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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 and Logitech.
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 pouch.