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Another tech holiday shopping season begins

If a series of post-prandial naps or a prolonged recovery from hellish holiday traffic have kept you from our site or yesterday's print edition, our annual tech-shopping guide appeared yesterday.

My part of this was a series of how-to-buy columns that covered computers; still and video cameras; smartphones; HDTVs, DVD players and recorders and Blu-ray players; and MP3 players, GPS receivers and e-book readers. Mike Musgrove joined in with advice on video games and game accessories, while Jen Chaney offered advice on gift-worthy DVD and Blu-ray movies.

(Need more advice on these topics? Try PC Magazine's holiday guide, Macworld's buying guides, Gizmodo's list of the best smartphones on each carrier, or CrunchGear's picks in netbooks and camcorders. If you've got other sources to suggest, please do so in the comments.)

Writing any kind of gadget-guidance story requires dealing with three problems. One, tech hardware becomes more of a commodity every year -- a trend that manufacturers often resist not by making devices easier, but by packing in complex or esoteric options that look good in a bullet-point list. Two, as basic features become more settled and more vendors join any given market, it gets harder to recommend a single product in any one category. Three, it's never quite clear whether people are actually interested in features -- or even entire types of products -- that kept getting talked up in the press and in ads.

I'd like to think that after enough years of practice, I've figured out all three issues, but I just can't give that kind of assurance.

So that's where I'd like to turn things over to you all. Now that you've had a chance to look over our tech-shopping advice, were there any topics you wish we'd covered? Could you have done without any of the stories we did run? And how has your own tech shopping (if any) gone so far? The comments are yours ...

By Rob Pegoraro  |  November 30, 2009; 10:36 AM ET
Categories:  Gadgets , Tips  
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Comments

I read your story on HDTV, DVD Players and Recorders, and Blu-Ray Players. The story did not answer the question of what to buy: the blu-ray player or an up-converting dvd player/recorder. To wit, can a blu-ray play regular dvd's? Can it record? Can it record from sources other than television? We don't rent or own blu-ray disks, and we haven't recorded a tv program for over 14 year, which is one reason i've ignored the existence of blu-ray players and up-converting dvd players. Back to basics, please--or cite an article that details the basics.

Posted by: MMRudy | November 30, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Yes, eBook Readers, are already the hit of the holiday season for gifts. Supplies are low and most of the majors are fast running out of stock!

Astak (www.theEZreader.com) is also selling out. The Pocket PRO is the lightest (under 6 ounces), fastest (Epson controller with 400MHz processor), most convenient (fits in a sports coat vest pocket) and most full featured eBoook Reader and it comes in 6 colors for $199.

The list of formats and features the Pocket PRO has is convincing. Go to the website and see. Text-To-Speech, enough room for 8,000 eBooks, 20 formats and 20 languages, and E-Ink for LO-O-ONG battery life are only a sampling!!

OR... buy the "A Christmas Carol Gift Pack" (the Pocket PRO with reader lite, Starbucks and $100 off eBook coupon and much more for $239 and $15 per device goes to help Second Harvest Food Bank)! www.astak.com/charity

Posted by: EZReader1 | December 1, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Rob-

You dispensed with Windows mobile devices pretty quickly, and essentially said that Verizon customers are stuck with Android. And then you said: But until third-party sync software ships, you have to be okay with Google storing your calendars and contacts.

For some users this might be far more problematic then the issues you raise with windows mobile. The Opera browser that ships with many Windows mobile devices is pretty serviceable and the Touch Flow inputs of the HTC Touch Pro2 and Imagio work fairly well (as does the slide out keyboard on the Touch Pro2). Bottom line for me is that Smartphone decisions are still a balance and it depends on which issues are most important to your balance.

Posted by: arlingtonian4 | December 2, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

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