Photos on the go: Canon appears to be taking the concept of thinking outside the box seriously in its approach to the competitive market of photo printers.

The Selphy CP770, which debuted June 12, is notable for its striking design — it looks like an oblong, bright-yellow bucket. The printer even comes complete with a carrying handle. The “bucket” is in fact the storage case for the printer, which is just lifted out of the case whenever — or wherever — duty calls.

The CP770 is stand-alone portability redefined. It weighs a mere 1,060 grams, prints directly from USB camera-cable input via PictureBridge and more than a dozen different memory-card formats, and with the optional battery pack (¥7,000) and Bluetooth adapter (¥8,500), many users will be able to leave all their wires at home.

Paired with this portability is a trademark of the Selphy series — ease of use. The CP770 comes with a 2.5-inch angled color LCD monitor on top, which allows photos to be previewed and adjusted — automatic red-eye and basic image correction options — before printing.

The CP770 isn’t an inkjet printer but uses the dye-sub method. This printing style is common among smaller specialist photo printers and produces better-quality pictures that are expected to last longer than those from conventional computer printers. It’s also fast, producing most sizes of print in about a minute or less.

Against other dye-sub photo printers, the CP770 compares pretty well both in price (¥16,000) and output quality. The largest photo that it can print is 10×15 cm, but in truth, the average consumer rarely prints anything larger on their own anyway.

The CP770 is certainly an arresting-looking package, and while it initially appears more of a gimmick, the design concept is a smart one. Imagine what a hit you’ll be if you can hand out photos from the family picnic while you’re still at the picnic. cweb.canon.jp

No fiddling from Niro: Innovation in design is also crucial to the new sound system from Niro, although its product is aimed rather more upmarket. A 5.1-channel surround-sound setup, the Spherical Surround System includes a subwoofer, bass speaker, top speaker and built-in amplifier. The speakers, in their dark, curvy shapes, are visual standouts.

Beyond its looks, the Niro system offers impressive specs, with the bass speaker including three 90-mm drivers, 9 ohms of impedance and 30 watts of output power. The top speaker has a pair of 60-mm drivers, an impedance of 8 ohms, and a 30-watt output. Completing the set is the subwoofer, with its 200-mm driver, impedance of 6 ohms and 50 watts of output. The amplifier is compatible with Dolby Digital, DTS, AAC and Dolby Pro Logic formats.

The old adage about getting what you pay for is more applicable to audio systems than to most consumer items. The Niro setup is no different, with a hefty price tag of ¥138,000. For that kind of money you have a lot of options, but Niro’s combination of style and power is attractive. www.niro1.com/jp

Cleaning up: Sound systems are a bit like computer programs: What you get out of them depends on what you put into them. No matter how much you spend on your audio system, slipping a dirty disc into the CD drawer will result in skipping or worse. These discs might outlive their owners, but only if they get the velvet-glove treatment, and there’s precious little chance of that with most of us.

Sanwa steps up to the console with its CD-RE1AT device for looking after discs. Resembling one of those portable CD players that were hugely popular not so many years ago, Sanwa claims its cleaner removes dust, fingerprints and oily spots from the surface of a disc, all of which can do a surprisingly good job of corrupting your player’s performance.

The Sanwa gadget can’t work the magic of removing deep scratches, but it can help to avoid them in the first place. The cleaning system also applies a protective layer on the disc to keep it safe from future damage.

The need for such a device largely depends on how much of an audiophile you are, but the idea is terrific. If you’re a fan of dishwashers over washing your dirty tableware by hand, then this might be for you.

Priced at ¥7,350, the CD-RE1AT works with CDs, DVDs and computer-game discs. www.sanwa.co.jp


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