Top 10 tech toys to blow your tax refund on

Sure, you could invest it, but this is more fun

Sony PlayStation 3

Celebrate not only your tax return, but the end of the high-def disc format war. Blu-ray has emerged victorious, so it's time to splurge on a PlayStation 3.

The PS3 offers all the features of your typical Blu-ray DVD player, as well as access to exclusive PS3 video games. "Resistance: Fall of Man," "Ratchet" and "Clank" are already tearing up the charts, and it's only going to get better. "Metal Gear Solid 4" comes out this year; with over 18 million units sold in the "Metal Gear Solid" series thus far, this conclusion to the series promises to be the biggest blockbuster yet for the PS3.

And when Sony launches its "Home" online service, the inbuilt broadband adaptor and 40GB hard drive will be used to interact with other gamers in a free, Second Life-style fashion.

Though the PlayStation 3 has been slow to catch up to the sales of the Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii, its position as the most affordable and versatile Blu-ray player may finally make it a winning proposition.

Sony list price: US$399, or $349 on PriceGrabber.com

Apple MacBook Air

Slim, sexy and surprisingly functional, the MacBook Air is a great traveling computer. Though lacking all the features of a full-fledged MacBook or MacBook Pro, it offers a compact travel form unrivaled in the laptop market.

With no FireWire port, Ethernet port or optical disc drive, the MacBook Air may initially seem a crippled computing choice. But when you're on a plane, on a train or in an automobile, you'll hardly miss what you'd never use anyway.

The MacBook Air weighs in at only 3 pounds and has a maximum thickness of only 0.76 inches, making it an attractive companion to slip into your briefcase, backpack or manila envelope. You'll be ready to pull it out and hop on the local Wi-Fi at a moment's notice.

The MacBook Air isn't meant to be your household's primary computer. But when you're not at home, it can be just what the doctor ordered. You won't regret the US$1,799 you'll spend on the Air.

Apple list price: US$1,799

Mike Elgan writes about technology and global tech culture. Contact Mike at mike.elgan@elgan.com or his blog, The Raw Feed.

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Mike Elgan

Computerworld
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