Mark Harris
10 BEST MINIATURE GADGETS - The Independent, 9 Dec 2003

Mark Harris rounds up a selection of tiny technological marvels that might empty your wallet, but won't fill your hand…

Sony Fingerprint Microvault £110 --- BEST BUY
Let your fingers do the talking with this biometric flash memory card. The minute Microvault can store 128Mb of files and data, secured by your unique fingerprint. Plug it in to a USB port and it can also prevent unauthorised access to your computer or automatically log you in to websites at a touch of the pad.
Sony (08705 111999,

Mini-K MP3 player £60 --- BEST BUDGET BUY
This smart MP3 player does far more than just store 64Mb of pirated, ahem, backed-up digital tunes. Plug it into your mobile phone and the headphones double as a hands-free kit that cuts the music when a call arrives. The cord has a built-in microphone for making calls or recording up to nine hours of dictation.
Firebox (0870 241 4289,

Canon Digital Ixus i £250 --- BEST LUXURY BUY
Digital cameras keep getting smaller and more powerful. This 100g beauty is small enough to wear around your neck and features a mighty four megapixel sensor for high quality images. Its modest proportions make it a perfect high tech stocking filler, although photo purists might raise an eyebrow at the lack of a zoom lens.
Canon (0800 616417,

Casio Satellite Navi watch £349
If you're reading a dog-eared copy of today's paper while adrift in Pacific Ocean, don't panic. First, find an electronics retailer, then purchase this watch and use its military GPS satellite technology to reveal your location to within ten metres, anywhere in the world. If you can't find a shop, best of luck and don't drink the seawater.
Casio (020 8208 7813,

Logitech io Digital Pen £150
Ever wondered why we communicate with something as smart as a computer using something as dumb as a typewriter keyboard? The io pen writes with ink just like a normal ballpoint, while simultaneously digitising your handwriting using an optical sensor. You can then upload your scribbles to a PC for use in e-mail, word processing or spreadsheet programs.
Logitech (020 7309 0127,

Arai A-3000 Personal Digital Radio £150
You'll hear no snap or crackle but plenty of pop with this miniature DAB and FM radio receiver. The space-saving design uses the headphones cable as a highly sensitive aerial, and Aria has managed to squeeze in a dual band tuner so that you can use the A-3000 across Europe as well as at home.
Aria (0870 005 6410,

Panasonic G50 mobile phone £120
Weighing 74 grams and just 8cm tall, this tri-band mobile is the smallest handset on the market, boasting a full colour screen, Enhanced Message System and dozens of perky polyphonic ringtones. Thanks to a miniscule keypad, it's particularly suitable for brain surgeons, watchmakers and infant children.
Virgin Mobile (0845 6000 0700,

SIMKey databank £14.95
Losing your mobile phone needn't mean losing your social life or business contacts. This keyring-sized gizmo can back up a SIM card in seconds, storing your personal data in password-protected safety. It also functions as a mini-PDA, complete with built-in memo pad, scheduler, calculator, currency converter and alarm clock.
Boysstuff (0870 745 2000,

Sony DCR-IP1 camcorder £1000
Ten years ago, video cameras were shoulder-mounted monsters using grainy old VHS tapes. Fast forward a decade and the new DCR-IP1 shoots super-crisp digital footage from a package the size of a deck of cards. A 2-inch LCD and 10x zoom lens keep ease of use simple and you can even snap megapixel still images onto a MemoryStick card.
Sony (08705 111999,

13-in-1 Multi Tool Pen £12.95
Although this is superficially a stainless steel ballpoint pen, a flick of the wrist swiftly transforms it into a hole puncher, file, wire stripper, nail remover, ear pick (no, we don't know what that is either), tweezers, fork, saw or a range of blades and screwdrivers. Perfect for dismantling furniture during boring Monday morning meetings.
Firebox (0870 241 4289,

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