Hot Tech Gifts

By Ginny Frizzi

October 21, 2011 5 min read

Regardless of age and interests, most people have at least one electronic gift on their holiday wish list.

Manufacturers are up to the challenge, with a variety of gift possibilities for you to consider. Not surprisingly, many involve music.

An Orb music player is an affordable way to enjoy music -- whether it be from an Internet radio station or service, iTunes or another source -- on any stereo. The player is controlled by a smartphone and plugs into a home stereo. It retails for $79.

Aspiring musicians no longer have to settle for playing air guitar, thanks to the Fretlight guitar. It teaches how to play through video guitar lessons that drive a series of lights embedded in the instrument's neck. Ranging in price from $499 to $799, the Fretlight guitar comes in various models and colors, including red and blue.

Even the humble pen has gone electronic. Livescribe manufactures "smartpens" that record audio and match it up with what is being written. The Livescribe Pulse records notes two ways. It creates digital copies of everything written by hand while recording audio.

The Pulse also links the two together. The user can access audio quickly by tapping parts of his or her notes. All of this is uploaded to the user's computer, where Livescribe software archives and makes the notes fully searchable. Other features include a calculator, a translator and a paper piano that plays a mini-piano drawn on paper.

For a student or professional whose pen needs aren't that complex, Livescribe's Echo (about $100) records everything the user writes and says. The written and audio notes can be uploaded directly to a personal computer for saving and searching or to online destinations, including email, Facebook and Google documents.

Need a gift idea for the techie who has everything? Then consider Ravi Ratan's USB flash drive cuff links, each of which contains 2 gigabytes of functional storage. Most can be engraved and cost between $195 and $225.

Those looking for a small but impressive electronic gift should look into RadioShack's Looxcie, the first wearable camcorder that records everything the user sees. Looxcie, which sells for $199, is optimized for mobile use. The device fits comfortably over the ear and points where the user looks. Looxcie continuously records video as the user experiences it, and clips can be shared instantly via email, text, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more.

RadioShack's Pocket Copter ($34.99) is small but fun. It has been recognized as the smallest remote control helicopter in the world by Guinness World Records.

Three-D glasses are the perfect Christmas gift for someone who likes to spend time in another dimension. Ingri:Dahl's line of 3-D glasses is affordable ($29.95) and useful, and it includes clip-ons for those who already wear glasses. The glasses can be used both in movie theaters and for 3-D television watching.

Earbuds that get tangled can be annoying. Eliminate this problem with the gift of Zipbuds, tangle-resistant earbuds that come in a variety of colors. Zipbuds are compatible with iPhones, iPods and most other media devices. Packages start at $39.99 and include Zipbuds earphones, three custom-fitted ear tip sizes and two sport ear clips.

Another possible gift for the iPhone user on your list is Iomega's SuperHero. It sells for less than $60 and backs up the phone's contacts and photos every time it charges.

Even some traditional Christmas gifts are being made in electric versions. One is Remington's Touch Control beard and stubble trimmer. It is the world's first grooming tool with a touch-screen interface, aimed at tech-savvy travelers with its USB charging capabilities. It retails for about $50.

If your gift budget is really tight, check into Applecore's apple-shaped cable managers, which keep cords untangled. They sell for less than $5 and are available in a variety of colors.

The techie on your list will be plugged in and ready to go.

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