Before we get on with this list for 2011, I just quickly want to touch on some of the recommendations from last year, which I’ve had a chance to play around with since then. First there’s the Kata DR-467i camera bag which I didn’t get for Christmas, but I purchased it during Summer. It’s quite a nice bag and it has become one of my two favorite bags. If you’re a camera geek, you’ll know that “one bag to rule them all” is simply not possible. One bag for each application, and this back pack is great for having a good amount of gear with you, while also having room for a tripod and feeling comfortable on your back. I highly recommend it, and at $72 from Amazon, I think it’s decent priced as well.
Second, there’s the Eye-Fi Pro X2 8GB SD card with a wireless radio transmitter in it, so it can connect to your wireless network. During Christmas last year, this baby would cost $140!! Now, it’s priced at just $79. I do own it, and I don’t use it as much as I had hoped for. It drains the camera battery much faster. But, it does have some greatness to it and if you need a SD card that will wirelessly empty itself, or just transfer every photo your computer/iPad as you take them, this is a good option – and for $79, it’s not that bad anymore.
Third and finally, I also want to give my recommendations to the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 lens for DSLR which was priced at $799 but it’s now at $869 due to the price increased a while back. It’s just such a great lens for a decent price, great value for money. It doesn’t beat the Nikon or Canon versions of 70-200mm f2.8 on build quality and image quality, but in terms of value for money, this is a sure winner.
Now let’s see the top 10 gadgets I wish for Christmas 2011.
Cheapest items first…
Logitech Harmony 300i Remote Control ($28)
This Logitech Harmony 300i will control up to 4 A/V devices, meaning you can replace four remotes on your table, with just this one. Your wife/girlfriend will love you for it. Logitech’s Harmony online database has over 225,000 devices registered, so chances are your A/V devices will be there as well, so you can tell this remote what you own and it will be able to control them. Or perhaps you want the big brother with a color display, then go for Logitech Harmony 650 at $59.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 ($52)
Possibly the game of the year. Millions of gamers worldwide eagerly awaits the release of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 (including yours truly) – and now it’s here! You can get it for PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS – so there’s plenty of options. It’s one of the best FPS games out there, and it sold more than Battlefield 3.
Sony Wireless Stereo Headset for PlayStation 3 ($99)
Technically, this Sony Wireless PS3 Headset is stereo, but with virtual surround. I don’t actually want this for Christmas, as I already have it and I love it – which is why I’m recommending it! The comfort is amazing and the sound is just perfect. It also comes with a built-in microphone, if you’re feeling chatty. Only downside is the battery capacity could have been bigger, if I play a few hours in the evenings, I usually have to recharge it after 3 nights. But I just connect it to a USB cable when I’m not playing, so it’s always charged and ready.
Kindle Fire ($199)
Being an iPad user myself, it was a tough call to include the new Kindle Fire on this list, instead of iPad 2. But, iPad 2 is not new anymore and it’s nice with some competition for the iPad. Kindle Fire has a really, really great price, and lots of potential. It’s a cheap way for people to get into the whole idea of reading books etc. on a tablet.
OWC 120GB SSD Mercury Extreme Pro 6G 2.5″ SATA ($264)
This is a super fast SSD drive for your laptop computer, it’s not one of those old and slow spinning drives. If you’re looking to get into SSD and you own a MacBook Pro, this OWC 120GB SSD Mercury Extreme Pro is a good drive – and it’s good value for money as well. Whether you have a Mac or not, an upgrade to SSD will give you a huge performance speed boost. Applications launch much faster and in general everything just runs faster – you really don’t know what kind of a bottle neck a single spinning hard drive is, until you’ve replaced it with SSD. Obviously, if you’re low on memory (RAM), I’d probably recommending upgrading there first. But if you’re maxed out with memory and you would still like more speed, you owe it to yourself to seriously look into SSD.
Synology DiskStation DS411J 4-bay NAS ($359)
If you want a good NAS, with great value for money and still great performance, consider the DS411J from Synology. This device was actually reviewed on TechPatio not long ago: Synology DS411J review. With a NAS (Network Attached Storage), you can have hard drives attached to your network so all computers in your house can connect to them and share stuff – or you can even connect to them from the outside, so if you’re visiting family somewhere, you can log onto your NAS at home to download photos from your latest vacation.
Samsung Galaxy S II GT-I9100 smartphone ($569)
I was debating whether to include the new iPhone 4S here, or the Samsung Galaxy S II. I think the Galaxy S II is interesting and it has a huge 4.27″ touch screen and 8 megapixel camera. It offers some nice competition to the iPhone, so this year, I’m going to include an Android smartphone. Next year, it’ll hopefully be iPhone 5 🙂
Sony NEX 7 24.3MP Camera ($1399)
This Sony NEX 7 camera with interchangeable lenses is not yet widely available, but I think it’s an interesting camera and one that I think many potential DSLR buyers might consider buying instead of a DSLR. It’s not yet able to compete with DSLR in terms of autofocus speed for one, and also I believe it lacks a bit in terms of controls on the camera. Still, this is a very interesting camera. Biggest downside is the megapixel count, I mean, come on Sony, who needs 24 megapixels?! I can’t even begin to imagine how slow it must be to process 24 megapixel RAW files on most computers…
Samsung PN59D7000 59″ 1080p 3D Plasma HDTV ($1687)
What’s that I’m hearing, you think 59″ is too big for a TV? Well, I’m here to tell you it’s most definitely not. It may sound like a lot, and seem like a lot at first, but trust me, it doesn’t take more than a few movies or TV shows and you’ll be fully adopted – and dependent – on watching your TV on a big screen. This Samsung also offers 3D, if you’re into that. Samsung “D” is their newest series, although the Samsung PN59D7000 is not the biggest and best of them, the D8000 probably is, at 64″. But it’s a lot more expensive, so in terms of “value for money”, this D7000 at 59″ is a clear winner. It also comes in a LED version, but personally, I’d recommend the plasma version (nice deep blacks and less “input lag” when you’re playing FPS games from PlayStation, Xbox etc.).
Bose Lifestyle V35 home entertainment system ($2969)
I heard this system, or perhaps the V30 (can’t remember), once in a Bose outlet and I was blown away. Other home entertainment systems can blow me away too, but this one was pretty cool. The speakers are wireless and the system will automatically adopt the sound if something is placed in front of one speaker etc. It’s quite intelligent. I’m sure there are better deals than what Bose Lifestyle V35 has to offer, maybe one of their smaller versions, but if I could walk into a Bose outlet and pick any home entertainment system for free, I’d go with V35 🙂
That’s it! Now, what do YOU want for Christmas?
Now it’s your turn – leave a comment below and let the world (and Santa Claus) know what your gadget wishes for this year’s Christmas might be – it doesn’t have to be something from the list above.