The Pulse 2

Back to Contents of Issue: January 2004

The best of J@pan Inc's newsletters

Sony DSC-T1

It's the smallest 5-megapixel digital still camera in the world, ladies and gents, at an extraordinary 17.3mm thick. And it's from Sony, which does this sort of thing really, really well. The T1 has a 2.5-inch viewfinder LCD screen in the back which, given the camera's tiny overall dimensions, takes up pretty much the whole of the back of the camera and looks absolutely fantastic -- and produces its images by way of a 5,100,000-pixel "Super HAD" CCD and a 3x optical zoom Carl Zeiss lens. It is, in a word, quality. On the front side, a sliding lens cover sporting the Cybershot brand name subtly etched into it, protects the lens, flash and range finder when in the closed position and even enhances the smart, minimalist design in the open position. Sony has even gone to the lengths of developing a brand new, extra slim rechargeable lithium ion battery to keep the dimensions down, and there's a Memory Stick Duo slot on board for all your storage needs. Suits you to a T. I'd bore you with loads of tech details but there's no point. Buy one immediately.

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Hitachi 770G20TVP2

There has been a whole host of PCs with Microsoft's spanky new Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 announced recently for Japan. I've put the URLs for some of them at the end of this piece but will focus on the one from Hitachi for now -- mostly because our esteemed leader and publisher may well be reading this and feeling generous and well disposed to my humble groveling. Or not. Anyway, Hitachi's 770G20TVP2 is part of the company's "Prius Deck" series, with the stunning eye-catching feature of a HUGE 20-inch, WXGA (1,280 x 768) LCD display (one of the elements that makes this the sexiest Media Center offering of recent memory, I reckon).

This delicious machine is powered by a 4.3Ghz Pentium 4 CPU and 512 MB of PC2700 RAM memory, has a 250GB hard disk and a 64MB GeForce FX Go5200 video card as well as a combo optical drive capable of handling DVDR/RW and DVD-RAM. And there's an integral TV tuner, obviously. Everything, then. Software includes Office Personal Edition 2003 pre-installed. The display alone makes the 770G20TVP2 look like a million bucks, but in case you need extra convincing, it comes with two remote controls. Two remotes! That ought to count for something. You know you're getting some quality merchandise when it needs double-handed controlling.

More info:

The Others
From Toshiba in laptop form:
A budget one from trusty Sotec:
A cube version from MCJ:
A Dimension model from Dell:
NEC's Valuestar U effort:


Ratoc Systems' REX-Link1

Japan's clearly gone a bit wireless-mad recently. The REX-Link1 is a 2.4GHz digital wireless USB audio transmitter, working with almost all the new Windows operating systems and newer Macs. It transmits across a space of up to 10 meters. All you have to do is whack the little USB transmitter thingy into the slot in your computer, and it'll zing over the music goodness from said computer to the color-matched (ideal if your name is Santa Claus) receiver unit. The receiver unit, in turn, connects to whatever kit you want to use to output the audio: 5.1 home theater speaker setups (it's compatible with Dolby Digital 5.1), a combi system, whatever you set your sounds on.

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IO Data Z'Qun

The bizarrely named "Z'Qun" is a USB-IrDA adapter in USB key form. For those of you who don't speak Geek, in English that means it's a little widget that will allow owners to zap, as if by magic, the photos they take on their camera-equipped mobile phones over to their PCs in wireless fashion. The mobile phones it will work with are legion -- I'd write the list down here but if you're reading this at work and work entails operating heavy machinery, you may fall asleep and cause a nasty accident. Basically, if you have one by NTT DoCoMo and its model number has a D, N, F or P in it, you should be all set -- and it'll even run on Vodafone's J-SH53 and J-N51 models.

The magic is achieved by way of slotting the Z'Qun into a USB port on your computer and then using your infrared send function on your keitai to sling it casually across the ether. Et voila! The USB key has a variety of transmission rates and should work at anything from 3cm to 1m away from your computer, but since it only uses USB 1.1 and version 1.1 of IrDA, you'll probably have time to sit through an entire televised football game (and they've been known to last for weeks -- I sat down freshly shaven to watch the Ravens go against the Broncos last night and got up after the game with a full beard) before it's done sending over your reports.

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The charmingly monikered PCVA-HVP20 is a very sleek-looking portable video player with a 20GB internal hard drive. To get the most out of it, Sony says, you'll need a Vaio laptop (also, coincidentally, made by Sony) running Windows ME, XP or 2000. But then they would require that, eh?

Anyhow, the little player has a bright, 3.5-inch TFT LCD color display on which proud new owners will be able to view the movies and TV programs they've just recorded using their trusty Vaios, simply by transferring them across via speedy USB2.0. The machine handles both MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 formats in addition to Sony's proprietary "Giga Pocket" files, and will also cope with AVI and WMA stuff. Its 20-gig hard disk will squeeze 31 minutes of 1.41Mpbs of MPEG-1 data, its lithium ion battery will go for four hours before needing a recharge, and its vital statistics are 84 x 120 x 28mm and 300g. Sony wants you to want it.

More info:

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