As we get deeper into December, gift ideas become a premium. Continuing from last week, this Reviews feature...
As we get deeper into December, gift ideas become a premium.
Continuing from last week, this Reviews feature looks at more products that could be right for someone on your list.
For those who value their phones for e-mail above all, there’s the BlackBerry 8700 series phone.
A slimmer version of the classic BlackBerry slab-shaped device, the 8700 has a keyboard sitting below a relatively large color screen.
Fans of the BlackBerry say its shape and software handle e-mail extremely well. The 8700 can handle e-mail, calendar functions, Web browsing and messaging, among other services. It costs $299.99 with a mail-in rebate and two-year service contract through Cingular.
— Jessie Seyfer
Knight Ridder Newspapers
Disney Mix Stick
Music players for kids must be simple and devoid of delicate features, such as an easy-to-scratch-or-break liquid-crystal display.
Disney’s solution is the Mix Stick, a flash-based player with Magic Kingdom trappings. Its rubberized buttons, for instance, are arrayed like Mickey Mouse ears.
The Mix Stick, a flattened cylinder that looks a bit like an oversized Bic lighter, works like other flash players. Pop off a cap to expose a USB prong and plug that into your PC. As with other Windows-compatible players, the Mix Stick plays both MP3 and Windows Media music files and will synchronize with Microsoft’s Windows Media Player.
The $50 player has 128 megabytes of internal memory and an SD-card slot for increasing capacity up to 1 gigabyte.
— Julio Ojeda-Zapata
Knight Ridder Newspapers
Like the Apple Computer iPod (with video), the PocketDish devices (www.pocketdish.com) from the Dish satellite network can store music, video and digital photos. Two of the three models have a larger screen than the iPod, and all of them can store and play any movie, TV show or sporting event that has been saved on a Dish receiver with recording capability.
The Dish portables connect directly to the receiver, and all of the control takes place on the TV screen. You don’t have to connect to a computer to get the video content, and you don’t need a high-speed Internet connection.
The devices are manufactured by Archos, a French company.
The two larger units come with a remote control, a docking station and the ability to record video from a source other than the Dish receiver, such as a camcorder or VCR. The devices have blocking technology that prevents them from making a recording from most prerecorded DVDs.
The PocketDish units ($329 to $599) are more expensive than iPods, but they are also a much more attractive option if you want to watch more than a two-minute video.
— Ric Manning
The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal
Atomix Winslow Clock
I like atomic radio-controlled clocks; I hate how they look.
Maybe it’s a generational thing, but I find the look of digital numbers that most atomic clocks feature to be cold and clinical, especially in a living room setting. But I appreciate not only the convenience of a self-setting clock but also the science and engineering that made precise timekeeping so widely available.
The bridge between these divergent sensibilities is the Atomix Winslow Clock, a wooden table clock that shows the time with traditional hour and minute hands. Hidden inside is a time-keeping mechanism regulated by radio signals from the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Colorado.
It sells for about $35 and is from Chaney Instrument.
— David Colker
Los Angeles Times