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Peripherals

Tech gifts for the geek who's got everything

Don't worry — there are a few genuinely new products on the Australian market this year, even if you're shopping for a gadget lover who is quick on the early adoption front. Here are some gift ideas for new products that they probably won't already own.

Yes, sure, Christmas is a great excuse to upgrade your loved one's phone, camera or laptop that has seen better days. We know from the many readers of our Christmas Gift Guide that lots of you are trawling through CNET reviews deciding what features to get and whether to go with HD video on a camera, GPS in a phone or a touchscreen in the next MP3 player you buy.

But what if you have a gadget freak on your list who is already packing the latest tech gear? Can you satisfy their tech cravings and still get them something they haven't seen before?

This year the answer just might be yes, as there are some products finally on offer that Australians have long been waiting to get their hands on locally. Check out these three suggestions:

Pure Sensia
At AU$749, this radio throws in everything from DAB+ and FM reception, to internet radio and Wi-Fi media streaming. You can also access Facebook, Twitter and Picasa apps through its 5.7-inch colour touchscreen. (Credit: Pure)

Digital radio

While most of us have made the move to digital TV, digital radio was just launched in Australia in August 2009. There are quite a few new free digital stations on offer, but the catch is that you need a DAB+ radio receiver to pick them up — there is no set-top box equivalent to upgrade the radios you already own. Britons have enjoyed digital radio for a while now, but Australians have launched with a slightly different standard (DAB+ as opposed to DAB in the UK), so radios purchased in the Old Dart won't work here.

It's more thoroughly explained in our feature Digital radio: All you need to know, plus you can research which digital radio is right for you in our review round-up of the best DAB+ digital radios.

Kindle ebook reader
Kindle's bundled 3G wireless connection makes it easy to download new ebooks. (Credit: Amazon)

Ebook reader

Aussie book lovers have seen Americans toting these devices on their travels in the US for several years. Ebooks are digitally reproduced books and ebook readers are specialised devices designed to make reading them on the go a simple task. The main benefits are that they are lightweight, can hold hundreds of books and have a very long battery life.

More on the ins and outs of ebook readers can be found in our feature Ebook readers: A guide to the world of digital books and how to read them. Models such as the Eco Reader and the BeBook Mini started appearing in Australia in September, but now the most well-known e-reader, the Kindle is available to Australians too. It's a pretty fab device, but it tries to lock you into buying all your ebooks from Amazon.

Panasonic DMP-BD60
Prices on Blu-ray players, once more than AU$1500, have dropped, even from the big name brands. This Panasonic DMP-BD60 retails for AU$389. (Credit: Panasonic)

Blu-ray player

OK, technically these aren't "new", but as yet less than 9 per cent of Australian households own Blu-ray players (and this stat includes PlayStation 3 consoles that can play Blu-ray discs as well as games). There are a number of reasons they've been slow to take off: there was a protracted high-definition format war with HD DVDs, the first players were predictably expensive, and there simply weren't that many Blu-ray movies available to watch.

The tide that stalled Blu-ray uptake may now be turning. The prices of both Blu-ray players and the discs themselves have dropped significantly and there are now more than 1000 Blu-ray titles on the Australian market. While most of the offerings have been skewed toward action movies, studios are now starting to release titles from their back catalogues and more family friendly fare. Twentieth Century Fox, for instance, has just released Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, as well as the classics Braveheart, Fight Club and Rocky: The Undisputed Collection on Blu-ray. And finally, so many more of us now have full HD flat panel televisions to show off the high definition and surround sound capabilities of Blu-ray to its best advantage.

Those with large DVD libraries need not worry; Blu-ray players are compatible with existing DVD and CD formats, so you can play your old movies on them as well as watch Blu-ray. To answer any other questions on Blu-ray, see our feature Blu-ray: Everything you need to know as well as our round-up of Five of the best Blu-ray players. There is also a growing selection of Blu-ray recorders, portable players and BD home theatre systems like the Samsung HT-BD1255 and the Panasonic SC-BT207W.