15 great gadgets you can't get in the U.S.

You want 'em? You have to go outside the U.S. -- or to the online gray market -- to get 'em

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Notebooks

In our increasingly mobile society, notebooks are becoming more and more important. Because of that, you would think that customers in the U.S. have access to everything we could possibly need in notebooks today: big notebooks, small notebooks, thin notebooks, rugged notebooks, expensive notebooks, cheap notebooks and everything in between.

Well, apparently there are more things than are dreamed of in our philosophy or at least, in the U.S. The five interesting machines listed here include notebooks made of cedar wood, notebooks that will protect you from stray germs and others that are just plain classy.

Virus-free computing

Samsung NP-P200
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Samsung NP-P200

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Lots of notebooks come with software to protect against computer viruses, but only Samsung's NP-P200 goes after physical pathogens that can spread disease. You can finally put down that spray can of Lysol -- the P200 uses Samsung's Silver Nano technology, developed for its kitchen appliances, to can kill viruses, molds and bacteria on contact.

It won't get rid of the cookie crumbs in your keyboard, but the notebook's Silver Nano coating slowly releases silver ions that wipe out a variety of pathogens by suppressing their respiration. This sterile approach to mobility is available only in Europe.

Handful of computer

MIU HDPC
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MIU HDPC

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Ultrasmall computers are all the rage these days, but MIU's HDPC takes the idea a step further. With its 4-in. screen folded over, it's a handheld media player or Web screen, but flip the display up and there's a thumb keyboard for tapping out e-mails and writing short notes.

The HDPC can run Linux, Windows XP or Windows CE, and at 12 ounces it has everything a traveler could want, including GPS, Wi-Fi and up to 60GB of hard drive space. Pricing starts at a reasonable $700, but you'll need to convert your dollars to Korean won.

Little green machine

Fujitsu WoodShell
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Fujitsu WoodShell

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While most of the world's computer makers talk about being green, Fujitsu is putting its notebook where its ecological mouth is. Created for an Italian furniture show, the WoodShell's case is made of heavily grained cedar wood that's been thinned from forests rather than clearcut.

Underneath this digital work of art is Fujitsu's FMV-BIBLO NX95Y/D notebook, which replaces petroleum-based plastics with polymers made from corn starch to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. To help you avoid scratching its hand-polished finish, WoodShell has a canvas cover with carrying handles. All it needs is a wooden mouse, but that's another story (see Have a ball).

Joy to the world

BenQ Joybook R45
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BenQ Joybook R45

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From a distance, it may look like dozens of other mainstream notebooks with a 14-in. screen, but as soon as you pick up the BenQ Joybook R45, you'll notice a big difference. The display lid has a brown soft-pebbled finish that gives the notebook the feel of a leather portfolio.

Under this sophisticated skin is a 2-megapixel camera and BenQ's UltraVivid display that makes colors pop off the screen. Easily the most elegant travel companion around, the Joybook R45 will be sold in China, Taiwan and Russia, but not in the U.S.

The little notebook that could

Airis Kira 740
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Airis Kira 740

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If the Asus Eee PC and Everex CloudBook have piqued your interest in extra-small, inexpensive notebooks, Airis' Kira 740 will make you want to jump on a plane to France or Spain. The 3-lb. notebook has a 1-GHz Via C7 processor, 7-in. screen, a gigabyte of RAM and a 40GB hard drive. But unlike many other minimalist notebooks that use Linux to cut costs, the 740 has a full version of Windows XP installed. Priced at €300 (about $450), parlez vous bargain?

What tech gear are you lusting after? Share your wish list.

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