Gadgets: Philips DA1000<br/>Canon Ixus 500<br/>Toshiba A100<br/>Voice Travel Mate<br/>Alcatel 735

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Philips DA1000 £149 0870 900 9070; www.philips.co.uk

Philips DA1000 £149 0870 900 9070; www.philips.co.uk

Even with 10 million tracks (or whatever it is MP3 players are capable of holding now) to choose from, a girl can get tired of her music collection. So this month I have been listening mostly to digital radio via the DA1000 from Philips - a very shiny, portable radio that you can't help but wave under the nose of anyone passing by.

It is quite a large device for a portable radio - around the same size as an iPod, possibly due to its two rechargeable AA batteries (which provide an impressive 10 hours listening time) - but it's still very light. It also has a large LCD display that shows all the usual programme information, such as station name, the song playing and even sports scores.

Usability is great and you'll be up and listening in seconds. Signal, as always, depends on your location in the UK, but if you're having problems you can always tune into FM instead. The DA100 will automatically offer the best 10 stations, based on reception quality. A great radio that performs as well as it looks.

Canon Ixus 500 £399 08705 143 723; www.canon.co.uk

Since the Ixus was launched in 1996, its family has grown to 30 of the little blighters, and the 500 is the current daddy. It has the Ixus's familiar solid feel and weight, and continues to impress when you turn it on. The 3x optical lens leaps out in eager anticipation, while the LCD screen is crystal-clear. And it is a joy to use. The menu couldn't be clearer and it has one obvious button for deleting images. Photos are just as impressive when printed, thanks to its Digic processor, which now comes as standard on all Canon cameras.

The print/ share button is another addition to Canon's digital range. When it's connected to your computer or directly to a printer, hit the button and you'll get a print displayed on its LCD screen, or you can transfer images to your PC or Mac. And if you fancy yourself as a movie-maker, it can record up to 30 seconds of VGA-quality clips with sound. Expensive, but worth it.

Toshiba A100 £1,115 0870 444 8943; www.toshiba.co.uk

With its white and silver facade, the Toshiba A100 is what you might call a PC in Mac clothing. But it isn't just a pretty case, and it comes with all goodies you could hope for in a notebook, including a 1.4-Ghz processor, 12-inch screen, DVD/CD-RW drive, WiFi, four USB ports, and an SD media slot. It is also very portable, weighing just 2.2kg (4.6lbs), but still provides a decent keyboard. It has built-in speakers, but you might want to listen to your MP3s or DVDs via decent headphones as the sound is pretty poor.

What I do like about the A100 is its brightly lit screen: you can use WiFi for what it was intended - sitting in the garden. Battery life is also good: you should get around four hours usage. The only downside is that all that iBook styling seems to have gone to Toshiba's head, and the price doesn't reflect the PC notebook market.

Voice Travel Mate £29.99 0870 429 6000; www.maplin.co.uk

Even with phonetic spelling, most phrase books never seem to get you further than "hello", "thank-you" and "does that come with chips?" What we all need is the Voice Travel Mate, which helps you to say 700 commonly used travel sentences in 11 languages.

It's simple to use: you get to choose from eight subjects (general, emergency, entertainment, sightseeing, directions, restaurants, transport and hotel) and then scroll through the sub-categories for the appropriate sentence. Once found, a press of the button will display the translated words on its LCD screen, and it will say the phrase out loud to ensure perfect pronunciation.

It also displays time, day and date of your home country, as well as 15 other cities in the world. How, I wonder, did I ever travel without one?

Alcatel 735 £80 0870 241 7267; www.alcatel.co.uk

While Alcatel doesn't inspire excitement with its mobile phones, you can always rely on it to produce decent handsets. Is the 735 an exception? In this model, Alcatel has gone to town on its camera functionality. Pictures can be taken in six sizes, and there are three shooting options, three choices of image quality, a 10-second timer and five exposure settings and colour options. And should you want to snap yourself, there is a very small mirror on the back of the camera to squint into.

Alcatel would have been better off investing more time in its predictive texting, however, which has a seriously limited vocabulary. Basic words such as "hi", "how" and "in" were missing ("in-law" and "homophobic", however, are readily available - go figure) and adding them to the dictionary pushed out other words.

Despite its all-singing camera, if you text more than you call, the 735 is simply too flawed to be recommended.

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