Hopefully you’ve been following our Holiday Gift Guide this year. We’ve covered a bunch of great products so far and plan to cover many more between now and Christmas. With all the products we’ve written about, you have a lot of choices. With this post, hopefully I can help you narrow those choices down. Join me after the jump for my editorial list of the top 10 gadget gifts for Christmas 2012.
10) Wii U
With competitors like Microsoft and Sony trying to turn their consoles into full-fledged entertainment hubs, Nintendo is focusing on gaming. As it did with the Wii, Nintendo is adding something new to the mix. The Wii U has a tablet-like handheld controller called the Gamepad that includes its own color touch screen. Players can use it to change gameplay point of view in multi-player games or play solo while someone else is watching TV.
9) MacBook Pro (13 inch) with Retina Display
The MacBook Pro may be a traditional laptop in a world that seems to be turning completely to mobile devices. And it may cost an arm and a leg—or two legs, if you want some extra memory. But this slimmed down, improved version of Apple’s workhorse notebook is state of the art. It’s full-featured, it’s compact, and it’s rocking an absolutely gorgeous Retina display.
8) Acer Aspire S7 Ultrabook
It’s good to see a Windows PC manufacturer finally step up the game against Apple’s stylish MacBook lineup. It’s a bit pricey, but the 13.3-inch model boasts a full 1080p HD Gorilla Glass touchscreen panel, 128GB solid-state flash storage, and up to 12 hours of battery life. Less than half an inch thick and weighing just 2.86 pounds, the aluminum body could easily be mistaken for a MacBook Air.
7) iPod Touch
The iPod Touch has always been very similar to the iPhone, and the new one is no exception. The 4-inch screen is the same Retina display found on the iPhone 5, and the new camera is as good as excellent as the one on the 4S.
Along with these new features, the new iPod manages to establish an identity of its own with bright colors and a pop-out button for a matching wristband.
6) Logitech Harmony Touch Universal Remote
The Logitech Harmony Touch faces lots of competition from smartphones and tablets that use software and infrared to change channels on your gear. Instead of trying to out-perform its competitors, Logitech has de-cluttered its Harmony remote, replacing many buttons with a larger touch screen that controls up to 15 devices. For those who make Skype calls with their TV, the remote can also connect to Logitech cameras to control the action.
5) ES8000 Series 8 LED TV
Available in sizes ranging from 46 inches to 65 inches, Samsung’s ES8000 LED TVs feature an ultra-slim design with silver trim around a floating screen perched upon an attractive stand. The Smart Hub portal connects the TV to Pandora, Netflix, and even Skype video calling via a built-in camera. It’s the first to feature voice and motion control for basic functions—you can turn it on by saying “Hi, TV,” or adjust the volume by waving your hand. The touchpad remote also has a built-in microphone so your TV can recognize your voice in a crowded room.
4) Lytro Light-Field Camera
What is a light-field camera? It’s a camera that allows you to refocus a photo—after you’ve taken it. It’s a piece of game-changing technology in a very simple package, and I think it’s only a matter of time before everyone has one.
3) Nexus 7
Low price range aside, the Nexus 7 boasts a quad-core processor and the new Jelly Bean OS, so it’s much faster and smoother than previous Android tablets. It’s small and compact, and unlike the Kindle Fire, it allows access to the broad world of Android apps. The Nexus 7 is the tablet you want if you’re not getting an iPad.
2) iPhone 5
I may have called it the most disappointing iPhone ever, but it’s still one heck of a product. More evolutionary than revolutionary, the new iPhone is worth a look. It has a slightly larger screen, an upgraded processors, faster LTE data, and an improved camera. Apple deserves props for delivering great battery performance in an increasingly energy-sucking world.
If you already have the 4S, I’d suggest you stick with that until next year’s iPhone. But if you have an older model or if this is your first iPhone, it should be a no-brainer.
Price: Starting at $199
1) iPad with Retina Display
For the third year in a row, Apple’s iPad is #1 on this list.
With improved speed and performance, thanks to a new A6X chip, and yet another stunning Retina display, the iPad remains the best tablet on the market, and perhaps the best gadget gift as well.
Price: Starting at $499