The IT Guy: Great gifts for the geek on your list

theitguy@islandpacket.comDecember 4, 2011 

  • Morgan Bonner answers your computer questions and offers technology tips and suggestions.

    Send your questions to: theitguy@island packet.com

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Need a little help trying to figure out what to get the geek in your life this holiday season? I'm here to help!

Here are a few of the items on my wish list (just in case Santa is reading). Of course, there are many kinds of geekdom out there. If you happen to know one of these specific varieties, then consider putting these items under their tree. Some of these gadgets aren't exactly cheap. If they are too expensive, electronics store gift cards are always appreciated to ease some of the pain.

COMPUTER GEEK

Apple calls the MacBook Air the "future of the notebook" and in this case it isn't just marketing hype. At only 0.68 inches at its thickest point and weighing only 2.38 pounds, it's perfect for anyone who has to travel.

Beyond the svelte profile, the MacBook Air features the latest Intel Core i5 and i7 chips, flash memory for fast booting and instant-on from sleep, multi-touch trackpad and a Thunderbolt port for high-speed input/output. Not a fan of the Mac? Go ahead and install Windows on it. It's the perfect laptop computer.

TABLET GEEK

Let's just get it out there: The iPad 2 is the best tablet on the market, bar none. If you know someone wants a tablet, get them an iPad 2. That being said, there are (finally!) credible Android tablets hitting that streets that offer an alternative.

If you've got a real Tablet Geek on your hands (for example, if they once said something to you about "rooting" their devices) check out the ASUS Transformer Prime. Spec wise, it's actually beefier than the iPad 2 with a 1.3Ghz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8 megapixel camera, mini-HDMI port, USB 2 port and SD card reader. Perhaps most impressive, however, is that the 32 GB model starts at $499 -- the same price as the 16GB iPad 2.

TABLET GEEK 2

If your Tablet Geek just wants to read books, watch movies and listen to music on their tablet with some light Web surfing thrown in, the Kindle Fire makes a great gift for only $200. That being said, don't expect an iPad-like level of polish. The Kindle Fire is sluggish, has a much smaller app store, no camera, no 3G connectivity and a smaller screen. Of course, that's why it costs so much less.

PHONE GEEK

Switch out "iPad2" and replace it with "iPhone 4s" in the "Tablet Geek" section and you'll know which smartphone to buy for your Phone Geek. Again though, Android fans have a great alternative now with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. It's the first Android phone running their brand new operating system (4.0 or "Ice Cream Sandwich"). It features a massive 4.65-inch HD (1280 by 72) screen and runs on Verizon's 4G LTE network, which is blazing fast on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton.

GAMER GEEK (BIG KID)

If your Gamer Geek is in his late 20s/early 30s and has a PlayStation 3, then let him relive the glory days in the arcade with the PlayStation Move Sharp Shooter light gun and the "James Bond: Goldeneye Reloaded" game. The bundle includes everything you need to live out your James Bond fantasies, and retails for $150 (but can be found online for $100). It may seem like a lot of money up front, but at least it doesn't take quarters to keep playing like in the old days.

GAMER GEEK (LITTLE KID)

The Nintendo 3DS is a great handheld gaming system that has had disappointing sales and recently saw a price cut to $169. The 3-D screen that doesn't require glasses was gimmicky at first. But now with games such as "Super Mario 3D Land" and "Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time" (the greatest game ever made in my opinion) that take full advantage of the 3-D effect and incorporate it into the gameplay, the 3DS is worth your little gamer's time. Just be advised that Nintendo recommends the 3-D effect be turned off for children younger than 7 (the jury is still out on if 3-D affects the development of a child's eyesight) and parental controls are easily accessed to keep it that way.

Morgan Bonner is Pre-Press Manager and a systems administrator for the Packet and Gazette

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