2011's Hottest Holiday Gadgets and Toys: An Early Look

Christmas top giftsChristmas is four months away, and already the experts are weighing in on which holiday toys and gadgets will be worth the credit card debt. Online shopping comparison site PriceGrabber is one of the first to release a "top products" list of the items it predicts will be this year's hottest.

To come up with the list, PriceGrabber analyzed its own keyword searches, as well as the top selling products from the past several months, says Sharon Banfield, PriceGrabber spokeswoman. It also looked at which products were trending on Google and on websites like CNET and PCWorld.

Unsurprisingly, most of the products are gadgets: Canon's EOS Rebel T2i digital camera is on the list, as is Apple's iPod and iPad 2, Microsoft's Xbox Kinect and Motorola's DROID 3 phone. A lot of these products are upgraded versions of former tech hits, with bigger screens, more memory, and cooler features. Most are also expensive, with the Canon T2i starting at $829, the iPad 2 at $498, and the Kinect at $137 (base on prices taken from PriceGrabber on Wednesday).

Toys also tend to be battery powered. There's a "Dance Star" Mickey Mouse that grooves to disco and mamba, an indoor remote control helicopter that charges via USB (guard the china) and Mattel Loopz, a game where multiple players compete to mimic music and light patterns flashing on a plastic tower of "loopz."

If it doesn't have circuits, it's got to be cuddly. UGG boots are on the list, as is the "My Pillow Pet," which, if you were wondering, isn't a pillow or a pet, but a brand new toy which can be both at once. (Read: It's a stuffed animal.)

PriceGrabber is a price comparison website like Nextag or Bizrate that aggregates deals from online and local merchants, as well as unbiased reviews of products. Though the interface could use some work (the search function couldn't locate some of the products on its own list), the site is a good resource to help you get through the holiday shopping frenzy and decide which hyped products are worth the money.

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