The InfoWorld 2010 geek gadget gift guide

The 10 top techno-toys for holiday merry-making

InfoWorld 2010 Geek Gadget Gift Guide

From practical to fun, these gadgets are sure to appeal to the geek in your life

Christmas and the rest are fast approaching, and shorter days have geeks across America thinking even more about techno-toys. In the spirit of spreading holiday cheer of the gadget variety, InfoWorld.com presents its picks for the coolest gadgets for Christmas 2010 for that special geek in your life (or just for yourself!).

Our guide includes a few “crown jewel” items that may already be on your list -- or already in your loved one’s possession. The rest are gifts you probably won’t find at a Best Buy, so you know they’re special -- the kind of items the guys from “The Big Bang Theory” would appreciate.

Star Trek pizza cutter, bottle opener, and corkscrew

Star Trek kitchen tools

Yes, the original Enterprise starship can slice up a pizza in your universe, thanks to this $25 pizza-cutting replica of the most famous spaceship of all time from the übergeeks at ThinkGeek.com. Its saucer section is the pizza cutter wheel. There’s also the $20 Enterprise bottle opener and the $20 Klingon Korkscrew in the shape of a Bird of Prey warship. Be sure to hand-wash them; their finish will get damaged in a dishwasher.

Android Plush Robot

Android Plush Robot

Google Android smartphones are all the rage. For your favorite a fandroid -- or for that child who’s just a wee bit young for his or her own smartphone -- get this cute doll, whose head and arms articulate. At $13, it’s a great stocking stuffer from ThinkGeek.com.

Apple iPad

Apple iPad

This has got to be the No. 1 geek gift of the year: Apple’s amazing iPad. A lot of geeks already have one, but they’re proving popular for adults and kids of all geek quotients as lightweight business computers, portable gaming systems, and personal media centers and so make a great gift from a geek who already has one. Prices start at $500 for the 16GB Wi-Fi-only model and $630 for the 16GB Wi-Fi + 3G model, but you’ll probably want the 32GB models for $100 more. Also be sure to get Apple’s beautifully designed, $50 iPad Case.

ZeroChroma Case for iPad

ZeroChroma Case for iPad

The iPad makes a great video player, especially on long airplane flights and in hotels. But it doesn’t hold itself up at all, and Apple’s great iPad Case -- a must-have for everyday use -- doesn’t hold it an appropriate movie-watching angle. But the $70 ZeroChroma Case does, with a wide range of viewing angles in both portrait and landscape orientation. It even lets you hold it via a built-in handle, videorecorder-style.

Microsoft Kinect Sensor

Microsoft Kinect Sensor

Microsoft’s new motion-detection add-on for its Xbox 360 is very appealing, especially if you don’t have a Wii but do have an Xbox. Even the first version of the technology is slick. The add-on Kinect Sensor costs $150, or you can an Xbox 360 bundled with Kinect for $400.

Black & Decker PCS10

Black & Decker PCS10

There’s no reason tech has to stay in the house, as the $60 Black & Decker PCS10 Plant Smart Digital Plant Care Sensor proves. Put this device in the soil for a few days, and it measures sunlight, temperature, moisture, soil conditions, and more to provide recommendations on what to grow, easy to follow plant care advice, and immediate feedback for watering your plants. It is both Windows- and Mac-compatible.

Apple MacBook Air

Apple MacBook Air

The late-2010 MacBook Airs take light weight, battery life, and slimness in computers to a whole new level and presage the era of all-solid-state computing (optical drives, RIP). A second USB slot helps overcome one of the first generation’s key deficiencies, and the USB reinstallation thumb drive is a neat idea.

VoltStar Eco Charger

VoltStar Eco Charger

Phantom power -- the drain on the electronic grid from chargers plugged in but not charging anything -- is worse than the Phantom Menace. VoltStar Technologies’ $34 Eco Charger EPC-1000-7 for 5-watt devices (most smartphones) automatically shuts off when a device is fully charged. It includes a 30-pin cable for iPhone and iPods (it will not charge iPads); a MicroUSB cable for BlackBerrys and other smartphones costs $8.

All-in-one travel power adapter

All-in-one travel power adapter

Those travel power adapter kits can be a real pain, with all the individual adapters to keep track of. A great stocking stuffer item for a traveler on your gadget list is this $4 universal adapter that handles U.S., European, U.K., Australian, Middle Eastern, and most Asian power plugs and outlets, and it can connect plugs with outlets among any of them (though it does not convert voltage).

Vuzix Wrap 920

Vuzix Wrap 920

It’s science fiction made real: These lightweight (3 oz.) video glasses that let you watch high-def TV and movies almost anywhere, such as on a plane. The $350 Wrap 920 comes with cable adapters for Apple iOS devices such as the iPad, video-capable smartphones, digital cameras, and portable DVD players, and optional VGA and HDMI adapters let you view video from a broad range of computer and home entertainment devices. Note that the glasses must be individually adjusted, so don’t expect to pass them around to friends or family.