Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Last Minute Gifts

Christmas is less than a week away, and Hanukkah is already in full-swing. I don't know about all of you, but I'm terrible at trying to buy gifts ahead of time. With only two days until my in-law's Hanukkah party, and a few more days after that until Christmas, I still have a lot of shopping to do. If you're a last-minute shopper like me, here are some ideas for holiday gifts.

First up, I was sent an Insignia 2GB mp3 player to try out. This mp3 player not only plays music, but also can hold photos and play full color videos. My husband has a video iPod, and while I like it, there's no way I'm spending that much on one for myself. So trying out this (cheaper!) Insignia player was going to be a treat.

When I first opened it, I thought, "Wow, this thing is tiny! There's no way the screen resolution is going to look that good." And it is tiny - only 0.6" thick, and the screen takes up about 2/3 of the face. It has a click wheel similar to many other mp3 players, and the battery was already charged and ready to go, so I turned it on and started playing with it right out of the package. It comes loaded with some sample songs and videos, and it also has an FM receiver in it for listening to the radio.

I can now say with confidence, I love this little thing! My initial thoughts were so wrong - the screen has amazing clarity and bold colors. I couldn't believe such crisp video could be displayed on something so small (2.2"). It took me no time at all to learn how to use it, and the controls were so user-friendly that I only had to look at the instruction manual once. The sound is clear, and the volume can easily go to ear-bleeding levels. Best of all has to be the price: you're getting something that has sound and video quality equal to an iPod, but for only $120.

It does have some limitations, of course. The memory is only 2GB, although it has a slot to expand the memory using a microSD card. The radio reception is a little fuzzy indoors, too. Plus when you install the software, it wants you to try Best Buy's music service, which is just a personal pet peeve of mine (I don't like installing extra "junk" on my computer), but others may enjoy. Still, for the price and the features, the Insignia 2GB is a perfect gift for someone who wants an mp3 player.

Now, if you know someone who loves electronics, but already has an mp3 player, you may be stumped as to what to get them. The Philips company has introduced this website to help you search for last minute electronics gifts. You can search by person and by age group for recommendations on gifts that they might enjoy.

Thanks to Philips, Aaron will be trying out the Philips Norelco Bodygroom razor in the next few weeks. (Check out the link - I can never get through that commercial with a straight face.) And if he likes it, I might even try it out on a feminine area to see how well it works for us women, too. I'll report back with the results.

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