This week Trevor Baylis ratchets up the pressure on Mr Jobs with his latest wind up gizmo, and Gear4 delivers wireless music based on the Bluetooth standard.
This 24W speaker output from Gear4 is a cut above the usual speaker boxes for iPods and other media players. For one, it features Bluetooth and is finished in a deep gloss finish, hiding an LED display that bursts into life when music is played. This minimalist look is finished with touch screen controls and a remote control. What's missing, however, is the lack of equalisation control such as treble. Sound transmitted from an A2DP Bluetooth compatible phone was satisfactory but earlier Bluetooth standards are not recommended. An alternative is to use the 3.5mm jack at the back.
Gear4 bluestream TX
iPod users whose devices lack Bluetooth capability may feel unusually left out when using Bluetooth enabled products such as the Black Box. Luckily for them, Gear4 also has a dongle which can be attached to the iPod. The Bluestream TX is plug and play, has no buttons and automatically activates pairing mode as soon as it is plugged in. It is powered directly from the iPod, meaning it will not require an external battery. The only external indicator is a blue LED which shows the pairing status with any compatible A2DP Bluetooth receiving device. It also has a memory for up to seven receiving gadgets.
Eco media player from Trevor Baylis
This is an obvious evolution of the original wind up radio of which there have been many imitators. This gadget - which houses a wind-up crank on the backplane, has all the features that you would expect on a modern media player, and then some. It plays both video and music. It features an integrated fm radio. Additionally, it has a photo viewer. It also has a memo recorder and a line-in port allowing hi-fi recording. If that's not enough, it can be used as a data storage device, an e-book, it features an inbuilt torch, and can also be used to charge up your mobile phone. Thus, it's almost the perfect device for globetrotters, campers and music festival goers. The only minus is the uninspired user interface and design.
HP 2710p tablet PC
The first generation of tablet PCs were heavy slabs of clever electronics that only CEOs could possibly afford. Weighing in at a mere 1.65kg, the HP 2710P Tablet PC is far more comfortable. It is fitted with an integrated two-megapixel camera for capturing images and videoconferencing. It also features a business card reader, so you can photograph business cards and get the information sent straight into your contacts book. It is available in a variety of specifications.
The Archos TV+ combines a wireless media player with a high-capacity DVR for enjoying content on a normal TV. Through the Archos Content Portal (which sadly you have to pay extra for), you can purchase and download movies in addition to streaming content. Furthermore, it is Internet-ready, and with the optional Web browser plug-in (also for a one-off fee) you can surf the Web and enjoy videos from online videos sites like DailyMotion and YouTube. Overall, it's a good product for streaming and storing standard definition video, but it is let down by the extra charges for the plug-ins.
Belkin N1 wireless router
Despite its name, this router will function perfectly beyond the leafy London suburb of Islington. It is based on the 802.11n protocol and the smart-antenna technology builds upon the widely deployed 802.11g standard by greatly increasing speed, range and faster speeds up to 300Mbps - although actual data rates are significantly lower. The built-in Network Status Display shows the status of your network. The icons represent each component of your network and show you whether or not each device is working properly.
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