Holiday Gift Guide 2012: Splurges
For all the big spenders out there, this is the gift guide for you. For those who have someone they need to impress in the worst way, or those who are planning on having the same name on the “to” and “from” labels, these are the highest priced, highest quality, hottest gifts you’re likely to find this year. If you’ve got it, here’s how you can flaunt it. For the rest of us, we can look on and dream. Just a warning, though – the price tags aren’t for the squeamish.
Microsoft has made it pretty difficult to not notice that Windows 8 has been released. The hybrid tablet-PC OS has spawned a glut of hybrid tablet-PC devices, none of which are quite as distinctive as the Asus Taichi. The 11” ultrabook (you can wait until December if you want the 13” variety) packs in two 11” IPS displays – one on each side of the lid. The screen on the backside is a touchscreen – close the ultrabook to use the device as a tablet, open it to use it as a PC. When it is open, the two screens will be able to display different things, meaning two people can use the Taichi at once. That means you can gift the Taichi andstill get to use it without feeling guilty. Not a bad deal. The all-out 3rd generation Intel Core i7 processor, 256 GB SSD configuration will cost you about $1,600 when the Asus Taichi becomes available sometime this month.
No list of splurges is complete without a little Apple thrown in. This time, we’ll go with the new, unreasonably thin iMac. The new Apple all-in-one, which manages to be all of 5 mm thin, packs in a 3rd generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX graphics processor, a Thunderbolt port, and the Fusion Drive, which is just Apple-speak for having a small flash memory drive and a large hard disk drive unified into one hard drive – the drive intelligently stores the most commonly accessed data on the faster flash memory, while relegating the rest to the hard disk. That Fusion Drive can come packing anywhere between 1 and 3 TB of storage space. Keep in mind, all of this is in a 5 mm frame. Why? Because it looks cool seems to be an appropriate answer. In that case, what better thing for a splurge? The 21.5” iMac starts at about $1,300, while the 27” iMac starts at about $1,800.
Samsung UN75ES9000 75-Inch 1080p 3D LED HDTV
You knew this one was going to be on here. Samsung’s massive, 75” television that manages to pack in just about every feature available at the moment looks to be one of the most prized televisions on the market this holiday season – for the high-end market, that is. This monster literally has it all – it’s a smart TV, it’s LED backlit, it’s in 1080p, it has 3D, and it can make your morning coffee exactly the way you like it. We think. We’re not sure on that last one, but don’t put it past this television. Combine that with gesture control, voice control, and facial recognition, and you have one impressive television. Of course, that television comes with a $9,000 asking price on Amazon. So, there’s that.
Epson MegaPlex MG-850HD LCD Projector
Sometimes, you need to break out of the boundaries of the standard television. This high-quality, high-definition projector from Epson makes images as large as 100” possible, all in 720p HD, which is not too shabby for a projector. The projector has a 30-pin connector dock for pre-Lightning Apple devices, but can connect to just about any computer, video game console, or mobile device you can think of. If you have someone who has people to impress with business presentations, or someone who wants to throw the ultimate outdoor movie party, this one should be a winner this holiday season. The Epson MegaPlex MG-850HD LCD Projector is selling on Amazon for about $799.
Philips Fidelio SoundSphere AirPlay Speakers
Worried about Lightning connectors and docks? Don’t – go with AirPlay, instead. Philips’ set of high-end AirPlay speakers boast impressive sound and an elegant construction – wood, with a dark finish. That wood isn’t just for show, either – it helps with the acoustics. Using the speakers is convenient. You can dock iOS devices that use 30-pin connectors, or you can stream music from any device over Apple’s AirPlay or Wi-Fi. Controls are handled completely by remote and mobile device app, so there are no buttons or dials on these speakers – just a smooth, classy experience. When words like that start coming out, you know we’re firmly in splurge territory. The price for the Philips Fidelio SoundSphere AirPlay Speakers is currently sitting at about $510 on Amazon.
V-Moda Crossfade M-100 Headphones
If you’re going to gift a pair of headphones, you might as well gift the best. Many claim to hold that title, but few with as much justification as the V-Moda Crossfade M-100 Headphones. Built from the ground up to be a crowd pleaser, these headphones combined requests having to do with sound quality and design, in the pursuit of the perfect pair of headphones. Perfect they’re not, but they’re pretty impressive nonetheless. 50 mm dual-diaphragm drivers offer terrific sound across lows, mediums, and highs. You can also expect military-grade contruction, and the CLIQFOLD hinge, which makes folding up and storing the headphones very reassuring – none of the flimsiness you might find elsewhere. The best, however, comes at a price – $310.