News Article

The Mix: Hi-Tech

The best hi-tech products -- We tell you what games and gadgets to buy

Game
DISNEY/PIXAR CARS (THQ; PS2, Xbox, GameCube; Everyone) No surprises here: Based on Cars, Pixar's new car-'toon epic, this is a tot-friendly racing game that zips along on training wheels. But that doesn't mean folks with driver's licenses won't be a wee bit curious to feel what it's like to take Lightning McQueen and the rest of the charismatic chariots out for a joyride. Don't miss the minigames, which feature bumper-bending matches of Monster Truck Mayhem and the not-so-subtle charms of Sarge's Bootcamp.

Gadget
MOTOROLA Q ($200 with service contract) Think RAZR, only sharper. For the time being, Motorola's sleek Q is the brightest kid in the Windows Mobile-based ''smart'' phone classroom. It may not be a BlackBerry killer — even though it speedily delivers your e-mail over Verizon's EV-DO network — but it's a heck of a lot better-looking. (And slim, too; you'd never guess it packs a QWERTY keyboard.) It's not all business, though: Slackers will love its MP3-playing and 1.3-megapixel-photo capabilities.

Game
2006 FIFA WORLD CUP (EA; PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360, GameCube; Everyone) If you're one of a handful of Americans for whom June 9 means something, you'll probably like this game. Released in conjunction with the world's favorite quadrennial sporting event (and the only title sanctioned by FIFA, soccer's governing body), World Cup is the closest you'll get to stepping out onto a well-tended pitch before a frenzied crowd in one of Germany's cavernous stadia. And who knows? Spending a few minutes with this game may actually help the previously uninitiated finally understand what it means to bend it like Beckham.

Gadget
GARMIN STREETPILOT C550 ($799) It's no fun starring in your own episode of Lost. Garmin's StreetPilot c550 GPS automotive navigation system will never lead you astray. Just tap ''Where to?'' or ''View map'' on its easy-to-read 3.5-inch touch-screen display and you'll never suffer the indignity of having to ask for directions again. The c550 also offers live traffic reports, functions as a speakerphone for your Bluetooth handset, and plays MP3 tunes.

Hardware
APPLE MACBOOK ($1,099 and up, $1,499 for the black model) Redesigned and relaunched, the new MacBooks now use the processing muscle of Intel's Core Duo chips. And the terminally hip will be thrilled to hear that the MacBook is finally available in black — all business or all sinister, depending on your attitude. (It also comes in iPod white.) The black-or-white metaphor applies to the operating system, too: It runs both Mac OS X and Windows XP, making it ideal for work and play.

Game
X-MEN: THE OFFICIAL GAME (Activision; PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360, GameCube, PC; Teen) Wolverine and Iceman are two of the measly three playable characters offered in this mostly flat Last Stand tie-in. It's the third, Nightcrawler, who supplies most of the thrills with his high-wire acrobatics and a well-executed teleporting ability sure to make daydreamers reconsider their ''superpower I'd most like to have'' lists.

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