Gadgets & Gizmos: IRiver H10
Nokia 7260
iPod Shuffle
Siemens SK65
Pentax Optio 750Z

Charlotte Ricca-Smith reviews the best new products

IRiver H10, £199, 020-8960 6000;

IRiver H10, £199, 020-8960 6000;

As more women are buying MP3s, the emphasis on players has shifted from massive hard drives to compact size, and as a result there is a current flood of five-gigabyte models on the market. The iRiver H10 is one of these new "minis", and comes in four colours. I had the pleasure of playing with the pillar-box red model, which certainly isn't for shy types, and I loved it.

Navigation is via a vertical touch-pad, which is suspiciously like the one found on the Creative Zen Micro. Coincidence? I'll leave that for you to decide. There are some nice extras such as a recordable FM radio, voice recorder, and you can also record directly from a CD player if you splash out on the optional cradle. But its star feature is that you can store and view digital photos on its colour screen, although at just 1.5 inches, you need to squint to see them. You can also view text files on it, but again its small screen makes for very limited reading.

Sound quality is far more impressive, which, combined with its good looks and added features, makes the H10 a serious contender in the mini MP3 market.

Nokia 7260, from free with contract, 0870 055 5777;

After last month's look at the avant-garde 7280, I wasn't thrilled at the prospect of reviewing the second family member in Nokia's new "fashion" range. But after the poor performance of its skinny sibling, the 7260 was a joy to use. Essentially, it is a standard Nokia handset but in very funky clothing, reminiscent of flashing dancefloors and glitter balls. Unlike most fashion models, the 7260 carries a bit of extra weight, but it fits nicely into the hand and into most jean pockets, and the build quality is great.

Nokia has chucked in some nice extras, such as an FM radio (note the nylon-coated headphones, complete with matching retro design on its control), voice recorder and VGA camera with a 15-second movie capability. But the Oscar for best supporting role goes to the clothes- and shoe-size converter, which clearly has the fashion crowd in mind. And as you'd expect from Nokia, navigation is delightfully straightforward.

A great handset for those who want simplicity with a touch of sparkle.

iPod Shuffle, £69 (512MB) or £99 (1GB), 0800 783 4846;

Keeping up with the Joneses has never been easy, so I don't envy the task of MP3 manufacturers trying to compete with Apple. Just when they think they're giving the Mini iPod a run for its money, Apple goes retro and launches a USB flash-memory stick. Around the size of a cigarette lighter, the Shuffle holds either 512 megabytes or one gigabyte and there is no screen. So how do you select tracks? You don't, hence the name. Fill it up with up to 240 songs (the 1GB model) and it randomly selects the tunes. It has the familiar iPod wheel enabling you to pause, repeat and skip if the Shuffle reads your mood wrong, and it has a slider on the back so you can play the songs in the order the artist intended. Syncing the Shuffle to your Mac or PC is just as straightforward: plug it into the USB port and drag and drop the tunes you want to hear.

Cheap, simple but effective, the Shuffle is a blatant swipe at the bottom of the MP3 market and you just know that Apple will pull it off.

Siemens SK65, from free with contract, 0870 533 4411;

If you've been here before you'll know I'm a big fan of the Blackberry, a handy device that provides instant access to e-mail on the move. Now, for the first time, the technology has been incorporated into a standard handset - although the SK65 only just makes it into the mobile phone category. It is longer, chunkier and heavier than most mobiles, to allow room for its big screen (all the better to see your e-mails with) and full qwerty keyboard (all the better to write your replies with), which is revealed by twisting the top of the phone 90 degrees. You then type e-mails using your thumbs, which is fast and effective thanks to the large and responsive keys.

Despite its interesting swivel-design, everything else about the SK65 is very businesslike. Its build is solid and dependable; its looks, stylish and understated. There is no camera, as many paranoid businesses won't allow them on their premises, but it does have 30 megabytes of memory, Bluetooth and all other standard features. As a business tool, the SK65 is hard to fault, but you'll probably want to keep another, smaller handset for personal use.

Pentax Optio 750Z, from £332, 01753 792731;

The 750Z combines classic good looks with all the fancy features of a decent digital, including seven megapixels, a 5x optical zoom and flip-out LCD screen, which allows viewing from almost any angle or position without glare. Its disadvantage is that the screen is a bit on the small side (just 1.8in). Build quality is also less substantial than its looks lead you to believe, largely due to the fact that Pentax used plastic instead of metal on much of its design - not what I'd expect from a camera at this price.

In terms of functionality, however, it's hard to fault - once you've got used to its dawdling start-up time of about three seconds. There are more features that you can shake an SLR at, including aperture and shutter priority, white balance, double-exposure capability, voice recording, VGA video and world clock with not one, but three, alarms. What's more, the menus are clear and easy to follow, and you can customise the controls so that the function button provides instant access to all the major features.

If you're after a digital that performs like an SLR, the 750Z is a good, if slightly expensive, choice.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
tennisLive: Follow all the updates from Melbourne as Murray faces Czech Tomas Berdych in the semi-final
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
musicYou'll have to ask Taylor Swift first
Joel Grey, now 82, won several awards for his role in Cabaret
Harry Kane celebrates scoring the opening goal for Spurs
footballLive: All the latest transfer news as deadline day looms
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Maths Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Our exclusive client in St Albans Hertfords...

Tradewind Recruitment: KS2 Primary Teachers

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Key Stage 2 Teachers needed in Hertfordshir...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ACCA/CIMA - St Albans, Hertfordshire

£55000 - £58000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A truly exciting opportunity has ari...

Ashdown Group: Credit Controller - London, Old Street

£25000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Credit Controller - Londo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness