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Published on December 14th, 2012 | by Greg

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TrulyGadgets Gift Guide: The Year In Electronics

Welcome to the final of our four holiday gift guides- be sure to check out the other ones, like the first from TrulyKitchen and the second from TrulyIndoors, as well as our roundup from TrulyOutdoors. We’ve checked out hundreds of products in 2012, and our staff has thrown our smartphones into water, listened to dozens of pairs of headphones, transferred terabytes and printed hundreds of pages (in the name of journalism). Here are some of the best items we checked out this year, that kept us coming back and have proven useful since we originally wrote. We’re breaking this up into two sections, in the first section we posted on audio gear and for this one we’re covering everything else!

Some of the most technical things we review are network-attached storage devices. These are complicated mini-computers, essentially, meant to run 24 hours a day and do nothing but serve and backup data. The Synology DS212 NAS is a nice, dual-bay solution that stands above others for ease of use and value- there is every feature you could need, USB 3.0 support, and an SD card slot. At $200, it’s a great, solid solution.

 

 

 

On a similar note, we also run through a whole lot of backup hard drives. Some of them are small and ultra-portable, some of them are larger and offer more capacity. But one of the recent models from Seagate, the Backup Plus 1TB, offered a blend of light weight portability, speed, USB 3.0 compatibility, and durability. Under $100, and we’ve had luck copying and re-copying, and enjoying the nifty Dashboard.

 

 

 

If it’s speed you need, then you should look into an SSD. Solid state drives are the future, and are the core of your smartphone and other devices can can handle shocks and drops unlike regular magnetic hard disks. We’ve been testing out the Monster Daytona 240GB SSD to great effect- it’s smoking fast and just the thing to speed up your operating system and programs. $220 as tested.

 

 

 

One of the key groups that can benefit from an SSD are digital artists. We use Photoshop and Illustrator regularly for image editing and design, and another tool this year has become a key part of our kit: the Wacom Bamboo Capture. We love graphics tablets, and this one is great for kids, adults, and everyone in between. At $90, you can’t go wrong- it’s a great model for amateurs or students, and a lovely gift.

 

 

 

Speaking of gifts, one of the top gift picks for gamers this year is being reviewed shortly. But we haven’t tested it for nearly as long as we’ve been using the MadCatz Cyborg M.M.0. 7 mouse, similar to their R.A.T. mice and an amazingly configurable peripheral. If you play serious PC games, then you know that a good mouse goes a long way, and this one is among the best we’ve seen. With futuristic looks, durable cabling, and a great texture, this is a device worth the learning curve. $120 or so.

 

 

 

Finally, our choice for the scanner of the year goes to the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i. The ScanSnap line continues to stand head and shoulders above most other portable scanners. This one is fast, especially at two-sided or duplex scanning, but more than that just works smoothly. Unlike others in the category, there is an automatic document feeder and it handles different paper types well. At $260, road warriors will find this one of the best purchases possible.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.



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