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BUYERS GUIDE / PORTABLE DEVICES

The Ultimate Tech Buyers Guide For Travellers

By Mendelson Tiu | Wednesday | 12/03/2008

You may have the ultimate travel itinerary planned this Easter, but do you have the gear to make the trip a truly memorable one? We look at the best in noise cancelling headphones, GPS devices, MP3 players, digital cameras, video cameras and more to help you get more out of your holidays.

Point and Shoot Away
This is an obvious place to start. From being able to take far away images to taking photos underwater, digital cameras have clearly come a long way in terms of functions and features. Ditto camcorders - which now let you shoot travel videos in full HD.


Here are some of the handy cameras and camcorders in the market today that can capture those breathtaking moments.

Pentax Optio Z10 ($399)
www.pentax.com.au
The Pentax Optio Z10 can capture those far away images as the camera is equipped with a 7x optical zoom lens and a magnification of up to 35.7 times with combined with the unit's digital zoom. The Z10 also has an 8 mega pixel sensor, face recognition and shake reduction function, supports Pictbridge, and has a sliding lens cover for extra protection.

Olympus Tough Lite 790SW ($499)
www.olympus.com.au
The Tough Lite 790SW is a 7.1 mega pixel camera that can accompany you at the beach as it claims to take photos at depths of up to three metres. It can also withstand drops of up to 1.5m and even operates at sub-zero temperatures of up to -10C.

Sony Cyber-shot T200 ($749)
www.sony.com.au
The new Sony Cyber-shot T200 8.1 mega pixel camera is packed with great technology, but what we like is it's 'Smile Shutter' function, which automatically takes a shot when someone smiles, so you never miss that great travel shot.

Canon IXUS 960 IS ($649)
www.canon.com.au
This titanium camera has 12.1 mega pixel resolution and the latest Digic III processor. It's also equipped with face detect technology, auto red-eye removal from portrait shots and much more.

Sony Handycam HDR-SR8 ($2499)
www.sony.com.au
Sony says that its HDR-SR8 HD Handycam can record over 38 hours of 1080i footage with its 100GB hard drive. Once you shoot you can then share it with family and friends via your full HD TV.

Panasonic HDC-SD5 ($1899)
www.panasonic.com.au
A light and compact HD camcorder the SD5 records in 1080i HD and produces crisp videos with its 3CCD technology. It only uses SDHC cards though, so you'd best buy a few if you love to shoot.

Canon HR10 ($2099)
www.canon.com.au
The new HR10 from Canon claims to record 1080i footage directly to 8cm DVDs for easier sharing. The camera also has a 10x optical zoom and Instant AF focusing system that will definitely be handy in those difficult moving shots.

Aurally Envelop Yourself
Noise-cancelling headphones remove background noises and promise superb audio quality for any track. Flying economy? Babies screaming in the background? Never fear, strap on one of these, relax, and enjoy the music and it will (almost) feel like First Class.

JBL Reference 510 ($254.95)
www.conexus.com.au
JBL has developed its noise-cancelling headphones in order for users to enjoy their favourite music 'in all its full-spectrum glory, without the distraction of all the commotion around you.' And why not? The Reference 510 claims to block out up to 70 percent of ambient noise and have 40mm Transducers that promises to deliver great sound and bass response.

Sennheiser PXC450 ($799.95)
www.syntec.com.au
Powered by one single AAA battery, Sennheiser says that its PXC450 effectively reduces up to 90% of ambient noise. The PXC450's TalkThrough function filters out background noises so that only the voice of the person you are talking to comes in. And should the battery go flat on you while travelling, users can still listen to their tunes as the unit can be used in its passive mode.

Bose Quiet Comfort 3 ($599)
www.bose.com
Bose assures a listening experience like no other with its QuietComfort 3 headphones. The company claims that its QuietComfort 3 rests on the ears of a user for comfortable listening, can dramatically reduce noise while faithfully preserving the music, and can be folded flat for easy storage. It also comes with a rechargeable battery and will last for 20 hours.

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7 ($445)
www.tag.com.au
Audio-Technica's ATH-ANC7 is a headset that not only sounds great, but also has the function of reducing background noises up to 85 percent. See here for our full review of the ATH-ANC7.

Take me there
Reading a map to get from point A to point B is now a thing of the past, thanks to GPS navigation devices, which tell you exactly when and where to turn. Features such as points of interests (POI), text-to- speech functions, and multimedia functions make navigation devices a worthwhile investment.

Navman S90i ($799)
www.navman.com.au
Navman's latest series of portable GPS is truly outstanding - in fact we've awarded it in our Best of the Best Awards this year. Find our full review of the S90i here.

TomTom GO 720 ($799)
www.tomtom.com
The TomTom GO 720 aims to make navigation much easier with a wide 4.3-inch screen, voice address input, text-to-speech function, and easy location search. It also comes with a built-in FM tuner, photo and document viewer, and can even play MP3 files with its Jukebox function. And in case something happens, there is always the 'Help Me!' menu that can display emergency phone numbers or route to the nearest police station and hospital.

Mio DigiWalker C720t ($699)
www.mio-tech.com.au
The new flagship of Mio's range features a built-in 2- megapixel camera and videocam, and is also one of the first GPS navigation devices to access the new Suna traffic message channel (TMC) which broadcasts detailed information on traffic congestion and other road conditions. TMC users need an additional cradle kit, including hardware, software and lifetime subscription. This costs $129 on the C720t, which comes with built-in hardware and needs only subscription activation.

LG LN800 ($699)
www.lge.com.au
At just 18mm thick, LG says that its LN800 is one of the slimmest GPS devices in the world. With a battery life of up to six hours, quick-access buttons for popular functions, text-to-speech functions, and the latest Whereis by Sensis map technology, finding your way is definitely going to be a snap.

Portable Media Players
Portable media players, or PMPs, have the ability to play music files, photos, and even videos, keeping anyone busy for hours on end.

PSP Slim and Lite ($279.95)
www.sony.com.au
Sony's PSP 2 is better than ever before as it now sports a lighter and slimmer profile. In addition, the PSP Slim and Lite is able to play UMD (Universal Media Disc) videos, stored movies from the Memory Stick Duo, and can even display photos via its videoout
port. Oh and then there's the games...

Creative Zen (8GB - $329.95)
au.creative.com
A media player that claims to be smaller than a credit card, Creative's Zen supports various music formats such as MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, and Audible files. Users can also play videos, view photos, and tune in to any FM station too. The Zen Player also has an SD/SDHC card slot for more space.

Sony S-Series (8GB - $229)
www.sony.com.au
A PMP that fits in the palm of your hand and weighs 50 grams is no ordinary audio and video player. Users can simply drag and drop files directly from one's PC into the S-Series Walkman without the need for any software. Sony also claims it has improved compressed audio files for better sound quality.

iPod touch (16GB $549)
www.apple.com/au
Apple has most certainly transcended its products with its new iPod touch. Even with 16GB of onboard memory, anyone will still find the touch to be in a class of its own. Read our full review of this product here.

After that, you have everything you need for a great holiday this Easter. Now you just need to decide where to go and who to take with you!

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