Let there be light: Sanyo’s latest addition to its Eneloop world is a lamp that looks like a flower vase and does double duty as a flashlight. The ENL-Y1S runs on a pair of the company’s AA-size Eneloop rechargeable batteries, which are acclaimed for being environmentally friendly. In lamp mode, it sits upright on a 12 cm base and produces a bright white glow all the way along its elongated 22 cm-long neck. Pick up the lamp and hold it horizontally, and the lamp switches over to flashlight mode with several LED lamps in the base coming on to project a beam of light and the stem serving as the flashlight handle. A third mode allows the lamp to be illuminated in a muted blue in place of its traditional white light. This mode allegedly has “healing” properties. The Eneloop lamp recharges when it is placed on the included AC-powered stand with the device taking up to 12 hours to get back up to full power.
Once recharged, the lamp can last for about three hours in its main lamp mode. This can be extended by up to 45 hours by lowering the intensity of the light. As a flashlight, it is good for up to 6 hours, with a running time of 12 to 16 hours in blue.
The lamp will also automatically turn on its flashlight mode if it is knocked over. The Eneloop lamp is a nifty idea, not just because of its dual functionality, but also because it has no cords to tie it down. However, with a price tag of ¥14,800 when it comes out Sept. 11, it is not the cheapest lamp on the shelves. Still, it is an elegant and versatile product that is friendly to the environment. products.jp.sanyo.com
Cutting out noise: Denon, one of the top names in audio products, is entering the noise-canceling earphone market. One of its first entries in the field is the AH-NC600 earphones, which the company claims can cut out up to 99 percent of surrounding noise. Denon uses a new hybrid material for the earphones to provide better sound and what it calls a Radial Cascade Damper to reduce the noise caused by cables touching. Moreover, an Acoustic Optimizer improves the dynamism of the sound and the bass response by adjusting the sound pressure balance in front of and behind the speakers’ diaphragm.
The top-end earphones also have a built-in amplifier and use 3.5 mm drivers. The upshot is the claimed 99 percent elimination of outside noise in the 20-20,000 Hz range.
Design wise, there is not a huge amount that can be done with earbuds. The Denon set looks like a standard pair with a small oblong control box. In the interests of comfort, Denon provides three different sizes of earbuds. The set goes for about 60 hours on alkaline batteries and it weighs just 26 grams.
Denon will release the new earphones this month at a price of around ¥20,000. Whether the high price of noise-canceling earphones is justified depends entirely on how much ambience noise bothers you. denon.jp
Life after analog: Saving analog music from obsolescence is a solid market. Alesis addresses the tape side of the business with its new Tapelink USB device. In essence, this is a double cassette deck that can be connected to a computer to save recordings, converting your tapes into digital files. Usefully, it does more than render faithful recordings as it has a noise-reduction function to get rid of hissing and other unwanted noises.
Tapelink has a squarish black design, which is reminiscent of old-fashioned cassette players. It even has two tape decks, which seems like overkill since the purpose presumably is to save old mix tapes, not to create new ones. More useful is the Tapelink’s ability to work with both PCs and Macs, even working with OS X versions dating back to 10.2. Due for release Friday, the Tapelink will cost ¥20,790. In keeping with similar technology preservers like LP-to-digital file recorders the Tapelink is useful only for people with large tape libraries that they can’t do without. www.alesis.jp/products/tapelinkusb/