Christmas Gadget Roundup

With Christmas almost upon us it is time to look at some exciting executive gadgets and affordable computer accessories that will please any geek this festive season.

Logic 3 i-Station Rotate - 78.29

Ok so we had to do something involving an iPod, and in this case we've opted for an innovative set of iPod speakers.

At first the i-Station Rotate looks just like any other iPod speaker dock, until you realise that this one has a trick up its sleeve - along with having very good audio quality. Once docked, your iPod or iPhone can rotate inside the speaker system.

The rotate mechanism means that if you use an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPod Nano 4G with the i-Station, you can flip it around to view movies and TV shows in full widescreen, while still connected to the dock port for charging and syncing.

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Other nice touches include a remote control, a video out function so that iPod or iPhone video content can be displayed directly on your TV, a range of retaining clips for various iPod shapes and sizes and a carry case.

Audio output is 5W + 5W RMS, which is very good for a compact iPod speaker system.

Personal communications

Motorola TLKR T7 walkie talkies - 69.99

For the more unusual gift, you should look no further than these excellent walkie talkies from Motorola.

Once the domain of kids and professional security services, personal long-range walkie talkies have been growing in popularity over the last five years as a means to keep in touch for little cost when out on a family trip or across a work facility.

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The Motorola TLKR T7 gives you the ability to "Direct Call" any handset in a given group without the other handsets knowing; you can also name each handset which works as a caller ID when other handsets are calling you and you can initiate an automatic channel change to all radios in your group should you experience interference on any given channel.

The quoted range is an impressive 6.2 miles, but as with any walkie talkie, this range will reduce sharply if using a congested channel or if there are multiple obstacles such as buildings between users. Nonetheless, these rugged walkie talkies are among the best we've seen for a while.

Home networking and entertainment

Belkin N1 Vision wireless ADSL router - 93.49

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This is a home ADSL2+ router that stands out from the crowd for a number of reasons. Firstly it's equipped with Gigabit Ethernet and draft-n wireless, which will give your network a noticeable speed boost over standard issue ISP supplied routers. And, as indicated by the three aerials adorning the rear, range is impressive too.

What's truly unique though is the LCD on the front, which provides a graphical display of information such as download and uploads speeds, connected clients and security settings - it's all quite whizzy. Admittedly, the novelty does wear off quickly, but a genuinely useful feature is being able to add a guest to the network directly from the router without having to use a web interface.

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Setup is rather simple too - typing 'routersetup' is much easier than having to remember an IP address. Truth be told, performance is average considering the specs, and we had to manually alter the channel to get wireless working reliably, but if you want an advanced router that's different from the norm, the N1 Vision fits the bill nicely.

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