It's that time of the year when the air is filled with festivities. Come New Year, and you’re bombarded with discounts and offers. So, if you have geeks for friends who prefer gadgets to sweets, here’s a list of technological thingamajigs categorized according to your buying power.
Five things to remember when going hunting for gadget gifts
Make a List: First thing you could do is make a list of exactly how many people you would like to gift something this Diwali – and who they are.
Choose the right Gift: Everyone in your list will probably have different tastes. If you like something, it doesn’t mean the one you are gifting would like it.
Budget: Make a total of how much money you are going to spend on gifts– in fact it would help if you came up with a definite figure for how much you are definitely not going to spend this season. Don’t forget Christmas and New Year are fast approaching and credit card interest rates are still nasty in our country.
Finding the best prices: This is the toughest part. The most obvious thing to do would be to leg it to a dozen shops and compare them for discounts and competitive prices. But then, not all shops have everything. Something more sensible would be to check the various internet shopping sites. Check out online shopping portals.
Wrap them up: This may sound inane but the truth is that gifts often lose their effect when not wrapped up – or not wrapped up well enough. And for some reason, we tend to gift gadgets as we buy them – in shopping mall plastic bags. Don’t lose out on the element of surprise – cover it up and watch them brighten up as it unravels.
Starters (Less than Rs. 1,000)
USB pen drives
Flash drives start from Rs. 200 (1 GB) all the way to Rs. 4,000 (32 GB) and above. They are bare necessity and can be stuff to show around. One that stands out makes for a cool gift. The recently launched JetFlash V70 by Transcend, with eco-friendly rubber makes it highly durable, shock-resistant and dust and water-proof. These are available in different colors too – 4 GB (Purple), 8 GB (Orange) and 16 GB (Red) – and, best of all the prices are highly competitive – Rs. 600, Rs. 900 and Rs. 1,600 respectively.
Here’s one for the kitchen and whether your mom works or not, it’ll be a welcome convenience. Usha Lexus toasters come for Rs. 900 or less while Inalsa ones hover around the Rs. 1,000-mark. In fact, considering that it is not just moms who toast bread, you can gift your dad one.
Battery operated mobile charger
An emergency cell phone charger is what travelers always need. You can get one for less than Rs. 160 in time for the Diwali holiday travel. These are pocket-sized, lightweight and use 4 AAA batteries/pencil cells and are compatible with most cell phone brands. Visit your local mobile store for the best deals on this one.
It’s amazing how cheap kitchen accessories have got. The Bajaj Cordless Electric Kettle comes between Rs. 799 to 899. Plug it in and you can make tea, boil milk or water in a moment. Give your mom one, and then proceed to show her what a refreshing cup of tea you can make.
There was a time when hair dryers were only meant for women. Although you can still gift your sister one, these days, even males sporting long hair use them. Hair dryers are way within budget – while the Philips HP 4823 is less than Rs. 700, Panasonic and Remington hair dryers are a little below Rs. 1000.
TV Video Game
If you’re on a shoestring budget and you want to please kids less than age 12 this Diwali, gift them the good old TV video game that you get at every local toy shop. It comes with joysticks, a ‘gun’ and lots of games that can be played on the television – all for less than Rs. 500. Just pray that the kid hasn’t heard of the Xbox or PlayStation yet.
Getting your wallet (Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 2,500)
Every time you think everyone’s got one, just remind yourself that everyone who has already got one usually wants another, better one. Innumerable brands – Chinese et al. – clutter the market and spoil you for choice. Some of these are even below Rs. 1,000. And then there’s the quintessential iPod. The 1 GB iPod Shuffle is priced below the Rs. 2,500 threshold and is going to make your friends flip. You can even change the skin to the stereotypical pink for your sister or girl friend. Or get it for your younger siblings to finally let them have their own private listening device. Cheaper players are available for much less, if you’re not fussy about brands.
If there’s someone who hasn’t got a mobile phone yet, or has an old style one – give him/her a color screen cell phone. The Nokia 1209 (Rs. 1,500) and the Nokia 1650 (Rs. 1,765) not only have color screens, but offer other features such as FM radio, speaker phone and a torch light. Samsung even has a flip phone with color, radio and Bluetooth (E1310) that comes for a little less than Rs. 2,500. Sony Ericsson has some economical models too and the best buy is the K33Oi (for Rs. 2,499) that has features such as MP3 player, Bluetooth, FM and a camera! Don’t forget to check out the new Nokia Xpress Radio 5030, which looks great and costs just Rs. 2,300.
Portable DVD Player
DVD players are now priced way below the Rs. 2,000 mark and if you don’t want to gift one of those, there are a variety of portable DVD players that play MP3, MP4 - and even have USB slots provided. A definite asset for the teens and tweens who are active on the party circuit.
Emptying your wallet (Rs. 2,500 to Rs. 5,000)
Wearable MP3 Player
Music players you can wear are all the rage these days. Two years ago, SanDisk launched the Sansa Clip – a wearable MP3 player in 1 GB and 2 GB sizes and in a variety of different colors. Sony’s NWZ – W202 is an MP3 player built into the headset, with 13.5mm EX Headphones and soft silicon ear buds. Two features make it special:
- Zappin - You can zap through songs really fast, listening to 4 to 10-second-clips to check out if there’s a song you want to hear.
- Jog Dial - Once you reach an interesting track, just press the ‘Jog’ button and you’ll be able to hear the full song.
Digital photo frames
They make great gifts for shutterbugs. Transcend’s T-Photo 710C 7-inch digital photo frame costs Rs. 4,399, has a 7-inch TFT display, 1 GB memory and even plays MP3 tracks. You can plug it into your PC, hang it on a wall or mount it on a shelf. This makes a good family gift; especially, your mom, dad and grandparents.
A good food processor can work like a charm to make kitchen work less tedious. Homemakers would always welcome a multi-purpose chopper, grinder, mixer, juicer and slicer. Fortunately, they’ve all become remarkably economical. The Bajaj Platina PX 80F, for example, does all these and costs just Rs. 4,990. Another brand, Kenstar sells theirs for less Rs. 4,580 – and this one even has an atta kneader.
Need the ATM? (Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 10,000)
Kodak has a couple of great cams up for grabs – the Kodak Easyshare C140 (8.2 Megapixel, 3x optical zoom with face detection) and the Kodak Easyshare C160 (9.2 Megapixel, 3x optical zoom, face detection and a 2 GB memory card) for Rs. 5,490 and Rs. 6,590 respectively. Sony’s S930 is pretty good too, at Rs. 7,800. Turn to page number 80 for the Digital Camera test where you can find even more options.
Digital Photo Printer
Save your friends and family the task of lugging their cameras to the nearest studio. Buy them a photo printer that gives them studio-quality prints right in the comfort of their homes. Two great options in the market today are the Sony DPP-FP67 which gives you 4x6 digital quality prints with auto red-eye correction, exposure correction and a 2.5 inch LCD preview screen for Rs. 6,990. A cheaper version of the same is Sony’s DPP-FP65 for Rs. 5,990. Canon photo printers such as the Pixma IP1200 comes for as less as Rs. 1,855 while the better Canon CP 760 comes for Rs. 5,390.
Sony PlayStation 2
So what if the PS3 is out. The Sony PlayStation is guaranteed to send kids and teenagers into throes of happiness. It is now available in less than Rs. 7,000 and is great for a first taste of what gaming is really all about.
Indulge... (Rs. 10,000 and above)
Since the government is ushering in the 3G era into India, there’s nothing better than giving your loved ones a 3G enabled phone, packed with all their favorite features. The Nokia 5630 (for Rs. 13,000), Nokia 5800 Xpress Music (at Rs. 14,350), the Sony Ericsson W995 (for about Rs. 25,000), the Samsung F480 (at Rs. 15,200) – all give you great value for your money and are gifts to be remembered by.
If you’ve got deep pockets – and they’re all full – the Sony PlayStation 3 (at less than Rs. 25,000) and the Microsoft Xbox 360 (between Rs. 12,000 and Rs. 15,000 as the rates have recently been slashed) are awesome gifts for your game-crazy cousins and friends. Put in a few games with it and they’ll never forget the Diwali.
Smaller and more convenient than a laptop yet a netbook is packed with all the features of a laptop and more. For almost anyone today, whether student or professional, young or old, male or female, a netbook could be a life-changing gift. The Dell Studio 14 (for Rs. 41,970), the Samsung NC10 (for Rs. 25,249), the ASUS S101H (for Rs. 30,500), the Acer Aspire at Rs. 21,820 – these are only some of the options you could choose from. The HP Mini 1129TU is another cool one for just Rs. 24,700. One great thing about buying gadgets that are a little expensive is that almost everybody allows payment in equated monthly installments these days.