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.
Desktops don't get much love these days, what with newfangled "laptops" hogging all the spotlight, but it's still an incredibly vibrant category, full of cutthroat competition, insanely powerful computers, and superfluous LED lighting. The result is tons of hot deals, particularly if you don't mind bringing your own monitor, wrangling wires behind an entertainment center, or being chained to a desk. In return you'll get performance that simply isn't possible on a laptop, expandability should you choose take advantage of it, and so many hot deals. Follow along after the break as we show you some of our favorites.
When Dell first introduced the Zino HD it seemed like a mere riff on the Mac mini, but Dell has "pulled a Dell" and continually ramped up the features while slashing the price. This new model is perfect for plugging into a TV for use as your living room's media hub, or for traditional lightweight computing duties. For a brand name PC the price is hard to beat, and the form factor is as lovable as ever.
Oh, you shouldn't have
The age of the touchscreen desktop isn't quite at hand, but HP's TouchSmart 310 offers more than just a touchscreen in its all-in-one form factor. HP has some of the best basic software for a shared "family" PC, which hides away some of the complexity of Windows, offers a pretty interface for services like Netflix and Hulu, and is particularly great for kids who want to dive in fingers first.
We can't afford the rent now, can we?
For not much more than the cost of adding a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to the Mac mini you can get a lot more power in the iMac, along with a very high quality display. It's one of the most beautiful computers on the market, and should make any Mac lover that's looking for a bit more performance than their MacBook can offer very, very happy.
But what about a Windows PC past the $1,000 mark? We're glad you asked...
Taking matters into your own hands