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Useful Gadgets from Car MD, Philips Norelco, and Eton

Category: Hardware Published on Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Conquering the Gadget Mountain 

Here I sit, confronted by a mountain of gadgets, gizmos and geegaws that, although not computer related, have piqued my interest. So, in an effort to reduce clutter and keep outsiders from complaining that there's no room in my office, here are a few that we really like.

Car MD ($119.85)

I reviewed this several years ago when it first hit the market and felt it was worth a revisit. And it didn't disappoint me!

The original Car MD would simply give you a code or series of numbers that were translated by software installed on your computer. This would give you a rough idea as to why your "check engine" light was coming on. Simple, but effective.

The new incarnation of Car MD takes this a lot further, diagnosing everything that is monitored by your car's computer, telling you how much it should cost to repair and telling you how serious the problem is.

The process is simple. Just plug the device into your car's OBD2 Data Link Connector (every car manufactured since 1996 has one), turn on the ignition (but don't start the car), wait for a beep and then disconnect it.

Either a green yellow or red light will be displayed on the device. Green means your car is OK, but yellow and red indicate there may be a problem, with red being more severe than yellow.

If you get a yellow or red light, simply plug the unit into a USB port on your computer and software (which you installed earlier) will diagnose the codes and tell you what the problem is and how much it will cost to repair it.

Philips Norelco SensoTouch 3D Razor ($199.95

You may have seen the debate on TV, where two ballplayers argue over whether the SensoTouch works better wet or dry. Truthfully, it works better than expected either way.

The SensoTouch 3D delivers on its promise to give you a close, clean shave wet or dry. I put it through the girlfriend stubble test and it beat my old razor by a whisker. Although no electric razor can realistically compete with a so-called "blade" razor, this baby comes pretty close.

It's also pretty easy to clean. Each of the three heads pops open so you can rinse the blade.

Other features include:

  • A three-level battery charge indicator.
  • "Invisible" indicators that light up when the razor needs to be cleaned, charged or the shaving heads need to be replaced.
  • A charging stand.
  • A GeoFlex contour following system that adjusts to the curve of your face.
  • An Aquatech seal, so you can shave either wet or dry.
  • Three high-speed, ultra track shaving heads.
  • A pop-up trimmer for your beard moustache and sideburns.

Eton Raptor ($150)

When I first looked at the Eton Raptor, I figured that it was just another overpriced charging system for the gadgets I carry around with me. Boy, was I wrong!

This is the Swiss Army knife of all charger/all-terrain devices.

The Raptor is an "I gotta have it" device for anyone that goes camping, hiking or simply takes the kids on a field trip or vacation. In fact, it has become pretty much indispensable in our household.

First of all, it contains a solar charger that can be used to provide power for anything that can be connected to it via a USB cable. Beyond that, it can function as:

-- An altimeter, barometer and compass.
-- A chronograph.
-- An AM/FM/Weather Band radio.
-- A digital clock with an alarm.
-- A bottle opener.

More information on these products can be found at, and

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