Grads and Summer Fun Tech Gift Guide 2008
June 2008, written by Keith Benicek
for the Tech Lab staff
June is the second
best season for the Tech market after Christmas. Why? Because it’s
the beginning of summer, it has Fathers Day, and the day that your
technology hunger kid graduates
is in June; break
out the checkbook folks. This year Fathers Day is June 15th and graduations
run from the very beginning of the month until late in the month.
With so many new gadgets on the market that easily appeal to any
dad and kids of both sexes graduating from Jr. High to College,
that a little help was in order giving you some ideas for a great
tech gift which we’re soundly tested with our Tech Lab
- Review Panel. Short of that new BMW that your daughter wants,
the Honda CBR motorcycles
your son wants, or the 30 foot fishing boat your dad wants, we think
we can help you with some modest to moderately price tech gifts.
phones - have become a necessity these days, nearly
everyone needs one or wants one usually with all the very neat
features that make it more than just a mobile phone. While
there really isn’t that much appreciable difference
| between the companies that offer the service and the prices they
charge, the phones themselves are greatly different.
For those that
need to have a phone for business purposes, the new Palm
Centro™ Smartphone is a scene stealer, even topping the new Blackberry and making the
Apple iPhone look pretty pathetic in comparison.
Starting at a price of $99 with a contract with Sprint or AT&T, it’s
hard to pass up. You can IM Chat, Text, Browse and get Maps and Directions;
of course it has the Palm PIM, it takes Pictures / Video and plays Songs
and Video, and a lot more features. Best of all its small, not a brick
like the iPhone. Prepare to spend a few days reading and learning all
that the Palm Centro can do. Perfect for Dad and your grads. Palm Centro™ Smartphone
Accessories – with
many states passing new hands free Cell Phone use laws, if you don’t
already have a Bluetooth based hands free phone device, then here
is a great gift idea. Bluetooth “Headsets” can
be big, heavy, dorky looking and many have horrible reputations for
poor sound quality and short
||I needed to
buy my wife a very lightweight and stylish headset for her new
Motorola Z3 phone (great phone by the way). I knew she would
love this one for sure for two reasons.
Bluetooth Headset H500™ offers up to 8 hours
of talk time or 200 hours of standby time from a single full
charge, and comes with a travel charger (she never shuts up).
Two, it was ultra-light and I found her a Motorola
Headset H500 in Pink – how cool she said. They are
available in a few colors, including black, red and teal. Sound
quality is exceptional on both ends of the conversations, which
is also important. List price is $49.99, but Cellhut.com had
them for $24.95
||A very cool alternative for the car, office or
kids dormitory room is the Parrot MINIKIT™ Bluetooth
hands free device, which clips to your visor or lays flat on
your desktop. It’s
about the size of a box of playing cards, has an excellent built-in
speaker and microphone and rechargeable battery, which will deliver
about 10 hours of talk
| 10 days in standby
mode. The Parrot
MINIKIT has it’s
own onboard processor and memory for programming one word voice
commands, and you can send your contact list from your cell phone
via the Bluetooth connection.
you speak other than English (or just want to pretend to be a foreign
tourist), the Parrot MINIKIT can be set to work with Spanish, German,
French and more, via the Menu function. The volume knob on the
front of the Parrot MINIKIT accesses the built-in programming setup
menu. It can be a little confusing, so have the house geek (son,
daughter or dad … hey, could be mom) help with the programming
as the manual and menu operation is not the easiest to understand.
image for more
the less, the Parrot MINIKIT gets our full endorsement as a very
cool tech gift buy. Retail price is $89.95, but we found them online
at Amazon for
$ $64.63 with free shipping. Want more details on the Parrott MINIKIT?
Watch for our full review of the MINIKIT later in the month.
Players and things - Ya, ya we know that the kids will
say they want an iPod, but there are better choices when it comes
life and little big things like wireless sharing, on and PRICE.
like the Microsoft
Zune 80GB model best, which Stores
up to 20,000 songs, 25,000 pictures or 250 hours of video recorded
at 128 Kps.
Zune has built-in 802.11b/g wireless interface to share tracks,
homemade recordings, playlists and pictures with
other Zune users; syncs with USB 2.0; has a built-in FM tuner with
30 station presets; supports MP3, WMA and ACC audio formats, plus it
displays JPEG image formats and WMV, MPEG-4 and H.264 video formats
and the rechargeable lithium-ion
plays up to 20 hour of music on a single charge, video for 5 hours;
and, it’s a bit smaller than the iPod Classic or Video. We
found the Zune 80GB everywhere, but Wal-Mart had them for just
$238.54, another steal compared to the same size glossy black high-end
iPud (MA450LL/A) at $599.00 street price (Apple does retail price
so say your dad or kids already have a newer iPod and a nifty new
Bluetooth enabled cell phone and they love to drive that new car
on long trips. Think
they want to listen to their iPod while on the
bet. Here’s the perfect car accessory – Macally
BTCup dock. No it’s not an advanced Pepsi beverage
can holder … it’s the perfect iPod FM Dock and Bluetooth
cell phone interface. I loved a Macally FMCup I had for a couple
years till a parking lot valet left my car door unlocked and someone
stole it (probably the valet).
The BTCup wireless dock does a lot for you in your car
easy to start using, just park it in an available cup holder and plug
it into the cigarette lighter socket. All you need to do is tune the
BTCup via the illuminated LCD display to an empty channel on your car
FM stereo and you will be wirelessly playing your iPod through your car’s
radio in minutes.
parked in the Macally
BTCup dock, it will also charge your iPod while
you listen to music or podcasts. Link your Bluetooth
enabled cell phone and you have a hands free phone speaker system via
the built-in microphone and the speakers in your car. The Macally BTCup
stops playing the iPod automatically while you make or receive calls.
It also comes with an earphone with volume control, for calls when
you need privacy. Once the BTCup have linked to your cell phone, it
store that information for the next use.
are not bad, although like many products made in China, you may
be a little stifled and even chuckle a bit
at some of the “Chin-glish” feature
the less, the
| is clear enough to easily get the Macally BTCup working in just
minutes. Our entire review panel liked the
BTCup for its complete versatility, making it a good Dad or Grads
Tech Gift idea. Retail is $119.00, but we found it at Amazon for
just $71.25 and free shipping.
© 2008 Tech Edge