The Pulse 2

Back to Contents of Issue: November 2003

The best of J@pan Inc's newsletters

Kyocera Finecam SL300R

The SL300R digital camera is, say the people Kyocera, INCREDIBLY THIN! And at a svelte 15mm, weighing a featherweight 125g with dimensions of 100 x 15 x 62.5mm, no one's going to be arguing with that. Boasting a swiveling lens like the ones in the popular Nikon Coolpix series, the SL300R has an image-processing chip dubbed "Rtune," which allows for up to 3.5 images to be recorded per second, a 3,170,000-pixel CCD knocking out images at a maximum resolution of 2,048 x 1,536 dots and video at a maximum of 640 x 480 dots, running at a not-too-jerky 15 frames per second; It also sports a 3x optical zoom. That's a lot of gadgety stuff in a very tiny package. The focal range on the camera's lens is equivalent to 38-115mm on a 35mm camera, and there's an optical viewfinder for more WYSIWYG capturing and an SD card slot to record the photos. Right now, the anorexic snapper comes in silver, light blue or red finishes, with later campaigns planned to release limited-edition colors (like pink). Joyous.

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Audio Technica AT-DSP300

The extremely chic AT-DSP300 package comprises 2-channel, wine-glass- style stereo speakers with a digital amp. Each 28mm full-range wine-glass speakers houses a "reflector" located in the upper half of the units and angled at 45 degrees; It is apparently designed to throw the reproduced sound forward into your face. Or something. Oh, and the reflector is illuminated. The AT-DSP300 set comes in black or white finishes; your choice dictates which fancy fluorescent illumination you get (green for the white-finish speakers, electric blue for the black ones). On the more technical side, the speakers have an impedance of four ohms, the digital amp has a total output of 1,100MW out of two channels, and there are adjustment dials for both the volume (wow!) and the illumination function. They do look extremely cool, however, and wouldn't look out of place in the hippest designer bachelor or bachelorette pad.

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This is the smallest USB2.0-compatible TV capture unit in the world. Yes! In the world! With dimensions of 107 x 103 x 20mm and weighing just 200g, the dinky and, frankly, heartbreakingly lovely PIX-MPTV/U4W will sit quietly and cutely in your hand like a little newborn chick. At least that's what the Pixel people would like you to believe. So you can sit (or stand, if you prefer) and stroke it to your heart's content. Luckily, however, that isn't all the midget PIX-MPTV/U4W can do. A veritable smorgasbord of electronic goodness, the U4W has a TV tuner from Japan Media Electronics, an MPEG encoder from Fujitsu and a "Ghost Reducer" from NEC -- which, sadly, doesn't actually eject scary phantom spirits from your house, but just aims to make the picture sharper and clearer. Capable of recording in both MPEG-2 and MPEG-1 formats (at a highest resolution of 720 x 480 in MPEG-2), the U4W uses MPEG-1 Layer 2 audio compression at a bit rate of up to 384kbps. Connections include portals for S-video, composite and analog sound.

Specs wise, the display has a 25ms response time, contrast ratio of 600:1 and brightness of 400cd/m2. The viewing angle is now a relatively standard 170 degrees in either plane.

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Portable Record Player

One for those who rue the demise of vinyl and for the more fanatical factions of Ultraman aficionados, the "8" Portable Record Player from Bandai plays, rather unsurprisingly, retro Bandai tunes from classic cartoon shows. The wee 8cm discs have up to four minutes of recordings on them -- the player spins them at 33rpm. The dedicated portable player, sold separately, has a mono speaker, an interchangeable sapphire stylus and dimensions of 160 x 140 x 70mm. Discs retail for JPY350.

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Matsushita D-Snaps

Proudly pushing out another couple gadgets that'll make you yell, "I want one!" even before you quite know what they actually are, Matsushita ("Panny" [Panasonic] to its fans) has announced the SV-AV35 (above) and SV-AV50 (below). Much friendlier in the flesh than their names would suggest, the two new gadgets are basically SD card-toting digital cameras, nicknamed "D-snaps." But they're more than that: Both are capable of recording MPEG-4 video at a very nippy 30 frames per second -- so your whole family doesn't end up looking like Charlie Chaplin, as they will on many cameras -- and by using the company's DIGA DVD recorders, you can transfer recorded TV programs over to the little D-Snaps and play them back on the move (it takes only 15 seconds to send over an hour's worth of recordings!) Both multifunction handhelds play MP3 and AAC files and act as digital voice recorders.

The SV-AV50 looks like one of my grandpa's cigarette cases, comes in silver, blue or (yuck!) brown and, more importantly, houses a 2,110,000-pixel CCD, knocking out maximum 1,600 x 1,200 images. It also has a digital zoom (avoid like the Anna Nicole Smith show) and a two-inch LCD viewfinder. The dinky little clamshell-like SV-AV35, on the other hand, comes in silver, blue and orange and lacks the digital zoom, but does come bundled with a USB cradle.

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The DCR-IP1K from Sony is the world's smallest and lightest MICROMV camcorder. And the MICROMV tape is -- yes, you guessed it -- the smallest camcorder tape in the world. With dimensions of 39 x 69 x 91mm and weighing just 230g, it makes the DCR-IP1K a considerable 26 percent lighter and 30 percent smaller than the now fatty (or, in PC terms, both vertically and horizontally challenged) DCR-IP7 model, so the IP7's catwalk days are definitely over. For the gamblers amongst you, Sony helpfully informs us that the DCR-IP1K is almost exactly the same size as a regular playing card. They're calling it a "rump size" camera. The one-fifth inch CCD produces 1,070,000-pixel images, which boils down to 690,000-pixel moving images or 1 million-pixel still pictures in real life. The lens is one of those fancy Carl Zeiss efforts, with a 10x optical zoom allowing 35mm camera f-stop equivalents of F1.8 to 2.3. There's also a Memory Stick Duo slot for recording still images (up to 1,152 x 864 dots) or brief MPEG-1 movies. Connection options include Composite, S-Video and USB/i.LINK. An NP-FF51 lithium ion battery is included in the pack.

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