Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg. The Batmobile lost a wheel and the joker got away. Hey! Yes, it’s that time of year again, and I’ve rounded up my top gifts for the holiday season in a similar fashion as Noah’s gift list: It’s all about me. Me, me me! Actually, if you or someone you know like fast machines, performance laptops, cameras, and Autobots, then this is the Holiday Gift Guide for you! May all of your holiday wishes come true this frosty season, and remember–it’s better to give than receive. As Paul said once in my favorite Beatles song, “And in the end that love you take is equal to the love you make.” Merry Holiday, everyone.
Money is No Object
Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC SE
If you want the caviar of production motorcycle technology, the Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC SE will serve you a four-course dinner complete with traction control, wheelie control, launch control and quick shift capabilities right out of the dealer parking lot. ATC (Aprilia Traction Control) automatically adjusts to different tire types and has eight different settings controlled via a joystick next to the throttle tube. Meanwhile, AWC (Aprilia Wheelie Control) has three different degrees, depending on your tendency to loft the front end around hairpins, and ALC (Aprilia Launch Control) will prevent looping the bike out of the starting grid. AQS (Aprilia Quick Shift) allows the rider to rock through gears without closing the throttle or using the clutch, making the Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC SE one of the premiere choices for the track. Tack on the fully adjustable Ohlins suspension, Brembo radial brakes and forged aluminum wheels, and this fuel-injected Italian liter bike is ready to paint the competition red, white and green with envy.
Gifts Under $2000
Apple MacBook Pro 15″
Video editors, graphic designers, photographers and musicians unite! The MacBook Pro is unparalleled when it comes to furnishing the needs of the creative type. Equipped with quad-core Intel Core i7 processors and AMD Radeon graphics processors, the MacBook Pro will tackle HD video production and extensive Photoshop sessions without blinking a circuit. The latest MacBook Pro models get lightning quick Thunderbolt connectivity which allow for data transfer rates of up to 10Gbps. The MacBook Pro is indubitably more expensive than a Windows machine, but, like Steve always said, Apple doesn’t sell crap. I’m typing this on a 13-inch MacBook Pro that’s two years old and it’s still as snappy and nimble as the day I got it, hundreds of video projects and Photoshop marathons later. If you want the best laptop on the market for the digital artist, the MacBook Pro is the way to go.
Gifts Under $500
Canon PowerShot G12
Out of the current crop of fixed lens performance compacts, the Canon PowerShot G12 is fly like a G6, like a like a G6 baby. With a 10-megapixel 1/1.7-inch back-illuminated CCD chip, this camera was one of the top performers in its class. The external build is also one of the G12’s specialties, presenting advanced hobbyists with a layercake configuration of ISO and Program dials, as well as Exposure Compensation and front and rear control wheels. Other nifty features include a built-in neutral density filter, 720p H.264 video recording, RAW shooting and a flip-out 461K LCD screen for shooting at odd angles. The Canon PowerShot G12 also offers an optical viewfinder and hot accessory shoe for external flashes. Although the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 is the best option for video in the world of power-packed fixed lens cameras, the Canon PowerShot G12 is the most versatile still shooter on the market.
GoPro HD Motorsports Hero
Do you flog dirt bikes on a motocross track or on crazy trails? Race stock cars at the local asphalt oval on the weekends? Slay the Dragon in Deal’s Gap on your Kawasaki ZX10? Then the GoPro HD Motorsports Hero bundle is the digital imaging artillery you need to document all of your madcap motorsport adventures! Not only does the GoPro HD Hero offer the best 1080p 30fps image quality out of any other action cam in its class, but the Motorsports package ships with a suction cup mount and several stick-on bases for helmet, gas tanks or other areas of your badass vehicle. I swear by the GoPro for all of my extreme two-wheeled quests and it’s never let me down! And crashes never looked so good in Full HD.
Gifts Under $200
Transformers Blaster Action Figure Gen. 1
Everyone remembers Optimus Prime and Megatron. But trying to buy the first generation toys in their original unopened boxes can spank your wallet bare. So who’s the next best down the line? Why Blaster, of course! Next to the Autobots, no other Transformer was as awesome as Blaster. The robot was a giant boombox that played mini cassettes that transformed into little animals themselves! Although the action figure of Blaster never played music, he still goes down in my book as one of the gnarliest and most bodacious Transformers of all time. Not a fan of Blaster? Check eBay to satisfy all your retro Transformers needs. Autobots roll out!
Fantom Green Drive 2TB
Two terabytes for a mere $120!? My, how times have changed! Why, back in my day, I had to drop over $300 on a 300GB hard drive that required minor assembly! If my math is correct, the Fantom Green Drive will cost you 6 cents per gigabyte. Shazam! I’ve had a 1TB Fantom Green Drive for over two years and it’s never skipped a beat. It’s also quiet as a sedated dormouse and quick as can be regarding file transfers and video project performance. But the best part about the Green Drive is that it’s super light on power. With its rugged aluminum design that pairs beautifully with a MacBook Pro and USB 2.0/eSATA connectivity with respective 60Mbps and 120Mbps speeds, the Fantom Green Drive is a great external storage option. And if $120 is a budget blower, Fantom offers a 1TB Green Drive for about $83. They’re just GIVING storage away these days!
Gifts Under $50
Native Union POP Phone
I reviewed the Yubz Retro Handset a while back and I loved it for the fact that it vanquished the need to place the phone against your head in order to eliminate radiation exposure. What I found was that the sound quality was also insanely better than the phone itself and if was much more comfortable to hold. Then Native Union sent me their version of the retro phone accessory, and it blew the Yubz out of the water. The craftsmanship, sound quality and ergonomic design proved far superior, and the POP phone is an even cheaper alternative. The Native Union POP phone is compatble with a myriad of makes and models, and even ships with adapters. But the best part about the POP phone is how awesome you look in public talking on a giant phone receiver that is plugged into your pocket.
FC Twin Console
Want to relive the pixilated magic of your childhood? Well the FC Twin console by Yobo will get you started! While impeccably preserved, brand new and unopened systems are running in the thousands, the FC Twin will quell all of your NES and SNES needs by supporting both cartidges. Super Mario Bros., Mega Man, Castlevania, Zelda, Kirby’s Adventure, Blades of Steel, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, Double Dragon, Contra, Tetris, Paperboy, Rescue Rangers, Maniac Mansion, Bugs Bunny’s Crazy Castle and more are waiting for you, so don’t delay! The FC Twin ships with two controllers, an AV cable and AC adapter, but it also supports original SNES controllers if you happen to have those lying around. Once you get an FC Twin, head on down to your local retro game store, load yourself up with a pancake stack of attractive gray cartridges and tell them Mikey from TechnoBuffalo says the NES is the greatest game console still in existence.