NOTE: From now through December, every few days a different Crave expert will be posting his or her top 10 gadget picks for the holidays. See what we crave, and maybe you'll get some ideas! Here's our eighth installment.
Neha Tiwari is an associate video producer for CNET News.com, not to mention a cold-weather aficionado. Snowboarding, Lord of the Rings marathons, and hot cocoa top her list of pastimes when the weather gets chilly. She is the only person named Neha at CNET, and a lethal geek triple-threat. She knows how to do all the special moves in Street Fighter Alpha 3, wields a mean light saber, and is not afraid to use the Vulcan mind meld when applicable.
1. Nintendo DS Lite with the Swarovski touch. Paris Hilton shouldn't be the only one allowed to have pretty gadgets. The original Nintendo DS was great, but the Lite version is less clunky, sleeker and easier to carry. With the added Swarovski crystals, not only is it a gamer's dream, but a girl gamer's delight.
2. Archos AV500 Mobile DVR (30GB). I spend a lot of time commuting in and out of San Francisco, and I would love a better way to pass my time on the train. Sure, I have a video iPod, but watching programs on the tiny 2.5-inch screen is no fun. This new Mobile DVR from Archos might be just the ticket. Not only would I be able record the latest Nip/Tuck, I could watch it my way to work on the 4-inch screen--visible enough to gross out the suit sitting next to me.
3. RIM BlackBerry 7130c smart phone. If my phone was a person, it would be Pamela Anderson: all the right equipment, but nothing really going on upstairs. It's time for me to upgrade to a phone that not only has looks, but the intellect to match. That's where the super-brainy BlackBerry comes in. Even though my Sony Ericsson Z525a is compact, its interface freezes more than an old Compaq.
4. Sennheiser HD 485 Headphones. After doing some extensive research, and getting my left ear blown out by my in-ear canal-phone-style headphones, I would really appreciate some over-the-ear bad boys. I've actually tried out the Sennheiser HD 485s, and love their cushiony comfort.
5. The Giro TuneUps Wireless kit. Most of my time on winter weekends is spent in the Sierra snow. As an avid snowboarder, I know that nothing goes better with carving up the snow than some great tunes. When I'm speeding down the mountain, the last thing I want to think about is getting tangled up in my headphone cord. This Giro setup + fresh powder = a match made in heaven.
6. Segway x2. As an Arrested Development devotee, I pretty much thought Segways were as cheesy as GOB's character. I was proven wrong, however, when I took my first spin on a Segway earlier this year. I haven't had a chance to ride the latest Segway, but the x2 appears to be the sportier Segway, with the option to ride over rugged terrain. Seems like some off-roading fun for the futuristic transpo-type or closet GOB wannabees, like myself.
7. Sony VPL-VW100 Projector. It's not often that a product, let alone a projector, merits the CNET Editors' Choice award or rates a whopping 9.1 out of 10. The Sony projector is "spectacular," according to Gary Merson's review, but it also costs a whole lotta money. For nearly $9,000 smackaroos, it could be sitting in my living room. If Donald Trump wants to buy me something, this would be the time. But he just might be investing in an expensive new toupee this year, so I'll keep my hopes low for seeing the Sony VPL under my tree this Christmas.
8. R2D2 USB Drive by Mimico. Portable data storage, check. One of the most loveable robots in history, check. The 2-3/8 inch R2D2 USB drive is not only functional, it features R2D2. Not a R2 groupie? Darth Vader, Chewbacca and even a Storm Trooper are available, too. The force is strong in this USB--it comes with up to 4GB of space. The only problem is that the little guy is only offered on preorder and won't be ready to ship until January. Maybe it can be a Martin Luther King Day surprise?
9. Duck Software's Comic Book Collector 3.1. OK, I'll admit it. I have an enormous comic book collection--from the Death of Superman (in the original black package) to old Spawn comics. I don't want to have to pull out my huge comic book box every time I want to check my inventory, or brag about my John Romita (Sr. and Jr.) signed Spidey issues. With this economically priced software (a steal for only $16.95), I can see what's in my collection with a small summary of details. This tickles the nerd within, almost as much as the smell of a brand new comic.
10. Fandango tickets to Rocky Balboa. Yes, I am aware that I may be the only one craving midnight tickets to the see the first showing. Well, at least no one I know wants to go see it with me. It comes out five days before Christmas, and I'm determined to obtain a "Win, Rocky, Win" T-shirt and go see this sixth installment in the Rocky franchise. Sly Stallone will never be better--you all are truly going to miss the cinematic 1-2-punch of the season. Yo, Aaaaadrian!