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Roku 2 What it is: Media player Starting (Credit: Roku)

Roku 2

What it is: Media player
Starting price: $50
Where to buy: Roku.com

Why it's cool: This palm sized device brings the power of internet streaming to virtually any T.V. It offers hundreds of streaming video and audio services, including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, HBO Go, Pandora, Rdio, Youtube and MLB.TV.

You'll also be able to stream your own digital movies stored on a home computer. All models have built-in Wi-Fi, a MicroSD slot (for photo viewing) and can play 720p HD video. The upgraded Roku 2 XS puts out up to 1080p video, has ethernet and USB ports and comes with an enhanced remote with motion control for games.

Gadget gift guide 2011

From TV's, cameras and computers to tablets and music players, here are the must-have gadgets for technophiles this holiday season. -- Compiled by jose.moreno@newsday.com

Gift guide: Video games for teens, adults

Gift guide: Tech stocking stuffers for under $30

Roku 2 What it is: Media player Starting
(Credit: Roku)

Roku 2

What it is: Media player
Starting price: $50
Where to buy: Roku.com

Why it's cool: This palm sized device brings the power of internet streaming to virtually any T.V. It offers hundreds of streaming video and audio services, including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, HBO Go, Pandora, Rdio, Youtube and MLB.TV.

You'll also be able to stream your own digital movies stored on a home computer. All models have built-in Wi-Fi, a MicroSD slot (for photo viewing) and can play 720p HD video. The upgraded Roku 2 XS puts out up to 1080p video, has ethernet and USB ports and comes with an enhanced remote with motion control for games.

iHome iW1 What it is: Portable home stereo
(Credit: iHome)

iHome iW1

What it is: Portable home stereo
Starting price: $299
Where to buy: Bestbuy, Apple, Crutchfield

Why it's cool: This is a must buy for someone looking to easily add a music system in their home. The iW1 plays good room-filling music from your iPhone, iTouch, or computer wirelessly using your home network and Apple's Airplay technology.

The unit also comes with a built-in recharble battery, giving the unit complete freedom from any sort of wires (including chargers). You'll be able to pick up the iW1 and take take the tunes with you anywhere within your home network.

Kindle Fire What it is: Tablet Starting price:

Kindle Fire

What it is: Tablet
Starting price: $199
Where to buy: Amazon.com

Why it's cool: This 7-inch tablet links seamlessly with Amazon collection of digital music, video, magazine, and book services in one easy-to-use package. It boasts a great Web browser, and its Android app store includes most of the big must-have apps (such as Netflix, Pandora, and Hulu).

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Samsung S2 What it is: External hard drive

Samsung S2

What it is: External hard drive
Starting price: $64.99
Where to buy: Samsung.com

Why it's cool: The S2 is a potential all-in-solution for all extra memory needs. It's ultra portable to take with you on the go, but it also offers the functionality and features the larger clunky external hard drives.

The 2.5-inch drive features a USB 3.0 interface and a 7200RPM spindle speed with a maximum transfer rate of 5 gigabits per second (Gbps) compared to the 480 megabits per second (Mbps) of USB 2.0. It's ultra compact, about the size of a driver's license and the drive is completely quiet even during heavy data usage. The S2 comes in memory sizes ranging from 160 gigabytes up to 1 terabyte.

Samsung UN46D6400 What it is: LED TV Starting
(Credit: CNET /)

Samsung UN46D6400

What it is: LED TV
Starting price: $1,247.00
Where to buy: Samsung.com

Why it's cool: The Samsung UND6400 series offers compact styling with an ultrathin bezel and panel for a nearly all-picture look. It produces relatively deep black levels for an edge-lit LED-based LCD TV, with accurate color in bright areas, excellent video processing, and improved 3D picture quality. The Smart Hub Internet portal boasts more apps and streaming services than the competition.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus What it is: Smartphone Starting
(Credit: Samsung)

Samsung Galaxy Nexus

What it is: Smartphone
Starting price: TBA
Where to buy: Verizon Wireless

Why it's cool: Forget the iPhone 4s, if you're shoppping for a phone this holiday season, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is the one to get. It comes with a dual core 1.2 GHz processor a AMOLED 4.65 inch screen with 720p resolution, 4G connectivity, and 16.30 GB of internal memory and 1GB or RAM, giving it twice the memory of Apple's latest phone. It packs all this muscle under 8.94mm thin shell that only weighs 135g. Best of all, the Galaxy Nexus will come installed with Google's latest Android update, the much-hyped Ice Cream Sandwhich OS.

The phone is scheduled to either hit stores in late November or early December.

RT-N56U Dual-Band Gigabit Wireless-N Router What it is:
(Credit: CNET Photo/)

RT-N56U Dual-Band Gigabit Wireless-N Router

What it is: Router
Starting price: $149.95
Where to buy: Amazon.com

Why it's cool: The stylish and compact Asus RT-N56U Dual-Band Gigabit Wireless-N Router offers stellar 5Ghz performance, long range, and an intuitive Web interface. Its storage feature is well designed; the router is comparatively fast; and it offers a convenient way to access data over the Internet.

Belkin Keyboard Folio What it is: iPad 2
(Credit: CNET Photo/)

Belkin Keyboard Folio

What it is: iPad 2 keyboard
Starting price: $84.99
Where to buy: HP.com

Why it's cool: This versatile and protective folio stand has a built-in computer-style keyboard with well-spaced TruType keys. A spring mechanism underneath each key ensures a tactile response with every stroke, helping you to type faster and with less error than on a touchscreen.

The case feels natural when the keyboard's tucked away. It's thick, but it's usable for casual e-reading. Once the keyboard's tucked under, the versatile case can also be used as a picture frame/upright display without the keyboard showing.

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Sidekick 4G (pearl magenta) What it is: Smartphone
(Credit: CNET Photo/)

Sidekick 4G (pearl magenta)

What it is: Smartphone
Starting price: $60
Where to buy: T-Mobile

The good: If you're looking to buy a teenager their first phone and don't want to drop the $300 take a look at the Sidekick 4G from T-Mobile. The phone balance price and practicality with coolness. The still phone still has 4G (something even the latest iPhone can't boast) and T-Mobile offers affordable data plans. It also has a touch screen, it runs on Google's Android OS and the handheld offers enhanced messaging features, great call quality, and a good camera. The bottom line: The T-Mobile Sidekick 4G continues the Sidekick's legacy as an excellent messaging device and also serves as a great entry-level smartphone.

More info

Kodak Playsport What it is: Rugged video camera
(Credit: CNET Photo/)

Kodak Playsport

What it is: Rugged video camera
Starting price: $149.95
Where to buy: Amazon

Why it's cool: Excellent video for its class; waterproof to 10 feet; HDMI cable included; easy sharing software included. The downside is that to date, the camcorder only works on Windows computers.

HP Pavilion dm1z What it is: Ultraportable laptop
(Credit: CNET /)

HP Pavilion dm1z

What it is: Ultraportable laptop
Starting price: $400
Where to buy: HP.com

Why it's cool: The dmlz is lightweight, reasonably priced and well-designed. It has HD resolution, a full sized keyboard and its processor is speedy without sacrificing its battery life.

iPad 2 What it is: Tablet Starting price:

iPad 2

What it is: Tablet
Starting price: $499
Where to buy: Apple

Why it's cool: Apple's iPad 2 is dramatically thinner and boasts front and rear cameras, FaceTime video chat, a faster processor, and 3G options for both AT&T and Verizon.

The Apple iPad 2 is the tablet all others aspire to be. Intuitive, sleek, fun, and bestowed with the best app and media stores around, the iPad 2 is a sure hit that offers something for everyone.

NikonCoolpix S8100 What it is: Digital Camera Starting

NikonCoolpix S8100

What it is: Digital Camera
Starting price: $250
Where to buy: Amazon.com

Why it's cool: A phone's camera sometimes just isn't enough to capture picture perfect moments. If you're after a fun compact camera with a long lens, check out the S8100. It's built for point-and-shoot ease and it's fast enough for shooting active kids and pets. It's a 12.1 megapixel camera with a 10x optical zoom and it can shoot up to 1080p video.

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Toshiba Qosmio X775-3DV78 3D Laptop What it is:

Toshiba Qosmio X775-3DV78 3D Laptop

What it is: 3-D gaming laptop
Starting price: $1,689.88
Where to buy: Amazon.com

Why it's cool: hose in the market to spend more than $1,000 and get a 3D-enabled, Blu-ray-equipped laptop with plenty of horsepower for games should strongly consider Toshiba's latest high-end Qosmio. It's not cheap or portable by any means, but it's certainly powerful.

Mac Mini What it is: Media player Starting
(Credit: 2011)

Mac Mini

What it is: Media player
Starting price: $600
Where to buy: Roku.com

Why it's cool: The Mac mini is a perfect home computer for the person who either likes minimilism or just doesn't have a lot of space. The Mini is small but it comes with meaty insides. It features the latest dual-core Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, the new thunderbolt port for high speed data transfers, and a AMD Radeon HD graphics processor. It connects to any monitor via Thunderbolt or HDMI, which makes it ideal for a video editor or someone who wants a poweful hometheater media player.

The downside of the Mini is that it does not include monitor, mouse or keyboard. And although the Mac Mini is Apple's cheapest product, it is still a bit expensive. Try looking for deals on Apple's official refurbished store for a discounted Mini.

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