HTC Touch, Sony VAIO VGCLM18G, Samsung R8 LCD TV

HTC Touch
RRP: $699

Is the HTC Touch iPhone killer you’re looking for? Not quite, despite being a very comfortable, compact device to hold and carry. The HTC has the Windows Mobile operating system, and on a 45 x 55mm screen, using your finger to manipulate it is clumsy and imprecise and you’ll use the stylus a lot more.

The magic of the touch screen comes alive in TouchFlo, the system that accesses major features. Sweep your thumb up from the bottom of the screen and one of three TouchFlo screens swings into view containing either icons for contacts, shortcuts to connectivity tasks like web and SMS and your on-board media.

It’s attractive and addictive, but when you use your finger to select a task it returns you to the appropriate Windows Mobile application and you’re back to using the stylus again. Using it entirely as a phone is easy in TouchFlo, but for calendar data, office applications, media management and most other tasks, the touch screen capability is only half as effective as you’d like, albeit in a very compact and comfortable device to hold. 4/5

RRP: $3,499

The newest Sony PC is an example of the evolving consumer desktop computer we saw an example of last year, but it’s feature set has been added to and improved upon. The transparent surround makes it look more like an entertainment unit than a computer, and with the wireless mouse and keyboard, you could conceivably have it set up as your living room media centre.

Not only does the wireless range work from across the room, the VAIO has several features that make it a ready-made entertainment computer, such as a digital audio out connector so you can hook it up to the hi-fi unit, but a TV tuner built in. The specs also make it an enviable office PC, but the design gives it the potential for much more. 3.5/5

Samsung R8 LCD TV
RRP $3,399

The Samsung R8 series TV is a crystal clear LCD model that comes in either 40 or 46 inch. It’s has a sleek, no-nonsense design that looks good in any room of the house, and if your PC has HDFMI input, you’ll also enjoy the biggest, most attractive monitor ever.

We plugged it in and without even lifting a finger it had tuned itself to a DVD player and each channel on the band. The only anomaly was a curious tendency to ignore commands from the remote control when switching between the TV band and AV, but a short series of unobtrusive keys at the bottom corner of the body were easy to use. 3.5/5

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