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10 geek gifts that top this year's shopping list

From Apple iPads to Wi-Fi quadricopters to shirts that supply your own soundtrack, this year's Geek Gift Guide is bound to include at least one gadget that you (or your favorite geek), can't do without.

Technology geeks love to give and receive electronic gadgets. But they don't want just any gadget -- they want the best gizmos they can find. All year, TechRepublic has been reviewing the hottest geek gifts on the market. Now, just in time for the holiday shopping season, we've assembled 10 of the best ones to produce our Geek Gift Guide 2010. You can download the entire guide as a PDF or use the links below to check out individual reviews that catch your fancy. Note that although the iPad was the pick of the litter, the other items aren't listed in any particular order. They all averaged high marks based on Fun Factor, Geek Factor, and Value.

1: Apple iPad

The Apple iPad is the first touch-based tablet to hit the mass market, and its ease of use is its primary selling point. Top features include long battery life, good speed, and excellent apps.

2: Alienware M11x gaming notebook

The Alienware M11x is an almost perfect geeky gift for PC gamers in need of portability. Although small, the M11x is a powerhouse of computer gaming performance that can push pixels as well as just about any desktop.

3: Parrot AR.Drone Wi-Fi quadricopter

This quadricopter is the epitome of a cool model flying vehicle. Think about all of the geek goodness contained in one gift: It flies, it's controlled via Wi-Fi with a iPhone/iPod/iPad, it has an onboard computer, it stabilizes itself with gyroscopes and an altimeter, and it has two cameras to record the action. You will be hard-pressed to find more geek fun in one single package.

4: Personal Soundtrack Shirt

Originally an April Fool's joke, the Personal Soundtrack Shirt comes with 20 preprogrammed sounds. You can also load your own MP3 files and discreetly play them (and adjust the volume) with a battery-operated, wired remote.

5: Cyborg R.A.T 7 gaming mouse

There is a thriving niche market for specially designed gaming mice, and none is more impressive than the Cyborg R.A.T. 7. With a futuristic design that includes a built-in tool for mechanically adjusting its shape, this gaming mouse will make any geeky gamer drool.

6: Microsoft Kinect sensor for Xbox 360

Microsoft has managed to leapfrog Nintendo and Sony in terms of motion gaming. The Kinect sensor allows you to play games and engage with your Xbox 360 console in ways we haven't seen before.

7: LEGO Mindstorms NXT 2.0

The LEGO Mindstorms NXT 2.0 kit comes with four models you can build and program. Any geek, especially those with kids who are into LEGO, will enjoy building these models, exploring other models on the Mindstorms community Web site, and even creating their own models.

8: Amazon Kindle Graphite 3G + Wi-Fi 2010

This Kindle is lightweight, offers some great features, and sells for a reasonable price. Despite some minor frustrations, our reviewer was pleased with its capabilities.

9: VIZIO M470NV 47-inch 1080p LED LCD HDTV

The price of LED LCD HD televisions has come way down since the 2009 Geek Gift Guide. With its built-in Wi-Fi and Internet apps, this is a nice, feature-rich television at a reasonable price.

10: Roku XDS streaming media player

A Roku player streaming media to your home is one of the most enjoyable multimedia experiences a person (geek or otherwise) could ask for. The Roku XDS is a fine piece of hardware that does exactly what it is designed to do and does it elegantly and without complications. At the reasonable price of $99, the Roku XDS is highly recommended.


About

Jody Gilbert has been writing and editing technical articles for the past 25 years. She was part of the team that launched TechRepublic and is now senior editor for Tech Pro Research.

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