TV chef Alton Brown has it right: Unitaskers – specialty devices that only perform one function – have no place in the kitchen. And single-purpose gadgets have no place in your pocket. The same way lemon zesters to garlic presses clutter up kitchen drawers and cabinets, electronic voice recorders and standalone CD players fill up your briefcase and entertainment center without ever justifying their existence in more than one very limited way. Though we may make exceptions for purebred machines that far outperform their all-in-one counterparts, most gadgets need to earn their keep in a multitude of ways. Here are 10 of our favorite do-it-all devices.
Once a down-and-out contender in the world of video games, the PlayStation 3 has shown itself to be far more popular as a home theater machine, and after the $100 price drop that came with the new slim version, you could call it a bargain, too. Besides serving up video games in the daytime hours, it doubles as Blu-ray player at night, and with an active Internet connection, you can rent and buy movies online from Sony, stream your movie collection from a networked computer, and even surf the Web with the built-in browser.