Monday, December 19, 2011

A bunch of gadgets I think you should buy

Last week we recommended books. Today I provide instructions and directions about grown-up toys.

The Tablet I think you should buy:

IPad 2 
The IPad is amazing. True, you can't use it to compose a manifesto, but there really is nothing else it can't do. There's a reason why the thing flies off the shelves. I may not be able to convince you to buy a tablet (perhaps you think they're time sink holes) but if you're already in the market for one, don't waste another second considering clunkier, heavier, more expensive, less functional competitors. Apple's IPad is the gold standard.

The Point and Shoot Camera I think you should buy:

Canon PowerShot S100
I know nothing about photography, and can't begin to explain ISO, exposure or shutter speed. I just want to point the thing at something and end up with pictures I can put on my wall. My S100 fits the bill. Simple, easy, no nonsense. And it never misses.

David Pogue, the brilliant tech critic, agrees writing:
This camera costs more than double the usual pocket camera price, but its picture quality blows other cameras off the map... holy cow — what a photographic instrument! What color, clarity, tonal range! There are days when the S100 seems incapable of muffing a shot.
The downside is battery life, but big deal. Carry two of them. (and I get about 200 shots per charge, so it isn't that terrible)

The Mini Camcorder I think you buy: 
Kodak PlayFull
Small, waterproof, and excellent video quality for the price and size, with very good editing and sharing software. Fits in your pocket, and does everything you could want. I've used mine in every situation and it does not disappoint.

The TV I think you should buy:

Samsung LN40D630 40-Inch
This LCD is not expensive, and the people at CNET love, love, love it. Here's a taste:
With image quality every bit as good as many expensive LED models, the Samsung LND630 is a great choice for a no-frills LCD TV.
Part of the reason why this set is so inexpensive (<$700) is that its a dumb TV, meaning it includes no extra features like internet connectivity, on-board applications or 3D. That's what CNET means by "no frills". But, so what? A set with "frills" can cost an extra 200 bucks or more. Why spend extra money, when you can get the exact same functionality for less than a $100? Which brings me to:

The Streaming Players I think you should buy:

Roku 2 HD Streaming Player:
Hook this baby up to your "dumb" TV and access NetFlix, Hulu, HBO GO, Amazon Instant and about 350 other content providers directly over the Internet.  If you have no interest in the NFL or reality shows, this device and a few not very expensive subscriptions can absolutely replace your cable box.

Apple TV MC572LL/A
This toy costs a bit more than the Roku, but ties in seamlessly with ITunes. If you're already an Apple family, its worth the extra few dollars to get this instead. To explain it simply, this gadget lets you consume the movies, photos and music that are sitting on a hard drive via your TV, while also allowing your TV to access content from Hulu, NetFlix, etc.  

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