As we get deeper into December, gift ideas become a premium. Continuing from last week, this Reviews feature...

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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.

BlackBerry 8700

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 ( 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