A mini convection oven to cook your chips
Hot chips aren't exactly the most convenient snack food to whip up at home. Enter this gizmo - a chip-cooker that acts like a mini convection oven to cook your chips, and saving you from buying tubs of cooking oil.
The Philips Airfryer has an adjustable temperature contol, and will supposedly cook a batch of chips with just half a table spoon of oil. The team here has sampled the fryer's handiwork and say the results are good - the texture and flavour is in-between a deep fried and oven-baked chip. The Philips Airfryer can be used to cook up a whole range of different dinner items, including whole chickens.
A new GPS
No matter what the GPS companies tell us, these little gizmos are still a way off from providing perfect directions. Still, they're better than they ever were. One thing we really like about Navman's new My Series range is that the live traffic updates don't cost you any more.
Navman is also offering two years of free map updates -a relief when you consider the cost of maps. The MY80T costs $299, and the MY85XLT has a bigger 5in screen and costs $349. There's also the cheaper EZY range, for which live traffic is an optional extra. Navman's latest models are big on alerts - the units will speak street names (including in Mandarin), tell you about speed signs, and tell you where parking is.
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A USB turntable
Converting vinyl records into a digital music collection isn't exactly something impatient people should attempt. But it has a certain appeal. If you've got a rainy weekend with nothing to do, then put the fire on, grab yourself a drink, hook this Optimus Lab 1100 belt driven USB turntable
up to your PC or laptop, and get out your vinyl collection.
The HELO TC Touch-Controlled Helicopter
Plug a controller into your iPhone or iPad, load the app, and start annoying just about anyone within range with this tiny Helo TC-Controlled Helicopter
. Conveniently there's even an auto-land button. The Griffin web site was out of stock at the time of writing, but the site does specify international shipping, though you'll need to check if it covers your location.
A helmet mountable hands-free video camera
The video above was taken by our creative director, who is a self confessed mountain bike tragic. Strapped to his helmet with an optional helmet mount is the Contour +, a tiny HD video camera with a wide angle so it's suited for capturing point of view shots.
The new model has a wider angle 170 degree lens and a cute feature - it records your GPS coordinates so you can watch your progress on a map when you replay the footage. It's expensive at $699 (you might be able to find the previous model for much less), but for the mountain bike, skiiing or motorbike enthusiast this is a toy you can have a lot of fun with.
The Dick Smith Helping Hands
The Dick Smith Helping Hands with Magnifier has a cast iron base, some clips, and a magnifying glass so you can concentrate on doing really detailed hands-free work. We can think of a few uses, from home electronics, to painting and gluing miniature models.
WD TV Live
When we're sick of fiddling around with codecs and menus and just want to get our files playing on our TV, this is our go-to box. The PC & Tech Authority team swears by the WD TV Live Hub, and we've given it our A-List award for good reason. It has Gigabit ethernet, plays MKV and FLAC, and in our experience handles 1080p streaming without falling over.
A radio with digital radio, Internet radio and iPod dock
If you listen to the radio a lot and also have music on your iPod or iPhone, this system is for you. While cheaper systems stick to digital radio only, the Grundig Trio Touch
combines the lot, with digital stations, an iPod/iPhone dock (and AUX connection for other music players) and the ability to connect to your network for Internet radio.
We toyed with including a computerised telescope in this list - you can find them for around the $600 mark, and they'll help you find objects in the night sky. In the end we went for this SAXON 8in Dobsonian Telescope
, which isn't computerised but is recommended for the quality of glass and size of the aperture (203mm) at this price. The thing weighs over 15Kg, so just don't go expecting to tuck it under your arm.