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The hottest must-have gadgets of 2010!

Last updated on: December 2, 2010 18:32 IST

The hottest must-have gadgets of 2010!

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Courtesy Stuff India Magazine

In their latest issue, gizmo magazine Stuff (India) presents the best gadget innovations of 2010.

The Stuff (India) team reassessed every new gadget, service, game and app that they used over the past 12 months on these criteria: How well it performs, the value for money it offers, the level to which these gadgets push the technological boundaries in its field and how much users want it.

So read on to get started on everything from the best gaming consoles, cellphones, tablets, laptops to dream machines!

Innovation Of The Year: Xbox Kinect

The wireless controllers of the previous generation of consoles paved the way for the Wii's movement-sensitive Wii Remote, which in turn shed light on the ultimate goal: no controller at all.

Kinect is that dream made reality.

With a camera, a depth sensor, a microphone and a whole lot of clever programming, it quite literally turns you into the controller. Make a bowling action and you may well get a strike; hold your hands as if gripping a wheel and you're in a racing car.

It has the potential to bring gaming even further into the mainstream, transforming pick-up-and-play into no-needto-pick-up-at-all.

To top it all, it lets you control your Xbox's media as if you're in Minority Report, and to issue your console
voice instructions. It's no wonder the Kinect has made it to the top of the list of new tech this year.

Rs 9990 xbox.com/en-in

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Image: Xbox Kinect
Photographs: Stuff India
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Portable Entertainment Gadget Of The Year: Apple iPod Touch

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Look at a Touch asleep in its box, and it's hard not to be impressed; it's ridiculously thin. And shiny, too, its flawless surfaces picking up fingerprints like an over-eager forensics team.

Then you turn it on, and impressed becomes astounded.

With the same hi-res Retina display as the iPhone 4, video looks amazing. Music sounds amazing. Then there are
the apps: the varied, graphically impressive games that have made the Touch the most successful portable games
machine in the world.

To polish off a superior feature roster, it has a 720p hi-def video camera on the back and another on the front for Wi-Fi video calling, as well as one of the best pocket web surfers in the world. Simply put, if you're going to spend Rs 15k or so on portable entertainment, buying anything else would be pure madness.

From Rs 15,400 apple.co.in

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Image: Apple iPod Touch

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TV Of The Year: Sony 46HX800

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You know, 3D's kind of a big deal. The sort of deal that, even if you had a top-of-the-range TV set from 2009, still compelled a lot of you to upgrade this year. But it's not the be-all and end-all.

There aren't that many 3D discs yet and unless you're okay with 2D-to-3D upconversion, broadcast 3D is still a way off. So, the TV you need in 2010 is one that makes the most of good old 2D and is ready for the 3D revolution to take hold.

That pretty much describes the HX800. Its 2D picture is the best we've seen, whether it comes from its internal tuner, streamed via YouTube or from Blu-ray. Its 3D image, available with the addition of a sensor bar and
pair of glasses, is the equal of anything else at its price.

It's a stunning performer that easily justifies its slightly scary price tag. It makes you believe.

Rs 1,53,900 sony.co.in

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Image: Sony 46HX800

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Game Of The Year: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

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This time last year, the folks at Infinity Ward scooped out Jerry Bruckheimer's brain with a load of old action  movie DVDs, whizzed the whole lot in a blender, fed the contents into a computer and burned it to disc. The result was Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

Bursting with more dramatic set pieces than Transformers On Ice, it's the gaming equivalent of injecting yourself with a shot of hot Red Bull: intense, slightly shocking and over in a few heartbeats.

Unless, that is, you embed yourself in the addictive, hugely competitive and almost endlessly playable world of
online multiplayer. Which you should, unless you value your social life.

Many have tried, but few first-person shooters have come close to the thrilling spectacle offered by MW2 -- but
then again, we don't need to tell you that, just play it already!

Rs 3500 (PS3, XBox) callofduty.com

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Image: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

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Mobile App Of The Year: miCoach

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It could be suggested that exercise is not a pastime any self-respecting gadgeteer should trouble themselves with.
We'd argue different: these days, there's so much cool tech out there to aid your training, leading the sedentary lifestyle means missing out.

The miCoach app proves this point.

It transforms your iPhone or BlackBerry into a personal trainer that tracks your distance, pace and calories burned using the phone's GPS.

But the miCoach app comes into its own when you twin it with the miCoach website. Tell it you want to run a marathon, for example, and it'll create a detailed training calendar for you and sync it to your phone.

The phone app will then even tell you when you need to up the pace while you're running. It's a work of genius,
and it doesn't cost a penny.

Price: Free micoach.com

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Image: miCoach

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Time-killer Gadget Of The Year: Parrot AR.Drone

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If someone had come up to us five years ago and said, "Here, have a go on my augmented reality quadricopter," we'd have assumed the world had been invaded by aliens and we were in imminent danger of being probed.

But this is no crazy concept: its built-in cameras (one facing forward, one down) feed live video back to your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad via Wi-Fi.

You get a quadricopter's point of view through your device's screen, and control its movements with tilts of your hand. Relinquish control and it hovers there, creepily awaiting your command.

It's hard to overstate how amazing this is -- even more so given that you can also use it in augmented reality games, where you dogfight other real AR.Drones. It's expensive, but to talk prices in this instance just seems petty.

Rs 25,000 parrot.com

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Image: Parrot AR.Drone

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Home Entertainment Gadget Of The Year: Sony BDP-S370

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We've shunned this year's crop of visually stunning, high-design home entertainment kit in favour of this rather plain-looking AV component. Are we mad?

Have we lost our Stuff mojo? No we're not, and no we haven't.

You see, with this Blu-ray player, Sony changed the rules. In a year when owning Blu-ray became essential, this one spun the discs better than any other near its price and also threw in a couple of the shiny, blue discs just to get you started!

But it's the extras that really set it apart: Wi-Fi ready for media streaming from your home network; Garcenote metadata service and, perhaps best of all, Sony's increasingly brilliant Bravia Internet Video service, which streams movies over the web.

All that, and you can control it from your iPhone. You need one of these. We're serious.

Rs 9990 sony.co.in

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Image: Sony BDP-S370

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Web App Of The Year: RockMelt

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There have been more attempts at livening up the web browser than face lifts on Elizabeth Taylor and all of them have met the fate of her numerous marriages too.

Web-browsing is a very personal experience and to tamper with it is as good as tampering with your favourite
sleep-in shorts. RockMelt, a new start-up that has just begun sending out invites to its new creation is here to break the norms, though.

Using a page or two from Apple's best-selling book on user-interface design, it has set out assembling our friends and other contacts from Facebook and Twitter, sitting on either side of the main browser window, constantly reminding us of their virtual omnipresence.

It doesn't integrate Gtalk or Yahoo chat yet but that's only an upgrade away. Until then, this is social integration at its best.

Price: Free rockmelt.com

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Image: RockMelt

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Computer Of The Year: Alienware M11x

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The M11x may not appeal to everyone, aesthetically speaking: its exceptionally well-built shell is a classic piece
of gamer bling, with various lurid LEDs pimping everything from the little glowing alienhead power switch to the
exhaust fan. But Ikea's loss is our gain, as the M11x is an engineering marvel.

It's little bigger than a netbook but it packs in serious gaming power, thanks to a choice of efficient Pentium, Core 2 Duo and Core i processors and dedicated Nvidia graphics. With an optional solid-state disk in place, it'll boot in seconds, and its battery will run for over seven hours with less demanding tasks.

It'll tear through the latest titles and HD video, all of which look brilliant on its 11.6in, 720p screen. In short, small is still beautiful and now powerful too.

From Rs 70,000 dell.co.in

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Tech Accessory Of The Year: B&W MM-1

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It's almost emerging as a scientific fact that most music lovers spend more time on their desktops than their sweet spots. That leaves little precious time to enjoy late-night listening sessions in front of the Nautilus-inspired loudspeakers that cost as much as the real estate they reside in.

B&W relates to the plight of the audiophile and used trickle-down tech in its smallest desktop speaker yet,
the MM-1.

Featuring a tube-loaded tweeter and a high-excursion midrange, its true 2-way design credentials cannot be questioned. Nor, in fact, its ability to fill up a medium-sized room with smooth, intricately detailed tunes that will leave you picking up your jaw off the floor.

Without a separate subwoofer, this is by far the most elegant solution to personal audio nirvana. You will be smitten.

Rs 37,013 audiovisionindia.com

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Phone Of The Year: Apple iPhone 4

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It was a close-run thing, but the iPhone is on top once more. Even with its poorly designed (but ever so  nice-looking) external aerials, it's the smartphone we'd buy.

Its glass surfaces and steel band have driven it into a whole new realm of desirability, and Apple's
brought the experience bang up to date with the unrivalled resolution of the 4's 3.5in Retina display.

Multitasking abilities, a forward-facing camera and FaceTime video calling are useful updates, while the new
5MP camera with 720p video rivals the best out there. But the crucial thing about the iPhone is how much it can do: there's an app for everything, and generally a good one at that.

No other smartphone OS comes close in this regard. Ignore the naysayers: this is the best smartphone ever.

From Rs 45,000* apple.com/in

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Image: Apple iPhone 4

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Navigadget Of The Year: Google Maps Navigation

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It's finally happened. After six long years of smartphone sat-nav nipping at the heels of dedicated devices, 2010 is the year in which they finally scored a bite. It's not that Google's turn-by-turn software for Android is as good as an off-the-shelf sat-nav; in many situations, a Map My India is superior.

But this free service keeps getting better by the day. Streetview proves your phone hasn't sent you in the wrong
direction.

Local Search shows you where to pop for a bottle of wine before you arrive at a dinner party.

Traffic, however, is a service we can still only dream of in India. But what's most impressive is that all of
this comes from your phone, at no additional cost.

It's a brave, new, converged world.

Rs Free google.co.in

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Image: Google Maps Navigation

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Camera Of The Year: Sony NEX-5

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The most desirable snapper of the year, hands down. The compact camera-sized NEX-5 crams an SLR-worthy 14.2MP CMOS sensor into its sleek magnesium body, adds a tilting, magnificently crisp 3" widescreen display and sticks an E-mount on the front, allowing it to take a variety of lenses for near limitless creative possibilities.

Then there are the extras: the smooth 1080i HD video capture, the 3D panorama mode that'll capture wide vistas
with just a sweep of your hand, and the full manual mode.

It revels in its uniqueness, slaying SLR holy cows by the shedful as it ditches technical talk of f-stops and depth of field in favour of 'background defocus'.

Let the purists smirk -- we'll be taking better photos than ever, and learning the photography ropes
as we go.

Price: To be announced sony.co.in

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Image: Sony NEX-5

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Gadg-extravagance Of The Year: Samsung C9000

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No, you don't exactly need a C9000. But this audacious, bleeding-edge TV is a thing of such beauty that when you
observe its almost impossibly svelte form -- just 8mm at its thinnest -- you'll consider selling your corneas to get one.

Which would be foolish, because then you'd never experience what makes it such a triumph of televisual engineering. Absolutely top-drawer capabilities in both 2D and 3D modes are only the half of it: the C9000 also has Samsung's Internet@TV service, which you can use to tweet, Facebook and stream content from a host of
video services.

It also comes with the coolest remote control yet: a Wi-Fi connected, touchscreen viewer that lets you browse
channels before changing what's on the big screen (or just continue watching Masterchef while you're in the kitchen).

Rs 4,40,000 samsung.com/in

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Image: Samsung C9000

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Design Of The Year: Dell Adamo XPS

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Everyone wants to do an Apple when it comes to laptops.

Except Dell (and to be honest, IBM). In the last couple of years, Dell has really upped its design game and taken the fight right up to Infinite Loops drive way.

The result has been the stunning Adamo range of notebooks, the second of which had us on our knees the moment we
unboxed it, which again, by the way, was just as pleasurable as unsealing a MacBook Pro.

Beautifully constructed, with a slender waist of 9.99mm and full of futuristic touches like the capacitive latch release that opens the lid with a gentle swipe of the finger over it and SSD storage, it heralds a new kind of Windows laptop.

The 720p, HD screen also acts as a stand when you decide to work besides staring at it!

From Rs 1,50,000 dell.co.in

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Image: Dell Adamo XPS

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Gadget Of The Year: Apple iPad

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What a year. We've seen a 3D gadget explosion, powerful new smartphone rivals and a controller-free game-changer. But the moneyspenders and the geeks unanimously agreed: there's one gadget that's left a larger crater than all
the others put together...

In years to come, we'll look back at 2010 as the year portable computing changed. History will be split into BiP and AiP: a time before the revolutionary tablet casually flicked away how we used to interact with our computers, and the time after, when an entirely new genre of slab-like copycats took over the gadget world.

Well, perhaps that's overstating it a mite, but there's no doubting the impact the iPad has made with its slick, instantly intuitive interface, game-changing entertainment and web browsing capabilities and thriving App Store.

Nor that it's opened a whole new chapter in the publishing story. If you're not convinced that the iPad is the single greatest leap in consumer technology this year, wait and see how many Android tablets come out in the next few months.

This is the start of something big, and once again, Apple is leading the charge.

from Rs 25,000 apple.com/in

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