HTC Desire ($500)
Touted as the ïPhone killer", the Desire sports a
capacitive touch screen similar to the iPhone's but uses the latest
Android 2.1 operating system. It delivers a good web browsing experience
with easy email setup and is one of the best performers for call sound
quality. The recommended retail price is about $779 but if you use our Price and Buy function,
you can lock one in for just $500, which makes it a very good buy. One
thing to remember when buying the phone (applies to all phones) is to
ask them whether it supports Next G (850MHz) or Optus Yes G (900MHz)
network. There is a different model code depending on the choice you
make and this difference is not readily apparent at the shop. See our
video to learn more about the difference between the HTC Desire and iPhone 4. Read the full report on Next G mobile phones.
Nokia 3720 Classic ($269)
This is a good basic phone option and readily available
between $140 and $170. The 3720 GSM only phone (works on the national
GSM network which means it is not ideal for web surfing or downloads)
has an IP54 rating, meaning it’s designed to be shock-, dust- and
water-resistant, with panels to keep out water and dust. An LED
flashlight, together with a long talk and standby time, makes it a good
choice for tradesmen or as a first phone for kids. It also has the
lowest SAR (specific absorption rate, a measure of radiation energy
absorbed into the body) figure of the phones on test. Read the full
report on basic mobile phones.
Compact digital cameras
Both the Nikon Coolpix L110 ($399) and S8000 ($499) are recommended as our best buys, so deciding on which one depends on what you want to use it for.
The Nikon Coolpix L110 (the red one) This SLR-styled camera has a long zoom (15x) and is good for taking in landscapes. The Coolpix S8000
has a shorter zoom (10x zoom) is about 185grams – slim and fits easily
in your pocket – is good for sports photography. The good news is you
don’t have to break the bank to buy any of the two. Click on our Price and Buy function at our compact digital cameras compare and review page where
you’ll find the L110 offered for sale at $218 and the S8000 at $230.
So, if you've set aside a budget of $500, you can buy both! Read the
full report on compact digital cameras.
Go Cruise GPS4300-A ($129) We've
added 15 GPS units to our latest test and the cheapest of our Best Buys
is this one from Aldi. The Go Cruise offers what you need at only $129
from Aldi supermarkets.
The navigational device comes pre-loaded with maps of Australia
and New Zealand and scored full marks for locating points of interests
such as airports, hospital and shopping centres. It scored well for
navigating in the city and regional areas, as well as verbal
instructions. Read the full report on GPS.
Sony PRS-65-/rc Touch Edition ($299)While the rest of the world clamours for the Apple iPad,
electronic brands such as Sony wasted no time in developing their own
and selling their ebook readers at a fraction of the cost of an iPad.
Sony's e-tablet has an interactive touchscreen that is easy to navigate
using either your finger or the stylus. You can also write and save
notes in it. It was the clear favourite in our test for outdoor lighting
and indoor lighting. Its bedroom lighting performance is only OK, but
for $59 you can purchase a protective cover (which we recommend for all
eBook readers) that incorporates a light with adjustable brightness.
Kindle 3G + Wi-Fi ($189)
This Kindle ranked well for indoor and outdoor lighting,
and for $60 you can purchase a cover with integrated light to use in dim
conditions. However, the interface can be confusing if you haven’t had
any previous experience with Kindles. No software is required, so
transferring content is simple; however, EPUBs are still not supported
on the device, without the use of conversion software. Once Wi-Fi is
turned on, users can browse and purchase dedicated content for the
Kindle from the Amazon store (but not all content on Amazon is available
for Australian users). Read the full report on ebook readers and also our video review of the original Kindle.
For all-round family fun the Wii games console
is hard to beat. Nintendo's little white box brought casual video
gaming to the lounge room with a simple wave-and-point motion controller
that can be used by anybody within minutes. The PlayStation and Xbox
360 now have motion control too, but as yet lack the Wii's maturity in
this market, not to mention a massive back catalogue of family-friendly
See our full report on games consoles.
Noise cancelling headphones
Bose QuietComfort 15 ($499) Audiophiles
may be hard pressed to choose between the Sennheiser (German) and Bose
(American), but we’ve decided the Bose QuietComfort 15 reigns supreme
for both performance and price. Unfortunately – we’ve checked several
local sites – we could not find them cheaper than $500. It’s selling at US$300 per pair in the US.
With the Aussie dollar on par with $US, you will save money if you know
someone who's travelling there and will be back by Christmas. No point
buying online as sites such as Amazon charge at least US$70 for
shipping. Read the full report on noise cancelling headphones.
Flip Ultra HD ($240) This pocket camcorder delivers top results on visual and
audio quality – where a camcorder should – without breaking the bank.
Flip Ultra HD’s maximum recording time is 135 hours, double the Sanyo’s
($499) 69 hours, and costs only $240. The Flip Ultra HD is not the
smallest model we tested, but will still slip into most pockets and is
ready for action in just 2.5 seconds. A ‘play’ and ‘delete’ button on
either side of a large red recording button is basically all you need to
operate the camera. It has a stereo microphone and the ability to store
more than two hours of video on 8GB of internal storage with a HDMI
connection - the easiest way to display the video and audio on a modern flat-panel TV. See our review of pocket camcorders.
Portable media players
Apple iPod Touch ($378)
Two years ago, the Apple iPod Touch ranked fifth even
though its video and sound score was on par or better than the Sony
Walkmans tested. This year, we removed the battery score as we've found
there are now only marginal differences between battery claims and
actual performance. The result: the Apple iPod Touch took first place in
this year's test for video and audio quality, as well as ease of use.
The model tested has a storage capacity of 32GB and cost $549 two years
ago. You can now buy a 32GB model for about $380.
Sony Walkman NWZ-S744 ($299)
The Sony Walkman has very good video quality and is easy
to use, but does not feature external speakers. Its compatible
third-party music and video library software is the Windows Media
Player, so sound and content transfer is easy. Read the full report on portable media players.