20 gadgets that defined the decade

Nintendo Wii
Without the Wii there would be no Wii Fit videos on YouTube

What were you doing at the end of 1999? Paying for the internet by the minute on a PC as large and noisy as a cement factory, using a 14" screen that was as big as a bathtub?

Considering spending £625 on an imported region free DVD player? The world has changed beyond recognition.

Compare Nokia's monochrome 3310 from the year 2000 with an HTC Hero of today and you'd be forgiven for thinking 100 years have passed, and the designers have been employing alien technology NASA's Mars Rovers dug up and posted home.

We play video games by waving sticks now, take photographs with our telephones, buy laptop computers so cheap they're virtually disposable and, well, here's how else we've changed, courtesy of the 20 best gadgets that have defined the last decade.

1. BlackBerry Bold

Oh, you iPhone users look all cool with your "always on" web connections, but RIM's BlackBerry series has been giving power business users the chance to check their emails and synch their virtual lives between rounds in the pub for years.

The Bold is the pinnacle of the serious "email phone" and BlackBerry the company that first made us worry about network data speeds. If only BlackBerry had stuck cameras on the things sooner.

Blackberry bold

2. Samsung LN-R328W

It was 2005, give or take six months or so, when sales of HD TVs finally exploded. Samsung led the attack, aggressively undercutting the likes of Sony and Toshiba with its pointy-chinned LCD range, bringing HD to the masses.

Not that we had anything HD to watch on them - the main purpose of HD TVs back then was to free up a bit more lounge space by letting us chuck the old CRT over the neighbour's fence.

Samsung ln-r328w

3. 3G "dongles"

The last few years have seen the UK's 3G network finally find itself a sort of purpose, thanks to the networks getting in on the dongle scene. Freeing you to use your mobile connection to reload Twitter anywhere a mobile signal could be had, we, as a nation, could stop fretting so much about not being able to use our laptops at the airport.

3G dongle

4. MacBook Air

The razor-sharp metallic laptop was an undeniable design and manufacturing masterpiece, but, even for an Apple product, it was staggeringly over-priced and under-connected.

A few more USB sockets surely wouldn't have hurt Apple's bottom line, and, arriving at the same time the "netbook" scene kicked off, the Air made Apple look extravagant and slightly insane, like power-crazed Roman emperors. Bloody nice thing to have, though. So solid you could use it as a sledge out there.

MacBook air

5. Nokia 3310

The mobile phone that's still serving your mum and dad perfectly well to this day. Nokia's chunky portable wasn't pretty, but it could survive being flushed, dropped and used as a weapon in nightclubs, plus it came with Snake II.

It was also the multimedia powerhouse of the time, thanks to having custom ringtones. Mobile phones have come pretty far in ten years, haven't they?

Nokia 3310

6. Sky+

Video tapes? Recordable DVDs? When Sky+ arrived it revolutionised TV viewing and, more importantly, helped de-clutter the entertainment area of the modern living room.

It wasn't just the live-TV-pausing technology that was stunning, the Sky+ user interface was also slick and simple enough for us to talk granddad through recording Match of the Day over the phone.

Sky plus

7. Motorola RAZR V3

Chances are you know someone who used one of these, and chances are your main memory is of them bashing the thing trying to make it work or attempting to physically harm it because it crashed again. But the RAZR hooked people because of its credit card thickness and jazzy colours.

If the primary media story of the last decade has been our obsession with celebrity culture and style over substance, the RAZR mirrors it perfectly. It is the Chantelle Houghton of technology. Sorry, got a bit deep there.

Motorola razr v3

8. USB Flash drives

Ten years ago, how on earth would you have got an enormous 530MB PowerPoint file off your work computer to take home for the weekend? Burned a CD? Spent several hours FTP-ing the thing? Tried to wire your laptop into your work network?

Whatever option you went for, there was no way you were going home on time. The pocket USB drive is a modern godsend, day in, day out.

USB flash drive

9. 3rd Gen iPod

It's a deeply personal decision having to decide on your favourite iPod, akin to making a mother pick the child she likes best - but we shall plump for the third-gen redesign. It smoothed the edges, brightened the display and made the buttons and scroll wheel as responsive as a lubed nipple.

It also worked with PCs out of the box, which helped Apple convince people it had foreseen iPod's success and not just got very, very lucky indeed with its Mac music gadget.

3rd gen ipod

10. Humax Foxsat HDR

Free HD TV through the knackered old Sky dish that came with the flat? It doesn't seem possible, yet that is the dream you could carry out of Comet or Currys Digital this lunchtime for £240.

Not only does it decode free-to-air HD channels, it also manages the stunning feat of recording live TV and buffering it so you can pause Simon Cowell to pay the pizza delivery man.

The perfect device if you're one of those people who still rates telly as a more interesting thing to do than staring at the internet. And to think we started the decade lumbered with OnDigital.

Humax foxsat hdr