Technology

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Paul Sakuma/AP
The Apple iPhone and Google G1.

Gear and Gadgets: The Latest and Greatest

November 14, 2008
by Christopher Coats
Staying ahead of the curve when it comes to having the latest in gadgets and gear can be tough, but tapping into some key Web sites will ensure that you’ve got the up-to-the-minute gizmos.

Staying Current

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It seems that there is something inherent in the human psyche that draws men and women to desire the very latest in everything. From music, to clothes, to cars and especially these days, tech gear, having the latest and greatest of anything seems to satisfy some deep inner craving—not to mention serve as a quick way to get yourself noticed.

And although a cottage industry of personal shoppers and self-proclaimed “cool hunters” has risen up around the obsession for what’s new, the Web provides the answers you need for free—if you know where to look.

Technology

Undoubtedly the largest marketplace for cutting-edge gear is on the Web, and the world of new technology is awash with sites offering reviews and updates of the recently or soon-to-be released toys for the electronically inclined.

One of the most widely read is The New York Times’ David Pogue, who serves up a geek-friendly array of reviews of everything from digital cameras to the new BlackBerry. In a series of articles and online videos, Pogue uses his geeky humor and extensive knowledge—not to mention the access advantage provided by having The Times at your back—to review machines large and small.

Providing an extensive, yet decidedly underground approach to the world of tech toys, Engadget, and its counterpart from the attitudinal Gawker family of blogs, Gizmodo, cover the spectrum of toys, with a freedom that allows a bit of humor and a wider net, including postings on items still in the development phase—a feature Pogue tends to avoid.

The most intelligent and comprehensive collection of technology and gadget reviews comes from Wired, whose access and knowledge seems unparalleled when it comes to discovering not just what’s around the next corner, but why you need it. Full of item reviews, looks ahead and witty articles, Wired’s gadget section should be a final stop on any tech update.

Arts, Culture and Design

Although they feature a host of tech gadgets, The Cool Hunter tends to focus on the look and feel of what’s hot, rather than how it will work with last year’s operating system. Further, the site includes short but visually arresting posts on architecture, design, interiors, clothes, literature, destinations and even transportation. They have an updated scroll of what’s cool at the top of the page, ironically termed Hot Picks for the moment.

Wallpaper casts a similar net, but with the kind of cohesive style and quality one would find in a print version, which is also available. Spotlighting developments in innovative design and architecture, art and living, Wallpaper is a globetrotting bible of sights and sounds.

Outdoors

Hardly relegated to indoor activities, adventurous gearheads can get their fix at Outside magazine’s gadgets page, which features video and print reviews for everything from the latest in rain gear for mountain climbing in September to the snowboard you’ll need to carve your way back down in January. The magazine’s compilation of reviews culminate in seasonal buyer’s guides and an annual Gear of the Year list.

On the automotive front, Britain’s Top Gear television show has created an extensive Web presence, with a collection of reviews and trial videos all delivered with a smart-aleck tone that some might find charming. In addition to clips drawn from their episodes showcasing recent releases and automotive feats of daring, the site’s team travels to car shows across the globe to report on what’s going to be hitting the showroom floor in the coming year.

Proudly “Obsessed with the Cult of Cars,” Jalopnik takes a gossip site approach to the automotive world, reporting on the whispers out of factories from Detroit to Frankfort, as well as providing no shortage of spy photos and reviews of new models as soon as they lay rubber to asphalt.

Like their sister sites in the Gawker blog universe, Jalopnik’s underground status allows them a certain freedom to explore items and initiatives far from the beaten path, but their reviews and reports from the frontlines of car shows the world over are some of the best on the Web.
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