Tom’s Hardware’s (Impractical) 2014 Holiday Gift Guide

New technology is often expensive, and some products just aren't practical to give as gifts. But that doesn't mean we covet them any less. What follows is a decadent collection of ideas if money really were no object.

Our Impractical (And Sometimes Ridiculous) Gift Guide

Last year we created the Tom’s Hardware gift guide. It was full of things we wanted, but mostly out of reach (although it might not escape everyone’s attention that some certain someone wrote about a quadcopter last year, and then somehow ended up with one). Many of you pointed that out, so several days ago we came out with a more practical holiday gift guide for you. It did not, however, answer our insatiable need to wish for bigger things. And so we asked our editors, once again, to give us their wish lists. Some people went a little bit...crazy. 

2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

I loved driving the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat around Portland International Raceway. The new supercharged Hemi V8 puts out a neck-breaking 707hp and 650lb-ft of torque that makes every mash of the pedal full of eargasmic pleasure. Dodge now offers the insane powertrain in a sedan package: the Charger SRT Hellcat. In family-friendly guise, it's available only as an automatic, though you get a beefed-up version of the excellent ZF 8HP transmission found in everything from Bentley to Jeep. 

It also makes the Charger SRT Hellcat the fastest production sedan, able to travel one-quarter of a mile in 11 seconds flat and deliver a top speed of 204MPH. Yes, the performance is excessive for a street-legal car, but I want one in my garage so bad. The $63,995 MSRP is more affordable than a Tesla P85, leaving plenty of change left for the fuel I'll need. My wife says I can’t have one, but I can dream right? - By Ahn Tuan Huynh

Diamond Select Star Trek Life-Sized Captain's Chair Replica

Captain Kirk's legendary command chair, in your living room. I'm going to say that again because the awesomeness of that statement can't be thoroughly digested in a single exposure: Captain Kirk's legendary command chair, in your living room. In your living room. A bargain at 10x the price. - By Don Woligroski

Dell UltraSharp UP3214Q Ultra HD Monitor


I thought my 30-inch 2560x1600 monitor really couldn’t be improved upon until I decided to take the plunge during a sale and try Dell’s 32-inch 3840x2160 monster. Cramming in 140PPI, the picture is incredibly sharp, even when sitting close.

This is decidedly a dream in the office. Meanwhile, your gaming experience will vary depending on the title and your PC's specs. New games running at their highest detail settings turn into slideshows unless you have two or three high-end GPUs. And that is on top of the monitor’s already-steep price. Dell sells the display for $2500 right now, though special deals can push it down to a still-massive $1750 (including tax, shipping and an extensive three-year warranty). It also comes calibrated from the factory. Once you do get your games running, they'll look incredible and you'll wonder how you ever dealt with the pixelated mess you see elsewhere.

Just note that there are two versions of this monitor with different firmware versions, A00 and A01. A00 is subject to a massive number of bugs, the majority of which were resolved by A01. A00 is not user-upgradable, and is still being sold. The only way to get from A00 to A01 is to exchange the monitor. - By Arne Weigold

Microsoft Surface Pro 3


The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 can actually play full-on PC games. Not those piddly little Flash-based amusements in the app store, but games that'd require you to check the minimum specifications first on a respectable rig. Having a powerful, truly portable option for gaming (and work, yes, yes) would be outstanding. - By Joe Pishgar

Sony 4K Ultra Short Throw Projector

The cinema quality 4K Ultra Short Throw Projector by Sony looks incredible. It has a native 4K resolution and uses a laser projection system to display video that covers an entire wall, up to a crazy 147 inches. The quality of the projection is apparently the biggest feature of the 4K projector; Sony’s specs show it has clarity four times better than Full HD and reviews of the product say the laser light engine delivers bright, punchy colors. Unlike other projectors, it also has a built-in audio system. Set it up right against the wall and it looks like a piece of furniture. The projector section is motorized and folds down when not in use. The best part is that when it’s off, you’re not staring at a giant black hole that a big screen TV would normally take up. I would love to turn my living room into a cinema with Sony’s 4K projector and this one is just incredible. - By Kasia Lorenc

Steelcase Leap Task Chair

According to my job description, sitting is what I do best when I’m not busy saving the world. On the other hand, sitting for hours isn’t such an easy task for an aging superhero. Steelcase came to my rescue long ago with a predecessor to its Leap task chair, and the Leap offers even more adjustability to conform to my other-worldly proportions.

Famed for the durability of its pricey commercial furniture, the company charges still more for the comfortable stuff. Elves, on the other hand work for free, so I’ll let them spin me out an exact replica of this $900+ masterpiece. - By Thomas Soderstrom

Vertu Signature Touch Smartphone

My impractical holiday wish item is a smartphone with lower specs than the one I chose for a practical gift. The Vertu Signature Touchstarts at $11,300! Why on earth would anyone pay that much for a phone? The same reason anyone would buy a Ferrari over, say, a Corvette with similar performance. You are paying for a lot more than just simple specs.

Each Signature Touch is hand-made in England, and is crafted from “polished hardened titanium.” It also has a sapphire crystal screen and a hand-stitched leather back that can be upgraded with more exotic skins, such as lizard and alligator. While its specs are not top-of-the-range, it is no slouch either with its Snapdragon 801 SoC, a  4.7" 1080p screen and a 13 MP camera tuned by Hasselblad.

Your $11,300 also buys a one-year subscription to the Vertu Dedicated Concierge, which “gives you access to a dedicated personal lifestyle manager who will provide 24-hour worldwide assistance, recommendations and priority bookings.” These services are accessed with a button cut from actual ruby! My personal choice is the understated Pure Jet Calf model with its black titanium finish. Now if only Vertu could make my wish come true and send us a review unit... - By Alex Davies

Tesla Model D

Tesla’s Model S was pretty sweet already. The Model D goes further though, adding another motor to cover the front and rear axles. These will take you from 0 to 60MPH in 3.2 seconds, making the Model D among the fastest-accelerating cars in the world. The model P85D Tesla debuted in October can eke 275 miles at 65MPH from its 60 kWh battery, or you can just floor it up to 155 MPH. We won’t even get into the plush UI of the car’s dash displays. What matters is the vehicle’s AI, driven by sonar, camera and a 12-sensor system tied to the GPS, brake and steering systems. Drift into an adjacent lane and the Model D guides you back. It also leverages its 16-foot sight range to avoid objects (including children and dogs), even at top speed. The Model D is like driving a plush rocket able to put safety first. It is a glimpse of the mainstream sedan ten years from now, and as such it’ll set you back about $120,000. Practical? Not yet. But seriously, we can’t wait for the rumored Model 3 to bring a lot of this functionality down near $40,000. – By William Van Winkle

Space Flight With Virgin Galactic

If the dual-motor Tesla Model D wasn’t impractical enough as a gift idea, perhaps suggesting a trip into space with Virgin Galactic will quench your desire for unrealistic fantasy. True, it isn’t exactly space flight, but the SpaceShipTwo will ride White Knight Two up above the Earth’s atmosphere, topping out around 50,000 feet, at which point SpaceShipTwo detaches and continues on its way up.

So far, over 600 people have signed up for the flight. The trips are scheduled to start in March 2015, although that date is already postponed due to a recent accident. Not scared yet? For $250,000 you can reserve your own seat. Oh, you will have to pass various rigorous pre-space flight tests, but you're worth it. – By Niels Broekhuijsen

DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ Quad-Copter

While DBR (“drones before regulation”) is still a catchy theme, there is no shortage of personal-use drones for taking the random home and family selfie from 200 feet up in the air (the Phantom 2 Vision+ can actually ascend nearly 650 feet).

Does owning one of these make sense? Unless you’re a movie producer, SEAL Team Six member or high-end real estate agent, not really. But fish-eye videos from afar are all the rage in 2014. It’s worth the $1229. – By Josh Linder

LG 34UC97 Curved, Ultra-Wide Display

Since I love a lot of real estate for my computer’s desktop, I’m imagining a semicircle’s worth of LG’s Curved IPS UltraWide monitors would make me a very happy camper. Sporting a 21:9 ratio, the 34-inch LG 34UC97 was made available to U.S. customers in early October 2014. The 34UC97 has a native resolution of 3440x1440, and supports HDMI (x2), DisplayPort (x1) and Thunderbolt 2 (x2) video inputs as well as a couple of USB 3.0 ports for added flexibility. With its 178° viewing angle, it may take a few of these displays to get the desired semicircle formation I’m envisioning, but then that’s what wishes are all about, right? – By Julio Urquidi

Krav Maga Training

Most of my day is spent sitting in a chair, usually with poor posture. To keep atrophy at bay, I could go to the gym. But that's boring. I need something exciting to keep me motivated, and a more intense workout than what a stationary bike can provide. Training in Krav Maga meets both criteria. An Israeli martial art, Krav Maga focuses exclusively on practical, easy-to-learn self defense techniques, with an emphasis on physical fitness. The U.S. Military and police forces across the country train in Krav Maga, and many of the cool fight scenes in movies use it as well. With this training, I can get into shape, have fun and learn potentially life-saving skills. - By Matt Humrick

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

I don’t care much about SoC performance anymore when the Moto G does its job just fine. I’m also not big fan of Samsung’s software customizations, which can actually slow a mobile device down. But if I still want to buy a phone that costs as much as Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4, it would be mainly because of superb amera performance.

Much like the Galaxy Note 3 before it, the Note 4 offers some of the best (if not the best) still and video recording available. The phone also comes with an ARMv8 chip (even if Samsung won’t admit it), which makes me hopeful that the company will enable support for it with the Lollipop update. The Note 4 would be an amazing gift from anyone who can afford its high price tag. – By Lucian Armasu

Asus G750 Gaming Laptop

Asus’ G750-Series notebooks are high-performance gaming machines that cost significantly less than Alienware notebooks with similar specifications. They usually come with Nvidia's top notebook GPUs, and they have air cooling systems to match. In contrast, some laptops come with GPUs that overpower their thermal solutions, leaving you with a heavily-throttled machine and lower frame rates than what you were expecting.

The Asus G750 laptops are probably too pricey to consider giving away. But they pack plenty of attractive hardware that you might want to think about buying for yourself. As of this writing, Asus hadn't released a Maxwell-equipped notebook in this series; the ones available are based on Kepler. So, you may find a G750 at a more reasonable $1200 price before the end of 2014.  - By Lucian Armasu

Fluke 5320A Calibrator

A few months ago, I transitioned from a full-time technology journalist to low man on the totem pole at a 43-year-old family business, where I’m testing and calibrating electrical, temperature and pressure equipment. It doesn’t sound very glamorous (it’s not), but there’s something refreshing about a day job with normal hours and a real weekend. At any rate, although I’ve already compelled my boss (who goes by “dad” on the weekends) to spend more than my yearly salary on new equipment, I can’t seem to get enough. Surely he couldn’t turn me down if I publish my desire for Fluke’s shiny 5320A Multifunction Calibrator on Tom’s Hardware, right? It’d be the perfect complement to the 5502A already on my bench. – By Chris Angelini

Nvidia Quadro K6000

The best, fastest CUDA-capable workstation graphics card on the market. It's armed with 2880 CUDA cores, 12GB GDDR5 memory, 5.2TFLOPS of single-precision floating-point performance, and so on. Also the most expensive, this thing costs more than my car! - By Jon Carroll

Vessyl

At $99, this gift is actually pretty practical. But for a cup, that’s a stiff price to pay. Except this one is laden with sensors that track the nutrition value (at the molecular level), calories and volume of intake. The idea is to help you stay properly hydrated, make sure you don’t over caffeinate, maintain weight control and understand what you’re putting in your body (including alcohol – I figured someone would ask). It can detect specific brands, it can differentiate between a pure liquid and, say, a smoothie. There’s a mobile app that provides lots of details, but the cup itself also contains a display. This 13 oz. vessel comes in a variety of colors and stays charged for days. - By Fritz Nelson

Non-SteamOS Steam Machines

Because Valve has been dragging its feet on finishing that confounded Steam Machine controller, and SteamOS is still in beta (get it together, Valve), we’re seeing a few not-Steam Machine Steam Machines hitting the market. These include the Alienware Alpha, CyberPower PC’s Syber series and iBuyPower’s SBX.


Frankly, I’d take any of them. I’ve always loved consoles (shout out to SNES, the best console ever made) and playing games from my living room instead of the basement. Thus, the idea of a dedicated “console” that slips quietly into my home theater setup is attractive.


Even though the SteamOS platform is still a bit half-baked, Big Picture Mode is neat, and the whole thing feels great on my TV. Having a system that doubles as a dedicated Windows HTPC is a huge bonus too, especially with a growing family that will be consuming a greater variety of content soon, including games.


Base not-SteamOS Steam Machines from those aforementioned builders are inexpensive, but also rather pedestrian in the specs department. So as long as we’re being a bit impractical here, I’d go with the high end. That’s $699 for an iBuyPower SBX Plus, $1499 for the Syber Vapor Xtreme or $899 for the maxed-out Alienware Alpha.

Your choice, whatever you want to get me will be fine. — Seth Colaner

Thermaltake Level 10 Titanium Edition

Back in 2010 when Thermaltake and BMW Designworks first unveiled the Level 10, I immediately fell in love with the design and features of this cutting-edge, ultra-premium chassis. As a “distro-hopper”, external hot-swap SATA bays were quickly becoming the defining feature in my search for a new case. Not being able to afford the Level 10, and not knowing about the imminent GT model, I settled on a series of much more affordable cases from Zalman. The GS1000, MS1000-HS2 and MS800 Plus were all great cases that served me well, but deep down I still want the Thermaltake Level 10. And when I saw the Titanium Edition this year, all I could think about was what an epic addition it would make to my next Hackintosh build. — Adam Overa

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17 comments
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  • UltimateDeep
    The steam Machines, depending on their config and how much you're gonna use it, aren't really that impractical, same goes with the displays and the Note 4, depending on how frequent you use them for.

    Just sayin'. But these are great to gift for Christmas nonetheless!
  • lorfa
    Quad copter, I thought they all went after Craig's mom's bush.
  • bobsmith2
    Umm, Asus does have a maxwell based laptop out. I know because I ordered one for my wife for Christmas. When was this written because I ordered it two weeks ago and it's already at our house waiting to be opened on Christmas morning.
  • cknobman
    Hard to believe you would put the SBX up there as a recommended machine.
    The specs on it suck big time and offer less graphics power than a XBox One.
    For the same $699 price the Alienware is a no brainer.
  • cmi86
    I love how right off the bat they talk about the challenger hellcat and show a picture of a charger, whoops.
  • g-unit1111
    I'll take all of the above. Except the space flight. Not too sure about that one. But everything else on the list sounds awesome.
  • alchemy69
    Virgin Galactic? I'd rather take a trip to Tehran wearing a picture of Mohammed made from bacon, it would be safer.
  • gbair
    413501 said:
    I love how right off the bat they talk about the challenger hellcat and show a picture of a charger, whoops.


    That part was about the Charger, no mistake there.
  • tylanner
    I have way to many of these already and am looking at a few more on the list coincidentally....I like your editors flavor....Perhaps you DO have something that could benefit Anandtech after all:)

    Masterpiece is a good way to describe the Leap Chair....it has the quality of a massively corporate chair but the styling and adjustability to please those looking for added utility and aesthetics.

    The NOTE 4 is pretty much the pinnacle of "just because" impracticality. It pushes the limits of pants pockets and hand sizes while sporting an insane PPI, precise stylus and then the gear VR to watch films in your personal virtual movie theater...
  • cmi86
    Whoops my bad, they do have a hellcat charger now too. Still rather have the challenger version though. So much more accurate nostalgia, the charger was not a 4door lol. Krav Maga could be fun too.
  • dovah-chan
    Would take my M8 over any other phone any day. Even the new one HTC is releasing soon. It's flaws give it character and humility. Just like a person.
  • Turb0Yoda
    GIMMEH DEM ALL. Except the Vertu. I'd rather have the note 4. And the space flight..........
  • Fr33Th1nk3r
    I'd love that laptop for when I go work on the oil wells in Africa. There is nothing to do there.
  • akula2
    Some gifts are cool like Asus ROG laptop. I will buy one for myself once New Year hols through. Having said, you should've added this workstation card too:

    AMD FirePro W9100 16GB -- outperforms K6000 on many parameters (use both products).

    My all-time favorite from the recent times? If Porsche decides to manufacture more, I'd love to gift a Red/Black colored Porsche 911 GT2 RS to my future better-half and soul mate. I don't mind spending $200,000 on her.

    I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and New Year.
  • f-14
    hahahaha i had no idea the quad copter was so expensive, i just happened to see this this morning:

    r/c dji Quad-Copter REWARD!! (Dows, Iowa)
    http://masoncity.craigslist.org/wan/4759673855.html
    © craigslist - Map data © OpenStreetMap
    (google map) (yahoo map)

    LOST!!!!! NICE REWARD IF FOUND!!!

    Please contact me if u find my dji phantom 2 vision Quad-Copter. It is like a helicopter but has 4 motors. There is a nice reward of u find it. I lost it in Dows, Iowa.

    Please call me ASAP to claim your reward.
    515-5zero5-4two69
    Thanks,
    Luke



    lorfa
    Quad copter, I thought they all went after Craig's mom's bush.

    is Dows Iowa where craigs mom is at? i had NO I D E AAAAA
  • amk-aka-Phantom
    Umm... how come both the article and commenters are ignoring Asus G751? It's using Maxwell GPUs and is already available in the US. Forget the G750!