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Our annual 12 Tested and Suggested Xmas Techie Toy Gifts
December 2, 2002, by Angel Lee and the Tech Lab Staff

It's that time of year again and you just don't know what to get for the special person that happens to be a devout "Techie". That is where we come in, exercising our vast experience trying, testing, stressing and sometimes breaking some of the nicest Tech Gear you can buy.

Where it is for your wife, husband, children or parents; maybe your best friend or loved one, I'm sure that you'll find some great suggestions in our Annual 12 Toys of Xmas for Techies. So lets just jump right into Santa's bag of goodies to see what we picked!

First Toy of Xmas
This is an easy pick for the game player at heart, young or old. The Sony Playstation 2 is a clear choice because it has nearly 100 times the number Game Titles that it main competitor (Microsoft's X Box) has. Listen, Sony knows gaming and entertainment and the developers know it too. The Graphics are smoother than that of the X Box and diversity of titles for both "Adult" aged players or "Youngsters" can't be beat.
       
The Sony Playstation 2 lists at $199.95, but if you shop around you can find bundled packages which include some very popular games and accessories at $239.95 to $259.95. Check out your local "warehouse stores".

Suggested accessory - D-Link's DWL-810 "Ethernet-to Wireless Bridge" is the advanced gamers delight. Dedicated gamers want to get online and play against each other, whether it's within their own city of across the country. The
D-Link DWL-810 is a plug-in and play marvel for your Sony Playstation or the X-Box as well. You'll also need to have a Wireless network at home, so check out D-Links other 802.11b WiFi devices
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You can even it with any Windows PC or Macintosh that doesn't have internal WiFi capabilities, thanks to it unique HTML browser setup interface. We found the DWL-810 at TheNerds.com for only $97.78, but always check online for the best deals.

Second Toy of Xmas
Digital Cameras have become all the rage; does anyone still use film? The great thing about Digital cameras is that you don't keep that "stinker" photograph you've taken, just delete it and shoot again. If you want a quality camera that will provide you with film quality photographs to print, you really need to spend more than $700.

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 We have two picks for you from a long time manufacturer of Professional and Amateur film cameras, Olympus. Our top pick is the new magnesium bodied Camedia C-5050, which has a true 5 MegaPixel CCD, 3x optical and 3.4x digital zoom.
 
It includes the new ultra small 32 MB "xD " memory card, as well as being able to use the ever popular Compact Flash (CF) and SmartMedia (SM) cards. It retails for $799, we found it at BuyRiteDigital.com for $695.00

As a lower priced alternative, we picked the Olympus Camedia C50 at $599. It also has a true
5 MP CCD and an all metal body with 3x optical /4x digital zoom and Quicktime Movie Mode!

Third Toy of Xmas
Whether you have a digital camera, MP3 player, PDA or other device that uses Compact Flash, your loved one can never have enough Flash Memory. Our favorite high quality memory maker is Viking Components, a brand you an find at any reputable computer or camera store. Here are two great deals that are available online.

Viking 256 MB CF (Compact Flash) card at Buy.com for $86.87. Or if you feel really particularly giving this Christmas, a Viking 512 MB Compact Flash card at Amazon.com for $181.44, less a $50 rebate leaving you a total expenditure of only $131.44

Suggested accessory - It just isn't efficient to download all those pictures directly from you digital camera or DV Camcorder, unless you get your batteries free. Asante's "Gini" (6in1, cute) Universal Memory Reader/Writer is just the stocking stuffer for your gift recipient. It will accept just about every digital memory card, including those 512MB CF
               
cards you just bought, and Gini plugs right into your PC or Mac's USB port (no drivers required for Mac OS X). We tested it on Windows XP and Mac OS 9/OS X systems with Holiday joyous results. Gini retails for just $39.00 and Asante is offering a $10 rebate.

Forth Toy of Xmas
Thoughts of Christmas brings the sounds of jingle bells, carols, hip-hop and heavy metal, What? OK, maybe you have different tastes in music that we do. Nevertheless nearly everyone loves to listen to his or her favorite tunes and what better way than with the quality and best selling MP3 player around, the Apple iPod. Now available in either Mac or Windows compatibility versions, they range in 5GB, 10GB and 20GB storage sizes.
               
The iPod is clearly the best "personal music player" made. It is smaller, lighter, easier to use and look better than any other multi-gigabyte MP3 player. It is the status symbol amongst the hip music crowd.

The retail price for the 20GB Apple iPod is $499, and you won’t find it discounted anywhere, but you can still find a deal like this one; Amazon.com offer a complete "Travel Bundle" kit, which includes a nifty wireless radio adapter, and the 20GB iPod, for $474.05 at Amazon.com.

As an alternative for $399, drop by your local Target or BestBuy store for a 10GB Apple iPod or a 5GB for $299. Also check the internet for best $$.

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