Page last updated at 18:32 GMT, Friday, 19 December 2008

Gadgets to keep you entertained

With the festive season upon us, the Click team decided to test out some of the coolest gadgets around.

Here, each team member shares their thoughts in this web-exclusive review.


Presenter Spencer Kelly

Spencer Kelly

Once you have ripped your entire music collection to your PC, you are faced with the problem of listening to it around your house.

The Sonos does a pretty good job - stick a white box in each room and you can stream different tracks wirelessly to different rooms.

The wireless controller features a good-size colour screen and gives you access to all your music, and it is one of the few non-Apple things to feature a scroll wheel.

Sonos also gives you access to internet radio from round the world, and ties into Napster, meaning you can play pretty much any song in the world.

It also lets you get at Last.FM which introduces you to other musicians you may like. It does this by "scrobbling" (taking note of) the songs you play to further educate the service on your tastes.

It is an expensive option for getting music round your house, and sometimes the internet connection can drop, meaning your online music services can go deathly quiet.

But once you have got it, it is hard to understand how you lived without it.


Reporter LJ Rich

LJ Rich

The Flip Mino camcorder is a clever budget cam with 60 minutes of recording time.

While this is not the highest-spec camcorder around, it works well in low light and is certainly great for capturing short clips for sites such as YouTube.

When you realise that the product is squarely aimed at this group, it makes sense that the resolution is only 640 by 480, and the internal memory is 2GB.

I like the fact that it plugs into the USB port on a Windows PC or Mac, and all the editing software is built in, meaning you can upload your (or your pet's) misdemeanours from virtually anywhere.


Reporter Dan Simmons

Dan Simmons

The G1 is one one of my favourite phones of 2008. OK, it is not the best looking, but the full qwerty keyboard is a joy to use and the trackerball is responsive enough to keep Blackberry fans happy. It allows scrolling without having to put your finger over what you are reading!

Add a smooth responsive touchscreen for all those who wanted an iPhone but just could not bring themselves to jump on Apple's bandwagon and this phone just bleeds control options. It offers speedy connectivity via 3G and wi-fi.

Google maps works a treat with GPS, and satnav is free with no subscriptions or need to buy extra maps that you sometimes find when you go with other suppliers.

Marketplace - the G1's "App Store" - is a mine of free whizzy gadgety apps that are added to on a daily basis.

I downloaded the latest Opera Mini browser (4.2) - a speedy internet browser for mobiles and now I do not miss the pinching action I was able to do with my iPhone to zoom in and out.

When I zoom in on my G1 the text on each page automatically reformats to fit the screen. Nice! The G1 is all about choice.

Whilst Apple's iPhone does things with more style and more glamour, the G1 is a more than capable and fun alternative which will only get more useful each day.


Producer Talia Franco

Talia Franco

Have you ever had the need to cut out ambient noise when you are travelling so that you can enjoy a movie on your portable player or on the in-flight entertainment system?

Well, it happens to me all the time. I find myself pushing the headphones further in to my ear so that I can hear more.

I have tried out Audio technica's new noise-cancelling headphones, and found them quite effective. I would say they cancelled out about 80% of ambient noise.

They work by listening to any constant ambient sound around you and then electronically cancelling out that frequency.

Because it is an electronic process, it requires power so you need a battery if you want noise cancelling to work.

This model uses one AAA battery and it lasted me at least a few long plane journeys. It also came with different size connections including a specialized airline adaptor.


Editor Richard Taylor

Richard Taylor

Wireless Floating Speaker

I do not know about you, but unless you have in-built ceiling speakers, your bathroom is likely to be the last place your music collection to make its mark.

After all, there is usually no power outlet and I am terrified about getting my MP3 player wet too. The answer is a nifty little waterproof wireless speaker that can join you in the bath.

You simply stick the standard 3.5mm adaptor plug of a small transmitter unit into the headphone socket you want to get your sound out of, turn on the somewhat bulbous speaker and you are away.

The stated range of 150ft (45m) is presumably only if you have interference-free direct line-of-sight in the Mojave desert (ie you are not likely to get anything like that in practice).

But when it does work, the sound is quite reasonable, pumping out richer sonics than I thought it might.

Both transmitter and speaker devour battery power though, and whilst there is an option to hook up the transmitter to the mains, it does not come with the required power cable.

Hot swappable hard disk enclosure - Vantec NST-D100UFS

Ever upgraded your hard disk drive (HDD) in your computer so a 40GB drive makes way for a 250GB unit?

I know I have, which means I have a couple of spare drives lying around which could be put to good use for backing up my photo and music collection.

This sleek, white unit makes it really simply to hook your old 2.5" (notebook) or 3.5" (standard PC) SATA drive back up externally.

Simply slip your SATA HDD into the unit, and make sure you hear a firm click. The PC should then read it as it does any other external disk and show you the contents.

If you want to hot-swap it out with another just hit the eject button and replace. There is a variety of connection options - not just the standard USB, but also firewire.

Impressively, e-SATA promises even faster data transfer between the unit and your PC. It comes with the e-SATA card you will need to put into your computer to use this option.

All-in-all, a versatile, well-implemented, thoughtfully-designed piece of kit. Note: this only works for SATA drives, not the older IDE drives.


Reporter Marc Cieslak

Marc Cieslak

I have been trying out different video glasses for some years now (way back when Olympus was first selling the Eyetrek) and I have to say I have always been underwhelmed.

So I did not have high hopes for the latest pair I tried on, the Vuzix OLED Video glasses.

However, after plugging the glasses into my iPod and making myself comfortable I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the image.

These are first video glasses to make use of OLED which is reflected in the superior quality of image they pump out (pretty good contrast ratio, which makes all the difference).

The only draw back is, well, you could not call these glasses stylish.

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

banner watch listen bbc sport Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific