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The most kickass gadgets of 2008, according to me

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It’s been an exciting year filled with a cornucopia of gadgets having passed through the CrunchGear offices. Most I’ve loathed and a few I’ve adored, but only a handful of things end up finding their way into my gear bag. Here’s my brief list in no particular order.

I’ve had the pleasure of groping every single mobile phone (smart phones in particular) to come out this year and the only one that I can’t put down is the BlackBerry Bold. Sure, I’ve had the G1 and the iPhone 3G, which are great devices but the Bold is the one that always makes its way into my pants. It’s the fastest and sexiest device to come from up North in quite some time. (What they were thinking with the Storm, I’ll never know.)

Next year will be interesting, to say the least, with Android shifting into high gear and Apple doing whatever it is they do to give us wet dreams. I hope RIM steps it up because it’s a whole new ballgame now.

Having a good friend who happens to be a sound engineer does one of two things: gets you into sold out concerts for free and turns you into an audiophile. The latter is more applicable here and that’s why I have to dip my hat to Ultimate Ears.

Ultimate Ears never ceases to amaze me with their line of in-ear monitors. I have nothing but praise for every single pair I’ve tried. Even their more affordable sets are better than most. You won’t find me jamming my eardrums with anything other than the Triple.fi 10s (review coming soon) for the near future. Unless, of course, UE pushes out their 11s into a non-custom model.

THX and Razer’s collaboration on the Mako 2.1 speaker set continues to blow me away.

I’m obsessed with photographing everything around me, so these days I carry around a one-two combo from Pentax. They may not have all the bells and whistles like Nikon and Canon, but I’ve always rooted for the underdog and Pentax feels homier compared to the others. No need to go into minute details over pixels and other hardcore photog details because I’m not a pro and don’t aspire to be.

I just need my camera to be simple to use and the K200D does everything I need it to do. With a little more time my needs and wants will expand and I hope Pentax can fill that upcoming void. For now, the K200D is my workhorse and the 50mm f/1.4 and 28mm manual focus lenses are sufficient enough.

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I can’t always travel with my full rig and most point and shoots confuse me with all the crap they come with, but the W60 is fairly easy to use and delivers adequate images in most settings. It’s waterproof, so that’s the biggest draw for me and does well at ISO 800. I relied on the W60 for both videos and images during my trip to El Salvador.

The K2000 is a great starter SLR for those looking to step up from your standard p&s. I just love that little “Help” button.

I’m also going to throw down on Lexar’s Shoot-N-Sync Eye-Fi-enabled Wi-Fi SD card as well. It’s limited for what we need to use it for (live blogging), but it’s a neat gadget that dramatically cuts down the time it takes for me to upload images.

When I do manhandle my iPhone 3G it dies by midday and that makes me cry. A lot. There are a lot of iPhone/iPhone 3G backup battery solutions at the moment, but I’ve used the Mophie Juice Pack the most and the addition of a USB port rather than Apple’s proprietary port makes it more useful and easier to replenish.

What else…

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Having recently resurrected my Nintendo DS from the depths of my desk drawer, I’ve been enamored with two titles: Cake Mania 2 and Pipe Mania (for the PSP too). Yes, CM2. It’s good and I’m not afraid to admit it!

I will finally concede and pick the PlayStation 3 for its ability to support all Blu-ray standards (current and upcoming) and play some kickass games like Little Big Planet. It’s a heck of a lot more fun than I imagined.

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While we’re on the subject of A/V, let’s toss in the Western Digital WD TV HD media player. It rocks, hands down.

What? I carry a lot of stuff with me.

And I throw it all into my LowePro Fastpack 250 backpack, which has more than enough room for all the aforementioned doodads and then some. Dakine’s EQ Bag also accompanies my LowePro bag while traveling.

Almost finished, I promise.

I love G-Shock watches! All of them. Quiksilver’s Harvard tide watch is a great piece too. Just a huge chunk of glass to show me everything I need to know about my local spot or places I’ll be traveling to.

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Oh, and Aircell’s in-flight Wi-Fi service Gogo has made traveling across the country a thousand times better. Wi-Fi on a plane? Need I say more? Of course! Virgin America tops my list of favorite airlines and the addition of Gogo makes it the best airline in all the land.

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Well, I think that’s about it.

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