Gadget Monday: Top Five Gadgets

In the giving spirit of the season, our Friendly Web Tools blog is going to close out the year with a wealth of tips for you. From now until 2009 (we’re taking a break on the 25th and 26th), we’re going to give you our top five every day, from design tips to gadgets.

Today, as it’s Gadget Monday, I’m giving you our top five gadgets. As with all gadgets featured on Gadget Monday, these meet our criteria of affordability, ease of use, practicality and ingenuity, all factors we think are vital for charitable organizations.

So, with the end of the year nigh, our top five gadgets:

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[Image: Flickr user curiouslee]

1. XO. We adore the cheap, durable, energy efficient and inspired green and white laptop computer from the One Laptop Per Child project. We love it because it’s wonderfully designed and it can help change the life of children all around the world. It’s cute, rugged and has built-in wireless. In fact, it’s so great, you might want to buy one for a kid somewhere else who needs one and then buy one for a kid closer to home.

2.E-book reader. It’s a weird experience going from a book to a digital square, but once you cotton on to an e-book reader, you’ll never look back. Even if you don’t want to pay for the expensive books, you’ll still love either the Sony E-Book Reader or Amazon’s Kindle for free and paperless newspapers, magazines and a large backlog of public domain books.

3.Solio Charger. We first saw this when we volunteered at our local public radio station – they were giving it away as a premium for pledging. I’ve loved it ever since. The Solio “stores power from the sun or socket; freeing you to recharge your mobile phone, iPod and other handheld devices anywhere, anytime. A fully charged Solio will recharge the average phone up to two times, or give you up to 15 hours of MP3 music.” Green and great.

4.Zi6. We’ve reviewed the Flip Video digital recorder, but we really like Kodak’s Zi6. It’s a cheap HD (I’ve seen it for barely over $100 online) camcorder for quickly capturing video and letting you upload it to YouTube easily. Fast and fun.

5.Optoma's Pico Projector. Earlier this year, we featured the 3M pocket projector, a gadget that makes taking PowerPoint or video presentations on the road much easier. We also like Optoma’s Pico, which is bright, incredibly portable and just shy of $400.

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