Girly Gadgets for 2004


Forget boys and their toys, what about girls and their gadgets? OK we may not phoar over them, but we do enjoy the occasional electronic purchase along with a small glass of white wine. Not that you’d realise if you believed advertising, magazines or the average bloke down the pub.

But as you already know, Tech Digest is anything but average, which is why we have taken it upon ourselves to dedicate a section to all the ladies in the house. Read on to find out about the very latest, most desirable, handbag-friendly gear that no girl should be without…

By Charlotte Ricca-Smith

Casio Exilim EX-Z4
020 8208 7838
Skinny enough to squeeze into the tightest of jeans pockets (yep, drain pipes are back in) the EX-E4 is already something of a girly gadget, but now it is available in a gorgeous limited edition blue it is as camp as Christmas, and I love it. But it’s not just a pretty face, and despite its credit-card dimensions it has four-megapixels and a great LCD screen, so you don’t have to squish your nose up against the camera to view your pics. It also has a decent 3x zoom lens so you can get a close up without having to get up close, and you can also record up to 60 seconds of video with sound. OK, so that’s not going to win you that Oscar you’ve always dreamed of, but if you splash out on extra memory (a snip online) who knows where your creativity will end?

DVD Tablet Player
0870 241 1066
If you are something of a back-seat driver, this DVD Tablet (a world first, according to the blurb) is the perfect thing to keep your eyes off the road and your marriage intact. It is just 2.6-inches deep, has a great quality 7-inch widescreen display and will play just about anything you chuck at it, including multi-region DVDs and MP3 CDs. But what makes it so car-friendly is that you can plug it into a cigarette lighter – and what better reason to give up the fags than Orlando Bloom sitting on your lap? You can also connect it to the TV, but its major downfall is lack of internal battery. For an extra hundred quid (bargain) they’ll throw in a travel battery, but this compromises its size. Tricky. Probably best to wait till they bring out the inevitable upgraded model, complete with integral battery.

Sorrento Soft Close Toilet Seat
No matter how many times you politely point out, or how loudly you scream, men will never understand the reasoning behind putting the lid down on the toilet. This is because they don’t know what it is to experience the cold china of the basin against their virgin buttocks, or to almost fall down the pan. But now there is an answer to our misery. This toilet seat has a slow close mechanism so that with just a tap of the finger, the seat closes itself shut – minus the loud clang which is the customary accompaniment, implying “see what a good boyfriend/husband I am for putting down the lid.” All we have to hope for is that they remember that one extra tap. You can do that can’t you boys?

Vibrating rubber duck
0871 222 3200
While the faithful dog may be man’s best friend, I’ve found another, far more practical animal that is the kind of friend a girl really shouldn’t be without. Because this is no ordinary rubber duck. It may be plastic, yellow and floats in the bath, but it has an extra little trick up its wing that it gives bath time a whole new sense of fun. Just press its back and it vibrates, very subtly and most importantly, very quietly – but just enough to massage the areas other rubber ducks just can’t reach. Although, what you do with the vibrating duck is of course entirely up to you.

Telefono Alessi
While mobile phones keep getting smaller and funkier it seems the humble home phone has been left behind in the style stakes. But not all, as you can see from the Telefono that combines the chic design of Alessi with the functionality of Siemens. This is a phone that wouldn’t look out of place in Carrie’s NY apartment and has all the features a modern gal could ever need. There is voice dialing and hands free so you can chat away with a Cosmopolitan in one hand, man in the other, 200-entry phone book to keep on top of your hectic social life as well as a birthday reminder and text messaging facility. And just like your mobile you can now personalise your home phone by downloading screensavers and ring tones, but without the embarrassment of sharing the Black Beauty theme tune with a train load of strangers

Sharp MM1110
0870 242 0444
There comes a certain time in a woman’s life when she realises she needs a laptop. A bit like the first time you realise you should start using an anti-ageing moisturiser – depressing, expensive, but inevitable. And then actually quite enjoyable when you realise all the good it is doing you. Besides, just think how much more constructively you could use all those hours spent on a train each week, instead of flicking through Heat? And the beauty of this Sharp notebook, is it is just as lightweight – in fact it is the smallest notebook in the world and will slip unnoticed into your handbag. And there’s more – it has wireless internet access so you can surf and send emails on the hoof.

Handspring Treo 600
From £119 (with contract)
0500 802080
Like a decent cleaner, the Treo 600 is one of those things that once you get, you wonder how you ever lived without. Exclusively available to Orange, it is essentially a phone that thinks and acts, but doesn’t actually look like, an electronic organiser. So you get all the functionality without the bulk, enabling you to ditch the mobile and use this as a one-for-all gadget. It even squeezes on a full qwerty keyboard, which illuminates the number pads when using it make calls, as well as a low res digital camera. But the real beauty of this PDA is that you can access all your emails wherever you are. My only disappointment is with the screen which isn’t as sharp as other PDAs, but its price and portability make the 600 one of the best all-round organisers on the market.

Sanyo Xacti VPC-C1
01923 246363
Roughly the size of a mobile phone, the C1 isn’t only the smallest camcorder I’ve ever seen it is also one of the smartest. Because you can actually take digital stills while filming MPEG 4 video. So if you suddenly spot a great photo opportunity through the lens, press the shutter release and you’ve got your shot. When the resolution is set to 3-megapixels the recording will freeze for a second, but opt for 640×480 and you won’t notice a thing. You can also use it for standard digital photography and it has an impressive 5.8x optical zoom – not bad for such a titch. Video footage and pictures are stored on the bundled 128-megabyte SD memory card. To download your creations on to your PC either sit the C1 in its docking station, or connect it directly – and there’s even a remote control. Why? Who cares.

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