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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 MicronFlash Drive

The DataTraveler Micro (DT Micro), one of the world’snsmallest USB Flash drives, will cost only R127 for the 16GB version, and R66nfor 8GB. It can be left in devices like tablet PCs or slim notebooks while onnthe move without damage to either. If you don’t find it store, you could donworse than its “big” brother, the tiny DataTraveler 109 USB Flash drive,ndesigned to hang unobtrusively on a key ring. Comes with optional urDrivensoftware, which offers a variety of software tools and online backup. As littlenas R100 for the 8GB and double that for the 16GB. But don’t blame us if youncan’t find it after you’ve left the store.

2. Motorola Razr

I always felt phones had no business having screensnlarger than the 4” format – what do you want here, a portable television? Butnafter carrying the new Motorola Razr about for a few weeks, it’s the one Incan’t leave behind. With its super-slim 7.1mm thickness, it has that mostnelusive of phone qualities: “slipability”, meaning it slips into jeans or othernpockets unobtrusively, to the extent that I was asking family if they knewnwhere I’d put my phone. R7000 is a bit much to pay merely for slipability, butnit is also one of the most beautiful Android phones on the market, with andazzling AMOLED screen, 1.2GB processor, 1GB RAM and a Kevlar backing. Butnhere’s the killer app: voice quality is the best I’ve heard on a phone allnyear.

4. Amazon Kindle

Yes, you may be able to buy the cheapest Amazon Kindlenonline for less than R1000, but there’s nothing like picking it up in a store,nwhere technicians will set it up for you, and being able to gift-wrap it for anloved on – knowing you can hand it back personally if anything goes wrong (itnhas a 30-day money back guarantee). That’s what makes the KindlenKeyboardless 6” Wi-Fi device (R1500) and the Keyboard 6” 3G and Wi-Fi devicen(R2500) the most compelling gadgets in Incredible Connection this holidaynseason. After using they keyboard version for a few weeks, I see the future ofnprinted books (or lack thereof) in the palm of my hand, and tours, and yours,nand yours …

4. Samsung Galaxy Tabn10.1 and Apple iPad 2

Sure it’s a cop-out, but I can’t choose between thentwo tablets, despite the iPad being substantially cheaper than the Galaxy.nWhile the iPad is probably the best designed gadget of the year, Apple’snparochial approach to regional rights makes the apps and iTunes environmentnabsurdly clunky, requiring numerous workarounds for any South African. You cannget more apps if you claim to be from Kea than from South Africa! The techie innyou won’t object, of course, since such workarounds give your life meaning. Fornthe rest of us, the open secrets of the Samsung option includes not only thenversatility and freedom of the Android operating system, but also the fact thatnit is easier to operate while holding in your hands. The Galaxy Tab isnnarrower, lighter and slimmer, despite having a bigger screen. Ultimately, it’sna matter of personal preference, but whichever way your prejudices run, youncan’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 andnaway the best value for money in broadband in South Africa. If you’re gettingnit for a night-owl, an extra R100 a month will offer up a further 10GB a monthnto be used between 12am and 5am. At R199 for 10GB, it works out at 2c pernMegabyte of downloaded data. If you want an extreme comparison, consider thatnMTN’s out-of-bundle rate is R2 per MB. To be fair, MTN’s Uncapped Lite optionnprovides 3GB for R289 a month. This 8.ta bundle is almost one fifth thenprice.  The Telkom 3G network used by 8.ta (and, ironically, partlynpiggybacking on MTN) is also spread wide enough that you should get decentnaccess anywhere you may have used the competitor’s 3G dongles. It’s not yet tooncrowded, so performance is superb.

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

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