You don't have to be a technology geek to get behind this list of cool gadget products for 2009. Several of the items in my list have a very wide appeal and could find their way onto anyone's Holiday list -- even Oprah's Favorite Things!
Sure, I picked up the iPhone 3G last year just before the 3gs was released, but the iPhone still deserves the #1 spot on any top gadgets list. If the iPhone isn't in my hand, it's not far away. As amazing as the iPhone 3G was, the 3GS was everything the 3G was only faster, cheaper, and with more features (compass and voice recognition). I can't wait to see how Apple will top the 3GS with the next iteration.
USB audio port, real-time traffic, navigation, DVD-Audio, XM radio, bluetooth audio, voice command, gps-linked climate controls.... oh and I guess it has four wheels and an engine, too. This is the ultimate tech car for gadgets, and apparently the all wheel drive and turbo engine deliver as well. Makes you wish you had a longer commute.
Take the Halo 3 world and mix in team strategy from Ghost Recon and you've got Halo ODST. For me, this is the video game equivalent of combining chocolate and peanut butter into a Reece's Pieces. I love the story and characters in the Halo universe, but I'm not a huge fan of the run and gun game play. Slowing things down to a more calculating and strategic gameplay puts this game right in my wheelhouse.
The Xbox360 is still my console of choice, but Sony took a big step in making the PS3 cheaper, cooler, and smaller with the PS3 Slim. Unfortunately, backwards compatibility was tossed out in the switch to smaller components, but I'm more likely to watch bluray movies and play PS3 games than I am to dust off some old PS2 classics. EDIT: The PS3 Slim is NOT the first PS3 to nix PS2 compatibility. See my comment below.
There seems to be a theme here. Make things smaller, faster and cheaper. When Apple released the Snow Leopard upgrade for $30 this year, it was a no-brainer. The official Exchange support was a nice add, but as everything is moving towards a Google world, this one feature was late to the party. In any case, the improved speed and stability more than make up for a great value.
I've been a long time Mac Mini fan, but my biggest gripe was the lack of a "dual monitor" solution. The 2009 refresh of the Mac Mini line fixed that while adding faster processors, a better video card and more connection options. Despite the compact size, the Mac Mini has more than enough computing power for all but the most hardcore gamers. People are always blown away by how powerful this little box can be.
I'm not a big fan of "all-in-one" home theater components, but when my buddy pointed out the LG to me, I was impressed. The LG has blu-ray playback, supports Netflix on-demand and outputs 1000 watts of power to the included speakers. He also pointed out that a recent network upgrade added YouTube video playback, so it seems like this system can continue to be upgraded and improved. A great all-in-one solution for those who don't drool over the back of components like I do.
I can't remember when the last time was that I listened to the radio. Now that I can hook up the iPhone to my car stereo, I'm listing to my music, my podcasts, and even streaming Pandora over the car radio. And now I FINALLY get track information to display on the car radio's display. That's about the extent as to which I'm willing to pimp out my '04 Accord.
See the full review, "You have a car and an iPod/iPhone,then you need this!".
Now that I'm a proud daddy, my number one responsibility is photo/video documenting my daughter's life. It's so great to be past the "tape" age. Now that I'm recording HD digital video to SDHC cards, the camcorders from just a few years ago seem barbaric in comparison. And the still picture quality is good enough that we often elect to leave the point and shoot at home and just take the camcorder.
See the full review, "Personal High Def Camcorder Goes Mainstream".
Okay -- one last product from Apple. In order to get the most out of several other items in my list (iPhone, Mac Mini, Canon Vixia, Snow Leopard), you might as well add iLife '09. iLife isn't a new product, but the improvements in the '09 version go far beyond a simple version upgrade. iPhoto adds cool features like facial recognition and geographic tagging and the improvements in iMovie can make any hack feel like a Oscar winning director. Sure, Google's Picasa continues to push Apple in the feature list, but the entire suite is well worth the cost of admission as all the apps work seamlessly together.
I'm a technology early adopter. I thoroughly enjoy geeking out with the latest hardware, software and electronics. I probably have as much fun setting up, tweaking, and configuring systems as I do actually … more