December is here and it's a time of family and coming together and having awkward, passive-aggressive fights and wearing ugly clothes your great aunt made for you and drinking eggnog until you pass out drunk in your grandma's JELL-O mold. But it's also a time for shiny new gadgets! Here are some of our favorites from the past month.
With a closed-back, over-the-ear design, and a durable design that has some portability, the Sennheiser HD280 cans are the king of the budget earphone mountain. They're not the cheapest, or the smallest, or the best looking, but they strike the best balance between clarity and resolution and the ability to handle multiple genres of music old and new.
The Nokia Lumia 800 is like a little Scandinavian Cadillac in your pocket. It's the slickest, smoothest Windows Phone you can get. And with its beautiful matte polycarbonate shell, it's got the design and build quality to stand toe-to-toe with the iPhone. Alas, it's not out stateside just yet, though the European version will work on AT&T's HSDPA network.
The Logitech Performance Mouse MX takes everything that's great about the Marathon Mouse-the same wonderful scroll wheel, the same smooth glide, similar (but better) thumb-buttons-and improves upon it. The laser it uses to track its position will even work on clear glass, which is crazy. It's also rechargeable.
The Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000 hit the sweet spot. First off, it's compatible with everything you can throw at it: OSX, Windows, Android devices, iOS devices, they all pair easily and you're good to go. They keys have great click to them. They're slightly stiffer than the Logitechs', but they're not at all hard to press. There's a very slight curve to the keyboard, making it gently ergonomic without alienating people who are used to a straight tray.
We're happy to report that benchmarking Netgear's new WNDR4500 left us grinning from ear to ear. This is the fastest router we've ever tested, and it's packed with new features.
Best Windows Phone: The Samsung Focus held down the fort for a while, but the Windows Phone calvary's here now.
Best Router: The Netgear RangeMax V1 is fast, but the new guy's faster.