The Pulse 2

Back to Contents of Issue: February 2004

The best of J@pan Inc's newsletters

Rio Nitrus

Just a quick note -- because it's been out for a while both in the US and here -- to say that Rio has been selling the Rio Nitrus and Eigen 1.5GB portable HDD audio players (it's a new category, archive fans!) for just JPY26,800 via its online store, probably to make them a more attractive alternative to Creative's and Apple's efforts and shift a bunch of them before anyone else. The special price campaign initially ran from December 10 to the end of January, but look for an extension. Oh, and Rio also released the 20-gig, Ethernet-compatible Rio Karma for JPY43,800 at the end of last year.

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Nikon COOLPIX3700

Check out what Nikon is calling a "stylish and compact" digital camera. Funny that, but then I suppose it's unlikely they'd describe a new product as "rubbish looking and about the same size as a dock-side warehouse." Nikon presents us with the Coolpix 3700 and, in doing so, manages to SHOUT its name by using ALL CAPITAL LETTERS just for the heck of it. Saving images down to SD memory card, the 3700's lovely minimalist, silver metal casing puts me in mind of Canon's gorgeous IXY range of cameras, which is a very good start indeed. Specs-wise, it has a 3-million-plus-pixel CCD (3.2 million, if you must know), a three-times optical zoom lens with 35mm equivalency of 35-105mm, and will even do very decent 640 x 480 moving images at 30 frames per second, handily saving them as Quicktime movies. There's a 1.5-inch color TFT monitor, optical viewfinder and a rechargeable battery good for at least 200 snaps before needing a recharge. And if the pictures of the thing are at all accurate, the Coolpix 3700 is very smart, speaking 10 languages, including Swedish and Korean. Amazing what JPY40,000 will get you.

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Iyama ProLite L403W

Iyama's new babies are big-screen, progressive-scan LCD displays with built-in TV tuners and D4 connections that will make the TV you have right now in your living room look really, really ugly. Hang your head in shame. The WXGA (1,280 x 768-dot) L403W model is the 40-inch display, and the L323W is the 32-incher. Both display over 16 million colors, have D4 component, composite, S-Video and DVI-I inputs, sport integral stereo speakers putting 7W into two channels (located on either side of the screen) and look absolutely fantastic. Especially the all-black version of the L403W. The L403W model also has a response time of 22ms, brightness of 500 candles and a contrast ratio of 600:1. The viewing angle in both planes is 170 degrees, and it weighs a hefty 38kg. The L323W has the same brightness but loses out a

little on response time and contrast ratio. But it's way cheaper and 10kg lighter. Take your pick.

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Kyocera Finecam SL300R

This is a limited-edition model of the company's incredibly slimline rotating-lens digital camera. Nothing's changed in the specs: It still has a 3,170,000-pixel CCD and 3-times digital zoom and is a miniscule 15mm thick. So, what's special about it, I hear you cry? Well, the body of the camera is now pearl white and -- try and contain your excitement here, folks -- the front is four shades of pink! Yes! Four shades of pink. Which, in some universe somewhere, I suppose, is arguably better than the silver, red and blue versions of the original, non-limited edition. The color on the front starts from the bottom with a strip of a kind of dark metallic pink, then a slightly lighter metallic pink, then an even lighter one, then one that's almost silver. And, even though this next piece of extra news is probably almost too much for you to bear, the camera also comes with a shimmery neck strap that, in the right light or held at the right angle, gives off the colors of the rainbow. Show it off to your friends and enemies!

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Evergreen EG-DVDP2000C

Ü A truly great choice for a budget purchase for yourself or a very close pal is the EG-DVDP2000C. It's a progressive-scan-capable DVD player set to retail at an astonishing JPY6,980! For such a low-priced model, the Evergreen machine has an impressive array of inputs round the back, including component, composite, S-Video, coax, VGA PC and analog audio connections, and it'll also cope with CD-R/RW, DVDRW (plus and minus varieties) and discs with MP3 toons on them. There's a maximum playback speed of 32x (for viewers with really fast eyes) and it can play back in slo-mo, too (for the scanningly challenged). It's a lithe little machine, at only 22.3cm thick, and its compact dimensions of 223 x 242 x 56mm mean it won't look like a big fat hunk of gadgetry sitting under your TV.

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Sony PSX

Sony has already updated the PSX. The PS2 in angel's clothing (incorporating the game machine, a DVD recorder and a hard disk) has been changed -- and not for the better, from what we can tell. The changes were hastily made to meet last year's holiday rush. Haste makes waste, of course. Before this "update," we would have said that if you don't have a game machine yet and have been thinking of buying one, this would be a good time. The altered specs are:

-- Dubbing speed from the hard drive to DVD has fallen from 24x to 12x
-- DVD+RW, CD-R, MP3, TIFF and GIF playback are now no longer possible.
-- You can now no longer play back Cybershot movies.
-- It's now compatible with the upgrade via PlayStation BB Internet service.
-- It's gotten heavier, so now the 250GB DESR-7000 is 5.8kg, and the DESR-5000 is now 5.7kg (both up from 5.6kg).

Well, it would have been the time to pick up a PS2 if Sony hadn't decided to drop all these features. Apparently, the Sony men in white coats couldn't squeeze the above-mentioned elements into the PSX in time for launch, but, they say they may be able to provide the MIA features by way of a future software update. No guarantees, though, which is a bit weak, no?

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