The Ten Best: Talking gadgets

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The Independent Online

Everyone needs encouragement to get to grips with the housework. This loquacious vacuum won't nag you to clean behind the fridge, but it will let you know when its dust container needs emptying or when it's increasing suction to tackle an especially dirty patch. A hi-tech washable filter traps more than 99.9 per cent of particles.; 020-7730 1234

Tom Tom Go 700

At last, a back seat driver that knows what they're talking about. This satellite navigation system contains everything you need for navigation throughout Europe, displaying clear 3D maps and announcing turns in a choice of voices. With a Bluetooth-compatible phone, you can download traffic information, celebrity voices and (with some models) enjoy hands-free calling.; 08451 610 009

Pure Digital Sonus-1XT

A human voice tells you what station you're tuned in to and can spell out scrolling DAB text. Voice prompts help you set it up and a tap on the SnoozeHandle prompts the current time and alarm settings.; 01923 277 488

Sportline talking pedometer

A gadget that not only walks the walk, but talks the talk. Clip it to your belt before you go for a hike and this pocket-sized pedometer will track your steps and announce the total distance travelled. If you can bear its painfully shrill melodies, it can also play one of seven electronic tunes in sync with your walking or running speed.; 08456 049 049

Cobolt talking tape measure

This tape measure speaks its mind - in feet, inches, metres, centimetres or millimetres - and can convert between them at the touch of a button. You can store and combine measurements if the 5m tape isn't long enough. It is also available in six other European languages., 01493 700 172

Nike Philips PSA610

This sports MP3 player is the next best thing to having a coach shouting at you. As well as containing some 1,500 digital tunes on a shock-proof 3Gb hard drive, it has a talking stopwatch so that you can time races without taking your eyes off the finish line.; 08709 009 070

NetGem iPlayer+

This is the only set-top box that can decode audio-described TV broadcasts on Freeview. Audio description adds a voice track explaining what's happening on screen, and is found on at least 6 per cent of programmes from the five terrestrial channels. The iPlayer+ can announce channels or use your broadband connection to show web pages on TV.; 08000 153 092

Cobolt talking scales

The Speak Your Weight machine, much beloved of old-school cartoonists, is now available in a slimline domestic version. The chatty weigh station articulates your mass in stones, pounds or kilograms but is far too polite to ever say: "One at a time, please."; 01493 700 172

Oregon Scientific Meteo weather station

This desktop weather forecaster displays and discusses a wide range of weather facts and figures, from temperature, pressure and humidity to your personal sun exposure time, based on skin type and UV levels. They missed a trick by not getting John Kettley to do the voice, mind.; 08456 049 049

Nobby voice recognition clock

This sci-fi timepiece announces the time on demand and can listen to what you say, repeating back alarm times. It's packed with interactive phrases and comments, but above all it'll shut up (and turn the alarm off) if you ask nicely.; 08707 452 000