Newspaper article International New York Times

Anything but Batteries

Newspaper article International New York Times

Anything but Batteries

Article excerpt

Finding presents for gadget fans can be really, really difficult.

Gadget addicts can be a tad difficult when it comes to gifts, the veteran technology reviewer Chris Pirillo acknowledged. They know exactly what they want, and if it's really cool, they probably already have it.

And, please, please, whatever you do, don't give them packs of batteries.

"Make it look like you at least gave it a little bit of thought," said Mr. Pirillo, who runs the web site Lockergnome.

But Mr. Pirillo has a soft spot -- he's a "Star Wars" fanatic. With "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," the latest installment in the movie series opening in the United States on Dec. 14 and in Britain on Dec. 15, interest is at a fever pitch.

"All the Star Wars stuff coming out is awesome," Mr. Pirillo said, his voice rising with excitement. He has stacks of laptops but was nevertheless thrilled recently to receive a "Star Wars"-branded laptop from HP ($699.99).

"Star Wars is bigger than Christmas," he added, noting he also is eagerly anticipating the possibility of owning Sphero's "Star Wars"- themed robot ball ($149.99), and, maybe, a remote controlled AT-AT from Thinkway ($129.99). (AT-AT's, for non-"Star Wars" fans, are the big four-legged "all terrain armored transports.")

Buying electronics for techies like Mr. Pirillo can be a minefield. Giving them something incompatible or, even worse, obsolete, can be disastrous.

Buy an Apple product for an Android devotee and risk a serious riff in the relationship.

Fitness trackers, drones and new phones are generating buzz but they are old news for a real gadget fiend. "Nobody buys me a gadget for Christmas, ever," said Julie Strietelmeier, founder of The Gadgeteer, an 18-year-old site dedicated to all things gadgets.

Ms. Strietelmeier's gift to herself this year was a Nexus 6P ($499), Google's latest phone with a sleek aluminum case, fingerprint scanner for security and 12.3 megapixel camera.

But other items also have caught her eye. She likes "dash cams" - - video cameras easily mounted on car dashboards ($50-$250). The cameras are capturing "crazy stuff," from meteor showers to wild accidents, creating a popular new YouTube genre, she said. …

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