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Gadgets for a downturn

With a pinch of prudence and a bit of research, you can find gadgets that will serve your needs even if they don’t score high on the savvy quotient. Here are some options that will help you save money while you sate your desire.

Brinda Vasudevan | Print Edition: December 11, 2008

Were you on the verge of upgrading your laptop or picking a home theatre system when the markets went boom? At recessionary times like these, when money is tight and jobs are on a leash, it may not make financial sense to spend where you can save. But with a pinch of prudence and a bit of research, you can find gadgets that will serve your needs even if they don’t score high on the savvy quotient. Here are some options that will help you save money while you sate your desire.

Mobile phones
Depending on the kind of user you are, you can pick cell phones that manage to offer most of the functions and cost a fraction of the high-priced tech treasures. Yes, some might look a tad clunky, but good looks is not everything. The Nokia 3110C might not have the same aura as the N series, but it’s a decent phone with a camera, music player and 9 MB internal memory. If you need a business phone that lets you check your mail (and that means a BlackBerry), look at the BlackBerry 7100g, which costs Rs 10,500, a third of what the Bold costs (Rs 36,000), and gives you similar functions.

 

Home entertainment
If you choose the components wisely, putting together a home theatre system can be cheaper than buying a readymade one. An Intex or Creative 5.1 speaker system costs around Rs 5,000. Next, the DVD player. The Samsung DVD P180 costs Rs 2,600, while the Philips DVP 3266 costs Rs 3,450. You can find bargains even for a readymade system like the LG-HT302SD, which costs Rs 8,990. Compare this with, say, a Panasonic SC-VK72D system with a 5-DVD changer, which costs over Rs 16,000—and you still need to buy a TV. A Philips 29-inch flat TV costs Rs 15,000, while an LCD costs more than twice this amount.

Laptops
You might want the Mac Air, but what you really need is a laptop that’s portable, with a decent battery life and at least 1 GB RAM. The Compaq Presario C700 series starts at around Rs 25,000. If you don’t mind the slightly more clunky looks of Acer’s laptops, you can pay even less. In case you want a laptop with a webcam and don’t mind paying Rs 29,700, opt for the LG Notebook RD 405. Remember, that those ultra-light and compact laptops (like the Air) are pared down versions; you’ll have to cart a CD/DVD player around with it.

 

MP3 players
No, music is not an extravagance in these hard times. But paying a bomb for a player is. Of course, the iPod Touch is the best thing that has happened to portable music players, but the market is full of good options. Take the tiny Shuffle. A 2 GB Shuffle costs around Rs 4,500, while a 2 GB Sony Walkman MP3 NWD B 105F/B costs Rs 2,990 and a 2 GB Creative Zen Stone costs Rs 3,100. And they trump the Shuffle since they have an LCD display and an FM tuner too. Go online and you can get all these at half the price—try Rediff or indiaplaza.in.

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