“12 Gizmos of Christmas”: #1 – MP3 Players

It turns out that it wasn’t too hard to pick the red-hot breakout gadget this year – MP3 players, fashionably led by the iPod. In fact, the iPods are so hot, we feature 2 of them! Archos fills out the 3rd spot with their ‘jukebox’.

First up is the Apple 40 GB iPod Photo, which tacks onto the music storage by allowing you to store and display photos too!

A delight for the ears. A feast for the eyes. Though it’s no bigger than a pack of playing cards and weighs in at just over 6 ounces, iPod Photo delivers a one-two sensory punch. Letting you carry an entire library of your favorite music — up to 10,000 songs — or enough photos — as many as 25,000 — to fill nearly 200 slide trays or cover nearly 5,000 square feet of wall space. Got a really big den?

If you’d like everyone else to smile right along with you, iPod Photo makes it easy. Sure, you could let them take the Click Wheel for a spin themselves, but here’s a way to get extra points for style. Use the included AV cable to connect iPod Photo to a projector or TV. You can mesmerize friends and family with a glorious multimedia experience, offering them a breathtaking slideshow accompanied by the music you already have on your iPod Photo. Of course, you get to choose the songs, albums or playlists. And talk about smart, iPod Photo optimizes your photos to fit on a standard (4:3) or widescreen (16:9) TV.

Apple hasn’t been the only hot item this year. U2 has been making waves as well. Put them together and you get the Apple 20 GB iPod U2 Special Edition.

Like no other, iPod U2 Special Edition stands out. Jet black, it bears a prominent red Apple Click Wheel and, on the flip side, the autographs of each U2 band member. It comes with an exclusive U2 poster and, of course, the signature white iPod earbuds. As an extra special treat, it includes an iTunes Music Store coupon you can use to get $50 off your purchase of “The Complete U2.” As unique as the iPod itself, this digital boxed set brings together an amazing 400 U2 tracks. Songs span the band’s celebrated career. From “Boy” to “War” to “The Joshua Tree” to “Zooropa” to the soon-to-be-released “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb,” it includes every U2 album and features over 25 rare and unreleased tracks.

Apple doesn’t have a lock on style, and the Archos 500637 Gmini 400 20 GB Digital Audio/Video Jukebox demonstrates this amply. It slices, it dices. Ok, it plays (MP3, WMA, WAV, photos), it records (from standard audio sources).

The Gmini400 goes way beyond music to bring long-awaited features such as a color LCD for viewing photos and music videos, a built-in CompactFlash reader for storing photos and data, and the ability to play Mophun games. You can also connect it to your TV to look at photos and watch videos.

The Gmini400 is ultrasmall, ultraslim, ultralight, and features a cool, silvery aluminum cover and a unique horizontal design specifically developed for today’s hip, fashion-conscious consumer. The Gmini400 expands on ARCHOS’s successful line of hard-drive-based audio players/recorders and is available with a 20 GB hard drive.

That’s all folks. It’s the end of the 12 Gizmos of Christmas. But not the end of our news and featured gadgets. Come back tomorrow and every day after for still more. And remember you can go back and see all 36 featured Gizmos of Christmas.