Gadgets & Gizmos: Designer Vision DVX-POD 7010
Oregon Scientific MP120
Motorola Razr V3
Sim Card Databank
BaByliss Foot Vibes
Wednesday 01 September 2004
The gadget of the moment is the PMC - the Personal Media Centre. Numerous models are being launched, but the DVX-Pod caught my eye due its 7in widescreen display with a glorious 854 x 640 resolution.
Designer Vision DVX-POD 7010, £445, www.designervision.co.uk
The gadget of the moment is the PMC - the Personal Media Centre. Numerous models are being launched, but the DVX-Pod caught my eye due its 7in widescreen display with a glorious 854 x 640 resolution. However, those extra inches do add bulk to the player, so it isn't very pocket-friendly.
Pod by name, iPod by nature, this PMC pays homage in its minimalist white styling to Apple's Mr Ive, so it is also short on buttons; those left must multi-skill. The jog dial on the side does volume, fast forward, rewind and pause - and getting it to understand which you want is tricky. But that aside, it is very easy to navigate.
The DVX label refers to the DivX films that you can download from the internet on to its 20-gigabyte hard drive. You should get around three hours of viewing time. It can also record direct from your TV, and is a voice recorder, digital photo album and MP3/WMA player in its spare time. A great toy for the wealthy gadget-lover.
Oregon Scientific, MP120, £100, www.oregonscientific.co.uk
When it comes to MP3 players, the world's smallest dimensions or biggest hard drive don't really do it for me any more, but waterproof - now you're talking. This 128MB flash-memory device is the (deep breath) world's first completely watertight MP3 player - up to depths of one metre. (Exhale, slightly disappointed.)
Getting music on to the MP120 couldn't be easier - connect it to your PC or Mac and drag and drop. Getting the earplugs to sit securely in my ears, however, was a bit more problematic due to the plastic covers. They do take some getting used to, but the trick is not to shove them in too hard - and it is well worth the effort. This gadget really does take the tedium out of doing lengths, and I defy you not to try to overtake the fat bloke in the Speedos when your favourite tune comes on. Just remember not to sing as you swim.
The FM radio, however, was a disappointment as I could only get reception by keeping my head out of the water. So the MP120 isn't perfect, but it is still a great gadget for the jaded water-baby.
Motorola Razr V3, £149.99 (with contract), 0870 9010 555; www.motorola.co.uk
Just as I'm beginning to tire of the endless stream of new mobile phones, along comes something that makes me glad to be a tech-head. The V3 oozes class, and begs to be played with. Wider than the average phone, but just 13.9mm thick, it slides effortlessly into the tightest of pockets. Build quality is also superb, thanks to its aluminium and magnesium construction, but at 95g, it is still very lightweight.
Every last detail has been carefully thought through, from the two colour screens, to the flat keypad (the keys are chemically etched in). But the V3 is much more than just a skinny face; it has a VGA camera cunningly squeezed into its hinge, plus Bluetooth and tri-band.
It uses the familiar and intuitive Motorola interface, and I love the bold icons on the menu, which make the most of the large (2.2in) and bright (64,000 colours) screen. A grown-up phone for those that value style as much as gadgetry.
Sim Card Databank, £19.99, www.gifts4all.com
If any of you have experienced the nightmare of losing your mobile phone, you will know that the stress doesn't come from the lost handset, but all those numbers in the SIM. Chances are you don't even know the number of your mum, let alone some bloke you met down the pub.
The solution is to get yourself a back-up device like this. It will store all your phone entries, including address, e-mail and vital statistics. The bonus with the Sim Card Databank is that it can store information from up to three different SIM cards, and you can easily transfer details between them. It also has a separate personal and business phonebook (not sure why exactly, but it could come in handy if you reach your SIM card maximum), and its qwerty keyboard makes entering details a doddle.
Other features include a world-time clock, alarm and calculator - but ultimately, this is a device that should be left at home, under lock and key, so that if you do have the misfortune to lose your phone and/or bag, you don't lose your whole life along with it.
BaByliss Foot Vibes, £14.99, 08456 049 049; www.johnlewis.co.uk
Foot Vibes make look like an ordinary pair of suede slippers, but built inside the sole is a motor, intended to gently massage the wearer's feet.
Press the button on the inside of each slipper and a rather loud buzzing noise begins, followed by a somewhat insignificant vibration. Walking around in them seems to dampen the feeling, so my other half tried putting his feet up (all in the interest of science, he assured me). The result was a mild tingling in his feet - not exactly the effect that he was hoping for.
The best thing about the Foot Vibes is that when you put them on the floor, turned on, they move around on their own. Hours of fun - and they keep feet warm.
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