Last month was a good month. The magazine that I work for, Man’s World, was bringing out a special issue on gear and gadgets and I got to play with some fun stuff. Bonus—a photoshoot with a Brazilian model accessorized with the latest gadgets. Here are a few that caught my eye—the gizmos, not the girl.
Sony Ericsson K550i
This one’s a looker and a great successor to the wildly popular K750i. Slim and stylish, the K550i has a 2-megapixel camera, a brilliant screen, expandable memory, a top class music player and an FM player when you are bored of listening to your tunes. On the data side, you get support for GPRS and EDGE and some nice online capability with automatic photoblogging and support for RSS feed subscriptions to keep up with Paris Hilton’s latest shenanigans. Wireless connectivity is a snap with Bluetooth and IrDA. Stylish and easy to use, it should make a perfect gift for my fashion-forward teenage daughter. Hmm, now only if it came bundled with GPS to track her whereabouts. Rs11,000.
Canon Digital IXUS i7
The fashion plate of Canon’s IXUS line of digicams, the i7 also boasts of a formidable array of features. It packs 7.1 megapixels of resolution into a colour-keyed stainless steel case, retractable 2.4X optical zoom and 1.8-inch LCD monitor with 15 brightest settings. It has enough style for a front-row status at any Fashion Week, and is an equally happy party animal with its ability to detect, focus and track nine human faces holding up beer mugs in a scene (sounds familiar?) by simply pressing the shutter button halfway. The IXUS i7 is fine and fun to use, especially in its attention-getting, blushing pink, Precious Rose garb. Rs18,995. From Hypercity, Mumbai (022 40078300 toll free) and camera stores nationwide.
Perception Surge Kayak
The Surge is a great new way to explore the great outdoors and perfect for introducing non kayakers to the water. With great stability and a large open cockpit, this tandem kayak is almost impossible to capsize on placid waters or in gentle surf. Children can be accommodated in the specially designed middle seat, which can also be used for solo paddling, and there’s enough space for some extra gear and lunch! Rajiv Bhatia at Yaka has all the details on the Surge as well as the entire range of kayaks from Perception. Mail him at email@example.com call at 9820088873. Rs35,000.
Dominator Gaming PC
Let’s face it, PC gaming is a technical nightmare compared with console gaming. People can actually take a console home and be playing a game within minutes. No operating systems to configure or drivers to update, and better still, no purchasing a game only to find out that it isn’t compatible with your PC for some obscure reason. Enter the HCL Beanstalk Dominator, a gaming PC that is available off the rack loaded with goodies such as Nvidia chipsets and graphics, Intel Core 2 Extreme processor X6800 and a pre-loaded set of games. Add to that Windows XP Media Center edition OS, 19-inch LCD monitor, an ergonomically designed gaming keyboard, high precision mouse, joystick, gaming pad, Altec Lansing 2.1 speakers and you have a very decent entry-level gaming PC, workstation and media centre in a rather sinister looking Darth Vaderish package. In an ideal world, I suppose we would all have both a console and a PC at home, but if that’s not an option, the HCL Beanstalk Dominator will pretty much fit the bill. Rs53,000 from HCL Infosystems, available in three configurations.
JBL Spot 2.1 Speakers
These swank bookshelf speakers should prove a hit with those who wish to make as much of a visual statement as they do an audio one. Consisting of two baby 6-watt satellite speakers and a big momma 24-watt central subwoofer to handle bass duties, the JBL Spot comes with both a black and white “wrapper” for each of the three speakers (black being the default wrapper) as well as skins in various other colours/patterns that can be purchased separately to better match your decor, or add some pizzazz to a room. Each satellite comes with a generous 6ft cord which allows for excellent audio separation as well as placement options. The Spot’s audio controls are also unique. There are two silver volume “buttons” on the right satellite, and you merely place your finger on them to raise and lower the volume. Covering both will mute the device. Reproducing crisp midrange tonality and a stunning level of bass response, the Spot sounds far better than many more expensive systems. And hey, if we’re going to look all cool listening to music on our slick laptops and MP3 players, we need speakers that look at least as cool. I had a hard time parting with these babies. Rs10,000.
As a kid, I remember putting together balsa wood gliders painstakingly glued with butter paper. Usually, they had the gliding properties of a brick, but when they flew, it was a thing of rare beauty. Times have changed and now you can get radio controlled model aircraft that are powered by tiny engines that start from 10cc onwards running on lithium-polymer batteries or on a home brew of oil and methanol. Available in ready-to-fly carbon fibre or balsa wood kits with a choice of engines and radio/transmitters, these babies can be surprisingly affordable. The thrill factor is high with these planes reaching speeds up to 120kmph and a ceiling of 300ft. The India Aeromodellers Club has RC planes and choppers for sale from Rs8,000 to Rs1 lakh. Call Rajiv Verma on (0250) 2502387, 09822395039, or log on to www.iacvirar.com
Tell Harsh what other gadgets you want him to review at firstname.lastname@example.org