Cool stuff: Your 2007 holiday gift guide
- — 06 December, 2007 12:40
Archos offers the 705 WiFi, which has a 7-in. screen, but the beauty of the 605 WiFi is the balance it strikes between compactness and viewability. At 4.8 by 3.2 by 0.6 in. for the 30GB model, it delivers outstanding video quality in a surprisingly small package.
Price: 30GB, US$279-US$299; 80GB, US$329-US$350; 160GB, US$379-US$450
Summary: IPods are wonderful, but mobile videophiles need the greater storage and larger screen offered by the highly competent and reasonably priced Archos 605 WiFi. David Haskin
Noise-canceling headphones: Aurvana X-Fi
Creative Technology's new noise-canceling headphones have accomplished a previously unthinkable feat by besting Bose's legendary QuietComfort 2 headphones with a combination of cushy comfort and excellent sound quality.
While the noise-canceling features of the Aurvana X-Fi headphones will be of great convenience to frequent fliers, the most impressive and unique attribute is Creative's integration of its proprietary X-Fi technology directly into the headphones.
Essentially an algorithm devised to restore high and low sounds that are lost during the compression of digital music, the X-Fi Crystallizer delivers a marked increase in sound quality with no distortion at all.
The headphones also feature Creative's X-Fi CMSS-3D technology, which simulates a home theater surround-sound environment, making them perfect for watching movies. Both of these features, as well as the noise-canceling functionality, can be activated or deactivated at any time.
With earpieces crafted out of soft simulated leather and a fairly light profile, the Aurvana headset is an ideal holiday gift for the traveler in your life.
Aurvana X-Fi Noise-Canceling Headphones from Creative Technology Ltd.
Summary: Creative has integrated its proprietary X-Fi technology into these noise-canceling headphones to deliver superior sound quality. George Jones
GPS device: Garmin Nuvi 200
The Garmin Nuvi 200 is a great entry into the world of Global Positioning System (GPS) devices. At about 4 by 3 in. in size, it can be mounted in your vehicle or carried for pedestrian travel or activities such as geocaching.
The entry-level device, which can be found on the Web for about US$200, doesn't include fancy extras such as Bluetooth capability or MP3 playback. But it does come with a picture viewer, a world travel clock, a currency and measurement converter and a calculator.
The Nuvi 200 includes preloaded maps of the continental US, Hawaii and Puerto Rico (other model numbers come with different map packages). With just a few pokes at the touch-screen display, you can be on your way to specific addresses or even "points of interest" such as the nearest ATM, restaurant, hospital or hotel (13 categories in all). It can also accommodate an SD memory card that lets you add your own points of interest. The maps are generally accurate and up to date, although in about one month of use I did find it chooses to completely ignore one shortcut near my home, instead sending me on a longer route.
For GPS navigation, it includes the options of a 3-D or flat map display, auto, bicycle or pedestrian travel modes and feature avoidance (for bypassing toll roads, for example). You can choose to travel by the fastest time or shortest route. You can even choose different vehicle icons, in case you want to pretend you're driving a monster truck, for example.