Top Gadgets And Gear For Under The Tree
LIANE HANSEN, host:
Only 13 days 'till Christmas, and if you're shopping for the latest high-tech gadgetry, better get a move on. Procrastination may mean missing out on items in short supply.
Matt Buchanan is a reporter for the tech website Gizmodo and can serve as a guide to the marketplace. He's in the New York studios. Welcome to the program.
Mr. MATT BUCHANAN (Reporter, Gizmodo): Thanks for having me on.
HANSEN: On your website, Gizmodo, there are tablets and there are e-readers, the iPad, the Kindle. In your opinion, what does it come down to for you: tablet or e-reader?
Mr. BUCHANAN: The Kindle is really inexpensive now - the Wi-Fi version - it's only $140 and it's a relatively straightforward gadget. It's easy to buy books. So, for my mom right now, she doesn't really want a fancy tablet computer, but she would appreciate being able to carry 100 books in her bag. When you're talking about tablets, there is two major tablets. So, there's the iPad, which starts at 500, and then you have a smaller tablet from Samsung called the Galaxy Tab that you can buy from many of the major cell phone companies. And that's more of a nerdy gift because I think tablets just - it's geared towards super tech geeks.
HANSEN: How about games and game equipment?
Mr. BUCHANAN: The big things this holidays actually are motion controls. Microsoft's Xbox 360 has the Kinect, which is their controller-less motion controller. It's a camera and motion tracker. So, you know, in one game, like racquetball, like all these balls are coming towards you and you try to smack them with your hands. And then for the PlayStation, you've got the PlayStation Move. It's a wand, so it's like a Wii but it's more precise. And they're going for motion games for a little bit more hardcore gamers.
HANSEN: Yeah, make it easy to move your body to the fitness games and then give the geeks the Harry Potter, Jedi Knight fantasy with the wand, right?
Mr. BUCHANAN: Definitely.
HANSEN: How about 3-D TVs? They seem to be out there. Are people buying them?
Mr. BUCHANAN: I think it's better at this point to think of 3-D as kind of a bonus feature for a TV. So, if you really just want like a great TV that's got amazing performance in terms of, like, the quality of the screen, all of these things that audio-video geeks really look for in TV, a 3-D TV is actually kind of a shortcut way to get it because in order to be 3-D, it has to excel at these things that would happen to make it a really good high-def television.
HANSEN: What about smartphone cameras, point-and-shoot cameras?
Mr. BUCHANAN: The best cameras people can get now, you know, the saying is the best camera is the one that's always with you and with a lot of these new phones, which are around $200. So, it's the iPhone 4, the Droid X, you know, they have really amazing cameras inside of them, considering the fact that they're also a phone.
But if you're looking for something a little more powerful, for somebody who's sort of an aspiring photographer in terms of point-and-shoot cameras, I really like Canon's S95. It's around $400, which is pricey, but this camera is pocketable and takes really amazing photos and video.
There are a couple of other options, too. I like Panasonic's Lumix LX3, which has been sort of a pro favorite model of point-and-shoot for a while. Or if you want something a little nicer or another step up, somebody who thinks they really want to get into photography, I really like Canon's Rebel T2I. It's a DSLR.
HANSEN: DSLR - digital single lens reflex - it's like the old cameras but digital.
Mr. BUCHANAN: Correct. But what's fantastic about this camera is not only does it take really amazing photos, considering it's an $800 camera, it also shoots really incredible video. They're using them on "No Reservations," Anthony Bourdain. They're shooting entirely with them now. The amount of camera you get for, say, seven or eight hundred dollars is a vast improvement over what you could get two or three or four years ago. It's, you know, a whole 'nother world.
HANSEN: Is there a general tech toy, reasonably priced, that could serve as a gift to anyone from your niece to your grandfather?
Mr. BUCHANAN: Well, I think the iPod Touch is a really interesting solution because it's an easy-to-use computer. So, for a grandfather or something, they can do email, look at photos, shoot video, play games, do Sudoku. Or for a child, you know, you can buy them a lot of really inexpensive games. They have applications for children. Some of my friends who are parents, you know, that's their digital pacifier for their kids. You know, it's sort of like a wondrous object. You know, it kind of become anything.
HANSEN: All right. What are you looking forward to? Lift the veil for us. Come on, what's coming in 2011?
Mr. BUCHANAN: Well, so, my dirty secret is I sold my iPad. I got it on launch day. I sold it a week ago. What I'm really waiting for next year is the iPad 2. And the big thing about it, I think, for people is that'll do for FaceTime. So, it'll be the first iPad you can video chat with, and I think that'll be big for a lot of people.
HANSEN: Will it have a USB port?
Mr. BUCHANAN: I'm going to call that doubtful.
HANSEN: Oh, OK. Matt Buchanan is a reporter for the technology website Gizmodo. Happy holidays. Thanks a lot.
Mr. BUCHANAN: Thanks. Happy holidays to you too.
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