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Beoplay Speaker, $2,699
There are lots of options for playing your iPhone’s music in your home, but only one of them looks like it was stolen from NASA. Using Airplay and DLNA tech, the Beoplay delivers the insanely high quality audio and form of Bang and Olufsen, for the price of merely a long vacation.
iPad Mini, starting at $329
The best-selling tablet in the world just got a new baby sibling. The iPad Mini packs in all the features of the iOS, but in a form factor that’s even more portable and surfable from your couch. Honestly, if you already have an iPhone and an iPad then this thing’s probably not exactly essential, but if you don’t, it hits that sweet spot in between pretty nicely.
Marshall Headphones Major 50 FX, $170
You’ve spent years getting your ears blasted by Marshall amps at concerts, so why not experience the same quality in private? The sound from these lovingly designed, extremely comfortable cans is so good that not even the grouchiest Christmas Grinch would begrudge you a little air guitar on the bus in the morning.
Microsoft Surface, starting at $499
Microsoft’s first entry into the tablet game has garnered quite a bit of attention thanks to its design and the fact that it boasts the new Windows 8, an OS that’s eager for you to touch it (we’ve really spent far too long shuffling the tiles for no other reason than that it’s incredibly satisfying to do so). The cover with the built-in keyboard is definitely worth buying if you plan to use it in place of a laptop.
DBest Transformative Bluetooth Hi-FI System 4007, $249.99
Half conference call hub, half wireless stereo, the DBest Hi-Fi System all fits into one super-slick design. Sure, it delivers excellent sound quality from your wireless Bluetooth devices, but it’s the DBest’s modular morphing design (we’re especially fond of the configuration that allows you to roll it across the table…and the one that looks a bit like a giant mustache) that would make any one of the Transformers jealous. You’re yesterday’s news, Soundwave.
Lytro Camera, $399
Whoever said that form should follow function would be swooning over the Lytro. The entire camera is barely more than a lens and a screen, and the Bauhaus would applaud it, nevermind the fact that this little sucker captures an entire light field when you’re shooting, allowing you to change the focus of any picture long after you’ve snapped it. We’re still waiting for a camera that can fix duck face, though.
Cubify Cube 3D Printer, $1,299
2D printing is sooo 2009 - 3D is where it’s at, so kiss your old set of Legos and Play-Doh goodbye (don’t really, because those things will always be awesome) and get started on your lifelong dream of turning your imaginary best friend into a real boy* with the Cubify 3D printer.
*Note: A 3D printer will only print inanimate objects. If you need a friend, try getting out more.
Traktor Kontrol F1, $279
For the aspiring DJ who’s still mourning his mom tossing out his Lite Brite, the Traktor Kontrol F1 puts up to 64 tracks, loops, and samples within arm’s distance of your decks. Of course, in a dark DJ booth it helps that this piece’s LEDs are like a homing beacon.
Nikon Coolpix S01, $179.95
This ultra-compact point-and-shooter somehow squeezes an excellent lens system into its super-small, touchscreen body and does an admirable job of shooting pics in the low light of your favorite bar or cave (dudes hang out in caves, pretending to be Batman, right? Dudes besides us, we mean?) Our girlfriend also told us it’ll fit in her clutch. We’re not sure what that means, but we’re betting it’s probably not nearly as dirty as we’re hoping.
Dyson DC 41 Animal Complete, $649.99
Jokes about “never losing suction” aside, Dyson really does use more technology in its vacuums than all the gadgets in your house put together, and their latest offering is no exception. Never again will you worry about having to spend time unwinding dog (or female) hair out of the sucky part of your vacuum, thanks to the new tangle-free turbines. And if you’re feeling DIY-ish, you can rewire the Dyson into a Mars Rover. Probably.
Nokia Lumia 900, price depends on contract
This gorgeous, huge-screened Windows phone may have just been surpassed by the new Lumia 920, but the good news for the only-slightly older model is that the unlock codes have finally been released, meaning you’re not tied to one particular service provider if you want to carry this sleek chunk of awesome in your pocket. What? We have issues with being told what to do, okay?
Sony HX-950 55” 3DTV, $2,999
Any 55” TV that spits out 3D and 1080p HD is gonna be damn impressive, but Sony’s top of the line is an engineering feat for your living room (or, more likely, palace). Built-in Wi-Fi enables some killer functionality with all your favorite streaming services, as well as firmly planting this LED beauty as a centerpiece in your home network. Picture quality is top-notch too, thanks to Sony’s X-Reality technology, nullifying image ghosting and other issues like a proton pack on a microchip. Whatever the hell that means.
Marshall Fridge Amp, $399.99 (and not $300, as we accidentally said in our December issue. It's ok, we fired our fact-checker)
Easily the best Beats headphones available, the new Executives toss out the old Beats motto of "the more bass, the better" in favor of delivering crisp, well-rounded sound with the added bonus of noise reduction, so they perform as well in a DJ booth as they do on a business trip. Coincidentally, those are Dr. Dre's two favorite places to use them (we’d suggest a possible third, but we’re still a bit scared of him).
Nerf N-Strike Elite Hail-Fire Blast, $40
Holding up to 144 darts, featuring semi-automatic capabilities and topping out with a range of 75 feet, the Hail Fire is the foam dart equivalent of something out of SEAL Team Six’s artillery. Only theirs is probably a slightly more subtle color, in all likelihood.
spnKiX are fun, cool, motorized skates that put wings on your feet. Seriously, who wouldn't want to fly down the street at ludicrous speeds? Or the stairs, in the case of the poor intern we tried these out on?
More of the 2012 Maxim Holiday Gift Guide