Holiday Tech Gift Guide for 2010

The holiday season has arrived and we are sure that many of you are in power shopping mode!  In this article we will help you out with that shopping list and highlight several popular technology gift ideas that will surely make those who receive it “boot up” with joy!  Also, below the reviews you will find information on our demo/workshop on some of these devices with special presentations by WIU’s Apple Student Rep Derek Hammond.  See below for times of those presentations during the week of December 13-17.

iPhone 4 vs. Droid X

By Hayley Dallmann, Interactive Multimedia Lab Assistant

The iPhone 4 was the first mobile phone to offer many of the features that we find in mobile phones today, but is the series of Droid phones taking over?

The iPhone 4 offers a 3.5 inch display screen, Retina Eye-Display and a TFT Capacitive Touchscreen. It has a 1 GHz Apple A4 Processor, with an iOS4 operating system. The camera is a 5 MP autofocus camera with LED. One of the best features on the iPhone 4 is that is has a secondary camera on the front that allows you to talk face to face with anyone else who has this phone. It offers two models a 15GB and 32GB internal memory. However, the iPhone 4 does not offer a microSD slot for additional memory.  It can currently only be bought with an AT&T phone plan. It is sold at $299.00 for the 32 GB Model and $199.00 for the 16 GB model with 2-year contracts.

The Droid X is the closest running phone to the iPhone 4 currently. This is how it matches up to the iPhone 4:

The Droid X offers a larger 4.3 inch Touchscreen display, almost a whole inch larger than the iPhone 4. It runs with a 1 GHx TI OMAP 3630-111 Processor. The operating system is the Android 2.1 (Éclair). The camera has 3 MP more than the iPhone coming in at 8 MP. It too has Autofocus and a Dual LED Flash. One disadvantage to the Droid X is that it does not offer a secondary front screen camera. Both the iPhone and the Droid X offer video recording capabilities. The Droid X’s storage has a 6.5GB Internal Storage but also allows you to up that storage with a micoSD card. The Droid X can be bought through Verizon but here is the kicker….Droid OS phones can be bought through almost every cell phone carrier company. You can purchase the Droid X for $200.00 with a 2-year contract.

iPhone 4 vs. Droid

Here are some advantages that are offered over each phone

Advantages of iPhone 4 over Droid X

  • Amazingly sharp Retina-Eye display
  • Possibility to make video calls
  • Amazing interface of iOS 4
  • Better video recorder
  • Better still images
  • Access to Apple App Store
  • Premium Apple product
  • Faster data connectivity

Advantages of Droid X over iPhone 4

  • Bigger screen makes it better for viewing videos.
  • Android comes customized with MotoBlur, which makes it unique.
  • Can play HDMI output and connect to HDTV.
  • Can convert into a Wi-Fi hotspot.
  • Better for multimedia content as it can play more formats.
  • Android version can be easily updated as soon as the updates are available.
  • More customizable, thanks to Android.
  • More storage can be added thanks to external microSD card slot.
  • Works out cheaper than the iPhone 4.

For more information on the Apple iPhone 4 visit http://www.apple.com/iphone/.

For more information on the Droid X visit http://www.motorola.com/Consumers/US-EN/Consumer-Product-and-Services/Mobile-Phones/Motorola-DROID-X-US-EN?localeId=33

Dell StudioOne 19 ($569 – $1,219)

Dell StudioOne 19

By Mike Kieca, Technology Resource Checkout Graduate Assistant

This all-in-one desktop from Dell gives you power at your fingertips with optional multi-touch screen capabilities.  It’s 18.5” HD widescreen display gives you the perfect picture regardless of what you are doing.  In the Touch Zone, there are numerous multi-touch applications that allow you to enjoy all your media fun whether it’s enhancing photos, playing games or even finger painting.  This sleek, one cord desktop comes in four different colors or pure white, which makes it easy to fit into any home or office.

For more information visit www.dell.com

Dell Inspiron One 2305 ($549.99 – 638.99)

Dell Inspiron One 2305

By Mike Kieca, Technology Resource Checkout Graduate Assistant

This is another all-in-one Dell desktop touch screen computer that allows you to interact like no other computer.  It has a 23” WLED backlit display and the detail and elegance of media is portrayed through 1080p full high-definition screen.  Like the StudioOne 19, this desktop has an optional wireless keyboard and mouse, and also only has one power cord to keep the mess to a minimal.  Downloadable apps and games keeps everyone in the family busy.  For more information please visit www.dell.com

Flip Camera ($149.99 – 229.99)

Flip Video Camera

By Mike Kieca, Technology Resource Checkout Graduate Assistant

The Flip is a perfect on-the-go gift that allows you to make movies anywhere.  There are no extra cords or memory cards to buy for this camera, all you do is point and shoot and once you are done, upload is easy with a built in USB drive to plug in to any computer.  Another great option with this camera is that you can design your own online.  Visit www.theflip.com and design your own for the holidays.

iGo Green Anywhere

iGo Charge Anywhere

The iGo charge anywhere can be used to charge almost any device in two ways. First the device can be used as a wall charger with a 6ft extension cord so that you can charge your item and still use the device, and while your charging your device, the iGo charger also charges itself. This means that if you are in a rush, you can take your charger on the go and it will continue to charge without being plugged into an outlet. The iGo charger has two USB outlets that allow you to charge devices simultaneously. The item is small and lightweight enough to fit in your pocket, which makes it perfect for travel. In addition it also works worldwide; no need for a voltage converter when traveling! The charger and its multiple functionality makes it a perfect gift for anyone this holiday season for a reasonable price of 39.99 on the iGo website. www.iGo.com

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Kindle

Kindle is one of the best wireless reading devices in the past two years. This device was developed by Amazon.com and is also were you are able to purchase your Kindle. With the Kindle you are able to download and buy various books, newspapers, magazines, blogs and various other digital media. It has built in Wi-Fi allowing you to access any book anywhere. The Kindle is able to hold up to 3,500 books at once. There are three different versions of Kindle with the Kindle DX being the latest. The Kindle is inexpensive costing anywhere form $139 to $379.

For more information on the Kindle visit http://www.amazon.com/kindle.

Kinect (for Xbox 360)

By Amanda Richards, Interactive Multimedia Lab Assistant

Kinect for Xbox 360

The hot item this Christmas is the all-new gaming system that brings games to life called Kinect. Kinect works with your xbox 360 and allows you to control movies and music with a wave of your hand or the sound of your voice.  Controller-free gaming forces you to get up and actually move, this means that if your playing a game and you want to jump, you simply jump.  Kinect games are made so that anyone that walks up to the gaming system will be able to begin playing immediately. Even if you have never played a video game in your life you will be able to walk up to this system and begin playing without instruction on what to do. In the game your character will do everything that you do, if you begin to get upset your character will reflect this. There’s a little something for everyone meaning that whether you’re an adult that needs a convenient way to work out, or a 5 year old that wants to explore with Dora, Kinect has a game for you.  If you already have an Xbox 360 you can purchase the Kinect system for $149. If you do not have an xbox already, you can purchase a bundle pack of the xbox 360 4GB Console with Kinect and a game for $349.98.

The Nintendo Wii

By Kerry Wisdom, Technology Resource Checkout Graduate Assistant

Nintendo Wii

The Nintendo Wii is either on the wish list or a prized possession of gaming fanatics around the world. The Wii with its wireless controls and motion sensing abilities makes you get off your seat and have your body moving and get completely involved in the game. Right from classic games like Super Mario to the latest Wii sports or racing games, the Nintendo Wii offers a wide array of games ensuring total family entertainment. It is also a very different type of gaming device. It makes you get up and get physically involved with the game.

There is more to Wii than plain gaming because the device actively connects to the Internet and updates itself sharply. The device also allows Wi-Fi and internet support for multiplayer and multi-location gaming. A host of accessories available through the Wii website and dealers, the next frontier of gaming arrives at your living room.

Like the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, The Wii can be oriented horizontally or vertically angled. The Wii is the most compact of the next-generation consoles. It weighs just 2.7 pounds and measures 8.5 inches long by 6 inches wide by less than 2 inches thick. It has clean, sharp lines and an Apple-like glossy white finish.

The Nintendo Wii was released shortly after the PS3 to strong sales and a constant demand that has continued well into its second year of availability. Though the Wii lacks many of the hardware components and multimedia capabilities that its chief competitors Xbox 360 and PS3 offer its focus on interactive game play and game title development has helped it maintain.

Advantages

  • Reasonably priced
  • Motion sensors and physical movement adds fun and involvement to gaming
  • Availability of Wi-Fi Internet connectivity and  multi-users  functionality
  • Lets you download games from old consoles
  • Lots of accessories available including a Wii Fit bundle that can get you motivated to exercise.
  • Ability to connect to Netflix to stream your Netflix videos to your console and watch immediately.

Disadvantages

  • No music CD or DVD movie playback
  • Graphics not as good as those on PS3 or Xbox 360
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