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Holiday Gadget Guide 2012

Whether you live in a red state or a blue state, whether you are celebrating or sulking right now, one thing remains unchanged. The holiday season is coming, and the constant deluge of political ads will soon be replaced by a torrent of commercials advertising more toys, gadgets, and gizmos than any normal person can sift through.

If you’re looking to make your techie happy this Christmas, check out the list below to find a few of the best and most-coveted items on many a geek’s wish list.

iPad/iPhone 5/iPod Touch/iPad Mini:

You may be wondering how I can lump all of these i-products into one single category. It’s because across the board, the experience using any of these devices is essentially the same or very similar.  Using an IOS device is guaranteed to be fast, smooth, and intuitive; all that remains is to decide which of these products fit your lifestyle. With the newly released iPad Mini, Apple has pretty much the entire spectrum of form factors covered.  The latest batch of IOS devices are among the best-performing mobile devices on the market, and with the number and variety of apps bordering on astronomical, you‘ll always have plenty to do, no matter which one you choose.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2:

It’s rare that you find a device so unique that you have to coin a new moniker to describe it. Samsung’s new Galaxy Note II “phablet” with its massive 5.5-inch screen and custom “S-Pen” interactive stylus is not quite a tablet and more than just your run-of-the-mill smart phone. If you find yourself torn between the two, then the Galaxy Note II might be the perfect solution. The device comes with Google’s new and improved Jellybean version of the Android OS, which adds a slew of new features and improvements.  Reviews of the Galaxy Note II are glowing across the board, and for good reason: this device is a joy to use, provided you have hands big enough to hold on to it.

Lenovo Ideapad Yoga:

Tablets are great for light tasks, but upon using one for an extended period of time, the list of things you wish you could do with it, but can’t, seems to pile up pretty quickly. If you want the best of both mobility and functionality, the 13.3-inch Yoga is definitely something to consider. This laptop/tablet hybrid not only sports a fully functional QWERTY keyboard , track pad, and multi-touch touch screen, but it runs the full desktop version of Windows 8, allowing you to be every bit as productive as when you are on your desktop at home. If you’re in the mood for a more casual experience, the Yoga has a hinge that bends a full 360 degrees, allowing you to use it in tablet, easel, or tent mode. While the Windows 8 store is kind of sparse in the app department compared to the IOS and Android app markets, Microsoft assures us that that will improve in the near future.

Wii U:

Like Nintendo’s former Wii console, this one comes with a twist. In place of a traditional controller, which can often overwhelm the non-gamers out there, there’s a 6.2 inch touch-screen controller with the traditional button controls in the margins.  While the original Wii console was great for bowling and pretending to swing swords, when it came to core titles like Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty, it fell a bit short. This time around the Wii U is not only on par with its competition, but the addition of the gaming tablet adds new features like fast access to inventory and menus, mini games that allow you to work in sync with another player during multiplayer sessions, and the ability to play your game via the controller itself should your kids, siblings, or significant other usurp control of the television.  The Wii U combines the casual gaming experience with serious gaming, with one caveat: the included tablet (for now) only functions within a certain radius of the main Wii U system, so if you’re thinking about getting some Mario in while waiting in line at the bank, think again.

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