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Last Updated: Monday, 24 November, 2003, 12:28 GMT
Digital camera is UK's top gadget
Pentax Optio S digital camera
Small digital cameras have sold well in 2003
A digital camera has been voted as the top gizmo of the year in a magazine poll of gadget lovers.

The Pentax Optio S fought off competition from Apple's iPod MP3 player and the Sony Ericsson T610.

The T3 Reader Award for the ugliest gadget went to Motorola's A830 mobile with the most over-rated prize given to NEC's e606, both 3G mobiles.

Small, affordable digital cameras were big this year, but pocket video devices are expected to be the gadgets of 2004.

Clunky and ugly

"The number one was a surprise to us," Adam Vaughan, T3 reviews editor told BBC News Online.

"We presumed it would be the iPod simply because of its popularity and the amount of coverage it has had."

NEC e606 3G mobile phone
Early 3G models did not do well in the poll
But, he says, 2003 was definitely the year of the digital camera with sales overtaking film cameras for the first time.

Although 2004 will see the continued popularity of even more sophisticated digital cameras, prices are not expected to drop significantly, he said.

The two mobile phones which took the ugly and over-hyped prizes were early 3G models. They were clunky and brick-like.

"The story of 3G in the last year has been one of an interesting service, but not brilliant handsets," said Mr Vaughan.

"The NEC one was emblematic of 3G in the UK last year and many of our readers thought the Motorola one was like going back in time 10 years."

Better models have since been released and Mr Vaughan predicts 2004 will be the year of video in pockets, on mobiles but also video jukeboxes.

Improvements in hand-set quality and battery life, as well as more models from big-name manufacturers like Nokia throwing their models into the mix should increase video phone popularity.

Other categories in the poll of over 1,500 T3 readers included the most useful gadget of the year.

The in-car music and navigation system, the Blaupunkt DX-R52 took that top prize, beating the Nintendo GameBoy Advance SP into fourth.

The quirky, gyroscopic Segway scooter, recalled earlier in the year because of a fault, was awarded the title of the gadget most likely to attract the attention of the opposite sex.

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