Cool yule tools
Ho Ho Ho, it's time again to get our holiday wish lists together. Here are our 15 favorite products from the 140+ products submitted and tested in this year's Cool Yule Tools holiday gift guide.
If Santa bought a gift for himself this year, it would be the iPad. No other device has captivated an audience as much as the iPad - it's an e-reader, a streaming audio and video player, a portable game player and much, much more. It revolutionized the concept of a Web tablet, and many will try to imitate it for years to come. This one is a must-have for any gadget enthusiast.
FujiFilm FinePix Real 3D W3
We'll soon find out whether 3D is just another gimmick, but if it's going to succeed we'll need to start taking our own 3D pictures and videos, not just rely on James Cameron and ESPN. This camera gets us started, with two lenses and a tiny 3D, no-glasses-required viewer.
Clearwire Rover Puck
If you're not out on the road all the time, paying for 3G/4G service can be a hassle. This device lets you pay a daily, weekly or monthly fee, without recurring contracts or those really nasty hotel Internet access fees.
If you're not a fan of the Apple iPhone, yet still want a smartphone that does practically everything the iPhone does, switch over to this Android-based smartphone from Verizon Wireless. The open-source apps market will provide you with plenty of apps, it's on Verizon's wireless network, and has plenty of capacity, cameras and other fun stuff on it.
Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-Portable Drive
Digital files keep being created, so it's nice to have 1.5TB in a sleek and very portable external drive package. The GoFlex system guarantees that you can switch cables as transfer protocols change.
Sonos ZonePlayer S5
The Sonos multi-room wireless system always seemed a bit out of my price range, but now the product is a bit more affordable - the ZonePlayer S5 combines an access point to its multi-room audio wireless system with speakers, allowing users to access their own music or Internet radio services, including Pandora, Sirius Radio (for an additional fee) and thousands of other stations.
TDK WR700 Wireless headphones
Wireless headphones always compromise sound quality in order to compress the digital file to make the stream quicker, but these headphones accomplish the wireless transmission without compression, leading to a great sound experience. They're very comfortable to wear and you won't be tangled with any cords and can move around (within a short range of the transmitter).
Toshiba Qosmio X505
Our new favorite gaming notebook comes from Toshiba - it offers Intel Core i7 processors, 6GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, a 64GB solid state drive, 1.5GB graphics card, Blu-Ray drive and 18.4-inch display.
Olympus Stylus Tough 8010 digital camera
If there's an adventurous person on your holiday list, get them this ruggedized camera that can withstand the elements and still take good pictures. The 14-megapixel camera includes a 5x wide-angle zoom, 2.7-inch LCD and can work in 14-degree weather and down to 33 feet underwater. It can also survive a 6.6-foot drop and is crush-resistant up to 220 pounds.
We tried lots of iPod and iPhone speakers, and this one stood out as our favorite. This handy device is aimed to be used mainly in the kitchen - it has a slide-out dock for the iPod to let you watch videos, listen to music or view recipes, easy-to-clean surfaces, and two cooking timers.
iSafe School Backpack
We secretly wish we had something like this when we were going to school - the backpack provides a loud audible alarm that can go off if the user feels threatened by a stranger or even a bully. The bag also has enough pockets to make sure our books and computers are all taken care of and protected.
Neato Robotics XV-11 All-Floor Vacuum System
This isn't the first robotic vacuum cleaner, but its ability to clean multiple rooms, laser tracking system (no extra sensors need to be placed), and multiple-floor cleaning ability make this a winner in our book. We were mesmerized watching it do work that we probably should have been doing ourself, but hey, it's the 21st century!
ErgoMotion Laser Mouse
The most uniquely designed mouse we've seen in a while, done so in an attempt to help reduce repetitive stress pain for users. The pivot-and-swivel system lets users rest their hands on the mouse, easing potential pain in the wrist, elbow, shoulder, neck and back. A winner in our book!
If you like falling asleep to music but don't like having the cords mark up your face, or you want to drown out the snorer sleeping next to you, you'll love SleepPhones. The headband/earphone combination is very comfortable, and achieved both of those goals admirably.
Verilux CleanWave Sanitizing Wand
We really have no idea whether the blue light that allegedly beams UV light onto surfaces will actually kill the germs that Verilux says it will, but it couldn't hurt, right? This handheld wand can sanitize phones, keyboards, even mattresses with a quick wave, and the company says it will even kill dust mites in the mattress. Eww, and cool!
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