Knot again: Just how headphone cords manage to tangle themselves up without any outside interference is one of life’s minor mysteries. Bluetooth-enabled devices, however, offer a solution to this problem.

Sony has contributed its new DR-BT100CXP headphones to the cordless cause. These are basically upmarket earbuds that are joined to a small Bluetooth receiver, which also serves as a remote control, allowing the user to change tracks and adjust the volume. The earbuds connect to the receiver with 60-cm cords, so you don’t entirely escape the tangle, but these are the only wires.

The device also includes a microphone so that you can use them as a cell-phone headset. Moreover, while the earbuds do not deliver as high quality a sound as regular mid-price headphones, they are at least a step up acoustically from the noxious creations that come packaged with your DAP or phone.

While the DR-BT100CX series are intended for use with mobile devices, they will also work with Bluetooth-enabled desktop computers. The headphones are good for up to eight hours of use per charge and measure just 19.5×74×17.5 mm with a weight of 26 grams. The headphones come in a choice of black, white, blue or pink. Price-wise, these headphones look like a decent deal, at around ¥8,000 when they go on sale Feb. 10. The downside could be their use for talking on a mobile phone, as having the microphone hanging around your neck, rather than located close to your mouth, is not going to do much for the clarity of your voice. www.ecat.sony.co.jp/headphone/product.cfm?PD=33696

Keeping up the pace: Netbook computers are intended in particular for perusing the Net on the go. Their limited power cuts into their surfing speed, however. If you need to up the Internet ante for your netbook, then one answer is to augment your machine’s onboard wireless abilities through your USB port.

Buffalo has a new device to help with this, the new WLI-UC-GN Wi-Fi dongle. The product uses the Draft N wireless protocol, which offers much faster speeds than existing wireless systems, as long as your computer is powerful enough to handle it.

The headline feature of the Buffalo device is its ridiculously small size, measuring just 33×16 mm, which the company claims makes it the smallest product of its kind in the world. Buffalo claims that size is the only reduction for the dongle, and that it is compatible with the older and far more common B and G wireless systems and the WPS security system.

Capping off its appeal, the dongle is to sell for just ¥2,100 when it hits the market early next month. If you own a netbook, then splashing out that bit extra for this dongle would seem to be a no-brainer. The only catch is that with most netbooks being so diminutive in power, the extra speed of a Draft N device may go to waste, so if possible test it with your computer first. buffalo.jp/products/new/2009/000881.html

Bulking up on quality: Size has been a key selling point for Sanyo and its Xacti brand of camcorders. But they have also gained a fair amount of attention for their unusual styling, as they are gripped vertically, providing a different method of camcorder usage from the norm. In the brand’s latest incarnation, however, Sanyo is hoping to build on the Xacti’s popularity with a push for better-quality images.

Its new Xacti pair, the DMX-HD2000 and DMX-FH11, produce images with a full high-definition resolution of 1920×1080 at 60 frames per second. Interestingly, the FH11 is a conventional horizontal shape, although still more compact than the usual camcorder, and weighs 346 grams. Each model offers 5.3 megapixels of resolution for video images and 8 megapixels for still photos with a decent 10x optical zoom. Each records to SD cards, with the maximum size 32-gigabyte cards sufficient to record about three hours of video at the top-quality setting.

The FH11 also has 8 gigabytes of internal memory, which is enough for about 43 minutes of top-notch video. The FH11 is black, while the HD2000 comes in black or champagne gold. The HD2000 hits the market first, on Feb. 6, with a price tag of ¥99,800, while the FH11 is due out April 24 at a price that has yet to be announced.

While the miniature sizes of the Xacti seem to be their only selling point when compared to larger, higher quality cameras, some may deem the lack of bulk to be worth the price. The attention to quality imagery that marks the newest Xacti models should make them more appealing. www.sanyo.co.jp/koho/hypertext4/0901news-j/0121-1.html


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