• MacTalk Christmas Gift Guide 2012 | Ben

    The following is a list of both things I have and can recommend, and also some things I'd like to have (some of which are just dreaming of course, but what the hell). Hope they give you some good ideas for both your shopping list and your own wish list! Items are listed are in order of cheapest to most expensive, and each heading links to some of the cheapest prices I've found for each item ... but I'd still recommend shopping around!

    Merry Christmas MacTalk!

    Apple Earpods

    These would make a great gift for anyone you know who has an iDevice but hasnít got Earpods yet. They sound pretty decent, they have all the iPod and iPhone controls built in including microphone for handsfree phone calls, and theyíre a bargain at only $35!

    Sena Cases for iPhones
    $40-$60 plus $10 delivery

    Iím not a fan of plastic clip-on cases, so if you are buying for someone who prefers nice leather wallets over something made by Rip Curl, then these might be a good option. Iíve had one for a few years and it still looks as good as the day I got it, so A+ for materials and manufacture. They look, feel and smell nice too!

    Smart TV HDMI Dongle

    Havenít tried or used one of these, but it looks like a neat idea, and at $69 itís not a huge expense to transform your existing TV into a ĎSmart TVí for viewing movies, media and online content.

    Gary Fong External Flash Lightsphere

    This is the perfect gift idea for someone whoís a keen amateur or semi-pro photographer (though even some pros use these). Itís a lightsphere that is compact and fits over the top of an external SLR flash, creating an instant studio lighting effect, especially useful for portrait or product photography.

    iPad Bluetooth Keyboard

    Keyboard and iPad cover all in one, ideal for people who spend more time typing than touching on their iPad. One of the thinest on the market and all the reviews seems to indicate itís a neat little unit. The alloy matches the iPad too which is cool.

    1000 Lumen LED Bike Light

    If you buying for a bit of geek that enjoys cycling or mountain bike riding, this is by far the best value LED bike headlight available anywhere. At 1000 lumens, this high-tech little LED light outputs the same amount of light as a standard car headlight! Blows most other bike LEDs out of the water!

    Second Screen and FULL HD TV in One

    Buying for someone whoís got a MacBook or iMac? Why not get them a second screen that also doubles as an extra Full HD TV as well? Youíll need to get a HDMI adaptor and/or cable, but otherwise $139 is so cheap for Full HD LED!

    iPod/iPhone Car Stereo Kits
    Between $100 and $200 for standard kits (depending on car model etc.)

    For the iDevice owner who loves their music and their car, Cushie Audio have a massive range of iPod/iPhone interface boxes that suit a wide range of vehicle stereos. I fitted one to my Audi and I basically tricks the stereo into thinking there is a CD stacker installed, but plays audio from the iPhone while also charging it. Hearing your iPhone music through ten speakers is pure awesome.

    Yamaha PDX-31 Speaker Dock

    A great sounding and very compact iPod/iPhone dock that is WAY cheaper than similar Bose products while offering similar sound quality. The one weíve got travels with us on holiday, out onto our deck, goes to parties ... itís compact size makes it easy to just chuck in with the rest of the luggage. This updated version also features an AUX input.

    Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm F1.8G Lens

    A must-have for any photographer, and itís so cheap! To get a zoom lens of this quality with an F-stop of 1.8 will cost you thousands of dollars, whereas this fixed lens provides pin sharp images in very, very low light, and at $200 is an dead-set bargain.

    Nikon P7100 Compact Digital Camera

    For anyone who loves their digital SLR but wants a more compact camera or is planning to head overseas, I can very highly recommend the Nikon P7100. Weíve had a Nikon 7000 for about two years and it is an amazing little camera. It has all the dials and settings of a full size SLR, yet is very light and compact. It copes quite well in low light situations, but during the day the image quality is virtually identical to our full size Nikon D90ósimply amazing!

    Wacom Intuos5 Large Pen and Touch

    Graphics designers or photographers who do a lot of Photoshop work will love one of these. Pressure sensitive and very accurate, it makes a computer mouse feel like youíre painting with railway sleeper. Available in various sizes with various prices, however in this arena bigger is better giving you the most workspace and highest accuracy.

    MacBook Air 13" 256GB

    Pretty much the ultimate portable computer on Earth. Iím desperately wanting one. Enough said.

    Korg SV1 Retro Keyboard

    For any musicians this is possibly the coolest digital piano ever made. Free of LCD screens and lots of tiny square buttons, this Korg features chunky retro dials, red LEDs, and even a built-in valve for producing genuine retro amp sounds. With state-of-the-art sound rendering, this keyboard is much more high tech than it looks, and thatís what I love about it!

    Sony NEX VG-20 Video Camera and Digital SLR

    The ultimate create device. Itís an SLR digital camera with interchangeable lenses and Full HD video camera all in one. The video on this smashes any home handycam to bits, and the Dolby Digital on-board microphones set a new standard for compact video camera sound. And though the SLR bit isnít quite as good as a dedicated SLR camera, itís still very good and will suit most peopleís photographic needs. The SLR lens allows cinematic style video production which will make anyone who loves video filming and editing swoon.

    Nikon D600 DSLR Camera

    Love photography? This is one of Nikonís latest cameras and itís a beauty. Full-frame 24.3MP with 39 point autofocus, it uses the same image processor as the new D800, but is hundreds of dollars cheaper. Itís a good balance between value and professional quality photos. Itís main job is amazing photos, but like many cameras these days it also captures HD video as well.

    And if you're still stuck for ideas, Apple have put together a gift guide to suit owners of iPad, Mac, iPhone and iPods, with gift ideas to suit each device. See the Apple guide here.

    Ben is marketing communications manager for Britax Automotive Equipment. He also owns and runs his own creative company called Evocative (www.evocative.cc) that does graphic design, photography and creative writing. Holding an Honours Degree in Design majoring in Corporate Identity, Ben has over ten years commercial experienceómost of which was achieved using a Mac. He's also into technology, audio gear, drums, music, cars and coffee.

    ē Follow Ben on Twitter @BenJohnston_ or on Google+
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