A peak into gizmos you can safely invest in and carry over to the next year without feeling the itch to upgrade.
SPEND WISELY ON 3G SMARTPHONES
YOU WOULD need a smartphone in 2010, as 3G would finally make an appearance in the country. So, it would be criminal to waste that spectrum on plain vanilla phone calls and silly SMSes.
Get a Nokia E72, if you want to bypass the Apple iPhone. The E72 is certainly the best E-series phone that has come out of Nokia’s stable and should not be seen as an exclusive enterprise solution, as it very well qualifies for a fashionable accessory with some business smarts inside. It surpasses all previous E-series-branded phones on the music front and includes a pre-loaded menu option for Nokia Music Store that allows one to download tracks over 3G or Wi-Fi connections. Plus, the E72’s standard 3.5 mm audio jack allows the user to utilise a pair of custom earphones. For your professional needs, Nokia has packed a new email client (based on Nokia Messaging), push email for consumer accounts (Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail etc) and updated Microsoft Exchange functionality. Retailing at Rs 22,989, the E72 can be a worthy investment.
We are still not over last year’s Apple iPhone 3G model and, since the company shows no hurry to launch the iPhone 3Gs in India, Apple lovers are bound to be disappointed. The iPhone 3G remains our best touchscreen handset, even with several competitive products, at various price points. But the best part of the iPhone is its 100,0000-plus free and paid applications that can be downloaded from its app store. Every new application can make you fall in love with the device. This love will cost Rs 34,000 and is only for Vodafone and Airtel users.
Most mobile phone owners use these devices multiple times a day, making them almost like a second appendage. And, if you ask us, that’s a pretty good reason to spend some extra money, especially when most folks will be stuck with their choice for a minimum of two years before upgrading the handset.
FOR NEED-BASED MUSIC PLAYERS AND SPEAKERS
IF WE are still not over the iPhone, which made it to the markets last year, we definitely aren’t over the iPods too. To be more specific, the iPod Nano continues to be our favourite, despite numerous variants in the shops. The new iPod Nano, which costs Rs 9,400, has a built-in video camera and a larger display that simply adds to its sleeker look. If you haven’t been able to pocket the iPhone yet, why not get a Rs-12,400 iPod Touch (8GB), which is certainly the most affordable gateway to access the Apple App Store that has 100,000 reasons to keep you in high spirits.
For music aficionados, the Logitech Squeezebox Boom is the gadget. The Squeezebox Boom network music player offers an integrated, all-digital 30-watt amplifier accompanied by two ¾-inch, high-definition, soft-dome tweeters and two 3-inch, high-power, long-throw woofers. In short, it delivers crystal clear sound quality and, what more, it also has an alarm clock that plays your favourite tunes to wake you up from a deep slumber! At Rs 19,995, it’s not a budget buy but then who said the good things in life come cheap!
KEEP THE NOISE DOWN WITH EARPHONES
EARPHONES ARE something on which people aren’t willing to splurge and really you shouldn’t. It is all right to be spendthrift when it comes to headphones, but, if you have a choice, Sennheiser IE8 should be on the list. The IE8s use powerful magnets to deliver excellent sound quality in both bass and treble and there is no need to bother about upgrading these anytime soon. Their design is such that they completely block external noise, and you have to “hear” the result to believe it. When you pay Rs 19,995, you would expect that, won’t you?
FOR THOSE ON BUDGET, SPRUCE UP WITH SOME ACCESSORIES
DON'T BE disappointed if you can’t spare much for a brand-new gadget. There are ample accessories like gadget covers, docking stations and armbands for your MP3 players, which can jazz up your device.
Belkin leather or silicon sleeves for your iPod or any MP3 player are a great idea. Prices start at Rs 600 and onwards and can instantly refresh the look of your gadget.
You can also add some extra memory to your mobile phone with a new memory card that comes for as low as Rs 500. Bigger memory means you would be able to include more music, pictures, data and third- party applications on your phone, or save more pictures and videos on the digital camera.
If your notebook is putting out too much heat and you find yourself wishing for a few more USB ports, Belkin’s laptop cooling hub will keep you cool. This cooling hub is essentially a raised platform with a fan embedded to help cool down a hot laptop, which usually happens when you are watching movies or working for extended hours. Belkin’s cooling hub also packs in four USB ports to give it a little extra bang for your buck. The cooling hub can accommodate up to a 17-inch laptop and runs on external AC adapter or laptop battery power via an attached USB cable. For Rs 2,428, it is a small cost to pay for cooling your lap.
NO WRITING OFF CONSOLES
THERE'S NO way we are writing off the gaming consoles with prices declining and free goodies increasing. The motion detection Nintendo Wii continues to be a popular choice among adults, as it brings them an entertaining option to exercise.
For Rs 15,000, you can safely bring home the Nintendo Wii. Available in most stores these days, the Wii is a viable option for anyone looking for a gaming console.
Limited budget or not, young or old, the Wii has what everyone is looking for. Controls include a Wii remote, a wand with few buttons and the nunchuck, which has a joystick. Both the remote and the nunchuck detect movement and use it to control gameplay. So, for instance, for a sword fight, hold the remote like a sword and wave it around.
For a golf game, hold it like a golf club and swing it.
Although Sony Playstation Slim’s price tag of Rs 19,990 and an internal 120GB hard drive attract our attention, we would rather recommend investing in a Wii and a few games like Mario, tennis and basketball on Wii. Staying fit can’t get any easier.
SPLURGE BUT CAREFULLY ON HOME AUDIO
IF YOU can’t do without a home theatre system, Panasonic’s SC-BT200, a 7.1 channel Blu-ray home theatre system is the most promising option in the market. This has a single disc Blu-ray integrated receiver, two front satellite speakers, centre-channel speaker, two surround satellite speakers, two surround-back satellite speakers and a passive subwoofer. With 1,000 watts of sound output, this is everything you will need for an amazing home theatre experience. Additional features like a universal iPod dock, SD memory input and ability to access the internet for streaming content without a PC, make it even more endearing. Even if its name is confusing, BT200 is quite easy to set up and can connect your video game console to deliver great sound effects through its speakers. We found Panasonic’s BT200 as the best bundle of its kind, especially for the asking price of just Rs 20,000 (approximately).
Surely, nobody in your family is going to mind if you brought home this setup.
IN CASE you have a lot of money stashed away in banks or perhaps elsewhere, then take a walk to the nearest Bang and Olufsen store in your city. The Danish maestro has made BeoSound 5 for those looking to impress their mates or visitors.
The BeoSound 5, simply described as an MP3 jukebox, has all the bells and whistles — it’s sleek, minimalist and uses aluminium in a reassuringly solid construction that oozes class and is touch-controlled. A 500GB hard disk can squeeze nearly 80,000 compressed tracks and is capable of outputting photos and videos to a connected TV. So if you can part with Rs 4,25,000 and spend some more to pair the BeoSound 5 with powered speakers of your choice, this is onsystem to listen to your music on.
SAVE ON COSTLY PCS BUT SPEND ON BUDGET PCS
WITH A PLETHORA of brands vying for your attention, bringing home a PC can be quite a task. But one look at the ultra-compact Dell Zino desktop and you won’t look any further.
Zino comes in a rather quirky design, 8 inch x 8 inch square box, and is truly a pocket-sized dynamo. Starting at Rs 16,000, it has the necessary arsenal that makes it ideal for web surfing, watching videos and computing activities like office documents, among other features. Of course, you might find the design a bit weird but the price tag should get you going. Zino could be great asset, not to mention that the computer comes in enough colour options that should enable you to find one to match your style.
If you are serious about a notebook, Acer Aspire 5738G is one of the best notebooks that are doing the rounds in retail stores. What it brings along is high definition cinema effect — ideal for gaming — and has a whopping 320GB storage capacity. You just can’t beat this. The Dolby surround system further adds value to the multimedia experience on this notebook. At Rs 43,000, it’s not exactly a compulsive buy but should be a must-have for those looking for notebooks with quality movie-viewing experience. Yes, it is that good.
IF YOU were one of those who were won over by the petite looking Sony Vaio P-Series laptop, and happily forked out Rs 42,000 for the sub-notebook, you might not exactly be joyous over the recent budget laptop launches that have taken the prices down to Rs 20,000.
Ideal for college students and their pockets is the HP Mini 110 woos with its 10.1-inch screen. Small yet powerful, it makes no compromises on looks either. It comes along with an Intel Atom processor and has all the requisite USB ports, memory card reader etc. But what makes you want to reach out to Mini 110 is the price tag of Rs 21,990. This one is for keeps.