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Technology

Best Tech Gadgets

They're clever, user-friendly and just plain cool

SEE THIS SLIDE SHOW: The Best Tech

MP3 PLAYER
Apple iPod Touch

More than a portable music box, the iPod Touch is actually an iPhone without the phone: It has an audio and video player, Web browser, photo viewer, e-mail reader, mapping tool and more. Priced at $229 for the 8-gigabyte model ($299, 16GB; $399, 32GB), the Touch is the ultimate media player.

PHONE/BLUETOOTH COMBO
LG Decoy

Most states that make it illegal to hold a cell phone to your ear while driving allow you to use a hands-free Bluetooth headset. But those tiny earpieces are easy to misplace. The LG Decoy ($150 with a two-year contract and online discount) offers a clever solution: Its headset snaps into the back of the phone.

SMALL DIGITAL CAMERA
Casio Exilim EX-Z150

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This Casio model packs an impressive set of features into an ultra-slim, $200 package. Its wide-angle, 4X optical-zoom lens is great for travel and group photos, and the bright, 3-inch LCD screen is unusually large for a camera this petite. The image-stabilization feature cuts down on blurry pics.

SMART PHONE
Apple iPhone 3G

The iPhone 3G improves upon its revolutionary predecessor by adding faster data speeds, GPS navigation, a slimmer shell and a lower upfront price -- although the overall cost of ownership, including monthly service fees, has risen a bit. The user-friendly iPhone will cost you $200 with a two-year, $70-a-month service plan.

POCKET TRANSLATOR
Franklin TGA-495 Speaking Global Translator

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How do you call for a cab in Mandarin? Use a hand-held device that speaks the language. Franklin's translator ($230) speaks 115,000 words and 12,000 phrases in a remarkably lifelike human voice. It translates from English into a range of languages, from French to Arabic.


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