Great gear for over $150

Part three of Macworld's 2009 Holiday Gear Guide looks at gifts that cost more than $150 and are worth every penny.

Welcome to the 2009 Gear Guide

For the last installation of our 2009 Gear Guide, we picked out gadgets that cost more than $150 but are still a good deal. If you want to splurge (or drop hints for someone else to splurge) on gifts with a three digit price tag this holiday season, the nine desirable items in this collection are for you. This gear will enhance what you already own, let you get more things done, and maybe even put a smile on your face.

Wi-Fi Wherever

Novatel Wireless’s MiFi 2200 connects to the cellular data network and broadcasts a Wi-Fi signal, giving you Wi-Fi connectivity just about anywhere. Up to five devices can connect at once, and the battery-powered MiFi is so small, you can slip it in a pocket and forget it. It’s available in both Sprint and Verizon versions, and it’s free when you sign a contract and agree to pay monthly data fees. (Without a contract, it costs $300.)—JASON SNELL

Radio Daze

Logitech’s $200 Squeezebox Radio (check latest prices) connects via Wi-Fi to your iTunes library and the Internet, letting you play back your own tunes as well as Internet radio stations and music services such as Pandora, Last.FM, Slacker, and Rhapsody. It’s as small as a clock radio, including the built-in mono speaker, and is easy to control via preset buttons, a nice control wheel, and a snazzy 2.4-inch color LCD screen. Prefer stereo speakers? Logitech’s $300 Squeezebox Boom has ’em, but it lacks the Radio’s color screen.—JASON SNELL

Mister Microphone

There’s an element of the audio world that dismisses USB microphones out-of-hand as low-budget, poor quality substitutes for a “real” mic. With the introduction of USB microphones like MXL’s USB.009, that’s a position that will become increasingly difficult to defend. This 24-bit/96kHz large-diaphragm cardioid condenser microphone offers clarity as good as “real” microphones in this price range and includes gain, mix, and headphone controls. Packed in an aluminum flight case, the $400 USB.009 includes a mounting clip and sturdy desk stand.—CHRISTOPHER BREEN

You'll Flip For It

By offering video cameras on the iPhone 3GS and fifth-generation iPod nano, Apple has acknowledged something that others realized some time ago—having a video camera that you can plunk into a pocket or purse is cool. What Apple hasn’t been able to do, however, is produce a portable media player that shoots HD video, a job still best handled by a dedicated pocket camcorders like Pure Digital’s Flip UltraHD. Shooting up to two hours of H.264 720p HD video, the $200 (check latest prices) Flip UltraHD is highly pocketable. With its flip-out USB connector and on-camera Mac and Windows editing software, it’s also a camcorder that makes it easy to edit and distribute the video you shoot.—CHRISTOPHER BREEN

An App Store for Your Printer

How influential has the iPhone been? Just look at HP’s Photosmart Premium TouchSmart Web All-in-One printer. This $400 color inkjet printer/color scanner/copier connects to the Internet via Wi-Fi and can use HP’s free Print Apps—small iPhone-like programs that run on the device itself. With the touchscreen interface on the printer, you can use the Fandango app to buy and print movie tickets, the app to print store coupons, or the Snapfish app to print photos.—ROMAN LOYOLA

One-Click Control

These days, the average living room is overflowing with electronics—and their attendant remote controls. The Logitech Harmony 700 Remote could very well be the one remote to rule them all. The Harmony 700 features one-click control, allowing you to distill certain tasks—watching TV for example—into a single button push instead of a complex sequence involving multiple remotes. It also features a color LCD screen, rechargeable AA batteries, and compatibility with more than 250,000 devices. And setting up the $150 (check latest prices) remote is as easy as downloading the software and plugging the remote into your Mac.—DAN MOREN

Three Gadgets in One

iPod dock, digital picture frame, clock radio—Sony’s versatile $150 IFC-CL75IP does it all in a cleverly-designed system that’s a perfect fit for your desk or nightstand (check latest prices). A slide-out dock charges your iPod or iPhone, and stereo speakers let you enjoy your iPod or iPhone’s music or the built-in AM/FM radio. The 7-inch LCD shows the time along with your favorite photos and videos (hosted by 1GB of built-in memory or your iPod or iPhone), and a dual-alarm alarm clock—with 7-day or weekday/weekend alarms and a variety of sounds completes the package.—DAN FRAKES

TV Calling

Live TV from Equinux lets you watch live television on your iPhone. The $4 app requires that you have The Tube, a $50 Mac program for TV streaming that comes free with Equinux’s $130 TubeStick hybrid. That device connects to your Mac and grabs free, over-the-air digital TV signals. Once you’ve installed The Tube and plugged Tubestick into a USB port, you can sync up your iPhone (via local shared Wi-Fi) and channel surf (with live, per-channel preview as you scroll) from anywhere in your house. It works great when you don’t want to miss a minute of Lost even as nature calls, or if someone else has claimed the TV and you want to watch the game without needing to leave the comfy couch.—LEX FRIEDMAN

Swift Scanning

For years, Fujitsu’s ScanSnap have ruled the document capture market roost for the Mac. But Canon hopes to gain some attention of its own in the demanding world of Mac-based offices with the DRM-2010M. This $555 desktop scanner—the first fully Mac-compatible high-speed document scanner to come out of Canon—can churn out 20 black-and-white, color, or grayscale pages per minute in simplex mode and 40 inches per minute in duplex mode. The automatic document feeder can hold up to 50 pages and a Scan-to-Job button sends images directly to an application so that your work can continue without interruption.—PHILIP MICHAELS

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