I’ve been accused of having a phone obsession. I don’t spend an inordinate amount of time on the phone; I just like them a lot. I enjoy having lots of features, and I am very particular about their looks. So imagine my delight to discover the Gigaset SL785 DECT 6.0 system. Whereas fancy cell phones abound, until the Gigaset SL785, the lowly landline handset had not gotten much love.
The Gigast SL785 rolls the answering machine into the handset, which sits in a small charging cradle, so it takes up minimal space on a desk or end table. The separate 4.5” x 4.5” square base, which resembles a small, slim modem, can sit or be mounted anywhere in the home within 165 feet of the handset, or up to 985 feet in unobstructed outdoor areas. In a large home, multiple bases can be spaced throughout so that a base is always within range, and the phone can be programed to default to a particular base or the best base within range.
The high-end features of the Gigaset SL785 include Bluetooth headset compatibility, Bluetooth or USB data and photo transfer capability for up to 500 v cards (for Window XP or Vista), 45 minutes of message record time, an assortment of ring tone and alarm melodies, a full duplex speakerphone, an illuminated keypad, 15 hours talk time/200 hours standby, caller ID, remote mailbox access and expandability up to six handsets.
Tech features aside, this phone is a beauty to behold. Its metal shell is sleek, stylish and solid, and its weight in your hand affirms that this handset is substantial. The on-screen menu operates like a smartphone, down to screen savers and slide show capability on its large color display.
With two or more handsets, the Gigaset SL785 can transfer from handset to handset, host two calls in parallel (one internal/one external) or a three-party conference call with two internal callers.
Finally, a handset that is rivals my smartphone, without the dropped calls.
Flexibility is key when you work at home, especially when your office base roves from the den to the kitchen to the patio. Take your work wherever you go, with these high flying Wi-Fi and wireless options that keep you connected and productive.
Can You Hear Me Now?
Hear and be heard with the sleek and stylish Savi Office, the headset solution to unite your calls through a single desktop location. With crystal clear audio performance, you can answer both PC or deskphone calls with one-button control on the ultra-lightweight and comfortable wireless headset. It works with most home and commercial phone systems and can roam up to 350 feet from the base and lasts for up to nine hours without a charge. A noise-cancelling microphone and digital signal processing technology makes it easy on the ears for both the user and callers. $379.95. www.plantronics.com
Sky’s the Limit
Give up the old ball and chain of a wired hard drive and free up space on your computer with cloud computing by SugarSync. You can upload all those family photos, videos, music and other content that clogs your computer with a secure 5GB free online account for anytime, anywhere access anywhere you have an Internet connection. If you need more space, you can get 30GB to 500GB for $4.99 to $39.99 per month. www.sugarsync.com
Off the Hook
When flexibility is paramount and desk space is at a premium, the 6.0 DECT VTech DS6321-3 is a compact phone and digital answering system with a small foot print but packed with powerful features to meet your home office needs. The phone’s ability to make and answer calls for both your landline and up to four Bluetooth-capable cell phones is an ingenious convenience, so you don’t have to juggle multiple handsets or miss calls searching for your mobile. The system can also pair the handset with a Bluetooth headset and conference between each of the three handsets, which all feature a hands-free speaker and mute and hold buttons. $99.95. www.vtechphones.com
Gift Ideas for Young Gadget Lovers
Topping the gift wish list for kids of all ages, are Swann’s new line of Easy-Fly Gyro Technology indoor remote controlled helicopters — Micro Lightning, Micro Hornet, Emergency Strike, Military Thunder and Missile Strike. Controlled by dual joystick controls, these choppers perform death-defying stunts and flight maneuvers with military precision, powered by a rechargeable lithium ion battery. The remote control operates on six AA batteries. Ages 14 and up. $59. Fry’s Electronics, BrandSmart and other major retailers.
Why should grown-ups have all the fun with tablet technology? VTech’s InnoTab (ages 4 to 9. $79.99) lets kids read, learn and create with a rich collection of aps in a multi-function, touch screen tablet format. Includes e-books, MP3 Player, learning fames, Art Studio painting and drawing aps and a Photo Viewer/Editor and Video Player for pictures and videos transferred from a computer or direct from a VTech Kidizoom camera (ages 3-9. $39.99). Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart and other major retailers, and online at www.vtechkids.com
Headphones with Character
Be a super hero with the comic fan on your list by giving them Coloud Marvel Comics Headphones, branded with Marvel comic icons. These stylish quality sound headphones feature Coloud’s signature triangular plug, cable guard and comfort design. $40. www.coloud.com
Quiet, No-Drip Air Conditioner Systems That Vent Outdoors Meet Landlord Approval
Now Renters can Have the Comforts of a Cool Home for Summer Without the Pitfalls of Old-Fashioned Window Air Conditioner Units
For renters without air conditioning, summers can be dreadful, with temperatures rising into triple digits and no relief from the heat indoors. Many landlords do not allow renters to install window units because of the aesthetics and hazards of the units protruding out of windows into courtyards or sidewalks, in addition to the noise and drip factors which make them a nuisance. In the past many tenants had no choice but to sweat out warm weather, but now with portable, stand-alone AC units available, they have a better option.
Most of the portable AC units feature a technology that allows them to recycle the condensation water that would normally drip outdoors with the old-fashioned window units. While many of the portable units do require venting through a hose attachment, no peripherals of the unit protrude outside the plane of the window casing. This set up also does not darken a room like window units that often blocked out light.
Unlike window units that are generally installed with screws to secure them to the window frame, portable units also are usually on casters, so they can be moved room to room as needed. The portable’s single-hose exhaust system can vent through a vertical-opening or a slide-out window.
Though the units do generate low level noise, they are generally quieter than window units, and the noise is indoors, so it is not disruptive to neighbors.
The only drawback to the portable units is they do require space, near a window, and the hose coil also requires a few feet of space. They vary in size, but an average unit is the approximate size of a hamper or kitchen trash can. Also, though the units utilize a regular three-pronged grounded electrical outlet, they draw a considerable electrical current, so in older buildings with outdated electrical systems, other high-current appliances may need to be turned off to avoid tripping a circuit breaker.
The portables are comparably priced to window units at about $350 to $700, depending on the size and cooling ability. The top-selling 12,000-BTU DeLonghi PAC C120E Portable Air Conditioner and Dehumidifier is a well-priced unit ($479) and can cool spaces sized up to 400 square feet. As a bonus, it is also offers dehumidification, a remote control, three fan speeds, a self-diagnostic maintenance system, and eco-friendly R-410A refrigerant.
Of course portables are not only an ideal solution for tenants but also for owners of homes and condos that do not have a central air conditioning system and renovation is not possible.
If a household is making an investment in comfort with a non-permanent air conditioning system, a portable unit is the best option for the money and for reasons of convenience and appearance. Lastly, when a tenant moves out, the portable is easily removed with no footprint left behind.
You might even look forward to those door-to-door solicitors with the Swann MP3 DJ Doorbell ($49.99, Swann.com). My son immediately programmed LMFAO’s “Party Rock” into the customizable wireless music doorbell, and now we all dance to the door for the arrival of the next political pollster or Los Angeles Times sales kid.
The unit comes with main speaker component that you can mount inside your house with two screws and a rectangular doorbell button, which you can mount outside by your door with double-sided tape or
screws, up to 330 feet from the speaker. Both parts are battery powered using an included 23A battery and three AA batteries (not included).
You know this doorbell is going to be fun when you open the instruction manual and read, “Sick of not hearing your favourite tunes when someone comes to the door? Tell us about it.”
Using the included software, you can edit your selected songs into clips. Then you simply upload onto the doorbell’s main component from your computer using a USB cable. You can add an SD card to expand the capacity up to 32GB card to hold 10,000 songs, though I can’t image anyone who would have that many visitors to get through a playlist like that.
The device also doubles as a USB mass storage device, much like a thumb drive, allowing you to copy music on or off the SD card without a dedicated card reader. The main unit acts like a giant MP3 player with a built-in speaker and basic controls on the front of the unit, so you can control the player, such as curtailing “Party Rock” when you’ve heard the clip one too many times in the past hour as your son keeps “testing” the doorbell.
Conveniences, Contraptions and Cool Stuff for Busy Moms
It’s a Laptop Bag, It’s a Purse, It’s an Overnight Bag
When a girl on the go needs a bag that can go anywhere with her, The Grow Expandable Messenger Bag from Brigg’s-Riley’s Verb line is a sleek and stylish solution. It multi-tasks as a work bag that holds your laptop – up to 17 inches – in a padded inner sleeve with plenty of pockets for peripherals, and it converts to a travel bag with a roomy expandable main compartment and can be worn cross-body or over the shoulder. Best of all, it’s tough enough for daily use and comes with the Briggs-Riley legendary lifetime warranty. Available at www.briggs-riley.com, $229.
Suck it Up
The lightweight Dyson City Vac is small enough to fit on a letter-size sheet of paper, but this little powerhouse can pick up dust and dirt to leave every type of floor spic and span. Its patented Root Cyclone technology doesn’t lose suction, and it’s engineered to trap particles so exhaust air is clean. Like all Dyson products, the DC26 is a wonder to behold and fun to unpack and assemble because it’s just so darn well designed. Available at Best Buy and www.Dyson.com, $399.99.
Save Your Smartphone and Maybe a Life
If your purse is like a black hole in space that crews up and swallows cell phones, The Otterbox Commuter Series is a light at the end of the tunnel. The durable customized casing fits sleekly around just about any smartphone to protect it from bumps and scratches, and the bright-colored Strength is Pink case makes it easy to see and find. Plus, 10 percent of the purchase goes to Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. Available at www.otterbox.com, $34.95.
For busy moms who don’t have time for The Talk or to chew the fat with the ladies of the View, SiriusXM Radio offers 24/7 news, views and musings with more than 140 channels of exclusive commercial-free programming. Tune in at work on the Internet or in the car or at home to catch up on all the latest, from life advice on Oprah Radio to tips from Martha Stewart Living or sex talk with Dr. Laura Berman. Plans start at $12.95 per month. www.siriusxm.com.
Home baking is easy as pie with the Sunbeam Mini Pie Maker. This one-of-a-kind, multi-tasking pie maker creates four miniature pies simultaneously, each with a different filling if desired, from desserts to pot pies. The nonstick cooking plates make pie removal and clean up easy. Available at retailers nationwide, Available at Target, $29.99.
Shred it Good
The Fellowes P-12C shredder is an identity fraud perp’s worst nightmare. This document devouring machine cross-cuts paper into 399 particles in seconds, and it can even shred staples, paper clips and credit cards. It’s SafeSense sensor that shuts it down when hands come too close makes it great for households with kids around, and its slim profile makes it perfect for home offices, kitchens and other rooms where spaces is minimum. $84.99 at Target stores nationwide.