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Technology for the girls and the guys

Published: 8:09AM Wednesday January 30, 2008

December 10

Technology test-driver John Buckley looks at gadgets to make your camping trip more comfortable.

Getting there - TomTom XL Navigation System
Compact and affordable, the new TomTom XL has a great range of features for the price. It has folding mount, an improved speaker and a wide 4.3" touch screen. The update feature allows you to receive daily map updates from thousands of users in New Zealand. Another nice feature is the option of spoken street names with correct NZ pronunciation - TomTom can now correctly pronounce "Whangarei" and "Whakatane" for example.
Recommended retail price: $499
Available from: Dick Smith, Harvey Norman, JB HiFi Noel Leeming, Super Cheap Auto, Dick Smith Powerhouse, Bond and Bond
Product website
Rating: 5/5

Nice weather for ducks? Basecamp Weather Station and Alarm Clock
This small portable alarm clock has another trick up its sleeve. It can also forecast the weather up to 24 hours in advance with its inbuilt barometer.
Recommended retail price: $59.90
Available from: Most Kathmandu stores.
Product website
Rating: 3/5

Sitting pretty - Basecamp Roamer Moon Chair
Camping doesn't have to mean roughing it at all times and this collapsible lightweight steel tube chair brings the comfort of home to the great outdoors. The simple fold mechanism is easy to use while the chair itself is well supported and roomy.
Recommended retail price: $119.90
Available from: Kathmandu stores
Product website
Rating: 4/5

Just don't point it at the Long Drop - LED Lenser H7 Focusing Deluxe Headlamp
This is LED Lenser's new top of the range headlamp. It features a focus system for either close up work or for spotting items at a distance. The sliding dimmer switch allows the light intensity to be adjusted from very powerful through to a very low light.  Water resistant, it has an easy to use on/off switch and adjustable straps.
Recommended retail price: $150.00
Available from: Sporting, fishing and outdoors stores nationwide
Product Website
Rating: 5/5

December 02

Breakfast's gadget guru, editor Tee Twyford, sought out this summer's essential bach items. For more details, visit .

Bach dilemma: I can't survive without my daily caffeine hit, but instant just doesn't do it!
: Allpress Coffee Brew Box, RRP: $350 (fresh Allpress beans, Petra burr grinder, filter cone, papers and a brew pot)
Another example of the Allpress philosophy, fresh coffee made easy, the brew box contains "the equation for a single brew" - just grind, filter and brew.
Stockist: Allpress Coffee store , Ponsonby Rd

Bach dilemma: If someone's ringing to invite me to a Barbie (rather than a board meeting), the last thing I want to hear is the shrill ring of my phone to take me back to work!
: Tones of Home Bellbird ringtone, RRP $3.50
Let 25 seconds of recorded bellbird calls, take the place of a more stressful electronic shrill. You'll never want it to leave - just watch out for your cat!
Stockist: Tones of Home

Bach dilemma: I've got garlic/fish all over my hands and it won't come off!
: Stainless Steel Soap from Milly's Kitchen, RRP $13.50
Baches are all about living up the simple good life - including freshly caught fish, seared in a pan with a little bit of garlic and butter. Don't let the bad smells taint the rest of your evening, or use harsh chemicals to rid your hands of the smells - this simply Stainless Steel does all the hard work for you!
Stockist: Milly's Kitchen

Bach dilemma: Our bach is full of odds and ends - nothing reflects the fun times we have down here.
: 'Cyril the Squirrel' nutcracker from Milly's Kitchen, RRP$55.95, and assorted Pylones products including Oyster shuck RRP$38.00, Salt and Pepper shakers RRP$32.00 each and Sugar shaker RRP$40.00.
There's no need to have a cupboard full of odds ends of hand-me-downs at the bach, but don't feel like you have to be quite as constrained as you are at home with your everyday coordinated sets. Millys stock a gorgeous nutcracker, they've nicknamed him Cyril, while newly opened store Pylones stocks fun items from France - we love the oyster shucker, the salt and pepper dispensers on wheels and the unspillable suagr bowl. Take the stress out of your kitchen and add in a bit of fun!
Stockists: Milly's Kitchen and Pylones New Zealand   

For more details of these gadgets, visit

November 26

Technology test-driver John Buckley showed us which gadgets he recommends for the family this Christmas.

Best Gift for Dad
Leatherman Multi-tools are ideal accessories for hunting, outdoor, fishing, gardening and general purposes.
The Wave: the most popular full-size Leatherman tool, has a knife, strong pliers, wire cutters and locking blades. 19 functions in total.
Recommended retail price: $324.00
Skeletool: has 9 different functions but is essentially a quality knife, strong pliers and a screwdriver.
Recommended retail price: $244.00
Available from: Sporting, fishing and outdoors stores nationwide such as Bivouac Outdoor.
Product website
Rating 5 out of 5

Best Gift for Mum
Nokia N96 mobile phone
It may look just like a very stylish mobile phone but Nokia are pitching the N96 as the latest mobile multimedia computer. When it's released on December 1 buyers will be able to download a free BBC series to view on the phone (The Catherine Tate Show and Little Britain are amongst the choices available). Add to this 5 megapixel photo and video capability, a satellite navigation system with Nokia Maps, an internet browser and arcade games for the kids and you can see what Nokia are getting at.
Recommended retail price: $1699.00
Available from Vodafone dealers from December 1 2008.
Product website
Rating 5 out of 5

Best Gift for Older Brother or Sister
Apple Ipod Nano (4th generation)
The new Nano comes in 9 different colours and 8 GB or 16 GB sizes (meaning the larger one can hold up to 4,000 songs or 16 hours of video). If you know someone who is looking to upgrade their mp3 player this would be a great choice this Christmas.
Recommended retail price: $329.00 for 16 GB, $249.00 for 8 GB
Available from the apple store online and at most electronics retailers such as JB HiFi and Bond & Bond.
Product website
Rating 5 out of 5

Best Gift for Little Brother
Kawasaki iSoundz Audi Pro Digital Guitar
Let little brother realise his inner rock star with this toy guitar. Not only can he strum along to the pre-loaded songs, he can plug in an mp3 player and play air guitar to his own favourites. This guitar has 16 guitar power chords, eight instrument sounds, five rhythms, whammy bar, and special effects button.
Suitable for children age 5+.
Recommended retail price: $69.99
Available from Toyworld stores nationwide
Rating 4 out of 5

Best gift for Little Sister
Fisher Price Kid-Tough® Digital Camera.
This durable little camera is perfect for pre-schoolers. It is waterproof; has two-eye viewing making it easy for kids to look through the viewfinder; dual hand grips to help them steady their shot and big buttons which are easy for little hands to press. It stores up to 500 small pictures which can be copied to a computer with a simple USB connection.
Suitable for children aged 3+
Recommended retail price: $169.00
Available from Toyworld stores nationwide
Product website
Rating 4 out of 5

November 19

Gadget guy Ben Gracewood takes a break from technology to review some barbecues in time for summer.

Model: Weber One-Touch Silver Kettle BBQ
: $349
Product website
Rating: 4/5
You can't go past Weber for that classic charcoal flavour. Messy and smokey compared to a gas grill, but boy is it worth it!

Model: Masport 503
Price: $1,799
Product website
Rating: 3/5
A modern, brand new design with many features. LED torch and fitted with a condiment rack makes this barbecue functional and yet very stylish.

Model: Electrolux Fuego Compact
Price: $2,499
Product website
Rating: 3/5
The Fuego has a unique mix of elegant design and compact footprint. Probably ideal for an apartment balcony or similar tight spaces.

Model: BBQ Branding Iron
: $29.95
Product website
Rating: 2/5
A fun gift idea, but a bit fiddly to use.

November 12

Technology test-driver John Buckley reviews a selection of fun, low-cost gadgets.

iTour-10 Capsule Speaker
Great for MP3 players, Notebook/PC, Portable gaming devices, iPod, Mobile phones and portable CD players, this mini speaker packs a punch way beyond its size.
Available from Noel Leeming, Disk Smith Electronics, Orb Stores,
Manufacturer's Website
Rating: 4/5

Super Deluxe LED Charger Light and Radio
This product has so many functions, it's like the Swiss army knife of torches. It has five super bright LEDs, an FM Radio, a magnetic base, in-built batteries which can be recharged from a mains or through its dynamo - and you can use it to recharge many types of mobile phone.
Available to buy this week at Big Boys Toys or from the manufacturer's website .
Rating: 5/5

Laser Guided Scissors
:  $44.95
The scissor handle has a built-in laser light that projects a beam so that you can cut in a straight line. The scissor blades are stainless steel and cut very clean with a micro serrated edge.
Available from the online store,
Product page
Rating: 4/5

Flexi Keyboard
Flexible, practical and durable, this gadget is a practically indestructible waterproof keyboard. Lightweight, ultra-slim, and compact, it is available in blue or pink.
Available from the online store,
Product page
Rating: 4/5

Flying Alarm Clock
: $44.95
You'll have to get up when this alarm starts, because it literally takes off and flies around the room, making a really annoying noise like a siren, so you'll have to find the helicopter first, before you can turn it off.
Available from the online store,
Product page
Rating: 3/5

November 05

Gadget-mad Ben Gracewood looks at three sewing machines that span the full range of available technology.

Singer manual sewing machine
: $399
Call Sewing Machine World on 09 6342037
Rating: 3 / 5
This is the machine to use if you don't have power at the bach, or just want to be "at one" with your sewing.

Janome Memory Craft 4900QC
: $1,499
Call Sewing Machine World on 09 6342037
Rating: 4 / 5
A great mid-level electronic sewing machine. 534 stitch types, 3 variable speeds, and electronic control will really help with your crafting.

Pfaff Creative Vision
: $12,999
Call Sewing Machine World on 09 6342037
Rating: 5 / 5
If you want the best and will settle for nothing else, this sewing machine is for you. It costs more than many second hand cars, but with embroidery options and almost infinite customisations, you won't need anything else.

November 04

Breakfast's girl gadget guru,  editor Tee Twyford, test-drives products for prepping your body for summer.

Hair removal

The Epilator: Braun Silk-épil Xpressive
What it does
: Using 'patented' hair lift technology the Xpressive lifts, loosens and removes hair from the root - keeping you smooth and stubble free for up to four weeks!
The advantage: That it's cordless, washable and rechargeable!
RRP: $150 to $190
Click here for stockist.

The Razor: Gillette Embrace
What it does:
The Embrace supersizes its shaving ability with five blades to get an even closer, more comfortable shave. Comes with a great shower pod to keep your razor out of reach in the shower.
The advantage: That five blades means less shaving and the adjustable head for getting those hard to reach places.
RRP: $15.99 includes razor, two cartridges and a shower pod
Stockist: Supermarkets and pharmacies

For more hair removal stars, click here

Cellulite removal

Luxe Body Polish: Mecca Tender Loving Scrubbing At Home Body-Brasion
What it does
: Using the power of skin-refining sea salt, free radical fighting Vitamins A and E and moisturizing, cushioning shea butter, Mecca's own recipe Body-Brasion scrub rids rough skin from all over your body - as well as using the power of massage to increase blood flow, eliminate toxins and fluid buildup and stimulate skin cells! Great on those areas that need a stern scrubbing!
The advantage: That it's made Mecca Must-Have status - a winner in Australia and now available in NZ - and for good reason! Skin looks amazing after use!
RRP: $56.00
Click here for stockist.

Less Body Polish: St Ives Body Polishes (Renewing, Moisturising, Smoothing)
What it does:
As well as busting cellulite, the exfoliating power of a sugar scrub combined with collagen and elastin extracts reveal fresh, younger looking skin without over drying, the perfect prep for fake or gradual tan. Because the sugar dissolves quicker in the heat of the shower, this is great for a more frequent or more gentle scrub!
The advantage: The friendly price point and gorgeous smell.
RRP: $10.90
Stockists: Farmers, The Warehouse and selected supermarkets and pharmacies


Self Tanner: Mecca Sunless Goddess Stress-less Self Tanner
What it does:
Stress-less, streak-less summer skin is an application away - filled with pomegranate extract, hyaluronic acid and vitamin E, Mecca's own in-house formula has undergone years of testing on the Aussies to get the formula just right!
The advantage: A tan that delivers on its promises - near impossible to get wrong - and no whiff of fake tan formulation!
RRP: $48.00
Click here for stockists. 

Self Tanning Gloves: ModelCo Self-Tanning Gloves
What it does
: ModelCo, famous for their ability to combine sneaky innovations with great products (think the Lip Lights lip gloss), this product is an easy way to get a great tan either at home or on holiday!
The advantage: That each glove is packed with the exact amount of formula to give you a gorgeous full body glow.
RRP: $42 for four gloves
Stockist: Selected pharmacies

Gradual Tan: Holiday Skin
What it does:
The original innovator in gradual tan, Holiday Skin takes tanning and makes it ridiculously easy - in a genius move, they took one of their popular body lotions and added a small amount of tanning ingredient, changing the face of tanning as we knew it!
The advantage: That you can tan while you sleep! Because it's gradual, you can't turn out bright orange and you get to control the level of tan you want, by how many applications you do.
RRP: $7.95 to $9.95
Stockists: Supermarkets and pharmacies


The easy, instant manicure: Incoco Dry Nail Applique
What it does
: Incoco is the world's first, 100% real, self-stick bottle-free nail polish. Pick a colour, clean and buff your nails then apply the nail strip to your fingers! Each nail strip contains 3 real layers of polish - the base colour and top coats.
The advantage: There's no bottles, no mess, no chips or smudges and no drying time and it looks like a professional did it!
RRP: $12.95 to $14.95 for a pack of 20 coloured strips, cuticle stick, mini file and polish removal cloth.
Click here for stockist.

For more information from Tee and her team on getting summer-ready, visit

October 29

Technology test-driver John Buckley looks at "green" gadgets - ones that have a low impact on the environment and your pocket. 

The Centameter OWL
The CENTAMETER Owl is a next generation electronic device, which measures the electricity being used and displays the cost per hour on a portable display located inside your home or business.
RRP $249.95 plus P+P
Available for purchase from the Centameter website
Rating: 4 out of 5

Asus N Series Notebook - N10Jc (available from mid November 2008)
The Asus N Series range has won nine EPEAT gold awards - a great achievement for "green" computing. The Asus N10jc is a great little notebook suited to computing on the go. It has a 10,2" screen, 160 gb hard drive, 802.11b/g wireless and Nvidia Geforce graphics chip. Note, it does not come with an optical drive but you can purchase one separately.
RRP: $1199
Product Website
Rating: 4 out of 5

Solio Universal Solar Power Battery Charger
Never get caught short with a low battery again! Solio the universal "Hybrid" battery charger charges your hand-held electronic products anywhere under the sun. Perfect for outdoor enthusiasts away from mains power. Interchangeable power tips allow you to power multiple gadgets with a single charger.
RRP $139.99
Available for purchase from Telecom stores and online at Ferrit
Rating: 3 out of 5 - Very handy, but the wide array of attachments seemed confusing.

Water Powered Clock
This fun and funky looking little digital clock is powered by water (and perhaps a dash of salt) and nothing else.
RRP: $US16 plus shipping
Available for purchase from the following US website:
Rating: 5 out of 5

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