Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Back-to-School Gadgets: Part 2

I discussed a few back-to-school gadget suggestions last week. Here are a few more to whet the appetities of back-to-schoolers, and everyone that's shopping for them:

LCD/DVD Combo: Why these combo units haven't been more popular than they have been is beyond me. For a kitchen or a dorm room, they're the perfect space-saving, affordable option. Toshiba's 19" 19LV505C can support a multitude of DVD formats, as well as CDs, and boasts features like virtual surround sound and HDMI connectivity. $449

Wireless Keyboard & Mouse: Isn't it great to be able to write reports or surf sites while lounging on your bed or on the couch? A wireless mouse and keyboard makes this easy; especially if you want to use a big screen TV. I first saw the Logitech Dinovo Edge ($200) at a trade event back in April, and after a few minutes with it, I was hooked. What makes it so cool? The mouse is actually built right into the keyboard itself, making remote operation a breeze. The Bluetooth-enabled, full-sized keyboard (a mini version is also available) can also work with the Sony PlayStation 3.

Digital Photo Frame: Trendy students will want to look trendy, whether it's in a dorm room or a shared apartment. What do you do when you live with 6 roommates, but only have room on the wall for one photo or two? A digital photo frame lets you rotate images constantly from either built-in memory or an inserted memory card. A really neat model hails from eStarling, and lets you send updated images from the Web and via WiFi from a Facebook account.

Networking Adapters: Extra ports are always needed when you can't find them. In addition to the traditional power bar, USB hubs and other such devices can always come in handy. A neat device from Belkin called the Powerline networking adapters allow you to connect multiple Ethernet devices that might be situated in hard-to-reach spots. The top-of-the-line model has three Ethernet ports for connecting up to three devices, like a gaming console, set-top box, or PC, along with a single-port adapter that plugs into your router.

Portable Recording Device: Being able to record a lecture or discussion group is certainly helpful for any student. Belkin has a neat model in this area as well. Called the GoStudio ($120), it works in tandem with an iPod for recording audio, then easily uploading it to a PC, or simply playing it back right from built-in speakers.

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