Hot Gadget Preview for the 2010 Holiday Season

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Photo credit: Flickr user jebb
New York hasn't been able to shake off a long-running heat wave, but the technology displayed at a recent Holiday Gift Guide Media Event in the city offered journalists a peek at some cool high-tech hopefuls that may catch the eye of the buying public come the winter-holiday shopping season. Though many of the products on show are available now, others are still months away from endangering your credit card. The event was organized by AdVance Public Relations and Gift List Media.

Following are some of the most interesting products spotted at the holiday-gear preview. For a slideshow summary of the products here, see "Sneak Peek at Hot High-Tech Gadgets for the 2010 Holiday Season."

Verbatim Wallet Drive

Portable hard drives are usually dull devices, and would hardly pass as conversation starters. Verbatim's stylish Wallet Drive, with its stitched leather casing, just might turn some heads. With only a small socket for a USB cable giving away its true identity, the Wallet Drive, available in August for about $130 for a 500GB model, offers a professional, subdued look that would be at home on the desk of a busy executive. A 640GB version is also in the works, according to Verbatim. Included with the Wallet Drive is Turbo USB software, as well as Nero BackItUp & Burn software.

General Electric Power X5

General Electric may not come to mind when you think of digital photography, but that could change. GE, which just got out of the television network business, is doubling down on cameras. The company is introducing a line of affordable digital cameras, including the professional-looking, 14-megapixel Power Pro X5. (The GE cameras are made by General Imaging, which licenses the General Electric name and logo.) The X5 comes with a 15X-optical-zoom lens, a 2.7-inch rear LCD screen, a top shutter speed of 1/2000 second, image-stabilization technology, and ISO sensitivity ratings up to 3200--yet it retails for just $180.

The camera's 5.7X digital zoom increases the maximum effective zoom to 85.5X; the X5 also supports smile, face, and blink detection, all of which can come in handy for candid shots. Equipped with a pop-up flash, it can capture video too, but only up to 640 by 480 pixels (a long way from HD quality). In addition to offering 18MB of internal memory, the camera accepts SD or SDHC cards up to 16GB.

Energizer Recharge Smart Charger

Battery chargers can be frustrating devices with their uninformative blinking or steady lights; usually chargers don't give enough feedback for you to know how much power your batteries contain should you yank them out before the charging cycle has completed.

The $20 Energizer Smart Charger comes with a digital countdown timer as well as a fuel gauge so that you can tell whether you have enough juice to get through dinner at grandma's house or just enough for the first course. The unit charges two or four AA or AAA nickel hydride batteries, and comes with four 2300mAh AA batteries. The charger is not particularly fast, however, requiring 8 hours to charge four batteries. The flip side of such slow charging is that the batteries last longer, accepting as many as 600 charging cycles, according to Energizer.

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