Sharper Image vs. SkyMall: Who is Gift Champion?

Gadget lovers can't resist browsing the catalogs of the Sharper Image and SkyMall, especially around the holidays. Both have fun products: funky stuff like spy cameras and everyone's personal favorite — turbocharged nose-hair trimmers. And then there are those truly goofy ones; who wouldn't want a can of poop freezer that "chills animal waste to –62 degrees Fahrenheit?"

So who's truly hipper: The Sharper Image or SkyMall? To find out, we looked at what each had to offer in six gadget categories, from the practical to the delicious (and we're not talking the bookmarks site, yo). Warm up your browser and follow the link to see who's left standing when all the plastic wrap and Styrofoam peanuts clear.

Round 1 — Street Level: Portable Keyboards


Sharper Image: The G-Tech Smart Fabric Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard ($80) is a roll-up travel keyboard for all your Bluetooth devices. The fabric keyboard (right) is as big as a laptop's keyboard, so you can just laugh at your friends trying to poke out a message on their miniscule smartphones, YKWIM?
SkyMall: The Virtual Keyboard ($170) with lasers and a virtual keyboard definitely beats out a real keyboard, right? This small device beams out a keyboard image onto any flat, opaque surface like the tray table on your redeye to L.A. The lasers pick up your hand movements and send that data wirelessly to your Bluetooth-enabled device. Just don't beam onto the bald guy in 11B.
The Score: The Sharper Image's G-Tech is probably the more reliable keyboard. But SkyMall's Virtual Keyboard is so impressive that its higher price hardly seems to matter. Trust me, pull this out on your next business trip, and you're bound to blow away your boss — you'll be next in line for a raise.
Point: SkyMall

Round 2 — Shaping Up: Wacky Fitness Devices


Sharper Image: The Sportline HydraCoach Intelligent Water Bottle (left, $30) might be smarter than a 5-year-old. It calculates your hydration needs, keeping track of how much fluid you've consumed and letting you know if you need to drink more. This takes the coach-recommended "drink before you're thirsty" hydration concept to a whole new level.
SkyMall: The Talking Digital Hand Grip ($13) tells just how strong, or wimpy, you are. The LCD screen shows grip force, and a voice announcement will count out your workout. If it's an Austrian accent saying it's gonna "Pump me up," I'm leaving out the batteries.
The Score: While most of us could manage to stay in shape without either of these devices, The Sharper Image's Intelligent Water Bottle can be useful not only in the gym, but throughout the day to ensure proper hydration. Plus, it's better than that moldy old plastic water cup that's been sitting on your desk for months. Throw that thing out already.
Point: Sharper Image

Round 3 — Relaxation: Massagers


Sharper Image: The Rechargeable Mini Massager (left, $25) is an adorable device in an R2D2 kinda way. On the other hand, it gives better massages than most robots. The Mini Massager is a handheld device with four vibrating feet that light up when the unit is turned on. The Mini Massager has a built-in rechargeable battery, and it sits on the charging base when not in use.
SkyMall: The Knobble II Accessory Massager ($10) is about as low-tech as it gets. Looking like a translucent doorknob, the Knobble II is a massage tool with no batteries, no moving parts. The body of the device is surrounded by Santoprene rubber that lets you apply a different type of friction on the skin. The makers suggest that the Knobble II not replace the use of hands in massage, but be used to give hands a break.
The Score: The Sharper Image Mini Massager is a superior device. Power is good, and a massager that has power is so much easier to use, especially this wireless rechargeable one. When it comes down to magic-fingers assistance for sore muscles, The Sharper Image Massager is the one to get the kinks out.
Point: Sharper Image

Round 4 — Breaking the Ice: Adult Beverage Chillers


The Sharper Image: This Electronic Ice Bucket (left, $60) is one of the hottest things we've ever seen. Slip in a bottle of room-temperature wine, select one of the 10 preset temperatures and the Electronic Ice Bucket will keep it cool, or if you wish, warm. Warm? Yeah, nothing goes with sushi better than a perfectly warmed bottle of sake. Forget about messy, drippy ice buckets — the sommelier is in the house.
SkyMall: Sky's chilled shot machine, the Lil' Chill Shot ($150), will break the ice at your next party. Put in a bottle of your favorite shot, and the Chill Shot will bring down the temperature to a chilly 15 degrees Fahrenheit for a wonderfully nippy treat. No reason to store your Grey Goose in the freezer anymore. It'll also work with Kool Aid.
The Score: Once again, style wins. For the wine connoisseur who has everything in his/her cellar, The Sharper Image's Electronic Ice Bucket will pop your cork. However, without wanting to come across as a total lush, is it bad to want both coolers?
Point: Sharper Image

Round 5 — Weighty Decisions: Bathroom Scales


Sharper Image: The Total Body Composition Monitor (right, $120) elevates the mundane to an art form. This scale features an elegant display on a clear glass base. It displays your weight, along with body fat and body water, which is displayed as a percentage of total weight. No more excuses about retaining a little water — it's time to hit the treadmill. This is a scale that you wouldn't mind keeping on display at all times.
SkyMall: The Body Composition Monitor Scale ($99) offers a more utilitarian approach to watching your weight, yet it gives you more useful information. The SkyMall scale raises the display to make it easier to read, especially before you've put your contacts in for the day. The scale gives readings for skeletal muscle, resting metabolism and visceral fat levels. Consult your physician before assuming you know what any of those things means. Note: weight limit of 300 pounds.
The Score: The Sharper Image scale is a work of art. With a plain, industrial look, the SkyMall scale isn't as eye-catching, but it gives more useful information. The classic dilemma of form versus function. The Sharper Image's style tips the scale in its favor.
Point: Sharper Image

Round 6 — the Luxury: Crazy-Expensive Gadgets


Sharper Image: The Stewart Golf X3R Remote Golf Caddie (right, $1,995) makes golf-cart riders look like weenies. While you get the advantages of walking the course, the Caddie carries your bags wherever you want with a battery-powered remote control that lasts for 18 holes. An on-board gimbal-balanced drink cup scores a hole in one.
SkyMall: The Armada 20 Winder Pro Cherry ($1,500) is the ultimate in luxury. It's one thing to own a collection of 20 watches, luxury is elevated to a whole new level in indulgence with an automatic watch winder. Cheaper than a Rolex, it keeps all your time pieces in perfect working order without you ever having to lift a lazy finger.
The Score: While watch winders are wonderful, remote controlled extravagances rule. Plus, no one would know you had help with your watches, but all your golf buddies will know who has the best toys when you show up with a all-terrain golf caddie. He who has the most toys wins.
Point: Sharper Image

The Decision: The Sharper ImageSharper Image's products have advanced functions that will look much hipper in your home or on the road. The products from SkyMall all perform well at great prices, but don't register as highly on the style meter.