Enough with bargain gizmos, how about the gadgets you actually want? We bring you a top-five list that will not only make your friends and family members gadget-happy, they'll look better, feel better and sound better.
Nintendo Wii Fit ($90) — Perhaps the hottest item under a hundred bucks this year, the Wii Fit with Balance Board is as popular as it is tough to find. Persistence pays off in the form of a fun electronic workout system capable of tracking your fitness progress and comparing your results with others. Jump on the balance board to practice strength training, aerobics, yoga and more. The best part? No need to actually leave the living room!
Flip USB camcorders ($230) — Flip video cameras revolutionized the video capture world. They made taking, editing, and sharing video clips of family and friends simple. Now the same folks took it to the next level by introducing a high-definition camera: the Flip Mino HD. Capable of 60 minutes of high definition video before downloading, the Flip's a perfect on-the-go high-quality pocket camera.
Nikon D90 Digital SLR ($1150 including lens) — Digital SLR with live-view and HD video. This is the latest and greatest in the prosumer digital SLR line, those "professional-consumer" cameras with detachable lenses perfect for high-quality family photos. Thanks to the D90's live-action viewfinder, you can watch the action and a high-definition video recording mode. I recommend the 18-200 lens upgrade. It's a versatile lens that travels well.
Sprint LG Lotus Phone ($50) — It takes quite a bit to stand out in the mobile phone world. Sprint has a cool new phone for the text-savvy with a handy clamshell design. The phone folds flat a fits in your pocket, open to reveal a full keyboard. Now it's not sporting the whiz-bang Smartphone features of an iPhone 3G or even the HTC Touch Diamond, but the LG Lotus — at around fifty bucks — is a great upgrade for those still doing the 8, 3-3, 9-9, 8 message shuffle with their old mobiles.
HP Mini 1000 Laptop ($360) — The latest trend in portable computing is the netbook. With systems weighing just a few pounds or less, and prices under $500 for basic models — it's no wonder to see why the hand-bag computer is getting lots of attention this holiday season. My favorite, the HP Mini 1000 combines Windows familiarity with an almost-full-size keyboard and a brilliant display. They're cheap and portable, a great on-the-go machine.