Fun Tech

At a Glance
  • AlphaSmart Dana

  • LG Electronics Internet Refrigerator (LRSPC2661T)

  • SnapStream PVS 3

  • Rio D2730 Networked DVD Player

  • ReplayTV Replay TV 5504

  • Gateway P46M103 42

  • Samsung DVD-L200 Portable (Samsung-DVDL200)

  • TDK DA-9000 Audio CD Recorder (TDK-DA9000)

  • NEC HT1000 Entertainment Projector

  • Generic Company Place Holder Toshiba Satellite P25-S609 Notebook

  • Onkyo GXW Home Theater Speakers

  • AlphaSmart Dana Wireless

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Internet for Your Bacon and Eggs

LG Appliances Internet Refrigerator
It had to happen: LG Appliances merged a refrigerator with a PC, gave it an LCD touch screen and camera, slapped an $8000 price tag on it, and labeled it the Internet Refrigerator--a swanky, roomy, moderately energy-efficient refrigerator with a date book, photo album, electronic whiteboard, Web browser, music jukebox, and TV. To make the TV or Internet functions work, you'll need a cable TV and ethernet port convenient to the back of the fridge. The computer, which inexplicably runs Windows 98, isn't tied in with the refrigerator's temperature controls (a separate panel above the ice and water dispenser handles that), so your ice won't melt if Windows freezes. The included food-tracking program could have been engineered a little better--as it is, entering each grocery item into the database is a tedious data entry chore involving the touch screen's keyboard. Another missed opportunity: You can't set the built-in, door-front camera to snap a photo of the late-night Haagen-Dazs thief who invades your kitchen.

Bigger Than Some Big Screens

NEC Showcase HT1000
Power on the NEC Showcase HT1000 projector, fire up a DVD movie, and the home theater experience is so complete you might catch a whiff of popcorn in the air. The first in NEC's series of home-oriented projectors, the 7.1-pound HT1000 delivers superior image quality compared with other projectors. While pricier than most models, this unit offers a home user several features that are more important in the living room than in the boardroom: the entire spectrum of high-end video input options, from composite to HDTV; support for console video games as well as for PCs; an automatic setup mode that compensates for the projection angle to display a rectangle even if you can't aim dead-center at a screen or wall; and a mode in which the fan runs whisper-quiet--an important consideration when you'd rather hear the alien sneaking up on the hero than the fan droning inside the projector. If you have the cash to spend on a 60-inch plasma-display television, you should seriously consider this projector and a good-quality screen as a lighter, sturdier alternative. For more on the benefits and drawbacks of large display technologies, see Really Big Shows.

A PDA That Knows Where You're Going

Garmin IQue 3600
A sleek and powerful, high-resolution color Palm OS PDA, Garmin's IQue 3600 also delivers a built-in Global Positioning System receiver. With the included mapping software, it can show you (within 120 feet) where you are and tell you how to get where you want to go. Ah, the promise of never having to ask a gas station attendant for directions again! It's also loaded with a voice recorder, an SD memory card expansion slot, office software, an MP3 player, and a headphone jack. An optional $80 Auto Navigation Kit is, in reality, necessary: The kit provides juice from the car's cigarette lighter to supplement the IQue's painfully short battery life. We like that you can set an array of preferences--from showing wayside stops to suggesting alternate roads that avoid tolls--but best of all is the versatility of the IQue, which happens to be a handy PDA when it's not guiding you to your next destination.

LG Appliances Internet Refrigerator


Price when reviewed: $8000
Current prices (if available)

NEC Showcase HT1000


Price when reviewed: $5500
Current prices (if available)

Garmin IQue 3600

Price when reviewed: $589
Current prices (if available)
At a Glance
  • AlphaSmart Dana

  • LG Electronics Internet Refrigerator (LRSPC2661T)

  • SnapStream PVS 3

  • Rio D2730 Networked DVD Player

  • ReplayTV Replay TV 5504

  • Gateway P46M103 42

  • Samsung DVD-L200 Portable (Samsung-DVDL200)

  • TDK DA-9000 Audio CD Recorder (TDK-DA9000)

  • NEC HT1000 Entertainment Projector

  • Generic Company Place Holder Toshiba Satellite P25-S609 Notebook

  • Onkyo GXW Home Theater Speakers

  • AlphaSmart Dana Wireless

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