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Last-minute Gadget Gifts of the Year

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Only three shopping days left for last minute gifts? ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK highlights his pick of the new gadget gifts in South African stores.

1. Kingston DT Micro Flash Drive

The DataTraveler Micro (DT Micro), one of the world’s smallest USB Flash drives, will cost only R127 for the 16GB version, and R66 for 8GB. It can be left in devices like tablet PCs or slim notebooks while on the move without damage to either. If you don’t find it store, you could do worse than its ‚big‚ brother, the tiny DataTraveler 109 USB Flash drive, designed to hang unobtrusively on a key ring. Comes with optional urDrive software, which offers a variety of software tools and online backup. As little as R100 for the 8GB and double that for the 16GB. But don’t blame us if you can’t find it after you’ve left the store.

2. Motorola Razr

I always felt phones had no business having screens larger than the 4‚ format ‚ what do you want here, a portable television? But after carrying the new Motorola Razr about for a few weeks, it’s the one I can’t leave behind. With its super-slim 7.1mm thickness, it has that most elusive of phone qualities: ‚slipability‚ , meaning it slips into jeans or other pockets unobtrusively, to the extent that I was asking family if they knew where I’d put my phone. R7000 is a bit much to pay merely for slipability, but it is also one of the most beautiful Android phones on the market, with a dazzling AMOLED screen, 1.2GB processor, 1GB RAM and a Kevlar backing. But here’s the killer app: voice quality is the best I’ve heard on a phone all year.

4. Amazon Kindle

Yes, you may be able to buy the cheapest Amazon Kindle online for less than R1000, but there’s nothing like picking it up in a store, where technicians will set it up for you, and being able to gift-wrap it for a loved on ‚ knowing you can hand it back personally if anything goes wrong (it has a 30-day money back guarantee). That’s what makes the Kindle Keyboardless 6‚ Wi-Fi device (R1500) and the Keyboard 6‚ 3G and Wi-Fi device (R2500) the most compelling gadgets in Incredible Connection this holiday season. After using they keyboard version for a few weeks, I see the future of printed books (or lack thereof) in the palm of my hand, and tours, and yours, and yours ‚Ķ

4. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Apple iPad 2

Sure it’s a cop-out, but I can’t choose between the two tablets, despite the iPad being substantially cheaper than the Galaxy. While the iPad is probably the best designed gadget of the year, Apple’s parochial approach to regional rights makes the apps and iTunes environment absurdly clunky, requiring numerous workarounds for any South African. You can get more apps if you claim to be from Kea than from South Africa! The techie in you won’t object, of course, since such workarounds give your life meaning. For the rest of us, the open secrets of the Samsung option includes not only the versatility and freedom of the Android operating system, but also the fact that it is easier to operate while holding in your hands. The Galaxy Tab is narrower, lighter and slimmer, despite having a bigger screen. Ultimately, it’s a matter of personal preference, but whichever way your prejudices run, you can’t lose with either of these two tablets.

5. 8.ta 10GB data bundle

For R199 a month, 8.ta’s 10GB data bundle is far and away the best value for money in broadband in South Africa. If you’re getting it for a night-owl, an extra R100 a month will offer up a further 10GB a month to be used between 12am and 5am. At R199 for 10GB, it works out at 2c per Megabyte of downloaded data. If you want an extreme comparison, consider that MTN’s out-of-bundle rate is R2 per MB. To be fair, MTN’s Uncapped Lite option provides 3GB for R289 a month. This 8.ta bundle is almost one fifth the price. The Telkom 3G network used by 8.ta (and, ironically, partly piggybacking on MTN) is also spread wide enough that you should get decent access anywhere you may have used the competitor’s 3G dongles. It’s not yet too crowded, so performance is superb.

* Arthur Goldstuck is editor-in-chief of Gadget and heads up World Wide Worx (www.worldwideworx.com). Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee

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