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Jot it down: While the typewriter has pretty much become extinct, the notebook and pen combination has shown greater resilience. This is mainly due to to their simplicity, something computers are not known for. But they can do color touchscreens, multimedia and other surplus features. In the form of its new Pomera DM20, King Jim has created an electronic version of the notebook and pen. The PDA-like device serves one main function — to make written records. It has a simple 5-inch, VGA monochrome screen and data entry is via an attachable full-size QWERTY keyboard. King Jim produced a similar device last year, the DM10, but its 128-kilobyte internal memory left it rather hobbled. The DM20 fixes that with 89 megabytes of memory. This would be useless for digital photos, much less video, but is fine for text. The device goes a step further in the memory stakes with a microSD card slot.

The great virtues of the DM20 are its ease of use and portability. It weighs just 370 grams and measures 145 × 100 × 33 mm. It operates on a pair of AAA batteries, providing up to 20 hours of operating time, with a single CR2032 for backup. Augmenting its basic notetaking ability, the DM20 can be hooked up to a mobile phone for sending e-mails. It also has a USB port for connecting to a computer, allowing text transfers. The partner computer must use XP, Vista or one of the seven flavors of Windows. King Jim offers two contrasting options. On the software side, 30 different dictionaries can be added. The company also provides a choice of three different “fashion” covers, including a fetching red, to decorate the top of the device.

Price is the only downside with the DM20, at ¥34,650, when it comes out Dec. 11. If it was priced at below ¥20,000 it would be a winner. www.kingjim.co.jp/news/0911/n-pomera.html

Panasonic cleans up: The desire to resurrect the purity of nature produces some odd contradictions. One of these is the use of electronic air purifiers to purge our air of undesireable elements.

Panasonic follows this trend with its Nanoe F-GME03 Ion Air Purifier. The stylish device uses nanotechnology to scrub the air clean of viruses, bacteria, pollens and small dust particles. It is intended to do its job in small spaces, such as the home or office, with no more than 20 people present. The rectangular boxes operate off mains power and do so quietly with a noise level of 30 decibels. They weigh 1 kg, measure 180 × 122T×T122 mm and come in a color choice of white, blue, pink, dark brown or green. Panasonic is putting them on the market next month with prices set between ¥9,600 and ¥14,400.

No doubt the Panasonic machines will do the job.

Whether the devices serve a useful purpose, however, depends on how much you think your atmosphere is in need of purifying. Those with an aversion to tobacco residue may find the high-tech cleaners appealing. ctlg.panasonic.jp/product/info.do?pg=04&hb=F-GME03

Headphones make waves: Backing away from making style statements is one criticism you can’t level at noted headphone maker Phiaton. The company’s arresting MS 400 model is finally coming to Japan. Standing out with a bright red headband and matching ear cushions, the quality headphones boast more than just looks. The MS 400 deliver a booming bass and crisp sound at the high-frequency end, making them a good choice for fans of rap, heavy rock and electronic music. Using carbon fiber housing, they weigh about 200 grams, have a sensitivity of 92 decibels and impedance of 32 Ohm. The color scheme is the only radical aspect of the design but that is sufficient. The MS 400 are available now at a cost of ¥24,800 with Cowon marketing the headphones.

Sitting below the MS 400 is the MS 300 with a price tag of ¥19,800. They have a similar design, albeit a bit muted with red padding on a basic black headband. As a more lightweight pair the headband is also a folding version to make them more portable and they weigh around 150 grams. They have a sensitivity of 98 decibels and impedance of 32 Ohm.

The red pair are the headliners in a set of six Phiaton models that Cowon has just brought to the Japanese market, the cheapest of which is the MS 300. The range includes the noise-canceling PS 300NC at ¥29,800 and the PS 200 earphones at ¥24,800. The Phiatons are not cheap but do offer a combination of quality sound and good looks. But the ultimate test is how comfortable they feel, and the only way to know that is to give the headphones a decent test run by yourself. www.cowonjapan.com/zeroboard/zboard.php?id=A02&no=297

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