|The Nikon Coolpix S8100 ($279) is a great option for a point and shoot digital camera.
We like to say technology is sexy. Oooh, look at that sexy plasma TV! Yowza, that's a sexy tablet! Oh my goodness, is that a sleek, stylish and sexy smartphone in your pocket? Or are you just happy to see me?
But really, sexy gadgets have about as much to do with actual sex as Magic Erasers do with actual magic. (True, there are whole categories of battery-powered gadgets devoted specifically to sex, but we're keeping things family-friendly here.)
That being said, going the techy gift route for Valentine's Day doesn't mean your present has to be cold and impersonal. In fact, you can have the best of both worlds - give your sweetheart something she or he will appreciate more than flowers or chocolate, while tailoring it with a romantic, personal touch.
The Valentine's Day gadget gift ideas here presume a guy is getting something for a girl, but they can easily be adapted to any other combination of gender gift-swappage. They all require some extra effort, but that's what love is all about, right?
The gadget: Digital camera
The romance: Take pictures of things she loves
Anyone can amble into Electronics R Us and pick out a digital camera - we remain big fans of the Nikon Coolpix S8100 ($279) - but what you do with the camera before you give it to your honey is where the romance comes in. Carefully unpack the unit and spend an afternoon taking shots of things she loves, be it pink tulips, old buildings, her English bulldog puppy or Ryan Reynolds, if you can find him and not get arrested for stalking. Heck, take pictures of yourself if you think that'll work.
Then, pack the camera back up so it looks like it came fresh off the store shelf, and watch as she discovers the pictures you've already taken. Aww.
The gadget: Universal remote control
The romance: Program it to work with all her stuff
If your woman loves watching House, finding new Blu-rays and playing Dance Central on her Xbox, it probably means she probably has quite the pile of remote controls on her coffee table. It also means she's really cool, so put a ring on that, pronto.
Nothing makes managing multiple entertainment electronics easier than a universal remote control. We've been using the Logitech Harmony One ($249) for years and still love it, because once it's set up, you can press a single button that corresponds to whatever you want to do - watch TV, play Wii, listen to a CD - and it turns on all the appropriate gear, selects the proper video inputs and so on. Setting it up can be a bit time-consuming, but that's where you come in.
The gadget: GPS navigator
The romance: Load it up with her favourite places
As more and more smartphones offer GPS navigation functions, we rely less on dedicated GPS units. But a high-end GPS can still be great for frequent drivers - we recently test drove and liked the TomTom GO 2505TM ($319) - and if your sweetheart fits that bill, you can also pre-program it with all kinds of addresses, ranging from places you know she visits (restaurants, shops, your house) to romantic spots you'd like to visit together (although your GPS probably won't be able to offer driving directions to Paris). If you forget to put your in-laws' address in"Ž well, these things happen.
The gadget: Point and shoot video camera
The romance: A weekend getaway to use it on
There are lots of simple pocket video cameras out there, such as the latest generation Flip MinoHD ($239.99), a super-slim, ultra-simple camcorder that can record two hours of high-definition video. Even better, you can have the camera's shell emblazoned with a custom image or pattern your sweetheart might like (for free!) if you order via www.theflip.com.
To take the romance a step further, package the camera with a gift certificate for a weekend getaway to her favourite hotel or scenic spot. Just don't label the camera "for use in the Jacuzzi, wink wink!" Even if that's exactly what you're hoping.