A look at the latest and greatest technology for gifts this year
It’s that time of year again when the snow is fresh, and the laptops are broken. The Christmas season is open and technology is running rampant. 2006 welcomed many newcomers into the tech market along with a lot of revamps of older products.
With so many new and upcoming technologies, it is hard to say what’s worth it; so, the Campus Press presents the Holiday Guide to Buying Tech.
This year’s cell phone market is pretty robust. A lot of new players have come onto the market, and a few older ones have been remodeled.
CP Staff Top pick: Motorola RAZR
Although this phone has been around for a while now and has a bit of a tendency to break when any pressure is applied to it, the Moto RAZR still has the most features of any flip phone on the market. The RAZR now comes stock with mp3 capability, Bluetooth, address book synchronization and a nice camera. And, since the market has quite a lot of these, they are available at much lower prices.
Depending on your cell phone service, the RAZR selss at about $149.99.
CP Staff Runner up: LG Chocolate
This phone, released just a month ago, has impressed many of its users with its mp3 capability, ease of use and sleek stylings. The Chocolate has not been praised for a long battery life, but it is able to seamlessly integrate mp3s and talking on the phone. Retailing for $249.99, the Chocolate is not cheap, but it does come in three new flavors: Cherry, Mint and White Chocolate
The mp3 player market has been dominated by one name the past few years: Apple. This year is no exception, although there are a few more players.
CP Staff Top Pick: Apple iPod
This player has dominated the market, and for good reason. iPods have been out for a long time. They are sleek and thin, have long battery life, are easy to use and have tons of accessories. Although Apple does have its share of issues – the new iTunes 7.0 is quite buggy, and Apple does not allow any sort of integration with other software – there are a ton of accessories to choose from and can be fitted to almost any situation. Other than the fact that it is almost impossible to get Apple to honor the warranty, the iPod still presents itself as the king of the mp3 world.
CP Staff Runner up: Microsoft Zune
Although Microsoft tends to enter various markets pretty late, the company usually finds a way to make products that work. Three weeks after being released to the public, the Zune is already the number two selling mp3 player (behind the iPod, of course). The Zune functions pretty well but does not have enough features to really pull people away from the iPod. The Zune is priced nearly the same as the iPod, so there is not much incentive to switch. If Microsoft can pull together a product in the next generation with a host of new features better than the iPod’s, the Zune could really grab the mp3 market.
What every college student needs is a fantastic game to get his or her mind off of finals and onto something a bit more…productive. The console battle this holiday season has once again resumed, pitting the three giants against each other; the competition allows consumers the advantage.
CP Staff Top Pick: XBOX 360
The 360 has been out for almost a year now but continues to impress all of its owners. The recently released Gears of War stunned every reviewer and gamer, and it earning one of the highest scores in gaming history. Gears’ graphics and gameplay have really taken the XBOX 360’s hardware to a new level. The 360 has dominated the console market, and Microsoft has nowhere to go but bigger in this market.
CP Staff Runner up: Nintendo Wii
The Nintendo Wii surprised consumers this holiday by producing a great and fun product. Although this console has caused much damage to TVs across the country, its motion-sensing controllers are fun and entertaining. The Wii’s graphics are not top-notch, but Nintendo has made up for it in gameplay with sheer fun.
CP Staff Runner up: Guitar Hero II
Although this is a game for the PlayStation 2, it really feels like a console all in itself. With gamers able to pick up a guitar and jam along to all the great rock songs from the years, Guitar Hero II is one of the cult phenomenons sweeping the nation. For $49.99, players can buy the game (if they already own the guitars), but for an additional $30 players can buy a guitar and rock to their heart’s content. In the words of CP Staffer Nick Switzer, “Guitar Hero 2 changed my life.”