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Gear: Roaming Holiday

These new pintsize electronics will help you get more done and have more fun--and they're portable enough to take just about anywhere. Just try not to use them while driving.
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Do you have the weather?

The Abacus Smart Watch 2006 not only tells the time but also uses FM radio waves to display the latest news, sports scores, weather, stock prices, and more from MSN Direct. It can receive twice as much content and updates as its predecessor, and gets fresh data faster (because sometimes your horoscope can't wait). The Abacus comes with a year's worth of MSN Direct service, which costs $40 annually thereafter. Or upgrade to the $60 plan to get your Outlook calendar synced to your wrist.
$180; www.msndirect.com

Coming soon to DVD

If you're going to force friends to watch Junior's soccer game, you might as well make it hi-def. Sony's (NYSE:SNE)   HDR-UX1 Handycam records directly onto three-inch DVDs, complete with surround sound. When it's time to view the footage, you can feed the audio and video to your HDTV with a single cable. (The DVDs work in Blu-ray players.) And you don't have to schlep another camera for stills: The HDR-UX1 takes 4-megapixel photos, and it can record video and take 2.3-megapixel stills simultaneously.
$1,400; www.sonystyle.com

Calling all music fans

The LG Chocolate is the coolest multimedia phone yet. Though the touch-sensitive navigation controls take some getting used to, a dedicated music button grants instant access to your playlists. Transfer your MP3 and WMA music files to the phone from your computer or wirelessly download tunes to the phone from Verizon's V Cast Music store for $1 a pop. The phone can store up to 1,000 tracks on an optional 2GB memory card ($100). The Chocolate works with stereo Bluetooth headsets and comes with a sharp 1.3-megapixel camera and a built-in GPS navigator.
$150; www.verizonwireless.com

Bob Dylan, please hold

Swapping your iPod earbuds for a cell phone headset isn't fun, even when you succeed before your phone stops ringing. The Jabra BT325s dispenses with this juggling act by combining earbuds with a stereo Bluetooth headset. It plugs into your music player using a standard 3.5mm jack and connects wirelessly to your mobile phone. When a call comes in, the music fades, allowing you to switch between the new Killers album and your conversation with the push of a button. The headset cord has a built-in microphone and volume controls. You can also place calls on hold and voice dial while leaving your cell in your pocket or bag.
$90; www.jabra.com

Hear what you want to hear

The Bose QuietComfort 3 noise-canceling headphones fit on your ears instead of swallowing them whole. They can drown out that droning engine noise on your next flight--even if you're not listening to music. When you are, the QC3 pumps out rich audio. Bose offers an optional cell phone connection kit ($40), which includes an in-line microphone.
$350; www.bose.com

An impressive display

Let your pals squint at the iPod's teeny 2.5-inch screen. With the Archos 604, you can tote your videos and watch them on a gorgeous 4.5-inch LCD. Even with all that real estate, it's only 0.6 inches thick and weighs a coat-pocket-friendly 9.3 ounces. The 30GB hard drive has room for 130 hours of video. You can download films from services like Vongo and CinemaNow or spring for the optional DVR station ($100) to record TV shows and movies from your cable box or DVD player.
$400; www.archos.com

The amazing shrinking computer

The Sony Vaio UX Micro PC is somewhere between a laptop and a Treo: a fully functional computer that you can hold in one hand. The device weighs only 1.2 pounds yet crams in a 1.2GHz Intel processor, a 30GB hard drive, two 1.3-megapixel digital cameras (one up front for videoconferencing, one in back for snapshots), and a fingerprint sensor to protect your highly mobile data. Sliding up the 4.5-inch touchscreen reveals a relatively large thumb keyboard. The UX Micro PC can surf the Web almost anywhere using Wi-Fi or Cingular's nationwide EDGE network.
$1,800; www.sonystyle.com

Last updated: Oct 1, 2006




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