Motorola has teamed up with Oakley to create a way for you to look stylish and a little nutty. The cellphone maker and the sunglasses designer...

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Motorola has teamed up with Oakley to create a way for you to look stylish and a little nutty.

The cellphone maker and the sunglasses designer have introduced Razrwire, a sleek pair of shades with a wireless headset attachment.

Clip the small headset onto the arm of your sunglasses, position the earbud and you can walk around with your cellphone in your pocket or purse, picking up calls by pressing a button on the attachment. A tiny microphone embedded in the attachment picks up your voice.

This means that, as with other wireless headsets, you can wander about, talking to your friends across the country, while people on the sidewalk stare and wonder why you’re having such an intense, public conversation with yourself.

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Razrwire is even better at disguising itself than other wireless headsets, which normally wrap around the ear to stay on the user’s head. Because the $295 Razrwire headset is attached to sunglasses, an observer has to get up close to notice the device.

I walked around downtown Dallas one recent afternoon, wearing the Razrwire. The model loaned to me had lenses with a stylish brown tint, and I felt particularly fashionable.

The sunglass tint was an effective antidote to the sun’s afternoon glare. And the light frame wrapped comfortably around my head. Detach the wireless headset from the sunglasses, and you’ve still got a nice pair of shades.

I picked up a call from a colleague and suddenly felt self-conscious. As I walked along, talking at a moderate volume to the voice on the other end, I could sense the stares.

The microphone worked amazingly well. My caller could hear me perfectly and detect birds chirping in the background. His voice sounded crystal-clear, even though I positioned the earbud so that it wasn’t touching my ear.

The wireless headset was easy to use because it has only three buttons: one to turn it on and off and pick up phone calls, and two to adjust the volume. It has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

The headset has movable parts that allow you to switch it around to use in either ear. That’s an important feature for people like me who are deaf on one side.

Razrwire is being marketed as a complement to Motorola’s popular, svelte Razr phone. But it can work with most Bluetooth-enabled wireless devices.

Pros: A wearable, quality device that looks fashionable.

Cons: No amount of fashion can quite eliminate the geekiness of a wireless headset.

Bottom line: A good buy for people who like expensive toys.

Leapster L-Max

Leapfrog

www.leapfrog.com

$29.95

Leapster L-Max is a promising educational gaming system that doubles as a handheld and as a television-based console.

” ‘Letters on the Loose,’ ” one of the first titles for the L-Max, is a good fit for youngsters who are learning the alphabet. Each letter appears in the software as an animated character.

Kids help Professor Quigley round up the 26 letters of the alphabet so he can create a talking ABC book. Kids persuade the maverick letters to join the book by playing games with them.

For example, before the letter N will become part of the book, it needs help finding little N’s that are hiding in pipes. Kids use the L-Max’s arrow pad to move an onscreen magnifying glass over the pipes to reveal the hidden N’s.

Once a letter is added to the book, Professor Quigley sings a song about the letter’s sound and shows kids how to draw the letter. Using the L-Max’s touch-sensitive screen, children trace a path to draw the letter, and the hand-drawn letter becomes part of the book.

Kids will discover additional material when connecting the L-Max unit to a TV set, including Professor Quigley’s tutorials and a bonus game involving upper and lowercase letters. TV game play requires kids to click a button on the side of the L-Max pen to switch video from the handheld to the TV screen, a minor annoyance.

Overall, “Letters on the Loose” cleverly engages kids in learning the alphabet by having them play with charming letter friends. Drawing letters using the touch-sensitive screen reinforces alphabet recognition and instills pride when kids show the hand-drawn letters to their folks on the TV screen.

— Jinny Gudmundsen

Gannett News Service