Tech the halls
Apple iPod Touch
Price: 8GB model, HK$2,400; 16GB model, HK$3,200
This is without question the sexiest iPod (or MP3 player) out there. It has just about everything the iPhone has but without the phone part. (The iPhone is meant to arrive next year in Hong Kong). Play with the screen for just a little bit and you will be hooked. There is only one button and it takes you back to a home screen - everything else is by touch. Put two fingers together on the screen and spread them apart and the screen zooms. The entire interface is very intuitive and clever. Turn the device on its side and the screen changes from portrait to landscape. Those who use it say it handles e-mail better than any other device on the market. Also, there are new 'Widgets' - the name for iPod Touch and iPhone applications - coming out on a regular basis. This is certainly something worth putting in somebody's stocking this Christmas.
Philips Lock Out
According to executives from Philips, women are increasingly buying IT gadgets. With that in mind, the Dutch electronics giant decided to make a deal with Swarovski, the Austrian jeweller. It is bringing out fine jewellery that 'comes apart' to reveal a USB drive that holds one gigabyte of data. If your significant other uses a computer and never has room for her files in her handbag, this could be the perfect gift. Never did the expression 'taking your work home with you' have quite the same meaning. As the name implies, Lock Out is the shape of a padlock. How successful this will be may well depend on what it really looks and feels like in your hand. Jewellery may be a good gift for some but not for all. Although these items look fine and reports from those who have seen them say they do indeed live up to their looks, it would probably be prudent to hold one of these before buying it.
Canon Powershot G9 digital camera
This is a camera for the real enthusiast who wants something small but almost as good as those costing many times more. It is a 12.1 mega-pixel camera: a great deal for something so small and so cheap. It has a 3 inch LCD screen, 25 shooting modes, face detection and much more. Those who have used the camera have heaped praise on it not only for the quality and ease-of-use, but even for the video capabilities. The face detection is also said to be extremely good. This technology is intended to help you select those people you want in the picture from those you do not. It will 'read' up to nine faces at a time. Of course, it supports the usual range of memory cards. There is a range of software as well that works on Windows and Mac.
Microsoft Sidewinder Gaming Mouse
This, the company says, is the 'ultimate gaming mouse'. I suspect you will have to ask your 14-year-old son if it's true - he'll know. This mouse has 10 buttons and they can be programmed to do just about anything. It is also the first mouse, according to Microsoft, that comes with an LCD screen to tell you the DPI (dots-per-inch) setting. This item works with Windows XP or Vista and you will need 100 MB of available disc space as well as a CD-Rom drive.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T200 digital camera
This is a little sweetie by any definition. It is small and capable. It has 8.3 mega-pixels which is no slouch but thanks to its size and light weight it will fit in a pocket or handbag, and it only weighs 160 grams. It comes in bright red as well as black and silver. There are a range of automatic settings for the kind of picture you want to take, for example Landscape, Soft Snap, Snow, Beach, along with other useful settings. It also comes with the usual USB 2.0 connection.
Linksys Wireless-G Pan/Tilt/Zoom (PTZ) Internet Camera with Audio (WVC200)
Remote controlled wireless video through a web browser. Well, if you can't say it, you may not be able to buy it. Despite its dreadful name, this has to be a gift that could be a great deal of fun. What geek has not fantasised about controlling a camera from miles away? This one is very special indeed: it does not need a computer because it has its own IP address. The camera has a zoom function and up to 10 people can control the pan and tilt.
Samsung NV20 digital camera
Almost as if they knew their Japanese competitors would be creating a 12.1 mega-pixel camera, Korea's Samsung has a similar one. It is small, light and has a slightly smaller screen (2.5 inches as opposed to 3 inches). It comes with Samsung's Advanced Shake Reduction, a system intended to prevent blur. It has its own face-recognition software as well. It comes with a business card manager that lets you take pictures of business cards and store them later on your computer. As with all modern digital cameras, this one does video as well. The software goes back a bit further than the Canon: the Samsung can run on Windows versions from 98 to Vista and Mac from OS9 to OSX.