Budget computing: Onkyo opts for a very different form of computer in the shape of its new DE411. Apart from being an all-in-one design, the DE411 also nixes a high-powered processor in favor of the low-powered, 1.6-gigahertz Atom 330 chip, one of those that netbooks favor. It compensates somewhat for the lack of computing muscle with a Nvidia ION chip set. In line with its all-in-one brethren the Onkyo product would look at home in a lounge room, with a digital TV tuner to help in the process and a simple stand at the back to prop it up to a watchable angle. Weighing just 7 kg also helps to make it reasonably portable. It measures 537 mm in width with a height of 374 mm and a thickness that varies from 76.3 mm to 210 mm, depending on the positioning of the stand. The 21.5-inch screen is on the small side for use as a television but it does come with full HD 1,920 × 1,080 resolution. Starting out with 2 gigabytes of memory, it can top out at 4 gigabytes with a 320-gigabyte hard disk for storage. Similar to Sony’s versions, the DE411 comes with a DVD drive and Windows 7 Home Premium. Although it has both B and G versions of wireless, it lacks the more-powerful N type of wireless.
All-in-one machines can make cheap alternatives to TV sets, and still handle your desktop-computing needs.
While some upmarket types offer such luxuries as touchscreens, most, such as the Onkyo, tend to be more basic. The price tag of ¥89,800 helps to make the DE411 an attractive proposition. Onkyo is also sweetening their deal by offering a free iPod cradle to the first 100 buyers. onkyodirect.jp/pc/de411/
Lending a hand: Thanko has established a well-deserved reputation for crafting quirky but interesting gadgets. In the form of its new Bluetooth Bracelet it has engineered something that is as good at providing functionality as it is in starting up a conversation. The bracelet vibrates when the user’s mobile phone receives a call, getting the notification via Bluetooth. The bracelet also displays the phone number on its slim LCD panel.
The value of this gadget is obvious to any experienced cell-phone user who hates having a strident ring tone alert them to an incoming call. The problem is when you put the phone on silent mode, you need to keep it in a pocket or somewhere else close to your body so that you can easily feel it vibrating. The Thanko bracelet allows the more privacy inclined among cell-phone users to keep their phone wherever they want, such as in a briefcase or a handbag. In line with the popular idea of using your phone to replace a wristwatch, the bracelet also tells the time. As a bonus it will vibrate if you get more than 10 meters from your phone, something of a score for those of us who are prone to be absent minded. Weighing 38 grams, the bracelet can run for about 60 hours and takes some three hours to recharge. It costs ¥3,980. A second version lacks the LCD panel, relying instead on an LED light, weighs just 25 grams and costs ¥2,980.
The bracelet is a neat idea but while it looks good enough in silver and black, it’s not exactly a piece of jewelry. It really is only for those who keep their phone on silent mode and find the vibrations just don’t move them. www.thanko.jp/product/bluetooth-bracelet/
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