Top 10 Gadgets for the Filthy Rich


Image by Matt Krueger

Do you travel in private jets? Decorate your foyer with real Renoirs? Use the word "foyer"? Then there's no way you're going to get your gadget fix from anything you can get at Best Buy. You crave the most exclusive, the top of the line, the most unusual, and the most attention-grabbing technology, and price is no object. But there are expensive gadgets, and then there are expensive gadgets. We aren't talking PlayStation 3 expensive — we're talking gear so expensive you'll have your butlers pick them up in your gold-plated helicopter. There are plenty of cool toys out there for you and your mansion, and we've compiled a list — the list — of the 10 best tech toys for the überdiscriminating connoisseur. And if you're still working on that Park Avenue address, don't fret; drop by tomorrow for our Top 10 Gadgets You Can Actually Afford. In the meantime, there's nothing wrong with ogling. So click on the jump, enjoy the list, and to you millionaires out there: don't listen to those people laughing at you for wasting your money. They're just jealous.

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10. LG 71-inch plasma TV
Sure, you could get a 50-inch TV. That'd be nice, I guess… but any rube can waltz into Circuit City and pick one up, which makes it lose its charm. Plus, only 50 inches? You're loaded; you can do better than that. The 71-inch LG MW-71PY10 plasma TV should satisfy your big-screen desires nicely. This thing is a behemoth, so you'll need a gigantic wall and a couple of hired goons to install it, but once it's up on your wall you'll feel like you're sitting in a movie theater. Come to think of it, you'll need a room about as big as a movie theater to put it in, but if you can afford a $70,000 TV, that's likely not a problem.

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9. Bang & Olufsen BeoLab 5 speakers
No matter how good big, rectangular speakers sound, they definitely do not have style. For a pair of great-sounding speakers that also scream chic, cast your eyes on these Bang & Olufsen babies, the BeoLab 5. They look like UFOs docked to big cones, and reviewers say they sound like audiophile heaven. With each speaker running on 2,500 watts of power, they can go loud — very loud — while retaining a clean, crisp sound. B&O also boasts that the speakers sound great no matter where you stand, bringing you stereo sound even if you're standing right in front of just one of them. Speakers of such beauty and power of course have a price to match, and a pair of BeoLab 5's will set you back about $16,000.

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8. Voodoo Elemental Omen PC
If you're a serious gamer you can easily justify spending three or four thousand bucks on a gaming PC. After all, there's a serious difference between 128-MB and 512-MB graphics cards, performance-wise. But what about $24,000? Could you justify that? Voodoo hopes so, as that's the price tag on the company's Elemental Omen PC. While the gold case qualifies as perhaps the dorkiest piece of bling ever, it's what's inside the case that counts. Featuring two 512-MB ATI Radeon X1900XTX graphics cards, 4 gigs of RAM, and 2 terabytes of hard-drive space spread across four 500-GB drives, this thing screams "overkill." But don't forget a monitor: the Omen comes with a 46-inch Samsung "gaming LCD," but let's be honest, at 46 inches it's not a monitor — it's a big-screen TV. It's a pretty impressive package, but don't worry about shipping; the magnanimous folks at Voodoo will hook you up with that for free.

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7. Denon super receiver
This here is the mother of all recievers. The Denon AVR-5805MK2 is a 1,700-watt-pushing, multi-room-serving, $7,000 powerhouse that's designed to control whatever home theater components and speakers you throw at it. Ready and able to handle multiple streams of high-def video, the latest tech (including Blu-ray or HD DVD), it also comes with an Ethernet port to stream music from computers around the house. We could go on for pages and still not even scratch the surface of the spec sheet, but suffice it to say if you can think of something you want from your home theater, this bad boy can provide it. Just try to resist the urge to run it at full tilt — it might reach escape velocity.

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6. Sony high-def camcorder
Kids grow up so fast, and before you know it you'll have nothing to remember their adorable younger years except the acne-marked, angst-ridden teenager fighting with you over whatever body part is hip to get pierced these days. You're going to want those memories to be extra clear to keep you balanced, so why scrimp on a video camera? The $3,700 HDR-FX1 HDV Handycam from Sony gives you the crispest HD shooting you can get in a consumer camcorder with all the bells and whistles you could ask for. Featuring a giant 3.5-inch LCD screen, a 12X optical zoom lens, and 3-chip CCD imaging for crisp, clean shots, you'll be able to relive those first steps like you're really there. Which you may wish you were, but sadly a camera can only do so much.

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5. Triode-tube iPod speakers
If you thought the Bose Sound Dock, costing as much as an iPod itself, was an overpriced iPod accessory, check out these guys. The Triode-tube iPod speakers will set you back a cool $4,000, enough for you to buy ten 60-GB video iPods. What makes this speaker set worth so much? Vacuum tubes. Tube amplifiers are loved by audiophiles everywhere for their warm, organic sound, and these speakers claim to "soften" the digital distortion you sometimes hear with compressed music formats like MP3 and AAC. Of course, if you love warm analog sound you could always spend that $4,000 on a whole lot of records, or if you don't like digital distortion you could encode your music to a lossless format such as FLAC, but then again why rock the boat when you can pay the waves to go away?

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4. Kaleidescape movie server
If you're sick of all the clutter from your huge DVD collection, maybe it's time to convert all those discs to nice, space-saving digital form. The Kaleidescape system, starting at about $27,000, is a multimedia server that stores all of your movies (music too!), letting you to access them from any number of players that you can set up around your house. All you need to do is get a base server or two (depending on the size of your collection), a loader to digitize all your flicks, and however many players you want to scatter about your connected mansion. Even if you don't have a huge DVD collection, Kaleidescape's got you covered: you can order your server preloaded with select collections of movies. Humble little sets, like all 278 films from the Criterion Collection, or the 470 films mentioned in The New York Times Best DVDs You've Never Seen, Just Missed or Almost Forgotten book are available for a not-so-small fee.

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3. Pioneer digital sound projector
Most surround sound speaker systems have five to seven speakers scattered throughout the room. There are a few cheap single-speaker options out there, but for people willing to pay, surely there's some way to get home theater sound from a single spot without compromising on performance — or appearance? Mr. Rockefeller, Pioneer's got your number: 254, which is the number of speaker drivers in its PDSP-1 Digital Sound Projector, a 500-watt panel that can fill your entire living room with crisp, clear surround sound. The PDSP-1 is the shape and size of a flat-panel TV, so you just hang the it underneath your (presumably 71-inch) plasma screen, and the speakers will bounce sound off the walls and ceiling, creating a surround sound environment without cluttering up your Greco-Roman décor with a bunch of speakers and wires. The price of paneled convenience? $40,000 — but the satisfaction of knowing that you have 50 times the number of speakers hooked up to your TV as anyone else is totally worth it.

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2. Armedchair
The Armedchair looks like a regular recliner, but under its plush and unassuming surface rests enough horsepower to give you whiplash. Designed to move in sync with specially made DVDs, the Armedchair acts like a theme-park ride, moving up to 600 pounds at 2 Gs — enough to make even Stealth seem like a good action movie. Of course, sticking an engine into a recliner is going to boost the cost from your average Barcalounger, so be prepared to shell out at least $12,000 for one of these things, plus a few thousand more for the motion controller, which seems pretty necessary if you want to use the Armedchair to it's fullest potential. They're also kind enough to offer to bring it in and install it for you, but that'll add about $1,300 to the tab, so think long and hard about how lazy you are before checking that box on the order form.

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1. GoldVish cell phone
Nobody's impressed that you have a RAZR anymore. What used to be an exclusive and expensive gadget has become as ubiquitous as the iPod, so what's a status-conscious oil baron to do? The GoldVish "Le Million de la Nuit" is without a doubt the most exclusive cell phone ever made, as there's only one in existence. There may be only one, but that still might be one more than there are people willing to pay, since it has a million dollar price tag. Encrusted with tiny diamonds and featuring a secret compartment, the phone comes equipped with 2 GB of memory, Bluetooth connectivity, and a USB connection to hook it up to your computer. It does not, however, do your taxes or give backrubs, so the price tag seems a little steep.