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Get set go... gadgets

The list of the latest and coolest gadgets available in the city is still a little shorter than what is not. You can't, for instance, legally lay your hands on Microsoft's cult gaming console, the Xbox, even years after its global debut. Or, the digital video recorder TiVo.

Still, as the tech boom invades homes like never before, Metro on Sunday stacks some snazzy stuff that's worth a look and a flaunt...

SMARTPHONE

Nokia Communicator 9500 (Rs 36,000): Tri-band operation for use in five continents, 80 MB built-in memory with support for more through multimedia card, wireless and Bluetooth connectivity, video recorder, HTML browser, email with attachments' The one area this device does not lack in is features. With mobile phone prices continuing to plummet, the Communicator keeps packing in a stronger punch with every new model while becoming more pocket-friendly, making it one of the most preferred companions for business travellers. A full QWERTY keyboard, Symbian platform, talktime of up to 10 hours and only 230 g in weight help, too.

VIDEO CAMERA

Sony Handycam DCR PC1000/E (Rs 74,900): Its cinematic mode lends a 24 frame film-like effect to even your most amateurish efforts. The professional quality Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar lens ensures the clearest image for even your most embarrassing moments. A stabilisation system uses motion sensors to detect and compensate for unsteady hands. If this doesn't help you to become the next Steven Spielberg (or Swapan Saha!), what will' One of Sony's niftiest features is the remaining battery time displayed in minutes. And just in case your toddler is tempted to try it out, the Easy Handycam button locks the more advanced features while allowing basic video recording.

LAPTOP

Apple PowerBook 17 inch (Rs 1.5 lakh): Apple. Period. That should suffice, but in case it doesn't, read on. Apple claims it offers the same viewing area as a 19-inch CRT monitor, and in all probability it's true. More features: 1.67 GHz G4 processor, 100 GB hard drive, up to 2 GB RAM and a SuperDrive for CD/DVD read-write options, Bluetooth and Apple's own AirPort Extreme connectivity' all at under three kg. For customers with slippery hands, a motion sensor detects a fall and stations the hard drive heads, unlocking them when level again. But you'd rather drop your diamond ring than this, right' As for the new Tiger Operating System and the rest of software goodies' that's another story.

Sony VAIO VGN-T27GP (Rs 1,22,900): The poor man's PowerBook (the Windows user, that is). A 1.2 GHz Intel Pentium processor, 60 GB hard drive, DVD writer, integrated Bluetooth and up to 8.5 hours of battery. It's cute, little and ultra-portable, weighing around 1.38 kg with batteries. Good for viewing DVDs on the move.

PORTABLE MUSIC PLAYER

Apple iPod photo 60 GB (Rs 30,000): 'Remember the 64-colour pack of crayons' Meet the 65,536-colour pack.' That's how Apple plugs the photo model of the most popular music player in history. Choose between 15,000 songs with colour album cover art or 25,000 photos. Display them on the crisp screen of the player or connect to a projector or TV. The sensitive click wheel is a sheer delight for navigation and the battery, fully charged, provides 15 hours of juice. Also doubles as a hard drive to carry around data.

HOME THEATRE SYSTEM

There are two options here. The home-theatre-in-box, where you buy the unit off the shelf, plug in and you're ready to roll. One of the best bets here would be the Onkyo HTS-570 (Rs 35,000) which comes with a free DVD player. Pair it with 32-inch LCD screen (Rs 1.40 lakh) and a great entertainment experience is at your fingertips.

Else, customise. Try a combination of the Onkyo TX-SR702 (Rs 48,000) amplifier and a Jamo THX certified D6 PEX 7.1 speaker set-up (Rs 2.15 lakh). Big amplifier and speakers entail a bigger viewing experience, so nothing less than a 42-inch (Rs 1.8 lakh) or 50-inch plasma (Rs 3 lakh) should be considered. Better still, a Canon XEED SX50 projector (Rs 3.3 lakh) for the widest view.

GAMING CONSOLE

PlayStation2 (black Rs 12,990, silver limited edition Rs 13,490): Any serious gamer would know that the PC isn't the best platform for the graphics-heavy, cinematic video games of the day. You need a dedicated gaming rig for that. And the PlayStation 2 is just what the doctor ordered. It's the market leader globally, with Microsoft's Xbox a close second. Titles released specifically for the PS2, like Batman Begins, manage to utilise the super graphics capabilities of the gaming monster to offer a unique other-wordly experience. A word of caution: in trying to prevent kids from getting addicted, don't get hooked yourself.

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