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The Diwali wish list

This festive season, instead of ‘laddoos’, gold or dry fruit, buy or gift gadgets
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First Published: Tue, Oct 16 2012. 08 42 PM IST

Updated: Tue, Oct 16 2012. 09 01 PM IST
With Diwali less than a month away, this is a good time to buy gadgets, for yourself or for others. More traditional gifts, such as sweets, are losing favour. In a recent Economic Times report, Gautam Sengupta, vice-president, Videocon, says, “We are seeing demand for light home appliances for corporate gifting, items such as toasters and sandwich makers.”
Aside from the obvious suspects, such as an iPhone 5 (if they launch here as expected), there are a number of nice devices you can buy to use around the house. We looked at some of the coolest gadgets, and also picked out some budget alternatives in case you’re looking at things to give friends and family. Take a look at our 10 picks:
Sandwich maker
Splurge
Westinghouse WKCGDF9799, Rs.7,944*
A basic sandwich maker is great for people who are too busy to cook a proper snack, while a high-end one can add a new dimension to your cooking.
This gadget is sold as a sandwich maker, which is the understatement of the year. This is a grill that you can use to cook chicken, make waffles or pancakes, or if you’re bored, sandwiches. It uses a lot of electricity—consumption is listed at 2,000W, but it has adjustable heat settings, depending on what you’re cooking. It’s double the size of most sandwich makers, but you can make different dishes at the same time—toast some sandwiches on the side while you’re grilling your chicken.
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Budget
Philips HD2386/20 Panini Maker, Rs.1,641
This is a basic sandwich maker, good for making two sandwiches at a time. It has a stylish two-tone look in metal and black that makes it stand out from the basic white plastic blocks that are the standard design, and has a manual cord winder. The relatively low power consumption (700W) doesn’t seem to affect the speed with which it heats up either.
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Hand blender
Splurge
Braun MR530, Rs.5,213
If you’ve not used a hand-blender, and stick with the countertop food processors instead, then you’re really missing out. Hand blenders add a lot of flexibility in the kitchen since you can process the food straight in the pots and pans—very useful when making soups, for example.
You can use the Braun MR530 to blend, chop, whisk or purée, depending on the attachment you’re using. There are 12-speed settings, and at the highest setting you can use it to blitz frozen meat—how often you want to do that is debatable, but it’s nice to know that the option is there. The MR530 doesn’t look unique, but some of its functions are.
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Budget
Philips HR1350/C , Rs.899
This blender has a cheerful white and blue design, and comes with three different attachments for the blade, to handle fine chopping, coarse grinding and puréeing. It’s light and easy to use, but there are some downsides—it heats up a lot when in use, and while it’s fine for puréeing boiled vegetables or making smoothies, don’t try and use it to mince meat.
Vacuum cleaner
Splurge
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Milagrow SuperBot , Rs.10,990
A vacuum cleaner makes a lot of sense, particularly in cities like Delhi where dust is a major problem. Even if you have someone who comes to sweep and dust the house, a vacuum cleaner is handy for cleaning specific parts of the house, such as a bookshelf, or behind the sofa.
Milagrow’s SuperBot is India’s answer to the Roomba, made by iRobot in the US. The SuperBot has a base station where its battery charges up and it can be set on an automatic schedule or controlled with a remote to clean the house. You get one electric fence that you can put in a doorway to keep it out of a particular room too.
After cleaning the house, the robot finds its way back to the charging station and starts powering up automatically. It’s the most fun you can have while cleaning the house.
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Budget
Eureka Forbes Easy Clean , Rs.2,320
Eureka Forbes is a well-known brand with a large support network around the country, and their Easy Clean vacuum cleaner lives up to its name. It’s a light hand-held cleaner with a built-in battery so you can unplug it from the wall to clean the books on the top shelf, for example. It’s very useful for keeping devices clean—it can help clean your keyboard and CPU tower, or the vents of your AC.
Tower fan
Splurge
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Dyson Air Multiplier 02, Rs.19,321
ACs are making pedestal and tower fans a little obsolete in today’s world, but a good tower fan can cool your personal work area without the stale feeling that an AC creates. Whether you’re using it as a stand-alone solution or as a supplement to the AC, tower fans beat pedestal fans because they’re silent, more portable, and much better-looking.
Dyson is famous for its vacuum cleaners, and it uses the same technology to make some of the most interesting fans in the world. The Air Multiplier series of fans include the AM02, a tower fan.
This is a large bladeless fan—there is an empty steel circle which almost magically creates a much stronger breeze than a bladed fan would. The secret is vacuums in the base, which suck in air, and in the design of the rim, which diverts the air and speeds it up by focusing it. The rest is quite confusing, but hey, it works, and it looks amazing.
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Budget
Usha Mist Air Tower Fan, Rs.1,947
The sleek white design of the Usha tower fan looks a little bland, and the fan gets dirty fairly quickly—you’re going to have to spend time cleaning it. However, it is light and easy to move from room to room depending on where you want to work, and is fairly effective too. It comes with an oscillation function and a timer.
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Coffee maker
Splurge
Sunflame SF-721, Rs.6,299
Coffee makers let you make different styles of the beverage easily, and usually look cool too. The high-end ones cost a good deal of money but if you’re buying something for the home, then this one from Sunflame offers great value. It’s a pump-driven espresso maker with a second outlet for drip coffee, with a 10-cup tank. There’s also a steam nozzle on the side, to make frothy drinks such as cappuccinos. The downside is that it doesn’t look as good as, say, the Lavazza Blue LB850. But it’s cheaper, and unlike the LB850, you don’t need to use coffee capsules. Instead, you can buy and use any coffee you like.
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Budget
Russell Hobbs RCM120 , Rs.1,664
Low-end espresso makers don’t have enough pressure to create a quality cup, so when you’re buying an entry-level coffee maker, go for a drip-style one instead. This one has a classic design which looks good and it has a large tank, so you can make around 12 cups of coffee before you have to refill it.
* The prices listed are the best deals available online, and may vary.
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First Published: Tue, Oct 16 2012. 08 42 PM IST
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