The Seven Deadly Sins of Giving: Envy

The Tech We All Desire

Sony Nex-5 Camera (Lucas Zarebinski)
Sony Nex-5 Camera

Our photo department is drooling over Sony's Nex-5, the best of the new wave in point-and-shoot-size, interchangeable-lens cameras. That's because you get the best of both worlds: a full suite of autopilot features (like smile detection and face finder) and DSLR-like features such as a midsize sensor (meaning high-quality shots) and adjustable ISO settings. $599; sonystyle.com

DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w

Left: DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w and Right: DeLorme SPOT transmitter
Left: DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w and Right: DeLorme SPOT transmitter (Lucas Zarebinski)

DeLorme's Earthmate PN-60w is a top-tier GPS (fast-processing onboard maps, hi-res terrain photos, etc.) with a twist: When synced with the included, puck-size SPOT satellite transmitter, it can send 41-character text messages, as well as "I'm OK" and SOS messages, from just about anywhere on earth. $550; delorme.com

LG Ally Smartphone

LG Ally Smartphone
LG Ally Smartphone (Lucas Zarebinski)

Touchscreens might be slick, but they're just awful for typing. LG's well-priced and sturdy Ally has the best slide-out keyboard of all the Android smartphones we've tested, with plump keys and satisfyingly fast, tactile typing. $50 with contract; lgusa.com

Powermonkey Explorer

Powermonkey Explorer
Powermonkey Explorer (Lucas Zarebinski)

Of all the portable solar chargers we've seen, this is our favorite. Powermonkey's lightweight Explorer lets you quickly charge practically any gadget via sun, USB, or socket and then disconnect the panel and tote around just the battery pack, which has a handy display that tells you how much juice you have left. $130; powertraveller.com

Magellan Explorist 710

Magellan Explorist 710

Magellan Explorist 710

If it's time for an upgraded GPS, go for one that can do it all, like Magellan's rugged and waterproof Explorist 710. It's as adept in the backcountry (detailed topo maps, voice memos for multimedia waypoints) as it is on the way to the trailhead (comes preloaded with maps for every U.S. street and turn-by-turn navigation software). $550; magellangps.com

Eton Scorpion Multitool

Eton Scorpion Multitool
Eton Scorpion Multitool (Lucas Zarebinski)

This is one of those rare items that would work for just about everyone on your list. Eton's Scorpion is a solar- and hand-crank-powered road-tripping/adventure-traveling multitool with weather radio, AM/FM radio with iPod plug-in, flashlight, and phone-charging port—and, of course, a bottle opener. $50; etoncorp.com

Yurbuds

Yurbuds
Yurbuds (Lucas Zarebinski)

Most earbuds aren't great for running; they fall out far too easily. That's why we love Yurbuds. Designed by a triathlete and a 22-time marathoner, they're housed in hydrophilic silicone and fit your personal ear shape—you send them a photo of your ear—so they stay locked in place. Oh, and they sound pretty good, too. $50; yurbuds.com

PENANCE: Charity

Tango Card App
Tango Card App (Courtesy of Tango Card)

Penance: Charity
Apparently, Mom was right: Giving really is better than receiving. Over the past three years, four studies have found that giving to friends and donating to charity can increase everything from your happiness to your physical strength. And, yes, there are plenty of apps to help. One is called Donation Connect, which lets you donate to charities instantly, tagging the gift onto your wireless bill. With CauseWorld, you simply walk into certain stores, such as Borders and Trader Joe's, and click a button to say you're there. (You earn points that get turned into charity cash.) Or, for a fresher take on gift cards, check out Tango Card (tangocard.com), a new electronic gift card accepted at ten retailers—from REI to Starbucks—that lets you donate those pesky unused balances to nonprofits like the National Parks Foundation

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