Hewlett-Packard / www.TaylorSwift.com
Splurge: Dr. Dre Laptop: Different models with varied hardware and software options available on Amazon for $1,300 and $1,400.
Visionary hip-hop performer and producer Dr. Dre has staked out a niche in the world of audio gear with his Dre Beats headphones and has now lent his name and logo to the Dr. Dre Laptop made by Hewlett Packard. It's a PC-based machine with plenty of bells and whistles such as a high-def webcam and Bluetooth capability. Yet to be determined is whether it comes pre-loaded with beats that guarantee hits for would-be rap stars and nascent producers. It does, however, come with Beats Audio, which professes to deliver higher-quality audio reproduction than the garden-variety laptop. How better to judge the high performance sound than with a set of Dre Beats earbuds or headphones?
Bargain: Taylor Swift's "Speak Now World Tour" 16-track CD and 18-track DVD, $16.99. "The Journey to Fearless" DVD, $10.99.
Taylor Swift's "Speak Now" became the first album in more than five years to top first-week sales of 1 million copies when it came out last fall and has since become the biggest-selling album in all genres of the last 12 months, selling more than 5 million. Her "Speak Now" tour sold out arenas across the U.S. in many other countries when she took it international. The new live CD and DVD features songs from that tour without overlapping with material from "Journey to Fearless," which documents her previous tour, on which she performed songs from her last two blockbuster albums. "Fearless," which hit stores in October, gives behind-the-scenes glimpses of her tour with home movie footage and includes interviews that tell the story of her remarkable rise to the top of the pop music world. Together they offer a bounty of material on the woman crowned entertainer of the year by the Country Music Assn., the Academy of Country Music and Entertainment Weekly.
-- Randy Lewis