Gadget Teaser’s 2009 Holiday Gift Guide: Part 1

Flip MinoHDpure-digital-flip-mino-hd-custom
Pure Digital was kind enough to send me a MinoHD as part of its custom screen-printed series this year and I love it. For such a small camcorder it takes fantastic, 720p video and the thing couldn’t be easier to use. Flip also introduced customizable skins to the mix this year, so you can gift a Flip with the image of your choice, or use their design/pattern generators to make this a little extra special.

You can get the MinoHD in either 60min (4GB) or 120min (8GB) storage sizes for $199.99 or $229.99 respectively. Customization does not cost extra, so get something funky unless you want that classic industrial design.

Also Consider: Flip UltraHD

Joby GorillaMobilejoby-gorillamobile-tripod-flip
What’s a camcorder without a good tripod? No good at all, that’s what. Part of the problem with handheld camcorders is a lack of grippable parts for stability. Joby’s GorillaMobile can be bent around just about anything, including your wrist if you want to rig up a little wristmount system. Really, though, I like the GorillaMobile because it’s so small and versatile. It’s perfect for throwing in a bag to use at casual family functions and parties, keeping the 720p video on your new Flip nice and steady.

If you want something a little more substantial you could also consider the larger GorillaPod. Joby also makes a GorillaMobile specifically for the iPhone 3G/3GS and the GorillaTorch, a light sporting the same bendable legs. Check their official site for prices on each.

Also Consider: Vanguard VS41

Mophie Juice Pack Air1059_JPA-IP3G-BLK-8T
I tend to change my mind on iPhone cases all the time, but I always come back to the Mophie Juice Pack Air when I’m low on power. It minimally augments the size of the phone while providing an extra 60-80% battery life on the go. There are more powerful options out there, but they tend to be a little too bulky for my taste. Mophie’s Juice Pack, on the other hand, is a close fit without too many frills.

Mophie recently updated the line to include a soft-finish variety with the same power rating. It’s a nice addition, especially if you live in a humid climate like I do. You can get the Juice Pack Air in white, black, purple, or red for $79.95 from Mophie’s website.

Also Consider: Incase Power Slider 3G

Boa Nerve S/Lboa-nerve
I tried to make a conscious effort to recommend a bag other than the Boa Nerve from Booq but I just couldn’t do it. I’m in love with this messenger and I’m sure you know someone who would be, too. The Nerve comes in small and large sizes to accommodate different sized laptops. There’s a removable laptop sleeve, which is perfect for a quick trip to the coffee shop, and plenty of pockets should you be headed for a full day of work. One of the best features is the stability strap, which pulls bag snug against your back if you have to run for a train or take the fixed-gear for a spin.

Booq was having trouble keeping these in stock, but they’re available now and ship within 24 hours. You can get the Boa Nerve for $129.95 at the Booq website.

Also Consider: Timbuk2 Commute Slim

Barnes & Noble Nookbarnes-and-noble-nook
I hesitate to recommend this because I’m generally averse to ereaders. There are those among you who like these things, and you all probably know someone who wants one, so I’ll go against my best instincts for the sake of your friends. The Nook is best of the ereaders I’ve seen. Since no one, not even the major sites, have had a chance to review these it’s tough to say how that little color screen will pan out, but it seems like a decent idea. You also get the ability to lend your ebooks to your friends and share your own media between your computer and your iPhone.

One BIG caveat for this one: The Nook is completely sold out for shipments arriving during 2009. The next flight will land January 4th, so you could always give the gift of the late present, which can be pretty cool. Barnes & Noble wants $259 for this one.

Also Consider: Amazon Kindle

AeroPress Coffee/Espresso Makeraerobie-aero-press
Now that your loved ones will be spending all their hard-earned money on ebooks, they’ll need an inexpensive way to stay perky for those long reading sessions. The Aerobie AeroPress should be in every coffee lovers’ home, at least if they’re on a budget. It brews a decent cup of espresso and great Americano if you add a little water. Get a cheap frother and you can make your drink of choice in under two minutes and far cheaper than you’ll find at any cafe.

The press comes with a year’s supply of filters and everything you’ll need to make your perfect cuppa. The best part is the price, a mere $25.95 with free shipping from Amazon.

Also Consider: MyPressi TWIST

More good stuff to come in the Gadget Teaser 2009 Holiday Gift Guide tomorrow.


Accessory review: Mophie Juice Pack Air

Mophie Juice Pack Air.I’ve spent some time over the last month playing with my new favorite iPhone accessory, the Mophie Juice Pack Air, which Mophie was kind enough to provide for this review. The concept is simple – provide extra power for your iPhone in as small a form factor as possible – and Mophie’s nailed it. The Juice Pack Air is the perfect case if you need your phone but won’t be able to charge it for some time.

The Juice Pack Air is basically a backpack for your iPhone. The plastic shell is a size increase for every dimension of the phone, as you might expect from an external battery, though the largest increase is just over a quarter-inch on the bottom of the phone. It’s a fully enclosed case with a removable top, a feature that comes in handy if you’ve got an oversized headphone connector. The remaining charge is indicated by four blue LEDs along the lower back of the case, which are activated with a push button. There’s also a power switch on the bottom to toggle between your phone’s battery and that of the case.

As for battery life, which is the big deal for this type of case, the 3GS will get nearly double life out of a single charge. Under heavy use I was getting a 65-70% extended life from the Juice Pack Air, but in most cases it was at or above 80%. The case’s battery has a 1200mAh capacity, which is among the lowest for this style case. As I mentioned, the capacity is a tradeoff for size, which is something I like about the Mophie. If you need something that gets you through two full charges or more, you should definitely look elsewhere.

Though I think Mophie hit the mark on a small, protective battery case, there are a couple things I would change. First, the connection is micro USB, which means carrying an uncommon cable type for charging. That can be frustrating on the road, where I like to pack as light as possible. I also don’t like that the case sits flush with the face of the phone. Just a little lip would mean you could set the iPhone face down without worrying about scratches. If you like to use a screen protector even that will be sitting higher than the edge of the case and without a lip may get peeled back when stuffed repeatedly into a pocket.

On the whole, though, I really like the Juice Pack Air. It’s small enough to still fit into a pocket with enough battery power to get you through most any day. You can get Mophie’s Juice Pack Air from the company website for $79.95.


Mophie’s iPhone Battery Gets Extra Life With 3GS

Mophie's Juice Pack AirApple’s new iPhone didn’t get the aesthetic overhaul some people were looking for, which is a big win for third party manufacturers. Forget clearance prices; accessories like the Juice Pack Air carry over seamlessly, and in the case of Mophie’s gadget, actually improve.

According to Mophie, the Juice Pack Air, a combination protective case and battery life extender, nearly doubles the battery life of an iPhone 3GS. The company cites the following specs for their battery:

* Standby Time: Up to 270 hours
* Talk Time: Up to 4.5 hours (3G) Up to 10 hours (2G)
* Internet Use: Up to 4.5 hours (3G) Up to 8 Hours (Wi-Fi)
* Audio Playback: Up to 27 hours
* Video Playback: Up to 9 hours

For $80 the Juice Pack Air is tough to beat. You can have one in purple, black, or white.