Baffled by Bluetooth? Mystified by MP3s? Then read David Phelan's four-page guide to no-brainer gizmos

In the home

1 Marco Pierre White Electric Carving Knife, £25, www.russellhobbs.

Tackles freshly baked bread or the Sunday roast and includes blades specifically for frozen foods

2 Gold's Gym Abdo Glider, £30, from John Lewis (

Using this workout aid is simplicity itself: kneel down and push the glider forward then pull yourself back up. Great for the abdominals

3 Electrolux Intensity vacuum cleaner, £250,

A nifty cleaner for those who want power but have little storage space. It folds down flat, but when in use, it has 50 per cent more suction than many uprights

4 BT Verve 450 DECT phone, £79.99,

A twin-set of cordless home phones; one handset plugs into the mains and phone socket. The other needs only power — it connects to the network wirelessly

5 Dualit classic toaster, from £115,

Rather than pinging the toast up, this keeps the bread warm until you eject it by pressing a lever – well worth the money

6 Marks & Spencer 800-watt microwave, £59, www.

Exceptionally consistent cooking, whether it's a ready meal or a baked potato. The controls are unfussy and easy to use

7 Krups Essenza Nespresso coffee maker, £99.95,

Plonk a Nespresso pod into the machine and that's it. The pull-out dispenser ejects the spent pod and you're ready for your next cup '

Easy listening

1 Pure Siesta alarm clock radio, £50,

This clock's brightness dims automatically when the lights go out, and you can choose from DAB radio, FM radio and buzzer to wake you up

2 Denon DM-35DAB hi-fi, £350 (including speakers),

A simple but sensational little hi-fi, available with its own speakers, or without. There's a DAB digital radio as well as a CD player, and it has a sound that punches way above its weight

3 Intempo TRS DAB radio, £49.99, www.intempo

No need to remember frequencies – with DAB they are stored alphabetically. When you plug the radio in, it'll scan for stations and store them. Glance at the LCD screen and you'll see what station you're tuned to as well as information about the current programme

4 Goodmans 1104H DAB hi-fi, £79.99, www.

If you're looking for a cheap way to have music in a spare room, this dinky hi-fi is hard to beat. It's simple to operate (press on, press play, enjoy) but it looks decent, too. Small but mighty

5 Harman Kardon Soundsticks II Audio Speaker System, £129.95,

Speakers that will give the music on your computer or MP3 player plenty of oomph, and style too. The jellyfish-like 'sub-woofer' delivers strong bass and the "satellite" speakers are louder than they look. They also work with a hi-fi. Volume adjustment is easy, via a touch-sensitive control instead of a dial

6 Yamaha YSP-40D, £1,199, www.digitalsound

If you want surround-sound but not endless cables, Yamaha's sophisticated "soundbar" sits under your TV and its individually angled speakers focus the sound into beams and bounce them off the walls '

Simple vision

1 Samsung HD870 DVD player, £55, from Amazon (

When it comes to home viewing, the biggest catalogue of films etc is still to be found on DVD, and this player cleverly makes discs look as good as they can

2 Sony Bravia V3000, 40-inch TV, £1,395,

This flatscreen TV delivers the most detailed picture on the market – which to you and me means a remarkable colour range and naturalistic skin tones. Also boasts a fool-proof set-up mode

3 Sky+, £129 plus monthly subscription for channels (

No more scrabbling for blank video tapes. The hard disk in Sky+ works with the in-built programme guide; highlight the programme, press the record button and you're done. Plus, if the phone rings while you're watching live TV, you can press pause and come back to it when you're ready

4 BT Vision, connection £30,

One of the simplest personal video recorders, this has a Freeview tuner to deliver scores of channels for free, and will save up to 80 hours on the hard drive. There's also video on demand: for 99p you can watch an episode of, say, Bleak House whenever you want

5 Sony PlayStation 3, from £299,

Whether you want to play video games, watch DVDs, listen to CDs, or even watch movies on high-definition Blu-ray discs, the PS3 is a complete entertainment hub. Even the advanced features, such as connecting wirelessly to the internet, are simple to set up

6 Nintendo Wii, £180,

A games console that doesn't turn you into a couch potato, The Wii has motion-sensitive controls so when you're playing a tennis game, for instance, you wave your arm as if you might actually hit a ball. A hoo '

On the move

1 Logitech Pure-Fi Anywhere speakers, £95.30, from Amazon,

There are plenty of models of iPod speaker out there, but this is especially portable because it has a built-in rechargeable battery that lasts 10 hours

2 Sennheiser PXC350, £230,

These noise-cancelling headphones are particularly good on airplanes, where they block out much of the engine noise, enabling you to turn down the volume on the in-flight system

3 Fujifilm Z10fd digital camera, £129, www.fuji

Point and click is all you need to do – this clever snapper recognises faces and focuses on them. There are plenty of other features if you want to explore, but otherwise the toughest choice is which colour to pick: pink, blue, red, black, green, dark green or orange

4 TomTom One XL GPS receiver, £160,

Satellite-navigation means you don't need to know how to get to your destination. This model is exceptionally simple. Tap the address into the 4.3-inch touch-sensitive screen and follow the instructions. If you go wrong, it recalculates quickly

5 Nokia 6500 Classic mobile phone, from free with contract,

Nokia makes famously accessible phones. This new model is sleek and elegant, yet also workmanlike. And if you want to snap pictures, there's a 2-megapixel camera on board

6 iPod Nano, £99-£129,

There is still no more intuitive digital music player than the iPod. Connect it to a PC or Mac, load the iTunes software and then load on music by putting CDs into the computer and letting iTunes convert the songs to digital tracks. The smaller-capacity model holds 1,000 songs, the larger, 2,000 *