I've always been resistant, as an editor, to the idea of a Xmas gift guide. That's because they're a bit cliche; but today, I realized the very practical reason why I don't like them. You have to be crazy to try to shop for a gadget addict by using one of these lists.
I just look at most of these gift guides, and I think how terrible I'd feel if anyone bought me any of this stuff. First, because it's pretty expensive. But second, most gadget freaks end up begging, borrowing and stealing to get the main stuff they want, or are very opinionated about the exact gear they're hoping to get. I suppose it serves some purpose to clueless parents grasping for ideas. But maybe it's time for the retailers to start making Xmas gift registries, as disgusting as that sounds.
Despite all that, the smartest gift guide this year is Men's Health's Tech Guide, filled with a lot of gadgets, electronic and outdoors, but also plenty of amazingly well researched sections of timeless advice. Like "When to buy anything," a section that charts out the seasonal price drops for all gadget categories, and "How to test anything," a quick and dirty guide to picking gadgets made from advice from CNet editors. There's even a page dedicated to the economics of happiness vs splurging. It's brilliantly put together, and the online version doesn't do the print version justice. [Men's Health]