It's almost time for the chubby, bearded stranger in the red suit to slide down your chimney (we still haven't figured out how he does that).
Just in case you haven't sent him your Christmas list of geek toys yet, we have a few suggestions.
The Casio Protrek 5050BN-5 watch ($470) is the Swiss Army Knife of watches for hikers and those addicted to the to the outdoors.
The PRW-5050 has all of the features you'd expect from a watch:
- It gives you the time for 29 major cities
- It displays the date
- It's solar powered
- It has a stop watch/timer
- It has five daily alarms
But that's where the similarity ends. This new offering from Casio provides data on things we never knew we wanted to know! These include:
- An altimeter that measure how high you've climbed
- A digital compass
- A barometer
- A thermometer
- Multiband Atomic Timekeeping -- it receives radio time signals from the U.S., U.K., Japan and China.
The watch we played with was a preproduction model, so we had to experiment a bit with all of the settings -- pressing buttons randomly to see what they do. And, the more buttons we pressed, the more we liked it. In fact we were running around the office asking everyone if they knew how "high" (re: altitude) we were before the novelty wore off.
The folks at Urban Xplorer have just introduced the RT Halfpack ($179), which can be used as a messenger bag during the week and a backpack for road trips on weekends.
The keys to it's Jekyll and Hyde personality are its interchangeable backpack and messenger bag straps, which can be stowed inside the bag when they're not being used. The bag has separate exterior padded pouches where you can stow a notebook computer and a tablet. Plus you can store tons of gear inside its main compartment. There are also several smaller compartments to hold phones, calculators and computer accessories.
The bag we played with was made of NylonUX™ Ballistic Fabric, whatever that is. All we know is that it resisted all of the tossing around we put it through without suffering a rip, tear or scratch. Other key features include:
- It only weighs 4.5 pounds
- It's weatherproof
- You can add a Seattle Stuff Sack and a CaliCooler to increase capacity
- It comes with a limited one-year warranty
The golfer in your family might appreciate the Golf-X-Cube ($33.95), which is a fairly simple device designed to improve a duffer's swing.
The X-Cube is basically a dual-colored device that you place between you and the ball.
Here's how it works. When using irons, you place the device between you and the ball with the dark green side on top. If you see the yellow (or in our case, light green) sides of the cube during your swing, you're over rotating on either the backswing or downswing. You have achieved a perfect swing if you only see the top of the cube.
The process with drivers and other woods is a bit different. You need to put the cube a bit in front of you so you can see the yellow (green) sides. You're swinging slightly above the ball if the yellow sides disappear during the swing.
We played with the Golf-X-Cube at the driving range and it did improve our swing. The verdict? This is a simple tool that produces an improved stroke.
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