First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
GamePro 2008 holiday gift guide
- — 19 December, 2008 16:54
Gifts For Everyone
This is our general category and the products listed below will appeal to a wide range of tastes and preferences; there's a little something for everyone, regardless of who you are and what you like.
Casio Exilim EX-Z300
We've raved about the Exilim series from Casio before when we road tested the EX-F1, their professional quality camera with an amazing burst mode feature. Of course, at $999, it's a bit pricey and probably not right for the average photog who just wants to snap a few pics here and there. Thankfully, the EX-Z300 is more than affordable and has a ton of great features that make it a compelling alternative. It can capture images in 10.1 megapixel quality, is incredibly easy to use and even has a Youtube-compatible capture mode for video clips that you can upload right away--no muss, no fuss. Previews Editor Travis Moses took an EX-Z300 on a recent trip to Japan and came back raving about its ease of use, its amazing LCD screen and the quality of the images and clips that it took. So if you're in the market for a digital camera, give the Z300 a good long hard look; just don't forget to say 'cheese' while you're doing it.
Wowee Flytech Bladestar
This sweet RC toy features an innovative rotary blade design that helps it stay steady during flight; it takes a little getting used to but once you get the hang of it, you'll have this thing buzzing around like a pro. There's also an auto-pilot mode that helps the unit sense obstacles and steer clear. It's a sweet toy and the GamePro offices have been filled with the buzzing of this awesome RC vehicle ever since it arrived.
Hasbro Lazer Tag 2-IN-1 System
This awesome Lazer Tag system features two of the slickest lazer tag guns we've ever handled. They're modular and allow you to add on various sections for more firepower. The sensors are good at hit detection and even better, you can hook up a unit to a television and play a Virtua-Cop like mini-game to hone your skills. If you're in the mood to run around with a friend and play some virtual tag, the Hasbro 2-IN-1 System is without a doubt the way to go.
LEGO Death Star
We have a confession to make: we love the Death Star. Sure, it was an instrument of pure evil but what Star Wars fan doesn't dream of owning their own space station of doom? Well, you might never own an actual Death Star but the fine folks at LEGO are aiming to make your dreams come partially true with their amazing kit. Consisting of 3800 pieces, it'll keep you plenty busy and best of all, when it's done, it'll make for a great centerpiece on your coffee table. Just don't blow up any planets with it, okay?
adult swim store
There's no denying that Cartoon Network's adult swim lineup makes for some of the best viewing on television but did you know that they also have an awesome store where you can order DVDs, apparel and toys from your favorite shows? We personally recommend season 1 of Tim & Eric ($15.00), the two seasons of Venture Bros. ($24.00), every single Aqua Teen Hunger Force DVD ($24.00) as well as the KidRobot Mini Series Toys ($29.97 for a set of three) but regardless of what you get, you're guaranteed to laugh your butt right off.
Various Gift Cards
Sometimes, there's no better present than hard cash; it guarantees that whoever you give it to will get what they want and it saves you a lot of headaches. But it's sort of tacky to just hand someone a bunch of money, so look into getting them a gift card instead. American Express and Visa both offer gift cards that basically work as preloaded debit cards; just put money into the card and the person you give it to can spend up the limit.
If you know someone who's into World of Warcraft or another online MMO, you can easily get them a gift card for a month's subscription. Xbox 360 owners will appreciate a Microsoft points card for, PS3 owners will no doubt want a PSN points card and Wii owners will do cartwheels for a Wii Points card; they can use them to download games and bonus content. Music owners will also get a lot of use out of an iTunes card as well.
And if you're really desperate, just get them a card for a major retailer like Best Buy or Target; that way, they can go and get something that they'll really like. Yes sir, gift cards are the fast and easy way to cross someone off your shopping list.
Creative Zen X-Fi with wireless LAN
Okay, the iPod is currently the king of the MP3 mountain but it's not the only music player making a lot of noise: Creative's been making some awesome MP3 players and their Zen X-Fi might just be their best yet. This slick flash player boasts a ton of storage, a beautiful screen and the usual boatload of features common to Creative players like FM radio and video playback. But that's not all: the Zen X-Fi has built in wireless which allows it to connect to your network and access files. It's a slick and full featured player that had some of the GamePro's lining up to ditch their iPods. It's a compelling alternative and one we highly recommend you look at if you're thinking about buying an MP3 player this holiday season.
$199.99 (16GB); $279.99 (32GB)
You need to back up your data. Seriously. You need to do it. Right now. Computers are fairly reliable but they're just like any device you have in your home: they can break down. Nothing, we mean nothing, sucks more than having your hard drive fail and take all of your precious data with you to the great beyond. Your music, your movies, your pictures, your work files-they're all at risk unless you do a periodic backup. That's why we recommend you get your hands on a Go Drive from Seagate. With plenty of storage space at a low cost, it's an affordable and effective way to make sure you have a backup set of files in case something happens to your computer.
$119.99 (250GB); $149.99 (320GB); $199.99 (500GB)
Most people will tell you that the DVD format is obselete now that Blu-ray has won the HD format wars. Well, to paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of DVD's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Sure, Blu-ray is the new hotness right now but there's no denying that DVD's installed base is huge; everyone owns a DVD player and everyone has a DVD collection, which means it isn't going to go away any time soon. If you're still on the fence about jumping to Blu-ray or you just don't want to rebuy every single movie you own then look into the Toshiba XD-E500: it's an upconverting DVD player capable of outputting at 1080p. This will let you get the most out of you existing DVD collection and let you safely wait until the Blu-ray market levels out and prices drop.
Zibra: Open It
The only thing we hate about getting presents: opening the hard plastic packaging. Some items come wrapped in plastic so tough, it feels like it could stop a bullet. Ordinary scissors hurt your hand and don't cut very well and things like knives and X-actos are dangerous; the Zibra, though, solves both problems. This ergonomic cutter is not only easy to use but it slices through plastic and other packaging materials like a lightsaber cutting through a Stormtrooper. It also has a built in screwdriver and a cutting blade, making it the perfect tool for getting your presents out of their armored shells.
Agent 18 EcoShield
If you own an iPhone, there is no excuse why you shouldn't also own an iPhone case; considering you use it all day and are constantly taking it out of your pocket, the chances that you'll eventually drop your precious device are high. So encase it in an EcoShield from Agent 18; no shield will offer 100% protection but these rugged cases will up the chances that your iPhone will survive a fall without breaking into a million pieces. It'll also help protect it from the little nicks and scratches that accumulate over time. Best of all, it's made out of eco-friendly materials, which is pretty important these days.
Lenmar Universal PowerPort Kit
There's nothing worse than running out of power while you're out and about. So what's the solution? Carry your charging cables everywhere you go and pray that you end up somewhere with a free outlet? No way-we'd rather travel with the Lenmar Power Port. This portable battery source lets you connect a variety of electronic devices and recharge on the go, meaning you don't have to sit around and wait for your camera, camcorder, PSP or cell phone to finish recharging. It's compact and portable and it'll ensure you never run out of juice again.
Meade mySKY PLUS and ETX-125PE Telescope
Space truly is the final frontier and it holds a lot of wonders to behold. That's why we're putting the mySKY and the EXT-125PE from Meade in our gift guide. The mySKY is a nifty handheld device that you can point at the night sky and get information about various celestial bodies; the ETX is a high-powered telescope that will you help gaze into the infinite vastness of space. They both offer a view of space that isn't available to the naked eye; wave hello to any aliens you see for us, okay?
It seems like everyone has an iPod these days, even little kids. If your little one has one, then take a good long look at the Psyclops. These funky cases not only help protect your child's precious iPod, but it adds some fun; there's also a budding online website where users can create a character and teach it some sweet dance moves.