12 Gadgets That Let You Ditch Power Cords, Wires, and Hassles

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12 Gadgets That Let You Nix Power Cords, Wires, and Hassles
Photo Credit: Rich Kubiszewski
Our tech lives are entangled in wires. Nearly every electronic gadget and gizmo we buy comes with its own charger, and don't forget the additional cables for transferring data, listening to audio, and so on. Wouldn't it be nice to cut the cords and go completely wireless?

Unfortunately, a cord-free tech life is still a fantasy, although things are improving. Charging mats for handheld devices such as cell phones, MP3 players, and game consoles are just now hitting the market. Dell has a similar, albeit larger and less elegant, product for one of its new Latitude laptops. The WirelessHD spec is cutting cables to HDTVs--well, except for the power cord. Wireless music systems are becoming more affordable, and that means fewer speaker wires to trip over. Computer peripherals are getting in on the action too; some multifunction printers and external hard drives and ditching their data-transfer cables.

If there's a downside to the wireless craze--at least from an energy standpoint--it's the AC-to-DC tradeoff. Power adapters and their cords are cumbersome, unsightly, and they tether you to a wall outlet. By comparison, battery-powered devices like wireless keyboards, mice, speakers, and Bluetooth stereo headphones are far more convenient, but require an endless cycle of recharging and replacement.

Ultimately, cordless gadget nirvana may require a long-distance wireless energy transfer system such as the one dreamed up by famed inventor and engineer Nikola Tesla. But until that day arrives, keep stocking up on those AAs.

Here are several new and updated products that will help you cut the cords in your life.

(To View a slideshow of all gadgets included here please visit: These 12 Gadgets Let You Cut The Cord For Good)

LG's Wireless HDTVs

Nothing mars the sleek aesthetic of a wall-mounted HDTV more than unsightly wires dangling out the back. LG's new LHX and LH85 series cut the cables--well, except for the power cord--by using a WirelessHD transmitter box that works up to 30 feet from the screen. (Sony has WirelessHD sets too.) Video devices, including game consoles, DVD and Blu-ray players, and cable boxes, connect to the transmitter. WirelessHD is no bargain, however. LG's untethered sets range from $2400 to $4800 for 47- and 55-inch models. Now, if only they'd lose the AC cord.

Sony Ericsson HBH-IS800: Stereo Bluetooth Headphones

A mono Bluetooth headset is fine for making phone calls, but not for listening to tunes. A stereo Bluetooth headset, on the other hand, is good for both. The petite Sony Ericsson HBH-IS800 headphones produce crisp audio and deliver four to five hours of play/talk time between charges. Street-priced around $120, the HBH-IS800 comes with three sets of earbuds (for assorted ear sizes). The phones aren't cordless, however, as a thin strand of wire connects the two earpieces. Still, one less cable is always good news.

Powermat: Wireless Device Charger

Powermat uses magnetic induction to power up electronic gadgets. The mat plugs into an AC wall outlet and charges devices fitted with a receiver case. To charge a device, you place it on the mat. Powermat works with popular handhelds such as iPods,iPhones, Blackberries, and game consoles. For large devices like laptops that don't fit in cases, Powermat provides a universal charger with 8 tips. (You connect the tip to your device, and place the charger on the mat.) Powermat sells for about $100. The receivers go for $30 to $40.

Powermat isn't the only wireless charger on the market. Duracell myGrid provides similar functionality, and device-specific chargers for the iPhone and Palm Pre are available too.

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