Gadgets are just overpriced junk if they don’t improve your ability to perform the task they were designed for. The five on my list perform the tasks they were designed for better than anything else for comparable money, often exceeding competitors in features and functionality by multiples of ability.
1. Edirol R-1
After drooling over the R-1 since the product was announced, I’ve finally got one. This is the ultimate portable audio recorder, complete with onboard stereo microphones, numerous audio effects, and the ability to perform minor edits. Files are recorded to 24-bit WAV or MP3, offering the potential for Web ready audio.
2. Audiovox SMT5600
The last time I got excited about a phone, it was because I could get shell access to a Unix box from my Kyocera Palm phone. The novelty wore off quickly and the monochrome screen was hard to read under most conditions. The SMT5600 is a Windows Mobile phone with all the right features. A bright screen, contacts, calendar, tasks, and email make this a prime communication tool for people on the go, without adding the baggage of being something other than a phone.
3. Panasonic PV-GS120
A 3CCD camera priced for normal people. This should be the first choice on everyone’s DV cam list because it offers better color, better performance in low-light, and overall better movies than the standard 1CCD offerings from other manufacturers.
4. Airport Express
Leave it to Apple to create a wireless router that fits in your pocket. There are streaming benefits for iPod fanatics, but anyone who travels with more than a couple gadgets will appreciate the compact design of this handy WiFi router.
5. Roku Soundbridge
Accessing your digital music files through a home theater system doesn’t need to be ugly. The Soundbrige is an attractive addition to any home theater and provides great access to digital content from your hard drive, as well as Internet radio stations.