Sound investment: Sony may have long ago surrendered the portable music-player war to Apple, but it still wins in the battle over headphones.

The MDR-770LP is an over-the-ears model that is relatively small and eye-catching.

The headphones look like a hair band with oval cushions on each end. The cushions can be slid up and down to find the most comfortable spot for users.

Sony takes the quality a step further in providing the headphones with Neodymium 300 kJ/m3 magnets — the kind of acoustic aids Sony normally reserves for its high-end headphones. The headphones can play music back in frequencies between 12 Hz and 24 kHz, with a sensitivity of 107 dB/mw, and impedance of 24. The headphones come with a gold-plated stereo mini plug, a 1.2-meter-long cord and weigh 76 grams.

Costing ¥6,195, the MDR-770LP will be available from Nov. 10.

The MDR-770LP address key needs of sound quality and comfort. The good looks don’t hurt either. www.sony.jp/headphone/products/ MDR-770LP/index.html

Wish you were here: In an age of e-mail the Japanese still appreciate their postcards. Epson is catering to this written relic with the Address Expert E-800, a postcard printer that can also function as a digital photo frame (albeit a somewhat cumbersome one).

In essence, such machines allow users to use their own photographs for the postcard image, and embellish them with their own words. The device comes with a wireless keyboard to allow the user to input text to superimpose on the photo or to write on the reverse side of the postcard. The intention is to allow a postcard to be made without using a computer.

The E-800 also comes equipped with a 7-inch screen with a resolution of 800 × 480 to facilitate the postcard process. This screen is what also provides the digital photo frame option. As a printer, the Epson creation has a resolution of 5760 × 1440 dpi and can print 89 × 127-mm pictures, with the company claiming it can produce a postcard in about 30 seconds at a cost of around ¥20. If needed, the E-800 can be connected to a computer via a pair of USB 2.0 ports and it works with both PCs and Macs, including Windows 7 and OSX 10.6. It is compatible with PictBridge and IrDA, while also being able to print directly from such gadgets as the iPhone.

The idea of crafting your own postcards, and presumably Christmas cards, is pretty cool and Epson knows the game better than anybody. However, when it comes out Oct. 7, the E-800 will carry a hefty price tag of ¥54,980. Some relief comes in the form of the E-600, a sibling to the E-800 (identical except that it has no keyboard) and hits the market in November at a cost of ¥29,980. Even at just over half the price, though, the E-600 is still only for committed postcarders. www.epson.jp/osirase/2009/090917_2.htm

Economic power: Local maker DosPara shows its appreciation of the need for speed with its newly released desktop, the Prime Magnate JF.

The desktop is based on the Intel Core i5 platform, which is pitched as a midrange processor. The Prime Magnate uses a 2.66-gigahertz i5-750 processor that can use an overclocking turbo boost to kick it up to 3.2 gigahertz. The machine also comes with a minimum of 2 gigabytes of DDR3 memory (expandable to 4 gigabytes) and a 320-gigabyte hard drive. It also has a NVIDIA GeForce 8400GS 256-megabyte graphics chip, Gigabit LAN, DVD burner and a generous 10 USB ports. It comes with either Windows XP or Vista as the operating system.

The Prime Magnate is never going to be mistaken for decoration and won’t fit into any briefcase. It is a standard dark-looking tower computer aiming for function rather than looks. It measures 140 × 317 × 323 mm and weighs 7 kg. Moreover, the i5 is not the processor of choice for gamers but it packs more power than most laptops and certainly enough for the bulk of users. The headliner is a price tag of ¥54,980, comparable to an anemic netbook. www.dospara.co.jp/


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