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Fun gadgets of 2012

Dec 11 2012 07:24 *Arthur Goldstuck
Nintendo Wii

An attendee plays a video game using Nintendo's Wii U controller at E3 2012 in Los Angeles. (Jae C Hong, AP)

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THE GADGETS that have made the biggest impact in 2012 are ranked according to a purely subjective measure that includes appeal, price and the sheer pleasure it brings. Part 1 focuses on Fun.

All have been used, misused and evaluated by the Gadget team.

Part 1 of a four-part Gadgets of the Year series focuses on the Fun Gadgets of the Year. The next three episodes will focus on the Most Useful Gadgets of 2012, the Best Cellphones and Tablets of 2012, and the Best Business Gadgets of 2012. While the Top 3 will be highlighted, kudos will also go to stand-out products and services that don't necessarily dazzle as gadgets, but are worth a mention for improving our lives.

The Fun Gadgets of the Year for 2012 are:

Parrot A.R. Drone 2.0

The A.R. Drone, a quadricopter controlled with an iPhone or Android phone, is one of the most remarkable pieces of nice-to-have technology yet to land in the hands of the consumer. The updated version includes a high-definition camera that can record what the device sees from the air, and can be used for anything from entertainment to crowd control to policing to spying.

Price: R3 499

(Full details here)

DStv Walka 7

It looks like a 7’’ tablet, but the screen doesn't work by touch. It does, however, extend the DStv bouquet to a handheld device on which you can watch TV in nine cities across South Africa where the DVB-H mobile TV signal is broadcast. It's not a replacement for a TV set, but an extension that adds enormous value, utility and convenience.

Price: R899

(Full details here)

Autodrive USB Car Flash Drives

The Autodrive USB Car Flash drive is an “ordinary” flash drive, offering storage capacity from 1GB to 8GB. The difference is that it comes in the shape of iconic sports cars, such as an Audi TT or Porche 911. The headlights flash when its plugged in, and it looks like a model car when resting unused on the desk, making it an ideal novelty gift for the car and gadgets enthusiast.

Price: R225.

(Full details here)

Honourable mentions

The Gadget Surprise of the Year award goes to the Samsung Note 2, a mini-tablet/maxi-phone dubbed the phablet.  Its 5.5” HD LCD screen, highly sensitive S-Pen stylus, and voice-controlled Galaxy Camera have made it one of the surprise successes of 2012. The pricetag, however, prevents it from making the top 3.

Price: R7 400

(Full details here)

Gaming Gadget of the Year

The best new Gaming Gadget of the Year sees a tie between the PlaySation Wonderbook and the new Nintendo Wii U.

The PlayStation Wonderbook looks like a large book with a few pages. However, each page contains a pattern that is activated with a motion-sensing game controller in the shape of a wand called the Move. Along with a Sony PlayStation 3 console and a webcam-style camera called the PlayStation Eye, it opens up new worlds of augmented reality. The first game released for the Wonderbook, The Book of Spells, takes users into the heart of Harry Potter’s world.

Price for starter pack with book, game and required accessories:  R900

(Full details on Wonderbook and Book of Spells)

The Nintendo Wii U is a handheld console that can be linked to a large screen TV, and is compatible with games for the original Wii platform. The GamePad can also act as a second window into a game being played on the big screen.

ice: Starts with the Wii U Basic Pack, including a Wii U console with 8GB internal storage and a Wii U GamePad: R3 999.

(Full details on Wii U)

Game of the Year

The sales charts may be littered with the likes of Halo, Call of Duty, Super Mario Bros, and Gran Turismo, but one game stood out for its sheer audacity: Angry Birds Star Wars. It features more than 80 levels and takes players into the classic settings and scenes of the Star Wars saga, but with the Angry Birds art style, intuitive controls, and innovative gameplay. Oh, and it’s free. However, fans can also train in the "Path of the Jedi" in-app purchase to become a Jedi Master.

(Full details on Angry Birds Star Wars)

*Arthur Goldstuck is managing director of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter or Pinterest on @art2gee

 

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arthur goldstuck  |  gadgets
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