GEEKOUT GIFT GUIDE

**Make sure you check out Part 2 and Part 3.  Follow @peet2 or on Facebook for notifications on when updated**

It’s that time of year and if you’re looking for a good, geeky, techy gift for a loved one – here’s a list of stuff that I would recommend.

Computers:  You’ve got an option between Apple and Windows.  Making this interesting is the introduction of the new Windows 8 operating system which is unlike any Windows you’ve ever used before.  So, you’ve got a learning curve here, but I’m not sure that the payoff isn’t a winner.  And, it will only get better from here and there is a mountain of new hardware to consider, but the ideal new desktop (and best iMac competitor) is the new Dell XPS One 27 ($1999).  This is an all-in-one desktop feature not only a big processor, lots of storage and memory – but that giant 27″ screen fully utilizes Windows 8 new touch-screen interactivity.  But if you’re looking for an Apple product, the newly released iMac in either 21.5″ or 27″ are fantastic choices.  The new design is slim, sexy and make sure you check the option box for the “Fusion Drive” upgrade.  This will speed up performance with a new hybrid drive.

Tablets:  The smaller tablets is going to be the big holiday seller with several options in the $200-$350 range.  And while I would prefer to see everyone just go ahead and splurge on the new 4th gen, full sized iPad – I realize that at a price that starts at $500, it ain’t for everyone.  So, I think the decision to choose between the new Kindle Fire HD, Nexus 7 and iPad Mini is a tough one.  The Mini is the most expensive, doesn’t match the performance specs of the other two – but allows users into the far better established and stocked Apple iTunes App Store.  If you’re getting a tablet for the apps, this is the way to go.  The Kindle Fire HD is a very family friendly device.  Marry this to a Amazon Prime account and suddenly you have a wonderful little media device.  Of the three, the Nexus 7 is the best option to cover what the other two do best.  It’s a fantastic device with a shocking amount of power and specs for the price.

Cell Phones: Look, I’m not going to get into the dirty battle of “what’s better”.  Each person just needs to do a little research, talk to friends and co-workers and decide what OS is best for them.  The adventurous pick is the new Lumia 920 Windows 8 phone.  This is a sexy, solid piece of tech and its running the OS that makes iOS and Android look really outdated.  That doesn’t mean its the best OS, cause it’s not.  But it’s really fun, and once you kinda ‘get it’, easy to use.  The safe bet is the Apple iPhone 5, the setup is designed so that users know what they’re going to get, how it works with very little guessing and the best selection of apps.  But that comes at the cost of personalization and customization that Android provides and the sexy bet is the Samsung Galaxy S III.  This is a fantastic device with a giant screen and super snappy performance.  Once the new Android updates to “Jelly Bean” this will be the finest of devices – but that’s the problem, you never know when your Android device will get the updated OS.. There are a lot of people still waiting for the last version.  Hey, none of these are perfect.  Other good choices:  The new Nexus 4 (see Android Jelly Bean in its purest form) and the iPhone 4S, hey $99 is a great deal for what is still a totally great phone.

Laptops: As good as full sized tablets can be, laptops are beginning to become marginalized.  But they still are the best way to do on the go, actual, work.  The newly released Google Chromebook is a totally wacky idea that your laptop is pretty much nothing more than a portal to the inter web, and from there you do all of your work and stuff via Google web apps (gmail, docs, etc).  The really attractive part is that the damned thing only costs $250!!  But again, you have to have a connection to the net to do anything with it.  Apple makes the sexiest of laptops and none can make a geek’s pants fly like the 11″ MacBook Air.  Thin, light, and wicked fast with all that solid state storage.  The machine can handle a lot of work and computing and is a great buy at $1000.  But if you’re into the Windows 8 idea the new Lenovo Think Pad Twist is an outstanding idea.  Like CNET said about it, “The ThinkPad Twist has great Lenovo construction, a responsive touch screen, and a center hinge for flipping into tablet mode, all for a very reasonable price.($800)”