Saturday, November 29, 2008

Many great tech products aren't cheap: Here are some worth the money

With the economy hitting the skids, consumers are hard-pressed to spend much during the holiday season and they want to get a great deal.

The good news is that consumer-electronics companies and retailers are also feeling the pinch. Many are offering terrific deals on an array of high-tech devices. What's more, great prices can be found every day on the Web, especially at respected online retailers such as Amazon and J&R Electronics.

Here are a few tech ideas for the holidays. Some items aren't exactly cheap, but if you're certain you'll still have a job in a few months, they are worth buying for yourself, your family or friends.

Here are some to consider:

Wireless Notebook Mouse. Stick in the accompanying USB plug and these mini-mice will work on almost any surface -- bed linen, couches, wooden tables. They are much easier to use than the mice built into laptops. Microsoft's Optical Mouse 3000 and Logitech's V220 can often be found on sale for $20 (the regular price at Amazon).
Mini-notebook computers. A new class of laptop, minis are relatively inexpensive and easy to tote around. They are half the weight of a traditional laptop and have smaller screens, 9 to 10 inches. Mini-laptops are great for writing and surfing the Web, but lack the power and memory to handle intensive audio or video tasks. Top minis include the Acer Inspire One ($400) and the Asus Eee 1000H with 10-inch screen ($479). One complaint: some minis have cramped keyboards. Give them a test drive first.
LCD monitors. If you haven't replaced that big old CRT hogging up precious real estate on your desk, buy an LCD. Luxurious 19-inch screens from top brands such as Dell and HP can be purchased for under $200 at Best Buy. Some 17-inch screens sell for less than $150. You'd be surprised at how much better it feels to sit at a desk with a slim screen.

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