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The Verge Holiday Gift Guide 2012

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Did you hear that? That low hum rising off in the distance? What could it be? Oh, of course, it's The Verge Holiday Gift Guide! The holiday shopping season — and deep dread of finding that perfect gift for everyone on your list — kicks off now, and we're here to help. This year, we're offering up four big lists, ranging from a hand-curated mix of home, design, and art picks to truly extravagant lifts for those that have everything. And a mix of great books, movies, and thoughtful, affordable gifts. Drawing on the expertise in the office, we've also broken down the best picks at different prices across categories, so you'll have no problem finding the right phone, camera, TV, or laptop this holiday season.

Image credit: Dominic Alvares

11 updates and 1230 comments below.

Nov 22 11:01a

Holiday Gift Guide: audio and speakers

Let's face it: most of the speakers we all use are terrible. Whether it's on our phones, our tablets, our laptops, even our TVs — we're all too used to listening to music and movies on terrible equipment. You can solve that problem for your giftees in style, or on a budget — and if you choose right, sometimes both. Give someone the gift of good sound this year, and they'll remember why they liked music in the first place — before it sounded like it was coming out of a tin can.

Cheap...

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11:01a

Holiday Gift Guide: art, home, and design

Finding the right gift for someone is hard. Sometimes it's not just about knowing what they want or what they like, but about knowing what kind of person they are, then trying to find something unexpected for them. Something they never see coming. Something completely unique. Gifts from the world of art, home goods, design, and personal items are the kinds of things that can often require a rather deep knowledge of the giftee, but can also have an impact that far exceeds gifts from other...

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11:01a

Holiday Gift Guide: headphones

Buying a decent set of headphones is tough. There are just so many choices: noise-cancelling, or earbuds, or in-ear, or those weird ones that you have to go to a doctor and have molded? Plenty of people will try and convince you that you get what you pay for with headphones, and that a good set are worth their weight in gold. That may be true to an extent — those $1,000 molded ones do sound awesome — but you don't have to take out a second mortgage in order to get a good pair. Whether...

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11:01a

Holiday Gift Guide: TVs

Seeing as it's the essential piece of your home theater setup, you'll face few household decisions as stressful as deciding on the HDTV you'll be staring at for the next several years. Big or small? Plasma or LCD? Where does 3D fall on the priority list? The holiday season typically isn't the best time to fork out cash for a new television — you’re best holding off for the weeks before the Super Bowl if you’re in the US and can wait for it. But if you're determined to unbox a new TV in...

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11:01a

Holiday Gift Guide: gaming

It's a slightly odd time to have a gamer in your life, since two of the three major consoles appear to be only months away from a huge revision. The flood of great games never slows, though, and there are plenty of new titles to hold over even the most avid player. Plus, Nintendo's Wii U is now out, and as we found in our review the console has plenty of potential — and it's already great, when its games take advantage of what it can do. Whether you're looking to give someone their next H...

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11:01a

Holiday Gift Guide: laptops

There are few gifts more important than a personal computer, but it’s also one of the easiest to screw up. Buy a laptop based on price, brand, or a spec sheet alone, and you’re sure to run into unexpected tradeoffs. That’s why we review laptops here at The Verge, but also why we penned this guide: here are the best recommendations we have to offer, and some excellent choices at every price.

Best laptop: MacBook Pro with Retina Display (15-inch)

There’s really no question...

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11:01a

Holiday Gift Guide: tablets and e-readers

For the first time in a few years, buying a tablet isn't necessarily a simple decision. The prevailing wisdom has always been “just buy an iPad,” but that’s not always the case anymore. Google, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble are all promoting their own tablets and e-readers, and they’re all good products getting better quickly. Then there’s the whole “tablet” versus “reading tablet” versus “ebook reader” dilemma, in which companies make it impossible to figure out what their devices are even...

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11:01a

Holiday Gift Guide: cameras

Digital cameras have been one of the most popular holiday gifts for over a decade, and they are still desired by gift givers and gift receivers alike. Now more than ever, it can be difficult to decide which camera to get someone, as the market is seemingly saturated with cameras of every size, spec, and shape. We’ve rounded up the best cameras across a few categories to help guide your purchase, with alternative options that you may not have considered when you initially started your hunt...

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11:01a

Holiday Gift Guide: music, movies, books, and more

There's nothing like the challenge of the "content" gift. Granted, it's often more affordable than a new camera, but there's that little thing called taste. Choose a book well, and you may inspire a friend to look at writing in an entirely new way. Gift the wrong album, and you could end up never talking about music again. After plugging the Verge staff into our Recomendo5000 — ten thousand times more accurate than Pandora's recommendations — we've come up with a list of music, games,...

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11:00a

Holiday Gift Guide: extravagant gifts

Assuming your offshore accounts held up fine in 2012, then why not take the opportunity to really treat yourself and your closest friends and family, and those schlubs covering for you at the office. Hanging cocoons for napping over your pool away from the kids? A special edition Leica that costs for more than your first two cars combined? Your very own Bitcoin mining rig? We’ve got you covered.

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11:00a

Holiday Gift Guide: cheap gifts

Let’s call it the "thoughtful" gift — the one that thinks outside of the box. It’s not the typical "game console" or "off-contract smartphone" that loved ones expect you to buy. No! It’s something else entirely. It’s the tacit acknowledgement that you shouldn’t be burdened to lock a friend or family down into one ecosystem or another. That’s not your job, that’s a very, very personal decision that requires deep soul-searching.

Instead, maybe you know your friend just upgraded to an...

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Nov 21 3:12p

The best smartphone: what to buy on every carrier

What's on top right now in the smartphone world? Let's break it down Continue reading »
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