With these intelligent devices, going digital is the fastest way to hotwire that great big analog world outside
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PLEASE ACCEPT our condolences. It’s not your fault you were born in the middle of a digital renaissance. Impossibly cool and eminently useful devices—like, say, a hybrid MP3 player/digicam/PDA—are everywhere, stretching to the horizon like a glittering, 256-color ocean. Your only recourse? Embrace the tech—and all the great data it serves up. We’re talking multitasking wrist-top computers, virtual coaches, digital jukeboxes, weather stations, a ramble-friendly phone, even a unit that’ll help you eat healthier. So hoist that analog anchor and set sail. The digital world has never been so ripe for exploration.
digital gadgets, review, mp3 player, digital watch, pdaHigh Gear Summit
Weather Reporters & Go-Go Gadgets
(a) Calculator-watch historians will hardly recognize the CASIO PAG50-1V. A 16-point digital compass with “abnormal magnetic field detection”—which alerts you to potential signal interference—will keep you in line, while the onboard barometer and thermometer will tip you off to approaching stormy weather. ($250; 800-836-8580, www.casio.com) (b) Bound for Whistler’s freeride mountain-bike park? Bring the SWISS ARMY STARTECH 4000. Whenever the watch detects an altitude change of 150 feet, the counter springs to life and begins tracking it. ($395; 800-442-2706, www.swissarmy.com) (c) Making bail after every BASE jump can really burn a hole in your pocket, so consider the value-minded HIGH GEAR SUMMIT. It’s got the environmental goods: altimeter, compass (crisply rendered on its huge face), thermometer, and barometer. If you end up with vertigo, it won’t be from the price. ($160; 888-295-4949, www.highgearusa.com)
(d) Roam if you want to: MOTOROLA‘s tiny V600 mobile phone gets you an open line on any digital wireless network from Times Square to Turkmenistan. Snap a photo with the built-in camera and beam it to the other side of the planet. ($300; 888-331-6456, www.hellomoto.com) (e) SONY’s CLIÉ PEG-TH55 is everything in one box. The digital music player holds seven hours of MP3s (but more than 24 hours in storage mode), the digital camera snares 0.3-megapixel shots, and the Palm organizer holds the rest. ($399; 888-871-8246, www.sonystyle.com) (f) NOMAD’s JUKEBOX ZEN XTRA 40GB MP3 player happily devours a music library of more than 10,000 MP3 files—plus text files and JPEGs. And with its zippy next-generation USB 2.0 connection, you could have uploaded a CD’s worth of fresh tunes in the time it took you to read this. ($299; 60GB, $399; 800-998-1000, www.creative.com)
Personal Trainers & Data Crunchers
(a) With its salt-resistant polyurethane strap, stainless-steel details, and edgy split-face design, FREESTYLE‘s MACK DADDY scores monster cred with the offshore crowd. The watch has a built-in alarm and, for competitive sailors, a countdown timer. ($75; 800-776-6449, www.freestyleusa.com) (b) Like its predecessors, NIKE‘s splashy new TRIAX V10 employs a display angled at 45 degrees for easier time checks. But this latest ticker also checks your ticker with a heart-rate monitor. If you start falling off your preprogrammed pace, your taskmaster will crack its virtual whip—bleeping at you to step it up. ($199; 800-806-6453, www.nike.com) (c) At 25 grams, the TIMEX IRONMAN SLEEK is the lightest Ironman ever, but it’s stuffed with features; it can measure fastest lap, average pace, and split times for up to 50 laps. ($48; 800-448-4639, www.timex.com)
(d) The SUUNTO T6 uses a new fitness formula to compute your “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.” Meaning it counts the milliseconds between heartbeats to measure your O2 deficit and fatigue, then tells you if you’re exercising too hard—or wimping out. ($499; 800-543-9124, www.suunto.com) (e) The MIOSHAPE SELECT gathers accurate heart-rate data from your fingertips, not an annoying strap across your chest. ($159; 877-566-4636, www.gophysical.com) (f) The POLAR S720I tracks heart rate, calories burned, altitude, ambient temperature, and average and max beats per minute per lap. Taking a workout spin on your bike? The S720I gathers actual and average speed, plus total mileage, beamed from a wireless sensor on your wheel. ($320; 800-227-1314, www.polarusa.com)