Radio-controlled Spin Master plane takes off at $60 If...

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October 15, 2001|By Kevin Washington

Radio-controlled Spin Master plane takes off at $60

If you're fascinated with radio-controlled airplanes, but never thought you could afford one, Spin Master Toys has come up with an inexpensive model.

The E-Chargers Intruder is zipping into stores now, bringing along one of the lowest prices of any radio-controlled airplane on the market: $60.

The sleek, futuristic-looking styrofoam airplane with the fish tail has two engines on a single wing that help it to fly for scores of yards.

Setup is a matter of putting six alkaline C batteries in the airplane's charger and a 9-volt battery in the remote control. Place the airplane on the charger and it can be ready to fly in as little as 1 1/4 minutes.

Immediately before launch, you uncoil the airplane's wire antenna and select a flight mode: Beginner mode allows for gentle turns; sharper turns come with the advanced mode. You launch the airplane with your hand.

A toggle button on the controller steers the plane right and left; a thrust button takes the airplane up, and the land button brings it down.

Once the plane is out of range of the remote -- about 250 feet -- a small onboard computer brings it down.

You might not want to make long flights over water.

Spin Master recommends flying on a clear day with light winds in a wide-open, grassy area for the most fun.

While the Intruder isn't a realistic-looking model of a hot World War II fighter or painstakingly crafted from balsa wood like many such planes, it makes for a great introduction to the world of radio-controlled aircraft for young and old.

Information: 800-622-8339 or www.spinmaster.com.

Big Toshiba laptop PC performs like desktop

At a hefty 7.7 pounds, the Toshiba Satellite 2805-S503 ($1,660) will feel like a boulder if you try to race through the airport as if you were in one of the old Hertz rental car TV commercials.

But its performance reminds me of some of the best desktop computers, making it a great compromise between a super-light laptop and a bulky desktop.

The heft comes from the battery, which is bigger than most for a slightly longer charge. The Satellite will run up to 2.5 hours once charged.

What makes the Satellite 2805 series so attractive, though, are multimedia aspects that make it feel more like a desktop than a laptop computer.

The 2805-S503 comes with a 900 MHz Pentium III processor, 20 gigabyte hard drive, 128 megabytes of RAM and a 15-inch LCD (which requires the case to be relatively large) that crisply displays images with the help of an NVIDIA GeForce2 Go graphics card with 16 MB DDR video memory.

A DVD-ROM/CD-RW is optional.

While two Universal Serial Bus ports are included, an IEEE 1394 port (Firewire or iLink) helped me to import video and transfer data at incredible speeds.

You can control the CD and DVD-ROM play with buttons just above the keyboard.

Most notable is the Yamaha sound system with stereo speakers that played MP3s and PC game sound with much more depth than you might expect.

A side dial lets you adjust the volume quickly.

Sure, you might want a slightly lighter laptop, but if you're not jet-setting -- if you run a home business or attend college and need to only occasionally carry your portable with you -- the Satellite 2805-S503 packs a powerful punch with its portability.

Information: 800-867-4422 or www.shoptoshiba.com.

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