If you’re reading this blog, chances are you are the type of person who thinks a gadget can make for a mind-blowing gift.
Here’s a handy compendium for blowing minds on the (relatively) cheap. These gifts range in price from a $30 pair of hi-fi headphones to a $200 tablet, and they’ll make the nerd on your list smile. Or scream and jump around like that one House of Pain song never went out of style.
And if the latter is the case, we humbly request that you film it and upload it to YouTube with the title “Thank You VentureBeat.”
Tablets & E-readers
Kindle Fire: $199
This tablet-and-e-reader hybrid is currently the most popular in its class. With this Android tablet, you get access to a huge media library of 18 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines and books through Amazon itself, as well as from third-party services like Hulu, Pandora and Netflix. The device supports thousands of games and apps, and runs Amazon Silk, the company’s own web browser.
The Fire features a 7-inch touchscreen and supports Wi-Fi connectivity.
Nook Color: $199
This e-reader from Barnes & Noble also features some suspiciously tablet-like touches, such as apps, multimedia services, email access and web browsing. It also has access to a library of more than 2.5 million books and magazines. Netflix and Hulu support are coming soon, as is Nook Comics, a Marvel-fueled marketplace of comic books and graphic novels. Nook users can get device support (Genius Bar-style) inside Barnes & Nobel stores.
The 7-inch color touchscreen device supports Wi-Fi connectivity.
Kobo Vox: $199
This e-reader-and-tablet hybrid sports Wi-Fi connectivity, a 7-inch color touchscreen and an Android operating system, which means you’ll find the expected range of apps, games and music and video services. You’ll also get web browsing, email access and the Kobo Store, which houses 2.2 million books alone, as well as magazines and newspapers. Kobo also wants us all to know about Pulse, its attempt to socialize the reading experience.
Toys & Games
This remote-controlled toy can actually be controlled with the iHelecopter app on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. And if you feel like buying more than one, up to three iHelicopters can be controlled by three different iOS devices in the same space, thanks to a handy band selection feature. For $10 more, you can spring for the missile-launching version.
Kinect for Xbox 360: $99
This motion-sensitive controller turns a hardcore gaming console like the Xbox 360 into something that’s approachable and fun for the whole family. Plus, it’ll keep your favorite couch potato on his or her feet, with many Kinect-focused games based on dancing, racing and similar activities. The Xbox itself is sold separately; you can find it at some stores or online retailers for less than $200.
Sony Xperia Play 4G: $49 (with contract)
If you’re open to signing up for an AT&T two-year contract, you can pick up one of these PlayStation-certified gadgets on a 4G network. The Play functions as a full phone, complete with front- and rear-facing cameras, texting, web browsing and apps. But it also comes bundled with seven PlayStation games. More games can be purchased separately.
Next, music & media devices, cameras and more…
Image via theirhistory/Flickr