Well here it is, just a little list of things you might want to consider this holiday season. This list is based on items we’ve used, tested or received for review in 2010.
Polk Audio HitMaster Price: $89.00
Here’s a powerful [stage monitor] speaker designed with gamers in mind. Polk Audio created the ultimate bang-for-your-buck sound solution for those who do not have a surround-sound speaker system hooked up to their console.
Design: The build is solid and clean. It replicates a classic rock band stage monitor speaker. Sports a 100-Watt on-board amp that powers the 6.5-inch woofer and dual 3x5 horn tweeters, tuned to provide a good sound range at almost any volume. The connections in the rear allow you to daisy-chain multiple HitMasters as well as plug into any TV, console, PC, iPod or any other device with RCA or 1/8-inch headphone jack.
Why we like it? Whether you take your Xbox or PS3 to a friend’s house, competitions or play at home, this floor speaker sits in front of you and blasts big sound towards your face. Perfect for playing games like Guitar Hero, Rock Band or Dance Revolution, as well as pretty much any other game that’s designed to make noise. But seriously, with the Polk Audio HitMaster you get a decent speaker system that’s well-built, respectably powerful, easy to carry and costs under $100. Cyberlink PowerDVD 10 Ultra 3D Price: $79.95 (less if you are upgrading) The best PC video playback solution just got better. Cyberlink’s latest version of PowerDVD now supports Blu-ray 3D movie playback, 2D to 3D conversion and other enhancements you didn’t know you needed. Install this brilliant piece of software and here’s what you’ll get:Blu-ray on steroids. PDVD 10 launches your Blu-ray discs faster, plays a gorgeous picture and clear sound. 3D playback is here. Plays your Blu-ray 3D discs with its intended splendor and it even converts 2D videos into 3D. Yep, whether you have an approved 3D display and the new polarized 3D glasses or whether you have an older display and want to use the old, Anaglyphic (red,blue) glasses, PowerDVD can make it happen.
Upscale to HD. With TrueTheater HD you can upscale non-HD DVDs and videos on your PC to High Definition. High Definition Audio too. PowerDVD 10 supports high-def audio formats from DTS and Dolby. Better Video for all. With its special TrueTheater stabilizer and noise reduction features PDVD 10 improves the quality of all your home videos and clips of all standards. It’s social too. Now you can review movies and make comments then share them with your friends or fans on Facebook, Twitter and MoovieLive. Dyson AM01 10" Fan Price: $299.99 The Dyson AM01 10" is a bladeless table-top fan that uses magic (or Air Multiplier technology if you want to get technical) to generate smooth, constant airflow. Unlike traditional fans that have blades this new piece of genius has some kind of turbine inside it that sucks air in from the base and shoots it up into an air foil loop. No blades means it is safe (especially if you have small children with tiny fingers that love to touch things) and it is easy to clean. It is a bit pricy for a fan but it is something you can show off and talk about for a while (as other fan makers scramble to catch up), it comes with a 2 year warranty and it can save you some money. Yes, the breeze from this thing is so pleasant you might not need your air conditioner running at full blast as often. And now... on to the inter-office balloon races… [youtube]4WNcjkZ6d0w[/youtube]
AVATAR Extended Collector's Edition on Blu-ray Price: $25.00 On November 16th FOX released the highly anticipated AVATAR Extended Collector’s Edition. This 3-disc set takes to back to Pandora at full 1080p. If you loved or even liked Avatar in theaters you will really appreciate the bonus features you get with this set. These include a really cool alternate beginning to the movie, an extended 3 hour cut of the film, unseen footage and deleted scenes in various levels of completion (yes, green screens and all) and an interesting viewing of the filmmaking process. For the real enthusiasts there is even some 3D content hidden away amongst the menu options (in the form of Easter Eggs). The Peregrine Glove Price $149
The Peregrine Glove is an alternative input device that can really come in handy, excuse the pun. This USB device was designed to give the user the edge while playing video games but it can also be used to enhance your experience with a number of other applications. Let's have a look.
The glove is comfortable, form-fitting and elastic. It breaths so you can wear it for many hours and your hand will not sweat. It comes in a range of sizes from small to large and there's a simple sizing chart ( http://www.theperegrine.com/media/img/sizing-chart.pdf ) to help you pick the right one.
A Touchy Situation... There are 18 touch points [5 each on the index, middle and ring fingers and 3 on the pinky], coupled those with the 3 activator pads [2 on the thumb and 1 on the palm] and you can have up to 40 programmable actions. You can create several profiles and load them into one of five "keymaps" on the glove. Once a profile is loaded you can shut down the GloveBox application and the glove will continue to work just as programmed, like any USB keyboard. In fact you can even use it to enter the BIOS before booting up your PC.
By simply touching your fingertips with your thumb you can control your game faster than ever before. Easy-to-use software allows users to create almost any custom configuration imaginable!
Simple software allows you to program and save countless custom layouts. The PEREGRINE can save up to 5 configurations within its internal memory on the Pod, so you can take it to LAN parties and still have your favorite setup. Or if you want to keep it simple, you can just load up any of our default layouts that have been tested extensively in-house. The Peregrine allows you to react more quickly in intense gaming situations. It’s especially effective when you want to combo a series of actions quickly - your fingers don’t have to jump all over the keyboard, and everything is literally right at your fingertips. You don’t have to look down for keys and lose valuable seconds of focus. Also, you aren’t forced to hold your hand on the keyboard in various positions for hours on end. With The Peregrine, you just relax and sit however you want!
This arrangement would not only make things easier and more efficient, but it would also improve posture and provide a more comfortable way to interact with your design or draft program. Netgear N600 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router (WNDR3700) Price: $169.99
There are many, MANY wireless routers out there for the picking. Some offer dual bands, some offer external storage and file sharing, some offer gigabit ethernet, some offer HD video streaming capability, some offer better range, some are easy to set up and some are not, some work and some don’t. Well if you want a router that does it all, is easy to setup and works 24/7 without a hitch meet your new router, the WNDR3700 (I call it WoNDeR 3700) by Netgear. Yes, it sports gigabit ethernet, excellent wireless range (even through walls and other obstacles) and it actually allows us to watch HD content streamed from our Media Center PC to an Xbox 360 with no issues at all. We’ve toyed with countless wireless routers at various price ranges. The sub $100 units are not even worth the time, the ones above $200 work nicely but most are hard to set up and don’t offer the special features that this Netgear does. Best of all the Netgear N600 is priced well below $200, it performs like some $400+ routers and it out-features them by a gigamile.