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CHRISTMAS MOBILE EXTRAS

 

INTRO

Short of prezzie ideas? If that special someone has got a mobile phone, show them you really care with a well-chosen cellphone accessory...

 

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There are some people who are just impossible to buy presents for. You might be lucky, if they’ve got a mobile phone, that opens up a whole new avenue of gift-buying opportunities. Maybe you’ve got one, in which case you could drop a few subtle hints in the right quarters, over the next few weeks.

 

Be careful, a lot of cellular accessories are phone-specific, so you need to know precisely which make and model you’re dealing with, and in some cases it might even be necessary to know which network it’s connected to.

 

But first, why not give a cellphone or a pager as a present? It’s worth thinking about if you’re a concerned parent. It needn’t be expensive, there’s plenty of cheap deals around at the moment, including free line rental offers, but in the end, can you put a value on safety and peace of mind? If you’re worried about the cost of calls choose a network that offers cheaper off-peak calls, and make use of the phone’s call barring facilities. By the way, disconnected analogue phones and digital phones without a smart card can still be used to make 999 (or 211) emergency calls.

 

And so we come to this year’s accessory selection, by way of a change we’ve grouped them together by category, rather than price.

 

CARE ‘N CONVENIENCE

Earlier this year we looked at a variety of cleaning products, to keep phones germ free and smelling fresh. The two that came out on top were Techaccessories Foaming Cleaner, sold through Tandy stores for just £2.27, and the Sapona Telephone Sanitiser spray for £3.51, available from good stationary stockists.

 

Wonky or broken aerials can be embarrassing and unsightly. Why not treat someone you care for to a new one? GRM have replacement antenna kits for most popular makes and models of cellphone, for around £10. Vivanco’s Micro SIM Adaptor is a  useful, and at only £11, a cheap present for anyone with a digital phone. It means they will be able to use their SIM card in other peoples phones, or hire one when they go abroad.

 

A mobile phone ringing in an important meeting, the cinema, theatre or restaurant  can be major social gaffe; a discrete silent vibrating ringer is the solution. The Ora Vibraring for £35 is good value for anyone with an Ericsson phone. For those with other makes of digital phone, a Hama Vibrating Pocket Pager (£30), will bring a smile to their faces when you give them a call...

 

CLIPS ‘N CLAMPS

Car mounts are very popular, but in a lot of family saloons there’s not a lot of room to spare, for all the brackets and fixtures,. The UniMount from CellTec could be the answer, it clamps securely to one of the car’s air vents, and it fits almost any make or model of phone. It’s affordable too, at just £23. If there’s absolutely no space for a mounting bracket, or you’re looking for a present for someone who has a boat or caravan, then the Telewing (£25) from Digital Images provides a safe, secure platform for any phone, on glass or any flat smooth surface.

 

Do you know a mobile phone user who’s into biking? Hama’s Handlebar Holder fits most two-wheeled vehicles, from mountain bikes to motor cycles. It’s simple to install, adaptors are available for most phones, and it costs a reasonable £25.

 

E-Z Clip from GRM is a nifty idea, it’s a quick-release belt clip, no more fumbling around when the phone rings, and it sells for only £5. Tandy’s Universal Magic Clip (£6), does a similar job, but it also features neat fold-out desk stand and wrist strap, all for just £5.

 

BAGS ‘N BAGGAGE

You can’t go far wrong with a smart cellphone case, and this year there’s more than ever to choose from, including a wide selection of wacky designs and materials. If you’re looking for something really outrageous check out the Tanyard and Westar Connection collections. They’ve got everything from fake animal skins  and tartans, Westar also have some really OTT quilted bags and organisers, in colours you won’t believe. Prices start at under a tenner, to £40 for the more elaborate styles. The Aico Universal Shoulder Holster is a practical alternative to a belt case, and this one has additional pockets, for money, credit cards and a pen; at £30 or so it’s not going to break the bank.

 

Kondor’s Travel Pack is very good value. It includes a soft leather case with a talk and charge adaptor, and it costs only £25. There’s plenty of inexpensive cases around at the moment, but why not go for something a little more distinctive. Samsonite cellphone cases from Hama look really classy, and they’re superbly well built, as they should be, for £40 a go, but we still reckon the most stylish cases come from Vega. They’re made from the thickest, strongest, rich-smelling leather; prices start at under £40.

 

CHAT N’ CHARGE

Spare batteries are arguably the most useful cellphone accessory, and every year we put a selection of them through their paces. This year’s top performer came from Vivanco, the 6538 is designed to fit Motorola flip phones and clones, but they have battery packs for most other makes and models as well. Prices for their higher-power packs start at a round £35. Another high-capacity battery that caught our eye came from Daniel Design. It has a built-in charge indicator, and discharger function which should prolong its active life. The £50 price tag sounds steep, but used properly it should last longer than most ordinary packs. Cellphone batteries give their best when they’re looked after; that’s something the BTG Twincharger (£40) is rather good at, not only will it charge two batteries at once, it can condition them as well, with a slow-charge cycle and deep discharge modes.  

 

MESSENGERS ‘N MODEMS

Our last selection of gift ideas are concerned with some of the more advanced facilities available with digital cellphones. Vega Mobile Messenger, selling now for £99, is a PC software package, that can be used to send short text messages to most digital phones and pagers. It works with an IBM or compatible PC, fitted with a modem. It’s very simple to use, and works with most networks. The Motorola CELLect 2/8400 recently came out top in our data card survey. It’s the vital link between a cellphone and a laptop or portable computer, enabling it to send and receive faxes, e-mail and surf the Internet. It’s not cheap but what’s £586 between friends? Finally, how about giving that special person in your life a palmtop computer. The new Psion 3c has to be one of the cutest and most practical models on the market, and it’s a snip at £340. It has a word processor, spreadsheet, diary, organiser, address book and lots more besides, including compatibility with desktop PCs. What’s more, it can be connected to a growing number of digital cellphones for mobile data communications  -- e-mail, faxes etc. -- with a suitable data card. Go on, show them you care this Christmas...

 

Contacts

Aico (01635) 49797

BTG (01992) 825825

CellTec (01420) 538538

Digital Images 0171-636 7127

GRM (01253) 773177

Hama UK., (01256) 708110

Psion UK., 0171-262 5580

Tanyard (01458) 442371

Westar 0181-903 3903

Vivanco (01442) 231616

 

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Ó R. Maybury 1996 1410

 


 

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