Gadgets

This month, we have a number of high-tech goodies to drool over.

1. Toshiba Portege A600 ultra portable laptop

Perhaps a netbook doesn't really do it for you because you want something with a bit more under the hood. The Ultra Portable certainly has a fair-sized processor with its 1.2GHz Centrino Core II Duo Processor with 3 gigabytes of RAM. It also has a slot for a 3G sim card, eliminating protruding dongles. It has a good array of external expansion slots such as an external SATA connectivity. However, the plastic casing, although reducing weight, looks a little cheap. Also, in this class it is competing with ultra portables such as the Q310 which also features an NVidia GPU that E&T used to test Windows 7.

www.lambda-tek.com [new window]

£856.34

2. LG LF7700 with Freesat

One Freesat option would be to get a TV with a built-in tuner - such as this one from LG which is available from 32in to 46in. The menu option is fairly straightforward and tuning is simple: you just have to input your post code and it will tune automatically. It features a low-power standby mode and a quick-start mode which uses more power in standby. Turning it on, however, you are faced with an LG splash screen logo which could get annoying. The USB 2.0 input will allow the user to connect digital cameras, media players or flash memory Also, the invisible speaker technology produces good depth for an inbuilt speaker system.

www.oyyy.co.uk [new window]

£582 (32in)

3. Foxsat HDR

Perhaps you're not very keen to enrich media barons Rupert Murdoch and Richard Branson, but you crave multiple HD channels. One alternative would be to invest in a set-top box that can receive high-definition digital signals and record them on a hard drive. There are a few on the market and one of the best-selling ones is the Foxsat HDR, manufactured by Humax. Installation was simple but, as it features two freesat tuners, a coaxial cable for each is required. The user interface is far more complicated than its main rivals - BSkyB's Sky Plus HD box and Virgin Media's V+ box - and so the electronic programme guide will take some getting used to. It does, however, have a useful feature which will allow you to connect an external USB drive and transfer standard-definition content to it. But transcoding or the purchase of an additional .ts codec will most likely be required.

www.play.com [new window]

£249.99

4. Fujifilm F200 EXR

Last year's letter to Santa must have got delayed in the post because only recently has there been a 'point-and-shoot' that does just that. This little camera's 1/1.6in CCD sensor comes with three built-in EXR modes - HR/Resolution Priority (capturing images up to 12 megapixels), high iso and low noise mode (producing very sharp images), and a dual capture mode that magnifies the detail visible in highlights. The 28mm-wide angle allows you to capture bigger group shots without cutting someone off the edge. Its user interface is quite easy to get to grips with. A good choice if you want to cut thinking time before taking a snapshot.

www.play.com [new window]

£259.99

5. Smart Office PS281 Office Scanner

There are very few fast sheet-fed scanners readily priced in consumer brackets. This peripheral from Plustek does the job of many of its rivals at a very competitive price. The speed and the quality of the 50-sheet feed scanner could help anyone trying to eliminate the paper mountain in their home office. It also has a searchable PDF feature, which lets users easily archive documents. It's compact and fairly lightweight at 10.3in x 5in x 8.8in and 3.7lb. However, we feel it is let slightly by its beige 1980s styling which might put some off from buying this for their home.

01952 210 280
£282

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