's new D40. The specs and build are hard to beat at this price, and its size and weight actually makes it fairly portable for an SLR of any sort.
$600 - Shop for the D40
BenQ MP510 - While there are certainly snazzier projectors to be had, BenQ's MP510 is practically free (ok, not really), and the specs don't suck all that much either. 720p / 1080i support (sorry, downsampling only) and 1500 lumens for $500? Sign him up!
about $500 - Shop for an MP510
Cingular 8525 - UMTS / HSDPA, WiFi, and QWERTY -- oh my! If his phone has to have it all, and somebody is willing to pony up for those Cingular data charges, there's plenty to love about Cingular's new flagship smartphone, the 8525. It's a little brick-like, however, so you may have second thoughts if he's emo-tastic and wears super tight jeans.
$399.99 - $549.99 - Buy from Cingular
Noteworthy mention: Monster Controller 300 remote control
Dell 3007WFP - If there's any bit of computer hardware that we can say with definitive certainty will make using a computer more enjoyable, it's a bigger monitor. For the time being, mainstream monitors don't get much sweeter (and larger) than Dell's 3007WFP.
$1369 - Buy from Dell, or shop for a Dell 3007WFP
Quad-core gaming rig - Assuming that 2006 was the year of dual-core machines, 2007 is sure to be the year of quad-core (and octo-core) machines. Get a jump on this trend of increased horsepower with any one of many fine multi-cored gaming rigs, such as the VoodooPC OMEN PC, Vadim Computer's rig, Polywell's Poly i680SLI, Dell's XPS 710, and Alienware's Area-51 7500 and ALX models. All are loaded to the brim with hardware that will surely make his enemies cower under their old-and-busted models.
Starts at a few grand - Buy from VoodooPC
Sony Vaio ultraportable - Does he crave lightweight lappies? Or perhaps you just want to lighten his back-breaking load? Consider the Sony Vaio G (if you live in Japan), one of the few sub-two pound laptops that we've seen this year. It's pretty substantial under the hood, though, with its Core Solo chip, 80GB of storage and 1.5GB of RAM. For those of us Stateside, take a look at the James Bond model: the TX. Not quite as small, but if it's good enough for 007, it's good enough for him.
$2,300 - Buy from Sony
Leica M8 - This rangefinder is probably one of the best combinations of a classic design combined with contemporary components that we've seen in awhile. The M8 comes in the traditional Leica compact case, but nonetheless is loaded up with everything that a serious camera should have, including a 10.3 megapixel resolution and a low-noise CCD image sensor that ranges from ISO 160 to ISO 2500. We promise, this digital camera will never, ever go out of style.
$4,795 - Shop for a Leica M8
Noteworthy mention: Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro