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A last-minute list of items for under the tree

Thu., Dec. 22, 2011, 7:04 a.m.

A quick list of four tech gadgets, all under $80

I always waited to the last day to finish off those three or four last gift purchases. There’s still time, especially if you’re only in need of a few tech gadgets for someone you’re buying for.

Here are some affordable, good buys for the techie:

* SRS Labs iWOW-3D Audio Enhancement Adaptor for iPhone, iPod and iPad (about $45). This plug-in accessory gives an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad a bigger, larger audio sound. The unit requires a free app download from the iTunes store, to make adjustments. Note, the unit plugs into the bottom connector and then has its own earphone jack to connect your headphones. This is a unit worth giving to someone who wants a more “3-” surround sound from his or her mid-quality earphones. If someone has a higher-end set of buds or earphones, this won’t make much of an impact.

* Belkin Wireless Dual-Band Travel Router. $74 or less, if on special. Travel routers are a distinct niche area for gearheads. This compact unit from Belkin is for the person who wants to use a hotel or hotspot connection but not be tethered to the ethernet cable.

The well-constructed Belkin unit allows easy setup of wireless features and provided dual-band signaling. Pre-configured WPA2 encryption is already built-in, offering a nice base level of wireless security.

It works with both Windows and Mac machines (OS X 10.5 and up).

*BT500 Mobile Bluetooth Mouse. $50 or so, from Spokane’s Strong Solutions. Mobile and notebook users are either mouse users or finger Touchpad users. For those in the first group, the BT500 is really one of the nicest units of its kind. This unit takes two AAA batteries and includes a power off switch to save juice.

*Bushnell Perma Focus 8x 25mm Binoculars. $39. I have one of these units and find it both well-made for the price and a handy unit to take when camping or hiking. It’s designed to focus always at infinity, so you can pass this unit back and forth to someone else and not need to adjust the focus. But the drawback (however slight) is that you can’t focus on anything closer than about 45 feet. Great for sporting events or the opera.


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