With the Christmas season of spending on gifts upon us,
Technology editor Dene Mackenzie asked some of his regular
contacts and suppliers of review devices for some gift ideas.
This week we look at gift ideas supplied by Telecom, Gen-i
Telecom came to the Christmas party early, last week
announcing a substantial reduction in the costs for
travellers to use their smartphones and other devices
overseas. The new pricing starts on Friday. But if you are
not travelling abroad, and are happy just being on holiday
around New Zealand with family and friends, Telecom and Gen-i
can provide some connectivity benefits.
Right now, 100 free Telecom Wi-Fi hotspots are being turned
on in popular holiday locations.
The free wireless broadband will be available through Telecom
payphones and at surf lifesaving clubs in holiday spots up
and down the country. To sign up, you will need to have a New
Zealand mobile number and a phone that can receive text
messages. The service is open to anybody with a New Zealand
mobile. You do not need to be a Telecom customer.
If you are not close to a payphone or a surf club, the Huawei
mobile hotspot creates an instant wireless hotspot for a cost
of $149 on 30-day plan.
Users can share the mobile broadband internet connection of
the built-in 3G modem across multiple devices like smart
phones, netbooks, laptops and other computers. Up to five
users can be online at the same time, sharing the one data
bundle, without the need for a fixed internet connection.
Weighing only 80g, the device is the size of a credit card.
It has an external antenna connection and is USB-powered.
Telecom is launching two new prepaid mobile broadband
subscriptions for a limited time. There is a 500MB data plan
with a seven-day expiry for $10, aimed at customers with a
tablet who may primarily use it on Wi-Fi but want to be able
to use mobile data occasionally.
The 3GB data has a 90-day expiry for $60 and is aimed at
people who want to use their devices when commuting but do
not want to worry about topping up every month.
Telecom and Gen-i recommended some phones in various price
ranges for gifts starting with the T903 for $99, an Android
2.3 device. It has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, supports email and
has a 2MP camera.
The Huawei Ascend G600 ($399) has an 8MP camera and operates
on the Android 4 platform. The HTC Windows phone ($499) is
the new device off the block. It features the new Windows 8
operating system by Microsoft. The phone has Beats Audio
which serves up studio-quality sound for entertainment. A
physical camera button lets users instantly point, shoot and
share, while a free SkyDrive account means that where the
user goes, so does their content. The Otago Daily
Times will be giving away one of these devices in a
Summer Times competition on December 29.
At the top of the range are the Nokia Lumia 920 ($999) and
the Samsung Galaxy Note II ($1049).
The note has a big screen, talk time of 16 hours, a 16GB
microSD and operates on the Android 4 platform. The Nokia is
a Windows 8 phone with 10 hours of talk time.
Logitech has released a new line which delivers undiluted
music, anytime anywhere.
Highlights of the new line-up include the Logitech UE Boombox
($349.90), which is an on-the-go speaker that uses
smartphones or tablets to play and control music from up to
15m away. Up to eight Bluetooth-enabled devices can be paired
with the speaker and up to three connected at the same time,
so users can take turns playing music.
The UE Mobile Boombox ($149.90) is a portable speaker than
connects to smartphones or tablets. Because two mobile
devices can be connected at the same time, the two most
frequently used devices are always connected. The UE Mobile
includes a rechargeable battery that delivers up to 10 hours
of music, depending on use, settings and conditions.
The UE Smart Radio ($299) is a dedicated music device that
can play internet radio, online music services and the music
on PCs or Macs. The colour screen displays album art, track
and station information.
With the UE 9000 Headphones ($599) there are no wires or
distractions. They connect wirelessly to Bluetooth devices
but also include an optional cable in case users want to go
wired or run out of power.
The UE 6000 Headphones ($349) connect to devices, fold up
like sunglasses and come with a splitter for music that can
be shared. The UE 4000 Headphones ($149) are compact on-ear
headphones that come with a zippered, microfibre-lined travel