If you're interested in taking the plunge with special tech gifts this
year, I can recommend a rather nice cell phone to think about, as well
as a watch sure to warm a techie's heart. And there's another great
digital camera to consider.
The watch, and the phone, comes from Casio. Yes, Casio is in the phone
business, through a partnership with CDMA cell phone carrier Verizon
Wireless. The Casio G'zOne Type S Phone, a mouthful of a name
if I ever heard one, lists for $299, but you can shave $200 off the
price with a qualifying Verizon service contract.
What you get is a very rugged phone that is water and dust resistant.
Not waterproof, mind you, but it won't wilt while getting wet. On a
recent visit to Casio's publicity agency in New York, I saw one of
these phones that had gotten a tad warm. Actually, it had burned a
bit. But it still worked. This is one rugged phone.
You can shoot video and still pictures with the camera; still images
are VGA quality that means they're good enough for some purposes, but
probably not what you'd want to use for a formal portrait. I didn't
test the video quality, but I wouldn't expect much here, since the
phone is designed first to be a phone, after all.
Voice quality is very good, and you can do some level of Internet
browsing with the device. But the screen is 1.8-inches diagonally, and
you won't want to do a lot of surfing with this. It also does not
support Verizon's V-Cast music service.
But if you're working in places where it gets damp, humid or dusty,
this is you phone. The Casio features shine through in the onboard
watch/stopwatch and the rugged look.
Such Casio ruggedness extends, as might be expected, to GS-1100, a
shock-resistant, water resistant wrist-straddler that'll set you back
about $300. But it's worth every penny, in my view, not only because
it is an exceptional conversation piece, but also because it does its
jobs very, very well.
By "jobs," I mean not only the assignment of telling the time, but
also serving as a stopwatch and day/date calendar. The time function
is flawless because of the technology angle: the GS-1100 is a
radio-friendly watch that receives the signal from the Atomic Clock in
Fort Collins, Colorado, as well as similar ones in Europe and Japan.
Travel to those regions, and the watch resets itself, which I think is
There are less-expensive atomic-tuned watches, but I haven't seen any
that are as stylish and rugged as the GS-1100. It's the kind of a
product the geek in your life will most likely love.
While the Casio phone (above) isn't my favorite for photography, I do
like the well-under-$200 Fujifilm FinePix 7.2MP Digital Camera. It's
extremely pocketable, fitting in a shirt or trouser pocket with ease.
You get more than a day's shooting off a single charge of the battery,
and it uses both SecureDigital and xD cards to store images.
It was one of the cameras on my recent overseas trip, and it performed
magnificently. At home, you can use an "auction mode" to combine three
images into one picture, ideal for uploading to EBay or a similar
site. The 3x digital zoom was also quite helpful.
Controls on the camera were easy to learn and operate. Displaying
photos is easy, you can even go into a "micro thumbnail" mode to see
as many as 100 images (10 by 10) and scroll through these for quick
viewing. The camera will also play back photos in a "slideshow" format
if you desire.
It's a great starter digital camera, and a perfect compliment to a
more expensive setup. I like it, and I would recommend it highly.