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How This Book Is Organized

How This Book Is Organized

This year's Gadget Guide is a little different from the one we did last year. This time around I approached the topic by examining what types of gadgets you'd want to become the “ultimate” enthusiast in a number of different categories. For example, if you want to become the ultimate home theater enthusiast, you need to assemble the coolest big-screen TVs, audio/video receivers, Media Center PCs, universal remote controls, and so on. Here are the categories I focused on:

  • Part 1, “The Ultimate Computer Geek”— Includes computer displays, mice, keyboards, external hard disk drives, speaker systems, webcams and spycams, Internet phones, USB gizmos (always one of my favorite types of gadget), and other cool computer gadgets.

  • Part 2, “The Ultimate Gamer”— Includes video game systems, PCs for gamers, game controllers, and other cool game gadgets.

  • Part 3, “The Ultimate Road Warrior”— Includes notebook PCs, PDAs, PDA accessories, smartphones, cell phones, headsets, keychain storage devices, and other cool road warrior gadgets.

  • Part 4, “The Ultimate High-Tech Car Owner”— Includes in-dash audio systems, satellite radio receivers, DVD entertainment systems, GPS navigation systems, and other cool car gadgets.

  • Part 5, “The Ultimate High-Tech Adventurer”— Includes portable GPS devices, gadgets for runners, camping and hiking gadgets, gadgets for hunters, fishing-related gadgets, gadgets for boaters, scuba diving gadgets, and lot of other cool adventurer gadgets (including the aforementioned personal hovercraft).

  • Part 6, “The Ultimate Digital Photographer”— Includes digital SLRs, prosumer digital cameras, specialty digital cameras, digital photo vaults, lighting and flash kits, and other cool digital photography gadgets.

  • Part 7, “The Ultimate Digital Movie Maker”— Includes pro-level video cameras (including some new high-definition models), consumer-level video cameras, microphones, and other cool digital video gadgets.

  • Part 8, “The Ultimate Portable Music Fan”— Includes hard-disk portable audio players, MicroDrive portable audio players, flash memory portable audio players, specialty portable audio players, portable video players, headphones and earbuds, iPod accessories (because the iPod is so popular!), and other cool portable audio gadgets.

  • Part 9, “The Ultimate Home Theater Enthusiast”— Includes some really big and really expensive gadgets, such as big-screen televisions, audio/video receivers, speaker systems, DVD players and changers, digital video recorders, Media Center PCs, digital media servers, digital media hubs and extenders, universal remote controls, and other cool home theater gadgets.

  • Part 10, “The Ultimate Gadget Geek”— Features gadgets that just didn't fit anyplace else, including wearable gadgets, desktop radios, gadgets for home and hearth, and lots and lots of other cool gadgets, from videophones to a Star Trek-like home communicator badge.

Within each category, I try to give you little bit of background info and lot of buying advice. Then I list my favorite gadgets within the category, organized by type of gadget. For each type of gadget, I've highlighted one “Leo's Pick;” this is, in my opinion, the absolute coolest gizmo of that type available today. (And, in case the Leo's Pick gadget isn't your cup of tea, I try to list another four or so similar gadgets that you should also consider.)

At the end of each individual gadget listing is a box with detailed information about that gadget, including the model number, manufacturer, website, price, and other important specifications. Given how things go, of course, all this information is subject to change. The price I list is generally the manufacturer's suggested retail price; if you shop around, you can probably find most of these gadgets for a bit less than that.

In case you're wondering, I've accepted no payment or consideration of any sort to list these particular gadgets in this book. The fact that I've included—or not included—a specific gadget reflects no objective review of the gadget's merit, only that it caught my fancy. In other words, these are my favorite gadgets at this point in time. That's all.

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