8 Most Wanted gadgets

                                                    Nintendo Wii

The good: Revolutionary controller design offers unique motion-sensitive gameplay options; built-in Wi-Fi delivers free online services and gameplay; Virtual Console has major nostalgia appeal; compatible with all GameCube games and controllers; built-in SD slot for storage and photo viewing; includes Wii Sports game; most affordable home game console.  

The bad: Controller eats batteries and takes some time to get used to; online gaming and community features hobbled by horrible “friends code” system; nunchuk controller sold separately; lacks the advanced HD graphics and surround sound found on the Xbox 360 and the PS3; requires a wired receiver unit placed near the TV to interface with wireless controllers; can’t play CDs or DVDs. 

 The bottom line: It lacks the graphical prowess and rich media features of the Xbox 360 and the PS3, but the Nintendo Wii’s combination of unique motion-sensitive controllers and emphasis on fun gameplay make the ultra-affordable console hard to resist.

LG Voyager – VX10000 (Verizon Wireless)

The good: The LG Voyager VX10000 has a cutting-edge design with a brilliant touch screen and a spacious keyboard. It offers a generous features set that includes EV-DO support, V Cast Mobile TV Bluetooth, a top-notch Web browser, and an integrated GPS application. And if that’s not enough, its call quality was excellent. 

 The bad: The LG Voyager VX10000’s camera lacks such extra options as a flash and Wi-Fi. The touch screen can be clunky at times, and the streaming video quality and EV-DO connection speed were uneven. 

The bottom line: Though we had some minor complaints here and there, the Voyager’s sleek design, generous feature set and excellent performance make it the best LG messaging and multimedia phone by far.  

Apple iPhone – 8GB (AT&T)

The good: The Apple iPhone has a stunning display, a sleek design, and an innovative multitouch user interface. Its Safari browser makes for a superb Web surfing experience, and it offers easy-to-use apps. As an iPod, it shines.  

The bad: The Apple iPhone has variable call quality and lacks some basic features found in many cell phones, including stereo Bluetooth support and 3G compatibility. Integrated memory is stingy for an iPod, and you have to sync the iPhone to manage music content. 

 The bottom line: Despite some important missing features, a slow data network, and call quality that doesn’t always deliver, the Apple iPhone sets a new benchmark for an integrated cell phone and MP3 player.  

Canon PowerShot SD850 IS

The good: Great performance and image quality; solid image stabilization; face detection.

The bad: No manual exposure controls; on/off button a bit awkward; noisy images at ISO 1,600.

The bottom line: The Canon PowerShot SD 850 IS has just about everything you’d want in a point-and-shoot.

Zune (second generation, 80GB, black)

The good: The 80GB Microsoft Zune MP3 player features a 3.2-inch glass LCD; a user-friendly interface; exceptional navigation control; audio and video podcast support; a superlative FM radio with RBDS information; wireless syncing and sharing; high-quality earphones; revamped Zune Marketplace PC software; Zune Pass subscription music support; good audio quality; and a built-in composite-video output.  

The bad: The Zune is a PC-only device that requires its own software and still does not support older WMA-DRM9 music files; Zune Marketplace does not offer TV or movie downloads; the USB connection is proprietary; no Wi-Fi music streaming; and the EQ feature has been removed.  

The bottom line: The Zune has blossomed from an ugly duckling into a worthy iPod alternative.  

Sony PlayStation 3 (60GB)

The good: Swanky design with quiet operation; all games in high-definition; PSP-like user-friendly interface; plays high-def Blu-ray movies in addition to upscaling standard DVDs; built-in Wi-Fi and flash media reader; 60GB hard drive; online play is free; HDMI output with 1080p support; no external power supply; free online gaming service; plays PS2 and PS1 games; backwards compatibility is hardware based.  

The bad: Compelling exclusive games are still few and far between; PlayStation Home and rumble controller not available until 2008; a USB port on the back would’ve been nice; no infrared port means non-Bluetooth universal remotes aren’t compatible; glossy black finish is a fingerprint magnet; online gaming, media, and commerce options not nearly as developed as Xbox Live. 

 The bottom line: The high-end Sony PlayStation 3’s larger hard drive and ability to play PS2 games makes it a worthwhile alternative to the cheaper model–so long as you’re willing to wait several months for the more promising exclusive titles to hit store shelves. If backward compatibility is your top priority, this hard-to-find model may be worth the search. 

 Apple iPod Nano (2nd generation, 8GB, black)

The good: The second-generation Apple iPod Nano takes on a new scratch-resistant aluminum body, which is available in a variety of bright and shiny colors; it’s still superslender but more durable, thanks to a seamless construction. It supports photos (with thumbnail grid) and album art and has great sound quality.  

The bad: The iPod Nano still doesn’t play video, not that you’d want to watch it on the small screen, and there’s no built-in FM tuner or recording capability; not all color options are available for all memory sizes. 

 The bottom line: The second-generation Apple iPod Nano is like the successful offspring of an iPod Mini and a first-generation iPod Nano. It’s small, stylish, user-friendly, and competitively priced–a great player all around and suitable for a variety of users. 

 Canon PowerShot SD1000 Digital ELPH (Silver)

The good: Excellent image quality; solid build quality; speedy performance; optical viewfinder; face detection.  

The bad: No manual exposure controls. 

 The bottom line: Small size, excellent image quality, and a solid, though not extensive, feature set make the SD1000 a great choice for a compact camera.


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5 Comments on “8 Most Wanted gadgets”

  1. xanderalx Says:

    Good choices.

    The Iphone is a little too expensive for me. plus I wouldn’t want the AT&T network.

  2. Berlin Says:

    The Nunchuck is only sold separately when you buy additional Wiimotes. A Nunchuck comes with the system.

    …But somehow I don’t think that’s really your point. 😀

  3. I have a Zune 1.0 with the latest Zune software but my device refuses to upgrade its firmware.

  4. Music and entertainment, your way. That’s what the Zune 80 GB Digital Media Player is designed to deliver. The Zune easily connects you with your music, videos, and pictures wherever and whenever you want, and unlike the iPod, it even has a built-in FM tuner so you can keep up with local news and sports. Your Zune gives you the power to wirelessly share full-length tracks, playlists, pictures and podcasts with your other Zune-wielding friends. And when you receive songs that you just can’t get out of your head, you can easily tag the songs and buy them the next time you sync up. Whether you’re listening to music, radio, or rocking out to the latest music videos on the bright, roomy screen, the Zune allows you to tailor your entertainment, right in the palm of your hand.

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