There are dozens of gadgets that hit the market between now and the end of the shopping holidays, and most of them bring new meaning to the term “utterly useless”. But, they don’t all have to hurt. Here are five items that will actually make it a Merry Christmas, or at least help you drink enough to forget.
Krups B90 BeerTender
Designed specifically to perfectly serve a Heineken, by plugging one of those 5L mini-kegs in the back, the Krups BeerTender is designed to deliver the perfect pour at the perfect temperature. But don’t hold the BeerTender’s corporate brew past against it; this is the ideal beer-serving machine, short of owning a bar and living in the basement.
The BeerTender keeps your beer at an ideal temperature for drinking, and does so with a silent electronic cooling system. Perfect for parties, or long, lonely weekends, the BeerTender is the first alcohol-related widget you’ll actually use all year, not just to get past another disastrous Christmas dinner.
$220, available from Amazon.com
We know, we know. Another year, another desperate attempt to push little radio-controlled vehicle on children and man-children alike. Sure, they’re fun for the first five minutes, but they get old pretty quickly, especially in the absence of a cat or other small animal to play with it and make for fond memories and hilarious YouTube videos.
But bear with us. What makes the H-Racer unique compared to all the other RC junk that gets pushed out by Radio Shack every holiday season is the power source. Unlike most of these, which are battery-sucking monstrosities, the H-Racer is powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Yep, you too can explore the future of motorized transport, including a dry run for ramping that sucker off a bridge into a helicopter for the next Bruce Willis movie, “Prius Wars: Live Free Or Else”. Perfect for kids who like to exert what little power they have through their toys, and adults who never quite grew out of “Jackass”.
$110, Home Science Tools
Tired of risking death every time you fire up your cellphone or iPod in the car? We sure are, especially since we’re stuck behind you! But the options tend to be either annoying to set up, or terrible sound quality, or sold by Billy Mays. Fortunately, Motorola has heard the call and is come to the rescue with the 505.
The 505 syncs with your phone to stream calls and music, and, best of all, it doesn’t feature any installation; clip it to your visor, and then take it off when you change cars. It’s nice to see Motorola assisting spies, car thieves, and other people who regularly switch vehicles with an easy-to-use hands-free.
The 505 isn’t just a hands-free set, though, it’s also a scan function for your car radio that actually works. Perfect for the guy you know who lives in his car. No, not the hobo, the salesman.
Ahhhh, “Duck Hunt”. We all remember “Duck Hunt”. Those ducks, that grass, that stupid dog you could never shoot no matter how many times you wanted to. Fortunately, somebody decided that this should be brought into the real world, where the “dog” is your friend and you can shoot him. Well, with a lightgun.
Duck Hunt Extreme is a two-player game. One player controls the duck and tries to avoid getting shot, while the other does the shooting. If this describes your family dinners, then pick up multiple sets. Perfect for hyperactive children and bitter adults!
Finally, we come to this, the gift of gifts, the ne plus ultra of gadgets, the one you actually buy either for yourself or for the person you actually care enough about to consider their television experience.
At 55″, this TV satisfies the first requirement of being an indulgent gift: it’s larger than a small child. Part two is the 3D experience, using 3D glasses (sold separately, of course) in order to get the illusion of depth. And part three is the apps; Netflix, Blockbuster, Twitter (for some reason), it’s pretty much what Web TV was promised to be.
So indulge. Sure, it costs $3300…but aren’t you, or somebody who will let you crash on their couch and watch it all day, worth it?