Technotoys if you've been good
Christmas and the rest are fast approaching, and shorter days have geeks across America thinking even more about technotoys. In the spirit of spreading holiday cheer of the gadget variety, InfoWorld.com presents its picks for the 11 coolest gadgets for Christmas 2010 for that special geek in your life (or just for yourself!).
Our guide includes a few "crown jewel" items that may already be on your list or in your loved one's possession. However, most are gifts you probably won't find at a Best Buy, so you know they're special -- the kind of items the guys from "The Big Bang Theory" would appreciate.
'Star Trek' kitchen tools
Yes, the original Enterprise starship can slice up a pie in your universe, thanks to this $25 pizza-cutting replica of the most famous spaceship of all time from the übergeeks at ThinkGeek.com. Its saucer section is the pizza cutter wheel. There's also the $20 Enterprise bottle opener and the $20 Klingon Korkscrew in the shape of a Bird of Prey warship. Be sure to handwash them; their finish will get damaged in a dishwasher.
This has to be the No. 1 geek gift of the year: Apple's amazing iPad. A lot of geeks already have one, but they're proving popular for adults and kids of all geek quotients as lightweight business computers, portable gaming systems, and personal media centers. They also make a great gift from a geek who already has one. Prices start at $500 for the 16GB Wi-Fi-only model and $630 for the 16GB Wi-Fi + 3G model, but you'll probably want the 32GB models for $100 more. Also be sure to get Apple's beautifully designed iPad Case ($50).
ZeroChroma Case for iPad
The iPad makes a great video player, especially on long airplane flights and in hotels. But it doesn't hold itself up at all, and Apple's great iPad Case -- a must-have for everyday use -- doesn't hold it an appropriate movie-watching angle. But the $70 ZeroChroma Case does, with a wide range of viewing angles in both portrait and landscape orientation. It even lets you hold it via a built-in handle, videorecorder-style.
Apple MacBook Air
The late-2010 MacBook Airs take light weight, battery life, and slimness in computers to a whole new level and presage the era of all-solid-state computing (RIP, optical drives). A second USB slot helps overcome one of the first generation's key deficiencies, and the USB reinstallation thumb drive is a neat idea.
Vuzix Wrap 920
It's science fiction made real: lightweight (3 ounces) video glasses that let you watch high-def TV and movies almost anywhere, such as on a plane. The $350 Wrap 920 comes with cable adapters for Apple iOS devices such as the iPad, video-capable smartphones, digital cameras, and portable DVD players; optional VGA and HDMI adapters let you view video from a broad range of computer and home entertainment devices. Note that the glasses must be individually adjusted, so don't expect to pass them around to friends or family.
SpashID Key Safe
A security device isn't exactly a sexy gift, but this one is a neat idea that will appeal to a geek's practical side. The SplashID Key Safe is a USB thumb drive that contains encrypted data you put on it. Insert it into a Windows PC or Mac, enter your password, and your data is available. Remove the key, and there's no trace of that data left on the computer. It's a handy way to carry secure data around, and at $30 works as a practical stocking stuffer.
Black & Decker PCS10
There's no reason tech has to stay in the house, as the $60 Black & Decker PCS10 Plant Smart Digital Plant Care Sensor proves. Put this device in the soil for a few days, and it measures sunlight, temperature, moisture, soil conditions, and more to provide recommendations on what to grow, easy-to-follow plant care advice, and immediate feedback for watering your plants. It is both Windows- and Mac-compatible.
VoltStar Eco Charger
Phantom power -- the drain on the electronic grid from cords plugged in but not charging anything -- is worse than "The Phantom Menace." VoltStar Technologies' $34 Eco Charger EPC-1000-7 for 5-watt devices (most smartphones but not iPads) automatically shuts off when a device is fully charged. It includes a 30-pin cable for iPhone and iPods; a MicroUSB cable for BlackBerrys and other smartphones costs $8.
All-in-one travel power adapter
Travel power adapter kits can be a real pain, forcing you to keep track of individual adapters. A great stocking stuffer item for travelers on your gadget list is this $4 universal adapter that handles U.S., European, U.K., Australian, Middle Eastern, and most Asian power plugs and outlets. It can also connect plugs with outlets among any of them (though it does not convert voltage).
Today's Best Tech Deals
Picked by PCWorld's Editors
Doordash Promo Code
Save 50% on Baskin Robbins with this DoorDash coupon code
$10 eBay coupon for invited users
Rosetta Stone Promo Code
Get $20 off a Lifetime Subscription
Microsoft Coupon - Extra 10% off sitewide (Education discount)
Gopro promo code
GoPro promo code - Extra 10% off any order
Oculus promo code
Oculus promo - Quest 2 for just $299 + free shipping