It's great when old gadgets learn new tricks. Take Sony, for instance. They've built some new tricks into one of their laptop computers and one of their digital cameras.

It's great when old gadgets learn new tricks.

Take Sony, for instance. They've built some new tricks into one of their laptop computers and one of their digital cameras.

The products

Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-TX7 ($380 at amazon.com)

This digital still camera has an impressive array of features. Its 10.2-megapixel resolution is complemented by a back-illuminated "Exmor R" CMOS sensor, allowing you to shoot in low-light conditions without a flash.

It has a 4X optical zoom, and the 3.5-inch LCD display boasts touchscreen camera controls. The camera shoots 1080i HD videos up to 29 minutes long. It can also snap off 10 images in a single second.

And no matter your photography skill level, the TX7 spits out almost perfect photos using its anti-blink, face detection (for up to eight faces) and Smile Shutter technologies.

Sony VAIO F-Series laptop computer ($1,720 for model VPCF11MFX/B at sonystyle.com)

This is a full-feature multimedia computer that plays videos in HD resolution, and has a Blu-ray disc player/burner. The Windows 7 laptop offers both WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity. Plus, it features a 16.4-inch high-definition widescreen display, an Intel 1.6 GHz processor and an NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M graphics card.

The tricks

Sony's new Cyber-Shot camera has a TransferJet chip in its memory card and the Sony VAIO F-Series laptop has a chip built in. As a result, it's simple to transfer photos to the laptop by merely placing the camera down on the notebook's palm rest. Up to 20 photos from the camera move to the laptop's hard drive (via ultra-wideband technology) in just about 20 seconds.

That's a bit faster than those same photos would transfer over a wired connection, and significantly faster than transferring over Bluetooth. Also, this close-range transfer ensures hackers can't steal your images.

TransferJet technology, developed by Sony, will be used by a consortium of 18 other electronics companies in the months and years to come, making this trick all the more useful.

The camera also features another new-this-year trick sure to impress your friends and improve your picture-taking abilities. With Sweep Panorama Mode, you press and hold the shutter while simultaneously sweeping the camera from one point of a landscape to another. The camera continuously shoots images, then stitches them together into a panoramic photo without distortions.

I just wish teaching new tricks to Chip the Gadget Dog was that easy and predictable.

Got a gadget question or a high-tech toy to recommend? E-mail gspot@columbusalive.com