Tools of the trade: Small is beautiful

Feature by Tom Dunmore

From netbook to videocamera, via flavours of BlackBerry, petite is perfect. Tom Dunmore, editor-in-chief of Stuff, rounds up the goods

From netbook to videocamera, via flavours of BlackBerry, petite is perfect. Tom Dunmore, editor-in-chief of Stuff, rounds up the goods.

Gadgets Evoke
Pure Digital Evoke Flow £150
Having transformed DAB digital radio from high-end hi-fi to kitchen essential, the British audio wizards at Pure Digital are now turning to internet radio. There are thousands of web radio stations, in hundreds of genres, but quality is variable and until now they have only been accessible via a computer. The Digital Evoke Flow connects to your Wi-Fi network to let you to listen to internet radio, while its star-rating system helps find the best quality stations. It will stream MP3 music from your computer and features both DAB and FM tuners.

Gadgets HP
HP Mini-Note £400 or free with contract
The netbook revolution continues and now the mobile phone networks are getting in on the act. This Mini-Note comes free if you sign up to 3 Mobile's £35-a-month mobile broadband deal. Pretty impressive for a delightfully portable Windows PC with 8.9in display and 120GB hard drive. Sure, it struggles with Vista, but stick to web browsing and document editing and you'll be fine. You can use the Mini-Note to make Skype calls and send text messages, begging the question: is it a tiny laptop or a massive phone?

Gadgets Nokia
Nokia E71 £330 without contract
Nokia's stylish take on the BlackBerry offers everything you'd expect, wrapped in an astonishingly thin chrome case. While its Exchange-compatible email isn't as slick as the BlackBerry's, it offers a better web-browsing experience over Wi-Fi and HSDPA. The E71 also has a BlackBerry-beating 3.2megapixel camera, while built-in GPS, with Nokia Maps software, offers full satnav, including spoken directions. Best feature is ‘weekend mode'; it lets you turn off email and switch to a work-free home screen.

Gadgets BlackBerry
BlackBerry Pearl 8220 £tba subject to contract
While Nokia is busy trying to win back big business with the E71, BlackBerry has its sights set on the high street with its most consumer-friendly phone so far: the Pearl 8220 Flip. This small clamshell has the push-email prowess of its bigger siblings, although the smaller keypad – with two letters on every key – takes some getting used to. It offers web browsing and video streaming over Wi-Fi or via the Edge network. It also features an iTunes-compatible music player and a standard 3.5mm headphones jack.

Gadgets Flip
Flip Mino £129
The Flip videocamera took the US by storm this summer and is the must-have present for gadget fans this Christmas, not least because of its credit-crunch cred. For just over £100, it captures camcorder-quality video and stores it on its 2GB internal memory. But the pièce de résistance is that the video can be instantly uploaded to YouTube via the Flip's on-board uploading software. Be warned, though – the easier it is to upload, the easier it is to regret.

Gadgets iPod
Apple iPod Nano 4G 8GB £109 16GB £149
Freshly minted for the Christmas season, the latest ‘thinnest iPod ever' keeps Apple one pace ahead of the competition with two killer features. First is the motion sensitivity that automatically flips the screen when you hold the 'pod horizontally and allows you to shuffle to a song just by shaking it. Second is Genius, which creates playlists based on the song you are currently listening to. If you need justification for squeezing an iPod through on expenses, this is the first to offer voice recording, although you will need to fork out an extra £20 for headphones with built-in mike.


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