Personal Tech Guide 19Personal Tech Guide 19
Your guide to what's hot, useful, and just plain fun
February 4, 2006
Toshiba America's high-def DVD players are heading for the States. Models HD-XA1 ($800) and HD-A1 ($500) feature outstanding visual quality supported by video compression, high-resolution audio specs, and advanced navigation, aka "iHD."
You've got the latest Bluetooth-enabled cell phone, you love your iPod, and VoIP helps keep long-distance bills down. So what's missing? A Bluetooth stereo headset that works with all three. Anycom's $119 BSH-100, with its elegant black-and-silver design, can simultaneously connect to a cell phone and another device.
Bang For Your Buck
Not everything connected to digital music has to break the bank. Here's a gadget with a simple premise and low cost. The $129 Saitek A-250 wireless speaker streams music up to 100 feet from your PC. All you need is Windows 2000 or XP, four AA batteries, and some good tunes. Sorry, no Macs allowed. Neodymium speaker technology boosts the bass and strengthens sound clarity.
XM Satellite Radio and Samsung want to rock your world with a portable audio device that combines Internet radio with an MP3 music player. The $400 Helix XM2go receives all 160 XM radio channels and stores MP3 and Microsoft WMA music files. The Helix also lets users bookmark songs heard on XM for online purchase from the XM+Napster music service.
Build and program a working robot in just 30 minutes. That's the promise behind the Lego Mindstorms NXT. This $250 bot is Mac compatible and Bluetooth enabled. Lego developed the robotics toolset with MIT, and when they say ages 10 and up, they mean it. The one downside? It won't be on sale till August.
Belt Out The Tunes
A self-described "waist management" system for every iPod nano owner, the $50 TuneBuckle belt comes in black or white leather and the buckle carries the tunes. Never mind that it's the latest in a long line of portable-music-player clothing to hit store shelves. This accessory gets points for creativity. Pre-order one at productm.com.
Dell has unveiled its own monster monitor, and the selling point, besides the pure eye-popping spectacle of a 30-inch screen with 2,560-by- 1,600 pixel resolution, is the $2,200 price tag, a couple hundred bucks less than Apple's version. Gamers should be excited, along with designers, modelers, and professional photographers. Your high-def TV will look pretty good on this, too. Comes with four USB ports.
Blast From The Past
Remember your Commodore 64 that connected directly to your TV? Well, everything old is new again--sort of. Commodore is coming out with a new all-in-one home-entertainment system. MediaBox is an 80-Gbyte hard-disk recorder with options to download and play videos, music, games, and more on your TV.
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