Apple imported many of the popular iPhone features to its latest iPod iteration with stunning results. Groove to your favorite songs while checking your stock portfolio, looking for directions to the restaurant where you’re meeting friends, check the weather, play games, watch YouTube videos, and more. The gorgeous display, superior sound and all around coolness make this an addictive gadget. Even with my massive 80 GB model loaded with hundreds of albums, I still cart this smaller version around with a selection of just my favorite songs while checking out the weather in warmer climes and watching old Clash videos on YouTube.
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Somehow, it feels as though 2009 will be the PlayStation 3’s year. The Xbox 360 has shown us what “next generation” hardware can look like, and has introduced the necessity of a well-implemented online infrastructure. The Wii and DS have shown us just how wide the audience for gaming can be. 2009 is going to be the year that gamers want to see just how far they can take the new generation of consoles, and the PlayStation 3 will be the console to take them there. 2008 was the year that Blu-Ray won; 2008 was the year that the vocal masses got their way and convinced Sony that a controller that vibrates is important. 2008 was the year that the PS3 got its own version of achievements, and 2008 was the year that Sony’s exclusives started to make people sit up and take notice. This particular bundle starts you with the biggest PS3 yet released—160GB is enough to store a whole pile of music, movies, and downloaded games—and tosses in one of the first exclusives that actually managed to make other console owners jealous: Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. Add to this the fact that the whole bundle is retailing for the same price point that the merely 20GB PS3 sold for all by itself two tiny years ago, and the time simply seems right for a PS3. Want to wow a gamer with a gift this holiday season? The PS3 is your ticket. [$499.99]
For the musician or hard core music fan with a shelf or desk to decorate, come these amazingly realistic mini Fender guitars. About one-third the size of the real thing, they can also be wall-mounted to show the works of art they truly are. The guitars come in a multitude of colors and you can also pick up a display case for six of the nine models if you’re a serious Fender aficionado. Oh, and they only look playable with their genuine wood necks, steel strings, and movable switches, so don’t drive yourself nuts trying.
Nintendo DS [Nintendo - $129.99 at Amazon]
If you need a gift for your gamer that’s going to keep permanent butt-prints from forming in your favorite living room furniture, a portable gaming system is doubtless the way to go. It’s hard to deny the momentum that the Nintendo DS is carrying with it at this point, but there’s a good reason for that: Nintendo knows how to adapt. Nintendo has not tried to force their consumers to embrace new technologies (Come on, Sony, UMD? You can do better than that.) or pay out the ear for their portable gaming. Instead, they took the Game Boy Advance, added an extra screen, incorporated a stylus, and came up with the perfect little system for the Palm generation. Innovative game designers are just now starting to figure out how to take advantage of that second screen and the stylus, with inventive entries in the portable gaming canon like Elite Beat Agents, Gunpey, and the ever-entertaining Trauma Center giving the system a unique feel that’s utterly appealing. Plus, is there a better way to kill five minutes than WarioWare: Touched? [Amazon]
Elite Beat Agents Trailer