(Business 2.0) – In Your Face
Three-dimensional graphics without dorky goggles? That's what CAD, medical-imaging, mapping, and videogame connoisseurs have been waiting for. The 15-inch screen on Sharp's Actius RD3D uses stereoscopic imagery to simulate depth in applications that are optimized for 3-D viewing. How does it look? In my tests, the effect was more, uh, understated than eye-popping. Still, this is a workhorse PC, with a Pentium 4 2.8-GHz processor, a 60GB hard drive, and 512MB of DDR SDRAM. And when you're working in standard programs like e-mail, the screen switches back to flat space with the touch of a button. Sharp Actius RD3D: $3,299; www.sharpsystems.com.
Nokia has jumped on the push-to-talk bandwagon. The new 5140 includes a walkie-talkie feature for real-time, Nextel-style gabbing. Designed for outdoor use, the phone also boasts a rubber casing, a built-in digital compass, and a stopwatch. With the integrated camera, you can send snapshots via infrared to Nokia's new Image Frame to show off 50 of your best stunts on a 5.1-inch desktop LCD screen. Nokia 5140: About $175; Image Frame SU-4: $249; www.nokia.com.
Wi-Fi for Hi-Fi
If most of your favorite music now lives on a PC hard drive, your fancy amp and speakers may be feeling neglected. Netgear's Digital Music Player gets your stereo back in the groove by streaming MP3s from your computer to your audio equipment, using either a wired network or 802.11b/g wireless. The LED readout displays song and album info, and there's a remote control for less walk, more rock. Netgear MP101 Digital Music Player: $179; www.netgear.com.
The R800 has real staying power. Most archival-quality ink-jet printers are overpriced, but Epson kept the cost down by designing the R800 to swallow cut paper sheets no bigger than 8.5 by 11 inches. The high-gloss pigment inks are as bright and vivid as the dyes used by standard ink-jets, yet they'll last 80 years. Chances are, you'll fade away long before your prints. Epson Stylus Photo R800: $400; www.epsonstore.com.
The QuietSpot isn't wireless, but its sound quality is so fantastic, you probably won't care. Made by Shure, best known for the high-end microphones it builds for musicians, this new headset for mobile-phone users is simply superb. A rubberized earbud molds to your ear, and the bendable mike isolates your voice from background noise. It's perfect for road warriors who spend lots of time behind the wheel. Shure QuietSpot Headset: $50; www.shure.com.
Tunes for the Tundra
At last: wearable computing that doesn't make you look like a Borg. Burton's Ronin 2L winter jacket comes with a set of glove-friendly Apple iPod controls mounted on one sleeve and a special chest pocket to store your player securely. Taped seams, a waterproof shell, and a removable hood ensure that all your hardware is properly shielded from the elements. Burton Ronin 2L iPod jacket: $360; www.burton.com.