Panasonic D-Snap SV-AV50S
The smaller the gadget, the more likely it'll be in your pocket when you need it. The D-Snap takes this philosophy to a new level by combining a digital camera, a video camera, an MP3/ACC player, and a voice recorder into an ultraslim package less than an inch thick. Plus, you can hook it up to a TV and record programs to watch later on the LCD.
$299 (after $100 rebate). Available at www.panasonic.com.
On November 9, more than 7,000 stores opened at midnight to sell Halo 2, the sequel to the most popular X-Box game ever. It's a safe bet that this first-person shooter will be the game of the season, and strong reviews are backing up the hype. If someone you know has an X-Box, your search for a game is over.
$49.99. Available at Electronic Boutique, 151 Powell St., 362-7601.
No surprise here: The iPod makes a great gift if you're willing to pay the Steve Jobs premium. No other player beats the minimalist looks, the revolutionary scroll wheel, the simple interface, and the massive hard drive, all crammed into a tiny metal box. Our favorite is the new iPod Photo, which not only holds 15,000 songs, but also 25,000 pictures, viewable on a razor-sharp color LCD.
$499 for 40GB, $599 for 60GB. Available at the Apple Store, 1 Stockton St., 392-0202.
Game consoles are huge holiday sellers, but this year only the PlayStation is offering something new: the slimmed-down PS2, which is half the size of the original. It also doubles as a CD and DVD player, includes built-in Ethernet and analog, and has a 2,000-game catalog. And the price is as slim as the dimensions -- just $150.
Available at the Metreon's Sony PlayStation Store, Fourth and Mission streets, 369-6040.
TiVo is an enigma. People who own one declare they could never live without it, but the vast majority are doing just that. Which is odd, given that this $99 box (plus monthly fee) not only stops live TV, but also automatically records your favorite shows, neatly categorizes them, then deletes them as space is needed. Especially nice is the ability to blaze through commercials on a hypersensitive remote.
Available at www.tivo.com.