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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Gadgets and games

There are a multitude of devices out there that can handle, in imaginative and original ways, tasks that technology wasn't able to handle before -- or tasks that we didn't even know we wanted done.

Most of these devices have equivalents that are available in the U.S. -- they just aren't quite as good. For example, there are camcorders in the U.S. that can video underwater, but Sanyo's Xacti DMX-CA8 does it with 8-megapixel images. GamePark's GP2X F-200 offers portable gaming not too different from U.S. gaming consoles -- except that it stores those games on inexpensive SD cards.

And who could resist a wooden trackball designed to resemble the planet Jupiter?

A real splash

Sanyo Xacti DMX-CA8
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Sanyo Xacti DMX-CA8

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Cameras and water don't usually mix, but Sanyo's Xacti DMX-CA8 digital video camera takes the plunge. It can grab 8-megapixel images (higher than most U.S. waterproof cameras) or high-quality MPEG-4 movies in the rain, snow and even 5 feet underwater.

The device's shape is unusual for a camera, but the 9-ounce handy cam fits comfortably in the hand and has a 2.5-in. preview screen. Its Face Chaser software helps you take the perfect portrait (although I'm not sure how well it works if the subject is wet). The camera has 44MB of built-in memory and includes a slot for SD cards. Available only in Japan, this camera costs about $500.

Game on and on

GamePark GP2X F-200
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GamePark GP2X F-200

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Nintendo's DS Lite and Sony's PSP are now passé -- it's time for GamePark's GP2X F-200. This portable game console combines a 3.5-in. touch screen, an excellent eight-way control pad and a wide variety of games, all in a 10-ounce package.

You can only get it in South Korea, but it's worth the effort because this game machine replaces expensive electronic game cartridges with inexpensive SD cards. It comes with four games loaded and another 19 on a CD, but the best part is that it can run your old Commodore 64 and Atari ST games. The F-200 costs about 177,000 Korean won, or about $170.

TV to go

Buffalo Technology DH-KONE4G/U2DS
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Buffalo Technology DH-KONE4G/U2DS

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By packaging together a USB digital TV tuner and 4GB of flash memory, Buffalo Technology's DH-KONE4G/U2DS can not only tune in your favorite shows on your notebook's screen but record them when you're asleep or doing real work. The tiny device works with PCs and Macs, but only on Japan's TV network. Slightly bigger than a memory key, it has a foldout antenna and can hold up to 20 hours of TV shows. At about ¥16,000 (about $150), it costs much less than a new TV.

Hard drive that keeps a secret

Fujitsu MHZ2 CJ
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Fujitsu MHZ2 CJ

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Fujitsu's MHZ2 CJ hard drive can help keep your notebook's deepest, darkest secrets if it's stolen or lost. That's because the 320GB drive has built-in hardware encryption to perform 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) security. The result is that everything on the disk is scrambled and can only be decoded with the correct encryption key. In an emergency, everything on the drive can be wiped clean in about a second.

With disks that spin at 7,200 rpm, performance for the serial ATA drive is top notch -- faster than the 5,400 rpm hardware-encrypted drives available in the U.S. The MHZ2 CJ goes on sale in late May -- only in Japan.

Have a ball

Actbrise Jupiter
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Actbrise Jupiter

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What's the perfect complement to a cedar notebook?Actbrise's Jupiter trackball is made of ash wood and reproduces the planet's Great Red Spot in the sphere's grain.

Rather than moving the device around on the desk, the Jupiter provides a new way of controlling the computer's cursor by holding it in your palm and pointing to where the cursor should go. There are buttons flush with the surface and a matching stand to keep the ball from rolling away. At ¥14,000 (about $135), it's not cheap, but the company also sells less-expensive stainless steel and rhinestone-covered versions.

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

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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