Cool stuff: Your 2010 holiday tech gift guide

Check out the best tablets, smartphones, HDTVs and other tech gifts to give and get this year

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MoGo Talk XD for iPhone

MoGo Talk XD

(Click to view larger image.)
Bluetooth headset option 1: MoGo Talk XD for iPhone

Bluetooth headsets are handy devices to have around -- you can have hands-off conversations while your mobile phone is on your desk or in your pocket. However, what do you do with the headset when you're not using it?

If you know an iPhone owner whose answer is "Stuff it in my pocket and hope I don't lose it," then a company called ID8-Mobile has an answer: the MoGo Talk XD.

The MoGo headset is flatter than most Bluetooth headsets and includes an innovative earpiece that folds into the headset when not in use. The entire device then snaps into the back of a hard protective iPhone case (there are cases available for the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 3G and 3GS). Ready to talk? Just pull the MoGo from the back of your iPhone and slip it on.

Despite its unusual appearance, the MoGo is surprisingly comfortable in your ear and provides good call quality with noise and wind reduction. The small device offers about four hours of talk time, according to the manufacturer, and it charges in the case via an included USB cable.

-- Barbara Krasnoff

MoGo Talk XD from ID8-Mobile

Price: $100

Tech Specs

Summary: The MoGo Talk XD is the perfect Bluetooth headset for friends who are prone to mislaying their gadgets.

Bluetooth headset option 2: Aliph Jawbone Icon

If you want a stylish, useful Bluetooth headset for a friend or relation (or, for that matter, yourself) who's not an iPhone owner, we recommend Aliph's Jawbone Icon. The Jawbone line of consumer headsets is known for its quality, and the Icon fits into that category admirably.

The Icon comes in 10 attractive styles with names like Denim, The Hero and The Bombshell. It offers fine voice quality with noise and wind reduction and A2DP technology so you can listen to music, phone calls and other audio. Hardware features include an on/off switch, a variety of earloops and a single button for answering calls and other tasks.

Aliph Jawbone Icon

Aliph Jawbone Icon

(Click to view larger image.)

One thing that sets the Icon apart is its ability to use Jawbone's online OnTalk service to add apps, download updates and add an audio personality to your voice prompts -- you can, for example, find out how much battery life you have left from a low-voiced temptress or a know-it-all nerd. You can also check your battery life via a BlackBerry or iPhone app that displays a battery meter on your phone.

There are other Bluetooth headsets out there with higher voice quality for professionals and others who do a lot of talking in noisy conditions -- for example, the Plantronics Voyager Pro and the Bose Bluetooth headset both offer excellent sound. However, for the style-conscious giftee, the Jawbone Icon provides an ideal combination of fashion, fun features and good sound.

The Jawbone Icon is available for $99.99 at Aliph's Web site, or you can shop around at a variety of vendors.

-- Barbara Krasnoff

Jawbone Icon from Aliph Inc.

Street price: $45 to $135

Tech Specs  |  Phone: (877) 254-7426

Summary: Aliph's Jawbone Icon Bluetooth headset offers good sound quality, convenient design and fun features all in one fashionable package.

ThinkGeek T-shirts for techies

Let the geeks in your life know you care with a T-shirt that celebrates who they really are. ThinkGeek has a plethora of tees for techies; here are some of our favorites:

ThinkGeek T-shirts for techies

ThinkGeek T-shirts for techies

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ThinkGeek tees are made from 100% cotton (heather gray shirts are 10% polyester). Prices for the T-shirts we've mentioned range from $11 to $19, though others on the site cost more.

-- Valerie Potter

T-shirts for techies from ThinkGeek Inc.

Price: $11 to $19

Tech Specs  |  Phone: (888) GEEKSTUFF

Summary: These ThinkGeek T-shirts celebrate the geek inside all of us.

Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750

Wireless keyboards are nice, eliminating unsightly cables and giving users more mobility than their wired cousins do, but you have to charge them periodically by connecting a USB cable or changing the batteries. Logitech's K750 wireless keyboard adds a new twist -- it's powered by solar energy. (You don't actually have to set it in the sun; any light source will do.)

Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750

Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750

(Click to view larger image.)

The K750's battery charges continuously whenever there's sufficient light; the included Solar App shows current light levels and battery charge. Logitech claims a fully charged keyboard will work for 90 days in total darkness.

Unlike many solar-charged products, the K750 has a shiny, slim design that looks great on any desktop. The K750 officially supports Windows 7, Vista and XP, but some reviewers have found it works with Macs too.

-- Valerie Potter

Wireless Solar Keyboard K750 from Logitech

Price: $80

Tech Specs  |  Phone: (800) 231-7717

Summary: Logitech's spiffy-looking Wireless Solar Keyboard K750 stays charged without the hassle of connecting a USB cable or swapping out batteries.

GelaSkins

Once upon a time, computers came in a range of colors that went from beige to... beige. These days, things aren't quite that boring: You can buy some laptop models in blue, pink, black, white or a few other colors and patterns.

GelaSkins

GelaSkins

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But if you want to really personalize your technology (or a friend's), there are a number of vendors who sell "skins" -- vinyl decals that adhere to the device (and can be removed if you so desire). The most imaginative and vibrant designs can be found from a company called GelaSkins.

Unlike many other skin creators, GelaSkins doesn't depend on motorcycle logos or superhero drawings. Instead, it offers designs from more than 100 artists that range from the fantastic to the frivolous to the just plain bizarre. You simply find your giftee's device -- GelaSkins handles phones, media players, laptops, gaming devices, iPads and e-readers -- and choose a design. (Not all designs are available for all devices.)

If you consider yourself an artist, or have a favorite photo, you can fashion your own GelaSkins skin by using the site's Create Your Own wizard. You simply upload your image, select the device and make sure the image is placed the way you want it -- and GelaSkins will send you a one-of-a-kind skin.

-- Barbara Krasnoff

GelaSkins from GelaSkins Inc.

Price: from $15 to $30, depending on device size; slightly more for custom-made skins

Phone: (888) 435-2754

Summary: GelaSkins let you decorate your tech devices in a variety of beautiful or bizarre images -- or you can create your own.

ThermaPak HeatShift Laptop Cooler

Do you know anyone who is suffering from "toasted skin syndrome"? The condition, which was reported in the medical journal Pediatrics, results in skin discoloration caused by resting a hot notebook computer on your lap for long periods of time.

ThermaPak HeatShift Laptop Cooler

ThermaPak HeatShift Laptop Cooler

(Click to view larger image.)

Even if you don't run the risk of contracting a nasty-sounding medical condition, laptops can get uncomfortably warm, especially when you use them for several hours. There are a number of laptop coolers available, but most are awkward to use or employ unpleasantly loud fans.

An exception to this is the HeatShift Laptop Cooler, a flexible pad that is filled with salt crystals. According to manufacturer ThermaPak, the crystals absorb the heat from the laptop, gradually turning into a gel. It sounds like something you'd see advertised on late-night TV -- but we've tried it with aging laptops that tended to get too hot too fast, and the Laptop Cooler actually kept our legs comfortable and burn-free. And when you're not using it, you can just roll it up and put it away.

The HeatShift Laptop Cooler comes three sizes: one for netbooks, one for 13-in. laptops and one for 17-in. models. It's also available in three colors: white, pink and black.

-- Barbara Krasnoff

HeatShift Laptop Cooler from ThermaPak Technologies Inc.

Street price: $10 to $38

Tech Specs  |  Where to buy  |  Phone: (877) 755-5085

Summary: ThermaPak's HeatShift Laptop Cooler keeps a laptop's heat away from delicate skin.

Want even more ideas? Check out the "More great gifts" suggestions from our 2009 holiday gift guide. Most products are still available, although some have been updated with newer versions.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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