Time’s Top 10 Gadgets (2007)

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#1. Apple iPhone

The iPhone changed the way we think about how mobile media devices should look, feel and perform. The design is exceptional inside and out: It’s got a slick glass-and-stainless steel case and an elegant touch screen loaded with eye candy. It’s an iPod and a 2-megapixel camera. Images and video clips display vertically or horizontally — they reorient themselves depending on how you hold the thing. When the phone detects a wireless network within range — your own home wi-fi set up or somebody else’s — it lets you tap once to connect, and then proceed with your Web surfing, Google mapping, emailing and other activities that can otherwise be painfully slow over AT&T’s cellular network — the only one, unfortunately, that carries iPhone calls.#2. Nikon Coolpix S51c

Have you ever maxed out your digital camera’s memory card midway through a vacation? The 8-megapixel Nikon Coolpix S51c point-and-shoot is tricked out with built-in wireless capability, so you can email your images or beam them directly from the camera to your Flickr account or to Nikon’s own online photo bank. It’s also got a 3x zoom and a roomy 3-in. LCD screen — and it comes in black.

#3. Netgear SPH200W Wi-Fi Skype Phone

This cordless wi-fi phone comes with Skype software already built in, so you can log in to an existing account and start making cheap Internet calls immediately. If you’ve never used Skype before, do not fear: It takes a few moments to create a new account and you can do it right from the phone’s keypad. (The first 10 minutes are free; after that, you’ll want to visit Skype.com from your computer to sign up for a service plan with a credit card.) The phone will also work at most public hotspots (including T-Mobile’s) so if you have lots of friends overseas, you may not want to leave home without it.

#4. Palm Centro

Do you secretly covet your friend’s smart phone while dismissing it as way overpriced? The new Palm Centro provides an opportunity to get all the essential smart-phone features without breaking the bank. This light and bright device supports Web surfing, emailing, instant messaging and text messaging, and sports a 1.3-megapixel camera and a touch screen that works best with a stylus. A mobile version of Google Maps comes preloaded. The qwerty keypad is seriously small, but the bubble-like tactile design of the individual keys makes them easier targets.

#5. Sony Handycam HDR-CX7

The CX7 records rich high-definition footage straight to a flash memory card (Sony’s Memory Stick PRO Duo), so it feels light and compact in your palm, and the 2.7-in. LCD screen features touch controls for set up and playback. Should you get the shakes while shooting, the CX7 has the ability to stabilize the image (using optics, which is more effective than a digital correction) and smooth out the action. A built-in HDMI port lets you connect the camera to an HDTV and watch your home movies in all their high-def glory.

#6. Samsung P2

The slim and sexy P2 sounds terrific and plays a variety of music file formats: MP3, WMA and songs from subscription services like Rhapsody and Yahoo Music. The pretty 3-in. screen has touch controls for viewing photos and watching videos, which are displayed at a DVD-quality rate of 30 frames per second. The device also works with BlueTooth headsets and speakers, and soon you will be able to receive forwarded calls from a BlueTooth cell phone. (You’ll have to download what’s called a firmware upgrade from the Samsung website, but don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as it sounds.) Comes with 4 GB of memory for $200, or 8 GB for $250.

#7. Toshiba Portégé R500-S5004

This ultra thin-and-light notebook is a dream machine for road warriors. It runs on an Intel Core 2 Duo processor and offers 2 GB of RAM, an integrated DVD burner and graphics card and built-in wireless capability (both wi-fi and Bluetooth). The 12.1-in. widescreen LED-backlit display is super slim and displays in high-definition (1280 x 820 pixels). With the S5004 model you get a solid-state hard drive, which means no fragile spinning parts, so the machine is less likely to suffer damage if dropped or bumped. Total weight: 2.4 lbs.

#8. FlyTech Dragonfly

WowWee’s flying insect soars, dive-bombs, hovers and glides using authentic flapping-wing action, which makes it the first commercially available toy ornithopter. It’s lightweight (about 1 oz.) yet sturdy, and sports a 16-in. wingspan. The two-channel radio remote lets you control wing speed and tail rotor speed and doubles as a charging base (a 20-min. recharge gives you about 6 min. of flying time). The kids will love it — if you can bear to let them have it for a while.

#9. Iomega eGo Portable Hard Drive

Who knew file storage could be so chic? The 160 GB eGo has enough room to hold up to 640,000 digital photos, 2,900 hours of music or 240 hours of video (depending, of course, on the compression rate). A new dual-interface version works over USB or FireWire and comes with both types of cords. If you accidentally knock the eGo off your desk, the shock-absorbing case will protect the important documents and precious media stored inside.

#10. Belkin N1 Vision Wi-Fi Router

Though the new “N” wi-fi standard, which carries data signals faster and farther than its predecessor “G,” isn’t expected to be officially ratified until next year, it’s far enough along that you can buy certified N products with confidence that they will work with your computers and other hardware. Belkin’s audaciously designed N1 Vision router stands vertical and reports on network activity in your house so you can see if your kid is downloading video games when he should be doing his homework. It is designed to configure itself the first time you connect it to your cable modem or DSL, and computers still using older “G” adapters will still be able to connect.

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