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Made to order: Onkyo’s latest notebook computer, the DR511, is a built-to-order creation that offers something different. Onkyo highlights its own heritage with the option of an FM/AM tuner, an almost unheard of feature. The other interesting feature, which comes as a standard inclusion, is an actual numeric pad.

The basic setup is respectable, especially for the price. An Intel Core i3-330M processor running at 2.13-gigahertz (and capable of utilizing Hyper-Threading with its twin cores) powers the machine. It also has 2 gigabytes of memory, a 250-gigabyte hard disk, spacious 15.6-inch screen with 1,366 × 768 resolution and a built-in DVD burner. The standard configuration also includes b/g/n flavors of wireless, Gigabit Ethernet and HDMI connection. It comes with Windows 7 Home Premium as the operating system, weighs 2.8 kg and measures 394 × 254 × 28 mm. The largish size allows Onkyo to provide the better keyboard. But it also limits the unit’s portability, which is perhaps fortunate as its battery life is less than stellar at a bit under three hours. Starting out at ¥79,800, opting for a more powerful i5430M processor adds ¥5,000 to the price with the i7620M demanding a further ¥18,000 on the basic price. The memory can be doubled to 4 gigabytes for a ¥12,000 premium; and the hard disk can be upped to 320 gigabytes for ¥3,000 extra or to 500 gigabytes for ¥8,000. The headline-making radio fetches an additional ¥5,000 and a digital TV tuner sets you back twice that.

The DR511 is no gift to computer design with its standard dark finish and set up, but the price and DIY features combination makes it worth considering. www.jp.onkyo.com/news/newproducts/pc/20100324-dr511/index.htm

Mixing sound and vision: Kenwood’s new AS-iP70, is a standard iPod/iPhone Dock in theory, but not reality. Kenwood throws in a 7-inch WVGA screen and digital photo frame to augment the unit’s appeal. In fact, the frame is the centerpiece of the unit and it looks quite decent with its black coloring and controls situated under the screen. The dock portion, however, is tacked on the side and looks more like an afterthought.

In its guise as an iPod Dock the AS-iP70 includes the typical add-on of a FM/AM radio and alarm clock. It packs a pair of 40-mm 1.5 W speakers and the dock is compatible with the usual suspects among Apple’s products. The photo frame has a 15:9 aspect ratio and can display JPEG, MP3, WMA and WAV formats. It connects to USB 2.0 and can accept the various types of SD card, including the mini and micro versions. The device measures 295 mm in width with the dock in position and has a height of 157 mm and depth of 100 mm. Weighing 800 grams, it is portable but still relies on AC power.

As an iPod Dock there are other, specialized options out there that would do a better job. Much the same can be said for digital frames. But with a price tag of around ¥25,000 when it goes on the shelves late next month, Kenwood has come up with a compelling product that does both. www.kenwood.co.jp/newsrelease/2010/20100324.html

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