Size matters when you're attempting an out-of-office experience. These portable tech devices--scheduled for fall release--not only are small but also include some new options (details on next page) that will keep you connected almost anywhere you travel. You'll have to decide for yourself whether that's a good thing.
No more looking for a Wi-Fi hot spot--the three-pound VAIO T350 is the first notebook with a cellular modem built in. With Sony's SmartWi utility you'll be connected in a single click to Cingular's nationwide EDGE network. It's about three times as fast as dial-up wherever you roam, whether it's in a cab or at the beach. (Cingular's unlimited data plan goes for $80 a month.) A 1.2-GHz Pentium M processor runs the show along with 512MB of RAM and a 60GB hard drive. The 10.6-inch widescreen display and a slightly shrunken keyboard are a tad cramped, but with a DVD burner, Bluetooth, and nearly five hours of battery life, the T350 is versatile and convenient. $2,199; www.sonystyle.com
Finally, there's a Bluetooth headset that won't make you look like some kind of cyborg. Created by Jacob Jansen Design, the Jabra JX10 is wearable minimalist art. It weighs a smidge more than 0.3 ounces and is less than 1.5 inches long, which means you'll barely know you have it on. The headset includes a pairing button that allows for simple setup with Bluetooth phones. It also has automatic volume control as well as a USB charging cable so you can use your laptop to top off the JX10's battery when you can't get to an outlet. Expect up to four hours of talk time, about 100 hours of standby time, and a few envious stares. $179; www.jabra.com
Hand-held With Hookups
Not only does Samsung's SCH-i730, a Windows Mobile smart phone, connect to the Verizon Wireless fast BroadbandAccess network, it's also Wi-Fi enabled for when you want to download huge files even faster at a hot spot. This 5.5-ounce multitasker has a slide-out keyboard and a 2.8-inch color screen for viewing webpages and editing Word files. And it comes with a 520-MHz processor, advanced voice recognition for speed dialing that works with or without a Bluetooth headset, and a program that turns the i730 into a universal remote control. We wish this smart phone were smart enough to take calls when the Wi-Fi connection is turned on (they go straight to voice mail), but otherwise it's a convergence home run. $599; www.samsungusa.com
If you like playing games on the go but don't see yourself carrying a brick like the Nintendo DS or Sony PSP, try the Game Boy Micro. At 2.8 ounces, it weighs less than most cell phones. It has an ultrabright display that brings Nintendo's 700 Game Boy Advance titles to life (including many classic NES titles like Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros. 3, which have recently been rejiggered for the Game Boy). Compared with other mobile game consoles, the Micro keeps things simple in the controls department with just a directional pad, two action buttons, and two shoulder buttons. The system uses a rechargeable battery and standard headphones. $99; www.nintendo.com
So Five Seconds Ago
A lot of credit card size cameras can take five-megapixel photos. But Casio's Exilim EX-S500 has a processor that compensates for fast-moving subjects to reduce blurry pics. This camera, with a 2.2-inch LCD display and a 3x optical zoom, needs just a second to start up and takes up to 200 shots on one charge. It can also capture crisp VGA video at a TV-like 30 frames per second. The Past Movie function lets you record five seconds before you press the button, by continuously capturing video into buffer memory. Unfortunately, you'll have to spring for a decent memory card since the internal memory can store only two shots at the highest resolution or 13 seconds of video (and the camera doesn't come with even a wimpy memory card). $399; www.casio.com